For a more effortless and secure experience on our site, please consider updating your browser

Beanie Bunch about to start Canning Stock Route challenge on one of toughest, most remote tracks in the world 

July 16, 2009
Beanie Bunch about to start Canning Stock Route challenge on one of toughest, most remote tracks in the world

Alan and Pam from GoSee said before they left Kalgoorlie that all vehicle parts have turned up, everything is stocked up. Everything is fixed and ready to go. All the Beanie Bunch are well.

The Beanie Bunch first heard the Canning was closed due to heavy rains when they arrived in Kalgoorlie, but that has now proved to be inaccurate. The Department of Main Roads has confirmed all is ok.

Editors Note: We include pictures from the adventures of the Beanie Bunch on the testing shakedown for people and vehicles through Western Australia to reach Kalgoorlie.

Alan & Pam, Sue & Geoff, Phil & Barb, Bert & Shirl

lets Travel the Gravel before we unravel.

Wikipedia the free encyclopedia says the Canning Stock Route is one of the toughest and most remote tracks in the world.

It runs from Wiluna to Halls Creek, both in Western Australia. With a total distance of 1781 km (1113 miles) it is also the longest historic stock route in the world. For the first few hundred kilometres it runs concurrent with the Tanami Track.

In 1968 the entire length of the track was driven for the first time. During the 1980s fuel dumps were created and adventurous travellers became interested in the history of the track and the challenge to drive it.

In the beginning of the 20th century Kimberley cattlemen looked for a way to traverse the western deserts of Australia with their cattle.

Between 1906 and 1910 Alfred Canning surveyed the route and sank a total of 52 wells. The route was used for the first time in 1911, but all the cattlemen were killed by Aborigines along the way. Access to the Canning Stock Route is totally weather dependant.

All vehicles, whether private or in commerical tours, are required to hold permits. Tourist operators can obtain a permit valid for one year, while each vehicle in the tour will be required to obtain an individual permit for the duration of the trip.

The Canning Stock Route should not be attempted without extensive outback travel experience and a reliable and capable vehicle that has been specifically prepared for remote, long distance, desert travel.

Strictly no trailers or wide-track vehicles can be taken on the section of track between Wells 2 - 5. In this case the alternative route via Glen-Ayle or Granite Peak stations MUST be taken.

Broken axle Rescue Mission winch and haul on Landrover Defender
Broken axle Rescue Mission winch and haul on Landrover Defender

Fuel is reliably available at Kunawarritji Community about half way along the route. up to 100 vehicles per day are known to spread out across the Canning Stock Route during the peak driving season in June to September.

Code of Canning Stock Route Conduct:

All vehicles should carry a sand flag in sand dune country to avoid head-on collisions

All vehicles should be equipped with the minimum radio communications of an auto-scanning UHF radio. Travellers should ideally scan all stations, but the recommended station for communication (as dictated by the Halls Creek Shire Council) is Channel 40. The use of other channels is dangerous, as some travellers may not have auto-scanning radio sets.

Do not travel in large convoys - four is plenty. Many campsites are small, as are the stops points of interest; larger groups tend to spread out beyond radio signal strength; generally large groups have difficulty

travelling at the same speed and can waste time waiting for all to arrive at stop points along the way; passing large groups is a nuisance for other travellers.

Always be wary of oncoming vehicles - the lead vehicle should periodically call forward on UHF radio at the top of highest dune in area to check for other vehicles on the track.

At least one vehicle in a convoy should have an HF radio or Satellite Phone for emergency use.

Heed all signs on the Canning Stock Route for safety and directional use and always keep to the track.

Avoid travelling with trailers, if required remember you are not allowed to travel north of Wiluna as you will be turned back at Well 2a, or south of Windich Springs (take detours at either Well 9 or Well 5).

Kalgoorlie Super Pit
Kalgoorlie Super Pit

Use toilets provided at Well 6 (Pierre Springs) and Water 18 (Durba Springs) and bring own toilet paper.

Dig toileting pits well away from campsites, Wells and roadsides with your spade as deeply as possible - thoroughly burn toilet paper at bottom of pit before covering with soil - compact with a spade.

Never bury rubbish of any kind, even organic - thoroughly burning of small amounts of plastic, paper and foodstuffs at campfires is ok, but you must carry out all your rubbish.

Do not leave tins in fires. Carry garbage bags and knot them well - place into large vinyl or hesian sacks that birds cannot penetrate and carry on roof racks. Disposal bins are available at Kunawarritji Community (Well 33).

Reuse existing campfire pits wherever possible - and ensure they do not build up with ash.

At less used campsites, create your campfire so that it can be fully covered up - do not leave a big pile of ash and dirt, instead dig a hole so that when you cover it up the ground can be compacted level, leaving no sign of your campsite.

Do not wash or swim in well troughs.

Do not pour water into troughs for animals - this is problematic.

Replace lids on wells to avoid animals entering and polluting the water supply.

Obey regulatory signs on station properties.

Do not travel at night.

Do not take souvenirs - the Canning Stock Route is protected under the National Trust and is listed on the register of Australian Heritage Council (WA).

Recommended travel is between June and September due to extremes of heat, isolation and chance of wet, boggy conditions outside these times.

The town of Wiluna is 966 kilometres northeast of Perth and is situated on the edge of the desert at the gateway to the Canning Stock Route and Gunbarrel Highway.

Facilities at Wiluna include a caravan park, hotel-motel, fuel, supermarket, police, hospital and post office

Shire of Wiluna says -

Discovery HP Kalgoorlie Camp kitchen kids birthday party
Discovery HP Kalgoorlie Camp kitchen kids birthday party

Fuel Requirements Fuel consumption on the firmer sections of track will be similar to normal consumption rates if driving at moderate speed.

Allow up to DOUBLE or TRIPLE the consumption rate for the dune sections due to soft sand conditions, tortuous track and repeated short run-ups.

Extra fuel can be carried in long range tanks or jerry cans. Carrying fuel cans inside the vehicle is not recommended, but beware of overloading roofracks (risk of breakage greater risk of rollover) -

Navigation: The track is now reasonably well defined in most areas but rain

of plant growth may obscure it, and wrong turnings onto station tracks or

seismographic survey lines is possible. Look for small CSR signs, white

writing on red background.

Southern Right Whales and calf
Southern Right Whales and calf

Keep a trip log, record distance between landmarks, direction of turning points and survey Bench Marker numbers which appear near the track.

With this trip log you can backtrack to your last known location if lost.

Good maps and a compass (learn how to use it) are essential.

A mobile satellite positoning system (GPS) is not necessary although it certainly makes navigating easier (but you still need maps and compass for backup).

Along the track are many pleasant camping site not necessarily at the wells. Some of the more notable ones are:

Well 3, Windich Springs, Well 6, Well 7, Well 12, Durba Springs, Desert Oaks near Lake Disappointment between Wells 20 21, Well 24, Well 26, Well 28, Well 30 ,Desert Oaks Bungabinni Well, Well 37, Well 41, Well 46, Breaden Hills Well 49

Editors Note: Follow the Beanie Bunch adventures through these links -

Salmon Gums north of Norseman
Salmon Gums north of Norseman