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Gritty Beanie Bunch handle sand, wind, dunes and low gear grind through Canning Stock Route limestone country

August 07, 2009
Gritty Beanie Bunch handle sand, wind, dunes and low  gear grind through Canning Stock Route limestone country

Day 10 took us to Well 17 which is a great spot, A bit of a goat track and a lot of rocks, but once in there a great spot to camp and good spring fed water.

The walk up the canyon was magnificent with lush green growth, sparkling water pools and a lot of rock art, snow white trunked gums and miniature ferns growing from crevices.

We travelled a further 36 kms to Well 18. Its bucket had a hole in it. The well was only about 2 meters deep. We lunched in 22 degree weather.

We are still in the Little Sandy Desert which has an annual rainfall of about 200mm per annum. We pass the Durba Hills on our right with Cannings Cairn erected on the most Northern point. McFadden Ranges are on our left. We cross the tropic of Capricorn plaque.

Next we followed Savoury Creek for a while before making the dry sand crossing. The water in the creek is so salty, in parts it has formed such a hard white salt crust on it that you can walk over it.

Lake Disappointment is on our right and in places we travel over parts of it dry salt bed. We travelled over a lot more dunes today and temperature increased to 27 degrees.

Camped in a sandy camp site trying to get out of the wind and all cooked baked potatoes in foil for dinner on our camp fire before turning in about 8 pm.

Day 11. Strong winds through the night and sand had blown into everything causing a generally grumpy mood for all. After a general clean of everything, we were on the road again by 8 am in 11 degree temperatures, although the cold desert wind chill factor was much less.

We travelled past a trailer wreck near Well 20 and can understand why it is not recommended to tow a trailer in this instance. But in saying that, we have passed several other parties towing TVans and Ultimate campers which are specifically built for this purpose and seem to be handling the CSR with ease.

Well 21 is abandoned but is extremely deep.

Zebra finches were making their way into the well for a drink and clinging onto the timber lined walls from within. We lunched at Well 22, open topped and caved in, but the lower section had been built with corrugated iron like a tank sunken into the ground.

The McKay Ranges are nearby. There is much deep purple and red succulent bushes growing in this area and this was popular feed for Cannings camels and stock.

We passed a burnt out Prado today and visited Georgia Bore which had good water and composting toilets. We move onto Well 23 and detour 800 metres north up the Talawana Track to the site of Bill Shepherds fuel dump area where you can arrange fuel to be dumped there from Capricorn Roadhouse in Newman Ph 091 75 1535.

You have to order and pay two months prior to your visit at which time your labelled 200 litre drum of fuel should be there. Cost is currently $2.80 per litre.

You are required to stand the drum and pump fuel via your own sources or alternatively, roll the drum up a ramp and siphon the fuel into your vehicle and jerry cans. It looked like a messy job.

Zebra Finches drink at Well 21 Canning Stock Route
Zebra Finches drink at Well 21 Canning Stock Route

The Beanie Bunch had opted not to take this option but to carry enough fuel to reach Kunawarratji Community and refuel from their bowser at $3.20 per litre.

We pass Well 24 another not in use and set up camp after travelling a big day, 138 kms sighting seven other adventurers today.

We have 260 kms to travel before our fuel supplies can be replenished. Phils trip computer says he has 300 km range left. The Rodeos planned fuel range was 1,200 kms between refuels. We have travelled 850 kms. On our left is Rudall River National Park, one of Australias largest National Parks. It has spectacular arid landscape and attractive waterholes, but few access tracks.

Day 12. Cold night again. 8 degrees and the wind was up again at 8 am. Today we met other travellers known to us from Bests Winery and Kimbarra Winery in the Ararat area of Victoria and over the last few days nine vehicles from the Lakes Entrance area of which most parties were know to members of the Beanie Bunch.

Well 25 is surrounded by picturesque white gums. We re-watered at Well 26 today. It was rebuilt in 1983 to commemorate the CSRs 75th anniversary.

We climbed Slate Range to view a cairn on the top. The panorama was magnificent. We did not visit Seperation Well. It is a sacred Aboriginal area requiring special permission and Permit.

Of course, The Beanie Bunch had obtain the other permits at a cost of $50 per vehicle to travel and visit most sites along the Canning.

Burnt out Prado Canning Stock Route
Burnt out Prado Canning Stock Route

We passed Well 27 and lunched at Well 28 after passing two south bound vehicles.

The Swan Hill Riverside Caravan Park sponsored sand flags used by the Beanie Bunch on the four GoSeeAustralia signed vehicles were proving beneficial in travelling the dune area and in this case enabled approaching vehicles to site us before radio contact had been made.

We have already heard horror stories from other travellers who have already had radiator experiences on tops of dunes with irresponsible oncoming vehicles who are not carrying UHF radios or are not identifying their travel plans regularly and some have not even bothered to fit sand flags.

They are listed on the ANFWD Councils Code of Conduct. (Australian National 4WD Council).

Tonight we camped in a delightful stand of Desert Oaks near Thring Rock to shelter from the cold southerly wind after 139 kms.

Day 13 started with a vigorous climb of Thring Rock in the strong winds. The view was great and on return to our vehicles, there was a Dingo obviously used to people wandering around the base of the rock.

We travelled to Well 30 and passed a group of four vehicles from Echuca area and another four from Coffs Harbour.

Mujingerra Cave is nearby. It is a Limestone Cave with crystal clear water about 6m underground. It is reached through a narrow tunnel.

GoSee Group flag dune flags to prevent radiator collisions
GoSee Group flag dune flags to prevent radiator collisions

Lunch at Well 31. It has taken us five hours today to travel 67 kms in 1st and 2nd gear over the Limestone outcrops and dunes, one of the slowest parts of the trip so far.

The track is also overgrown and at times we have around 3cm clearance on each side of the vehicles. Many travel with their vehicle mirrors folded in. It is 23 degrees.

We finally reach Kunawarratji Aboriginal Community and Graeme refills our vehicles and jerry cans from their one and only diesel pump at $3.20 per litre. We spend around $1,200 cash only, no EFTPOS.

They have a shop with limited supplies and are building a new shop planned to open in a month or two.

We set up camp nearby at Well 33 where the group Adventure B4 Dementure have camped for four days awaiting the return of one of their vehicles from an 800 kms detour to Newman for a new set of Nissan Shockers.

Another of their vehicle had a broken rear spring, but they had successfully welded a repair using a series of three batteries.

Little did they know, that in 20 kms, they would break the other spring on the same vehicle a brand new Holden Colarado tray model.

Tow start for GoSee Rodeo
Tow start for GoSee Rodeo

The Beanie Bunch helped out with some suitably sized steel carried as spare parts by the Defender in the mobile hardware store offering daily specials, but steel was not on special today (as usual when something is required).

After refuelling at Kunawarratji, we have travelled 1,108 1,114 kms (that is the difference between the four vehicles and some minor running around).

Fuel consumption at the half way point is better than expected.

SR5 15.8 lt/100, 2000 HiLux 14.8, Defender 13.8, Rodeo 12.3. The Kidson Track crosses near here, leading to the Great Northern Highway to the west and windy Corner to the east. We are now in the Gibson Desert again.

Alan Pam

Sue Geoff

Phil Barb

Bert Shirl

lets Travel the Gravel before we unravell

Editors Note: To follow Beanie Bunch adventures across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia follow the links on the end of each segment of the GoSee Canning feature series:

North side  of a Canning Stock  Route sand dune
North side of a Canning Stock Route sand dune
A.W.Canning plaque
A.W.Canning plaque
Aboriginal rock art at Well 17
Aboriginal rock art at Well 17
Big Foot tracks  on Canning Stock Route Stock sand dune
Big Foot tracks on Canning Stock Route Stock sand dune
Canning Stock Route dunes coming  and going
Canning Stock Route dunes coming and going
Cannings camels and  stock fed on deep purple and red succulent bushes
Cannings camels and stock fed on deep purple and red succulent bushes
Galahs flock to drinking water Canning Stock Route
Galahs flock to drinking water Canning Stock Route
Gibson Desert for sale
Gibson Desert for sale
Rock pool in Well 17  area Canning Stock  Route
Rock pool in Well 17 area Canning Stock Route
Savoury Creek hard white salt can be walked on
Savoury Creek hard white salt can be walked on
Wild camel Canning Stock Route
Wild camel Canning Stock Route
Well 17 gorge
Well 17 gorge
Well 18. There was a hole in the bucket
Well 18. There was a hole in the bucket
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