From the goldfields region we travelled west into the central wheat belt and the granite rock region. We decided to explore the areas of Karalee Rock and Dam, Kokerbin Rock, Wave Rock and their surrounds. Karalee Rock is a granite monolith that was used to collect rainwater and channel it into a dam. It is a natural rock formation adapted by manmade rock walls to maximize the catchment area. As we climbed to the top there were many microhabitats of lichen, mosses and ferns, with evidence of the wild emus. The aqueduct, that feeds the rainwater to the dam, was built in 1896 but looks like it belongs to the industrial revolution era. It was built to provide water for the steam trains to Kalgoorlie until there were diesel trains 50 years later.
The dire need of the goldfields for a reliable water supply can be understood in the huge goldfield’s water supply scheme called the Golden Pipeline that pumps water and extends the full distance from Perth to Kalgoorlie. Its’ sizable pipe and numerous pump stations was visible running beside the highway as we headed for Southern Cross and Merredin.
A short distance from the township of Merredin is the vast and impressive Collgar Wind Farm, the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere situated on land leased from wheat farmers. We continued on through Bruce Rock, stopping at Shackleton to see Australia’s smallest working bank and a local garden sculpture gallery, and then onto the lovely relaxing free campsite at Kwolyin near Kokerbin Rock.
The next morning we had an exhausting trek to the summit of Kokerbin Rock. Kokerbin Rock is a granite monolith, the 3rd largest in Australia. It rises abruptly from the surrounding wheat fields and from the summit we could view the frantic wheat harvesting that was happening below. The farmers were trying to get their harvest into the grain silos as quickly as possible because of the thunderstorms and hail expected later in the day.
We headed through the town of Quaindaing and into Kulin which has a brilliant free camp and showers in town. In October the town has a Bush horse race and there are numerous horse related objects in town. Then there is the colourful Tin Horse Highway (see the next post for pics) that had scores of different horse-themed constructions lining it that made us laugh as we drove along the hilarious and imaginative open air gallery of the tin horses.
On our way to Wave Rock we called into Jilakin Rock and Lake and also Buckley’s Breakaway. The Breakaway is a rock that has been eroded similar to Wave rock but because of its’ structure is a stunning white and pink underneath.
We had visited Wave Rock on a previous trip to WA but were again fascinated by the 14 metre high and 110 metre long colourful rock. The earthen colours caused by rain washing carbonates and iron oxide over the face to create a wave of grey, red and yellow stripes. The ‘Hippo Yawn’ was formed when erosion sculptured the rock into the shape of a giant hippo’s open mouth. The ‘Humps’ is another giant granite outcrop that houses Mulka’s Cave, the home of “Mulka the Terrible”, and is one of the most significant Aboriginal rock art sites in WA, especially for 400 year old rock art made from blowing pigment over their hands.
From Hyden we headed south west to Lake Grace, with salt crystals in large interlocking twin lakes. This is the home of the 2015 Aussie Rules Brownlow Medal winner and so there were banners around the cute little town. Wagin is another beautiful town with well-maintained heritage buildings, the town’s name is an aboriginal word for emu. Just out of Wagin is Lake Dumbleyung, where Donald Campbell became the “fastest man on earth”. In his lifetime he held both the water and land speed records. Local enthusiasts have constructed a full size replica of the “Bluebird” which will soon be put on display.
Towerrinning Lake is a large lake where families from Perth and surrounding areas gather on weekends to water ski and kayak. We had 5 days camped right on the Lake edge watching the skiers and wishing we could relive younger years when we could ski too! Nevertheless, we enjoyed a relaxing time kayaking, picnicking, swimming, eating and drinking in the glorious warm, sunny weather.
After such a great relax our next stop was to be beautiful Busselton to visit with Andy’s aunt.