murchison holiday planner
Your chance to experience
GASCOYNE MURCHISON WESTERN AUSTRALIA
the real Australian Outback
GASCOYNE MURCHISON WESTERN AUSTRALIA
the real Australian outback! Billy Bungarra says, If you dream of a real Australian outback adventure, look no further than the extraordinary Gascoyne-Murchison region, with Mount Augustus - Australia’s largest rock, rich red earth, rugged ranges, ancient rock features, vast sheep and cattle stations, Aboriginal culture and awesome drive trails.
everything is big here The giant Mount Augustus looms above its surrounding landscape, twice the size of Uluru (Ayers Rock), and stands majestically as the largest rock in the world. The monolith red rock is shrouded in Aboriginal mythology and etched in carvings, believed to be pre-Dreamtime.
self-contained cottages, shearers quarters, caravan and camp sites and even sleeping in a swag under the brilliant star-filled sky. In this extensive region, the night skies are clear, bright and endless. This outback area is dotted with dozens of tiny, character-filled towns, each showing a distinctive personality that has contributed to their survival.
Similarly spectacular landscape is evident at the Kennedy Range National Park. This huge elevation of breathtaking cliff face, gorge and rock is between 10 kilometres and 25 kilometres wide and covers 75 kilometres in a north-south direction.
In the wildflower season, the region is a riot of colour as the rains bring forth a blanket of wildflowers that stretch as far as the eye can see. The Murchison is particularly well-known for its stunning carpets of everlastings that cover entire fields in pinks, whites and yellows.
The Gascoyne-Murchison region is also home to vast cattle and sheep stations, established with a pioneering spirit that refused to give in to some of the most unforgiving land on earth, where water is scarce and survival is a challenge. A network of these cattle and sheep stations welcome guests to stay and a chance to experience the unique lifestyle. They offer a range of accommodation including homesteads,
One of the best ways to explore the GascoyneMurchison is by following one or more of the Outback Pathways. These self drive pathways criss-cross the region and showcase the many natural wonders of this magical landscape.
How to get there BY ROAD: The Gascoyne-Murchison has a good network of sealed and all-weather roads. There are also the gazetted Outback Pathway trails that make for an enjoyable self drive adventure. BY Air: Skippers files regular air services from Perth to Mount Magnet, Meekatharra and Wiluna. Reservations 1300 729 924.
BY coach: Transwa operates coaches to a number of the Gascoyne-Murchison towns - including Yalgoo, Mount Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra. Tel: 1300 662 205.
CLIMATE Month Av temp (0C) Av temp (0F) Dec-Feb
Awe-inspiring Mt Augustus at sunset
Many roads within the Gascoyne Murchison are gravel so below are a few simple things you might like to consider and remember when driving on a gravel road:
Visit extraordinary Mt Augustus, the world’s largest rock, with aboriginal cave etchings!
Camp, park your van, or stay with a family in a station stay - true Outback hospitality
Experience carpets of everlasting wildflowers between July and late September
Explore the three exciting Gascoyne Murchison Outback Pathways drive routes
Discover or camp at the awesome Kennedy Range National Park
Visit Wiluna, start of the famous Canning Stock Route and Gunbarrel Highway
Take time to look at the million star night sky in the Gascoyne-Murchison
murchison Region Map
world Renowned National parks
Adventure self drives
geology and atronomy
carpets of wildflowers
Station Stay Hospitality
accommodation 12 arts, museums and events
Shire of yalgoo
shire of Murchison
shire of mount magnet
shire of sandstone
shire of cue
shire of meekatharra
shire of upper gascoyne
shire of wiluna
safety tips & contacts
• Wildlife and Stock - Road ways are not fenced and therefore kangaroos, emus, cows, sheep and other wildlife are free to roam and cross the roads at will. Slow down and give animal’s right of way if you see them up ahead. • Dust and Visibility - Visibility can be an issue due to the dust clouds kicked up by your vehicle or by those travelling ahead. If necessary, slow down and remain vigilant. • Weather Conditions and Mud - Rain can make the roads muddy and impassable, watch the weather closer to departing and remember to check the Shire road condition reports or call a local visitor centre. Alternatively extremely hot weather will necessitate you travel with extra food and water supplies on board. • Always ensure someone knows your intended route of travel and what days to expect your return.
Check the events calendar and join the locals in some true outback fun
Be there for the Landor horse races fun in a 9 true outback environment
Make sure you call in to local galleries to see arts, crafts and aboriginal products
Expansive views from the Kennedy Range National Park escarpment
wildflowers The Gascoyne-Murchison is one of the world’s renowned areas for its wildflowers. Because of its harsh and dry climatic conditions, the flowers have adapted to this environment and take the form of everlastings that bloom in carpets of colour throughout the entire region. Wildflowers are seasonal and dependent on rainfall patterns but usually bloom from late July to mid/late September each year. It is advisable to secure wildflower touring information from local visitor centres prior to departure.
gascoyne murchison region map
Karijini Eco Retreat
Bullara Station Stay
Karijini National Park
Emu Creek Station
Karijini National Park
NEWMAN Capricorn Roadhouse
co Tropic of Capri
Coral Bay Lyndon Station
Mt. Augustus Tourist Park
Mount Augustus Nat. Park
Park Collier Range National Park
Kennedy Range National Park
ST OC K
Gascoyne Junction Shark Bay
Overlander Roadhouse Zu
Kalbarri Nat. Pk.
Gabyon Station Stay
Kirkalocka Station Nalbarra Station
Leonora Gwalia Lake Barlee
Wubin Watheroo Badgingarra
Moora New Norcia
Scale in Kilometres
Trayning Kununoppin Nungarin Wyalkatchem Merredin Tammin
NORTHAM Cunderdin York
Yarra Yarra Lakes
Perenjori Three Springs
Lake Ballard Gormley Sculptures
Sealed Major Road Sealed Minor Road Unsealed Road Track Four Wheel Drive Station Stay
Mt. Gould Lockup (Ruins)
Bullfinch Southern Cross Westonia
Boorabbin Nat. Park
Kellerberrin Kokerbin Rock
Bruce Rock Narembeen
The Breakaways Lake Johnston
world renowned national parks Kennedy Range and Mount Augustus National Parks are some of the most ancient landforms in Australia. Kennedy Range 250 million years ago was a shallow ocean basin off the edge of the Australian continent. It filled with sediment which compressed to form layers of sandstone and shale. Movements in the earth’s crust brought these above sea level and today marine fossils can be found in the range’s sandstone strata. Mount Augustus is an asymmetrical anticline, consisting of sand and gravel folded in an arch-like structure, deposited by an ancient river system that drained the region 1,600 million years ago.
Mt Augustus National Park
been untouched for thousands of years. Emu Hill Lookout is a good location from which to take wonderful photographs of the Mount, with sunset usually the most colourful.
At about twice the size of Uluru (Ayers Rock), it is the biggest rock in the world. Known by the local Wajarri aboriginal people as Burringurrah, it rises spectacularly over the surrounding plain, and at 750 metres, is visible for more than 160 kilometres. Interesting rock formations, caves and Aboriginal engravings are found on many parts of the rock that have
Wildflowers bloom after rains
Take in the sunset beauty of Mt Augustus
There are many things to see and do around Mount Augustus. Burringurrah Drive is a 49 kilometre circuit providing views of the changing faces of the rock, and on this drive you have access to all feature sites. The drive is suitable for conventional two wheel drive vehicles.
To Cobra Bangemall Inn 25km Emu Hill Lookout
Cobra The Pound
Mount Augustus Outback Tourist Resort
Mount Augustus (1105m)
Spectacular gorges of Kennedy Range
Kennedy Range National Park
Kennedy Range National Park offers spectacular scenery of gorges and precipitous faces, with a vast plateau of ancient dunefields on top of the range. Lying roughly 150 kilometres east of Carnarvon, the area retains a wilderness feeling, and camping beneath the stark sandstone cliffs is an experience not to be missed.
The developed visitor sites lie on the eastern side of the range and can be accessed by the Ullawarra Road north of Gascoyne Junction. Water should be taken and vehicles should be in sound condition. Avoid walking in this area in the hottest part of the day.
12km to Ullawarr a Rd 60km to Gascoyne Junction
Best time to visit is August through September, when wildflowers are in full bloom, transforming the landscape into a mass of colour.
The Aboriginal Inggarda name for the range is Mundoo Thuda. Artefacts found in the park provide evidence of the long history Aboriginal people have with the area.
Welcome to the real outback adventure! Vast, rugged, beautiful and timeless, this region epitomises the real ‘Outback Australia’. Home to the Yamaji people for at least 30,000 years and Europeans for more than 150 years, the Gascoyne and Murchison is rich in fascinating natural and cultural experiences.
O RE NING ALO
BULLARA STATION STAY EMU CREEK STATION
There are three pathways to explore, each with good directional signage and informative interpretive panels in strategic and interesting locations teaching you about the history and geology of the region.
MOUNT AUGUSTUS TOURIST PARK
MOUNT AUGUSTUS NATIONAL PARK
KENNEDY RANGE NATIONAL PARK GASCOYNE JUNCTION CARNARVON
The Wool Wagon Pathway has you travelling through some of Australia’s legendary sheep and wool country for which the Murchison has been traditionally renowned.
KINGSFORD SMITH MAIL RUN
The Miners Pathway allows you to share the adventure, drama and richness of the great Murchison Goldfields through this remarkable period, see grand old buildings, grave yards and rusting machinery as you relive the rich stories of those who lived in those whirlwind times.
WOOL WAGON PATHWAY
MURCHISON SETTLEMENT WOOLEEN STATION
SHARK BAY WORLD HERITAGE MARINE PARK
CUE COOLCALALAYA STATION
WOGARNO GABYON STATION STATION STAY
WONDINONG STATION MOUNT MAGNET MEELINE STATION KIRKALOCKA STATION
WOOL WAGON PATHWAY KINGSFORD SMITH MAIL RUN Unsealed Road
The Kingsford smith mail run follows the path of Charles Kingsford Smith who in 1924, fresh from his stint as a pilot for Australia’s first commercial airline bought a truck and set up business as the Gascoyne Transport Company. As you travel you will gain a deeper understanding of the natural, cultural and pioneering history of this land. Fascinating stories and secrets abound in a land that is brimming with a kaleidoscope of colours and characters come on out and explore it for yourself! Embark on your self drive adventure simply purchase a copy of the Gascoyne Murchison Outback Pathways Guidebook from visitor centres on route or online at
For more information or purchasing the guidebook, visit www.outbackpathways.com or contact the outlets below.
THE MINERS PATHWAY
Experience the sights along the Outback Pathways 1
The Outback Pathways provide ready access into the heart of this unique region and invite travellers and adventurers to experience the wonders of this sweeping landscape as they come face to face with its history and challenges.
Western Australian Visitor Centre 1300 361 351 Geraldton Visitor Centre 1800 818 881 Carnarvon Visitor Centre (08) 9941 1146 Exmouth Visitor Centre (08) 9949 1176 Tom Price Visitor Centre (08) 9188 1112 Mid West Dev Commis. (08) 9921 0702 For road condition information contact local Shires, Visitor Centres or Main Roads WA on 1800 013 314.
Gascoyne murchison outback pathwaYs FINDING YOUR WAY Directional signage carrying the distinctive Pathways logos clearly marks each intersection for travellers. Interpretive signs are also clearly sign posted along the way. Nonetheless you are strongly urged to buy a good quality and up to date touring map of the region. The Pathways are all clearly marked on the ‘StreetSmart’ series of maps. The Guidebook delves deep into the history of the area. Below you will find suggested itineraries but it will be easy to plan your own overnight stops, perhaps stay longer at each location.
4 Day Miners Pathway
Capture the prospecting spirit through the Murchison’s gold rush days. In the late 1800s towns like Mount Magnet, Cue, Meekatharra and Sandstone rocketed to the forefront of WA’s gold boom!
- Mount Magnet Day 1: Perth- Meekatharra Cue
KINGSFORD SMITH MAIL RUN
3 Day Kingsford Smith Mail Run
For a slice of Aussie outback history, trace the original 1920s overland mail run from Carnarvon to Meekatharra and the pioneering spirit of Australia’s famous pilot, Charles Kingsford Smith.
437km, 5hrs or 775km, 8hrs Set off from Perth towards Mount Magnet. Remnants of Mount Magnet’s gold mining history are evident in museum and heritage walk trails - but you’ll find the mining industry is still alive and well.
177km, 2 hours From the historic port town of Carnarvon head east along the sealed road through massive cattle stations to Gascoyne Junction. Enjoy lunch at the new Junction Pub and settle into a motel room or campsite for the evening.
From here, head north to Cue, famous for its stunning colonial architecture. Overnight in Mount Magnet, Cue or Meekatharra.
junction - Kennedy Day 2: gascoyne range - gascoyne junction
Day 2: Meekatharra to Sandstone
221km, 2.5 hours Hit the dirt road south east from Meeka to Sandstone, rock formations contrast with the rust stained sandstone giving the town its name. Stop at London Bridge, an ancient rock formation that was once wide enough for a horse and sulky to cross. Stay overnight in the National Hotel, built nearly 100 years ago, or check into the local caravan park.
Day 3: Sandstone to Yalgoo
280km, 3 hours The journey weaves through the vast open landscape, crossing back through Mount Magnet to the town of Yalgoo. Just south of Yalgoo is Joker’s Tunnel, carved through solid rock by early prospectors. Overnight at one of the nearby sheep stations offering accommodation, or hotel, caravan park, campground in town.
Day 4: Yalgoo - Paynes Find - perth
260km, 3hrs or 697km, 7hrs Head south east across a dirt road to Paynes Find. Make time to visit the Gold Battery and Museum, which showcases the region’s mining, pastoral and sandalwood industries before perhaps continuing to Perth.
Carnarvon to gas. junction
150km, 2 hours Take a day trip to Kennedy Range N.P. approx. 60km north and see numerous gorges. The Aboriginal name is Mundoo Thuda. Artefacts found point to the long history Aboriginal people have with the area. Bring takeout lunch from the Junction, return to overnight in Gascoyne Junction.
junction to mt augustus Day 3: gas. 320km, 3.5 hours
Set off for Mt Augustus, a massive monocline twice the size of Uluru and enjoy the stunning Outback scenery along the way. On arrival take time to settle in and watch the sunset over the 1,750 million year old Mount from Emu Hill. Overnight at Mount Augustus Tourist Park camping and accommodation available.
augustus to meekatharra Day 4: Mt 345km, 4 hours
Spend time exploring the area with rock formations, caves, Aboriginal art and swimming and picnic spots. Depart Mt Augustus, head south to the gold mining town of Meekatharra, via Mt Gould Lockup. Learn about Meeka’s history and indigenous heritage, on the Meeka Rangelands Discovery Walk Trail. Stay overnight in one of the hotels or the caravan park.
WILUNA EXTENSION While in Meeka, why not
drive the 182km to Wiluna, start of Canning Stock Route and Gunbarrel Hwy plus take its historic walk trail and view the Tjukurba Aboriginal art gallery.
Directional signage clearly marks the way
WOOL WAGON PATHWAY
3 Day Wool Wagon Pathway
Offering the best of the Aussie Outback and amazing marine adventures - this trail travels through WA’s legendary sheep and wool country before heading to the coast. Expect star-filled night skies, vivid sunsets and lively country characters.
to Day 1: Geraldton Murchison Settlement
355km, 4 hours Leave the port city of Geraldton behind as you head east through the town of Pindar. Hit the red dirt road and journey through a timeless landscape to Murchison Settlement. This is the real Australian landscape - open space, historic homesteads and wildlife. Get a taste for life on the land by staying at Wooleen Station - or visit Murchison Settlement for accommodation and camping.
Settlement to Day 2: MurchisonJunction Gascoyne
300km, 3 hours Head north, stopping at the natural spring of Bilung Pool. Seashell fossils south of Gascoyne Junction point to the epic history of the natural landscape. Nestled on the banks of the Gascoyne River, a brand new Junction Pub and roadhouse has opened, an ideal place to overnight with bar, accommodation, caravan park & fuel available.
Junction to Exmouth Day 3: Gascoyne 611km, 7 hours Take in the beauty of the Kennedy Ranges, which run north from Gascoyne Junction and boast springs, spectacular cliffs, canyons and wildlife.
Continue north, deviating towards the coast and the town of Exmouth. Here, coastal breezes and stunning white beaches contrast against the rugged red earth. Explore stunning Ningaloo Reef, from late April to June swim with the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark.
adventure self drives
Gunbarrel and canning stock routes These are recognised as some of the greatest adventure self-drives in Australia. The Gunbarrell Highway is an unsealed road not highly maintained whilst the Canning Stock Route is little more than a track traversing the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts. Both routes require you to be self-sufficient with fuel, water and food supplies.
Canning Stock route
Tips for Canning Stock Route Travellers
The Canning Stock Route is one of the most isolated 4WD tracks in the world and as such it is not recommended that you attempt to travel the track without extensive outback travel experience.
Fuel & Other Supplies - Wiluna, Kunawarritju Community (Well 33), Billiluna Community and Halls Creek.
The route was surveyed by Albert Canning in 1906 and 1907, to later develop the route between 1908 and 1910. 51 wells were constructed along the 1,850km route, marking a day’s travel between each point. By 1929 a reconstruction team was contracted to make repairs to wells and equipment, however this was not completed and the route was subsequently claimed inapt for its original purpose During World War 2, the Stock Route was reconstructed and repaired, awaiting an expected attack on the northern areas of Western Australia. Along the Route you will encounter Aboriginal rock art and carvings, waterholes, gorges, natural springs and soaks, and an Aboriginal community.
Gunbarrel Highway The Gunbarrel Highway runs from the Warakurna Roadhouse to Wiluna, both in Western Australia. It covers a distance of a little over 1000 kilometers and the longest distance without fuel is from Jackie Junction and the Warakurna Roadhouse, a distance of over 700 km, assuming you are including the ‘Abandoned’ section on your trip. The Gunbarrel Highway has important historical significance, as it was the first road across Central Australia to the west and was completed in 1958 by Len Beadell. The Gunbarrel Highway is one of his more famous achievements, given he constructed many roads in the area in the twenty or so years after World War II. Part of the highway is now known as the ‘Abandoned Section’ and this is where The Gunbarrel Highway starts or ends, at Warakurna Roadhouse on the eastern end, fairly close to the Giles Meteorological Station. This abandoned section now carries a ‘travel at your own risk’ warning and almost to Warburton, approximately 350 kilometers south west, where it meets the junction from the Heather Highway.
When to travel - April to September.
Water - Take lots of water for drinking purposes and for your vehicle. Well water is of a poor quality, therefore it is suggested that you carry additional water supplies with you. First Aid - Take emergency medications, equipment and communication devices, and ensure that at least one person is able to administer first-aid. There is an airstrip near the track at Well 33 with regular RFDS nurse support. Other airstrips are located at each pastoral lease to the south, at Cotton Creek (100 kilometres west of Well 23) and at the Billiluna community. Closures - Between Wells 2 and 5 is closed to all vehicles towing trailers and ‘oversize’ vehicles such as Okas or Akas. If travelling in a larger vehicle or towing a trailer, take alternative route via Glenayle or Granite Peak Stations.
Gunbarrel Highway adventure
Sand Flag - Attach a sand flag to a tall aerial on the vehicle for travelling across sand dune country, to avoid colliding with other vehicles. Radio - Carry, at minimum, an auto-scanning UHF radio. The recommended station is Channel 40. Travel in small convoys, larger groups can be slower and spread too far for easy communication. Permits - These are required for travel between wells 5-51. For exact details and how to apply visit Visit www.anfwdc.asn.au See page 22 for more info.
CORAL BAY WILUNA GERALDTON PERTH
Highlights of the highway include Giles Weather Station, Banjo Creek, Mt Beadell, Lasseter’s Cave and Docker River. Conditions vary greatly in this region, depending on how much rainfall has occurred in recent days and the volume of traffic and how long it’s been since the road was last graded. Contact the Shire of Wiluna for updated road reports and ensure you purchase a detailed map before departure.
Closures: The abandoned section carries ‘travel at your own risk’ warning.
Tips for Gunbarrel Highway Travellers
Permits: You will need to obtain two Transit Permits from two aboriginal land councils (one in NT and the other in WA) for this trek and they cost nothing to obtain. Visit www.Ngaanyatjarra.org.au and www.clc.org.au
When to travel - April to September. Fuel & Other Supplies - Obtain supplies at Warburton, Warakurna, and Docker River. Water: There are many bores with water in them along this track but it is strongly advised that you do not use this water unless there is an emergency. Carry sufficient water with you at all times. First aid: Take emergency medications, equipment and communication devices, and ensure that at least one person is able to administer first-aid.
Sand Flag - Attach a sand flag to a tall aerial on the vehicle for travelling across sand dune country, to avoid colliding with other vehicles. Radio - Carry, at minimum, an auto-scanning UHF radio. The recommended station is Channel 40. Travel in small convoys, larger groups can be slower and spread too far for easy communication.
BROOME CORAL BAY
geology & Astronomy billion year olD rocks, stunning night skies Impressive opportunities exist to experience geology and astronomy throughout the Gascoyne Murchison. The bright wide skies and geological marvels offer adventure at every turn.
Geology The Gascoyne Murchison region often evokes a feeling of timelessness within visitors. Rugged breakaways, elegant granite outcrops and vast isolated fields of landforms carved at the beginning of time make the landscape a unique and distinctive area for geology. In fact the region is home to the earliest fragments of the earth’s crust ever found. Dated at 4.3 billion years old, the zircons are found at Mount Narryer and Jack Hills and are helping scientists to understand how planet Earth formed. Granites throughout the Gascoyne Murchison are dated at around 3.6 billion years old and are made out of magma that crystalized deep under the earth’s surface. These rock formations now remain exposed soaring high above the surrounding plains and appear as a lightcoloured crystalline rock that contains a high proportion of quarts. Rare, but spectacular, orbicular granite can be found near Mount Magnet and was once quarried. Dalgaranga crater, a small meteorite impact crater 24 m in diameter and 3 m deep, is located west of Cue. Mt Augustus, a geological marvel that soars 1,105 metres above sea level and 715 metres above the surrounding plain is located north-east of Gascoyne Junction. Known to the local indigenous Wajarri community as Burringarruh the rock is in fact a sandstone and quartz massif with the rather awkward geological title of an asymmetrical anticline.
You’ll see many geological marvels just travelling the roads within the region. Alternatively venture into a National Park (page 4) or a Station Stay where locals will point you towards some of the most fascinating locations not accessible from the main road. The Gascoyne Murchison is indeed an ancient and geologically captivating landscape. Mount Magnet Gold Detector Hire operates from the Post Office in Hepburn Street. Experience the heady days of the gold rush first hand; call (08) 9963 4219
Astronomy You’ve never seen the stars shine as brightly as they do in the Gascoyne Murchison. Due to the clear night skies typical of the area the Murchison region has been chosen as the location for the world’s largest radio telescope - the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Australia will share the project with South Africa and the construction of the telescope will help researchers and astronomers answer fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe. The SKA has been named one of the biggest international science projects of our time. The Gascoyne Murchison region was chosen due to the low levels of radio frequency interference and the long term sustainability of the region as a radio quiet zone. But what’s better about the Gascoyne Murchison region is the low levels of light pollution which make the stars seem like
Landscapes billions of years old
they are leaping out of the sky. The magnificent Milky Way seems to dominate the skies black canvas and weaves its way like a river across the zenith. But Indigenous Astronomy sheds a new light on the Milky Way. The Emu in the Sky has featured in Aboriginal storytelling for thousands of years. If you look up into the sky tonight, you can still spot the Emu in the Sky. You’ve almost certainly been looking at it all your life, but you’ve probably never seen it. The Emu is stretched across our most familiar object in the night sky, the Milky Way. Look closely at the Southern Cross and you’ll see its head as a dark smudge tucked near the bottom left hand corner of the constellation. Its neck passes between the two pointer stars, and its dark body stretches the length of our luminous galaxy. Unlike Greek celestial tradition, which focuses almost exclusively on stars, Aboriginal astronomy focuses on the Milky Way and often incorporates the dark patches between stars. Various Astronomy festivals are held across the district to highlight our spectacular sky. Check event dates for the Murchison AstroFest (www.murchisonastrofest.com.au) and other towns in the region.’ Alternatively Meeline Station, Wooleen Station and Murchison Settlement all have high powered telescopes which are available for star-gazing, check accommodation details on page 12.
Experience star filled night skies
amazing carpets of Wildflowers Wildflower Trails There are more than 12,000 species of wildflowers in WA, making it the world’s largest collection of wildflowers. It’s a staggering sight to behold, and you can witness carpets as far as the eye can see in the Gascoyne Murchison. Blooms start as early as late July. Contact local visitor centre to get exact locations of the best germinations. Blooms last throughout September.
wildflowers The arid to semi-arid environment of the Gascoyne and Murchison hold a distinctive kind of appeal to flora enthusiasts. Low rainfall and poor soil mean the wide sweeping plains offer sparse vegetation and little undergrowth. But the onset of good winter rain transforms the region. In late July the normally red and golden landscape bursts into a stunning sea of colours as the annual wildflower show commences. The Murchison district is particularly well known for its carpets of everlastings - yellow, white and pink. The Gascoyne may not claim the same masses of everlastings but boasts thickets of purple mulla mulla and many flowering trees and shrubs. The blooming of these flowers is remarkable when one considers the harsh environment they flourish from. Winter rainfall from May to July is required to germinate the microscopic seeds and colourful displays start from late July to September as the weather starts to warm. Known as the best wildflower display on earth, visitors aren’t often disappointed with thick colour flowers stretching for as far as the eye can see. Other species include: Sturt desert peas, yellow bachelor buttons, orchids, wreath flowers, cornflowers, flowering acacias and wattles, eremophilas, native hibiscus, cassias, grevilleas and more. Contact local visitor centres, Station Stay operators or check the Gascoyne Murchison Tourism facebook page during wildflower season to find ‘hot spots’ or secret patches located off the main roads. Like ‘Gascoyne Murchison Tourism’ for wildflower locations during spring
Gascoyne Murchison Wildflower Self-drive Trail Journey north to experience a sensational show of wildflowers that cling to the vast landscape adding brilliantly vivid colour to this harsh environment. A 4WD vehicle is recommended for this trip as the terrain covers many gravel roads.
Day 1 Perth - Dalwallinu - Paynes Find. 424km See fields of everlastings - pink, white and yellow.
Day 2 Paynes Find - Sandstone - Mt Magnet -
Cue - Meekatharra, 584km Everlastings, pink parakeelya, grevilleas and more.
Day 3 Meekatharra - Mt Gould lock-up - Mt Augustus. 348km Flowering cassias, orchids and blooming wattle trees.
Day 4 Mt Augustus - Kennedy Range NP -
Highlights • Fields of everlastings around Paynes Find and Yalgoo • Visit the brand new Mining and Pastoral Museum in Mount Magnet • Take the Rangelands Botanical Walk in Meekatharra and Murchison Settlement • Explore Mt Augustus, the world’s largest rock, on the 49km circuit Burringurah Drive • Explore Kennedy Range National Park • Enjoy the brand new facilities at Gascoyne Junction. EXMOUTH • Unique wreath flowers just north of Pindar • Explore the heritage buildings at New Norcia CORAL BAY
KENNEDY RANGE NATIONAL PARK
MOUNT AUGUSTUS NATIONAL PARK
MT GOULD LOCKUP
Gascoyne Junction. 314km Carpets of purple Mulla Mulla, flowering shrubs and trees
MEEKATHARRA MURCHISON SETTLEMENT
Day 5 Gascoyne Junction - Murchison
Settlement. 298km Abundant eremophilas, Mulla Mulla and yellow bachelor buttons.
Day 6 Murchison Settlement - Pindar -
MOUNT MAGNET YALGOO
Yalgoo. 316km View the famous wreath flower at the bypass north of Pindar.
Day 7 Yalgoo - Paynes Find - Perth. 579km
Fields of everlastings - pink, white and yellow. PERTH
Amazing colours of the outback
1 Carpets of wildflowers in season
Flowers erupt after good rains
aboriginal experience immerse yourself in country The oldest culture in the world, on the oldest landscape on earth, the Gascoyne Murchison is both ancient and timeless. Here, it is possible to seek out rock artwork earlier than those found in other parts of the world, taking us back to a time past - of Aboriginal peoples who walked this land before written history.
the oldest living culture on earth Badimaya and Wajarri language, spoken by some of the last Aboriginal peoples raised on country in the traditional way have been preserved in two dictionaries and a number of beautiful books. Purchase these dictionaries within the region or online for an insight into indigenous language. Walga Rock, located 47kms south west of Cue township, is one of the most renowned and talked about aboriginal art sites in Australia and has sparked many rumours over the years. At the western end the rock features grand paintings of snakes, emus, kangaroo tracks and hand motifs. However in a small square a prominent image of a square rigged sailing ship with seven square portholes exists at Walga Rock. Among the theories of how this ship came to be at such a prominent aboriginal site include Dutch sailors befriending the local aboriginal community and drawing the image. Other theories include the aboriginal people finding the ship wrecked on the coast and drawing it on the rock face themselves. Despite the speculation a visit to Walga Rock will leave you with a deep appreciation for this ancient and beautiful culture. Another significant aboriginal site within the region includes Mt Augustus, known locally as ‘Burringurrah’ in the Shire of Upper Gascoyne. Burringurrah was a boy who escaped the demands of his tribal initiation, only to face the ensuing fury of his tribesmen who speared him to death. If you look at this towering rock closely, the Wajarri people describe its appearance as a boy curled up on his belly, the Walga Rock, 47kms from Cue
1 Wirnda Barna Arts Centre
position taken at his death. The rock is rich in different Wajarri stories and culture, however the Wajarri specifically ask that you don’t visit or climb the rock at night. A 49km circuit drive takes you all the way around the rock to see the many views of its changing face and access to aboriginal engraving sites.
Wirnda Barna Artists
All areas within the Gascoyne Murchison form an intricate network of places and stories that make up indigenous culture. Please show respect and understanding of this ancient society when visiting significant sites and traversing the countryside.
MULLEWA ARTS DEVELOPMENT INC
One of Australia’s newest Aboriginal galleries which supports and represents artists on Badimaya and Wajarri country is the Wirnda Barna Arts Centre in Mount Magnet. Wirnda Barna artists from Yalgoo, Yulga Jinna, Meekatharra, Sandstone, Cue, Meekatharra and Mount Magnet are inspired by local culture, landscape, seasonal wildflowers and important sites like Wilgie Mia, Walga Rock and The Granites.
MULLEWA WOMENS INDIGENOUS GROUP
Wirnda Barna Arts Centre is a focal point for Aboriginal interest and a potential connection to local Aboriginal people who may be available to assist with information or identify a local guide. At Wirnda Barna you can purchase unique and authentic local Aboriginal art including paintings, prints, sculpture, jewellery, clothing and books. The art centre is a signatory of the Australian Indigenous Art Code of Conduct, ensuring transparent, documented and ethical trade in Aboriginal art and its production.
The Tjukurba Gallery, home of the Birriliburu Artists, is located in Wiluna at the start of the Canning Stock Route. Tjukurba Gallery offers a unique cultural experience for travellers to the Mid West region of Western Australia.
Cnr Hepburn St & Naughton St, Mt Magnet PH: (08) 9963 4007 W: www.wirndabarna.com.au
Other centres: Maley Street, Mullewa
MAD is a not-for-profit community cultural development group that utilizes the arts to build community cohesion and spirit. ‘Moorheads Buildings’ Jose Street, Mullewa PH: (08) 99566643 The Mullewa Women’s Indigenous Group strive towards creating resilient families and community spirit. ‘Our Place, Our Home’ drives the project forward.
TJUKURBA GALLERY / BIRRILIBURU ARTISTS Scotia Street, Wiluna PH: (08) 9981 8000
As a collective, the Birriliburu Artists tell their stories through painting. The proceeds from the sale of artworks help to sustain community, artists and stories.
Ancient aboriginal art on Walga Rock
Station stay hospitality become part of the family Down to earth, genuine hospitality can be experienced at a Gascoyne Murchison Station Stay. Meet the local families and individuals who live in these remotes parts and involve yourself in station life. Take a station tour, go for a self-drive or relax and unwind on the verandah whilst you read a book.
Homesteads offer generous hospitality.
Sheep and cattle stations have beenMurcthe host and get first-hand information on running Pick up a copy of the hi cooLca Son oFFroa d ad LaLaya Stover ation ventureS / backbone of West Australia’s outback for anaLbstation, early pioneering history, indigenous new Station Stays brochure. arra St ation 130 years - and hospitality is nothing new to insights and understand the intricate nature Wandin a Stat ion St Available at all Visitor Centres or by ay them. Welcoming the shearers, jackaroos, of the seasons and ecology. You might even Wondin onG St emailing [email protected]
ation St jillaroos, governesses, head stock men, check a windmill, clean a trough and inspect ay your electronic copy. neighbours, mail men and distinguished guests is the livestock. No matter your choice you can be WooLeen Statiofor n haMeLin a way of life for people who live in these remote assured of sharing hundreds of thousands of Statio n Stay • • areas. Stations are friendly bustling places where acres with only a few others. • N IO T STATION STSATTION STA ion Stay you can pass through the front gate for a cuppa STAYS STAYS haMeLin Stat A Y S ion n Stay You can be guaranteed of anStayexperience like WooLeen Stat Statio haMeLin ion and morning smoko. These days more and more WondinonG Stat Stay ion no other. Forget the hustle and bustle of n io Wandina Stat n Stat tourists are taking to Station Stays to experience ion WooLee naLbarra Stat eS / city life and allow the wide sweeping plains oad adventur ay ion St MurchiSon oFFr ion G Stat Stat ‘the real’ outback Australia where the red dirt a on aLay in LcaL coo Wond and ruggedly beautiful landscapes of these ay will captured your heart and soul and you’ll be ion St a Stat Wandin Gascoyne Murchison Stations Stays capture your considered much more than just a guest. n io ra Stat naLbar imagination. eS / ventur oad ad n oFFr ion So at A diverse range of accommodation offers a Murchi La ya St La cooLca multitude of experiences. Grand old homesteads Camp out on your own private billabong or river at a Station Stay present comfortable respite; self-contained cottages offer a relaxed space or get comfy down at the rustic Shearers quarters and imagine life back in the days of booming wool prices. Most stations will also offer you a patch of dirt to roll out your swag or set up your camper, surrounded by stunning scenery whilst the birds whistle away above. Watch the night sky before you head off to bed and count the number of satellites and shooting stars you see. Locatio n: coo GPS: LcaLaLa ya roa 27° 31’ 31” S 115° d, Murchi Son, Wa 03’ 28” e accoMM • Self-co odation • Sheare ntained Sta tion Hou • Cam rs Quarters se ping ground and Carava n sites or rive - main r sites camp exPerie nce Are you Want looking for a tota holiday filled with l isolation with an when camping unique aus is the ans adventure sie fee ? ? l? getawa wer. This uniqMurchison Offr Need a hol iday y the Mu has some am uely Austral oad Advent ures rchison azing cam ian outbac groups River, k psites . catering to the The main cam for indi located alo popular pgr ng up mo “Dirt Dus ounds are viduals or larg uth located e t n Die If its adv -watering right nex sels” 3 cou kilome enture you are rse meals bar n grill, serv t tres of and ice ing 4wd trac chasing, try cold bee the hun ks we rs. your hoS have. dreds of Bev and tS Phone: Mal Lane (08) 993 Email: 3 1050 info Web: ww @murchison w.murch offr isonoffr oadadventure oadadv s.com.a enture s.com.a u u
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Despite the fact you could sit back all day and soak up the atmosphere of the outback, the list of activities you can partake in is endless. 4WDing, hiking, mountain-bike riding, birdwatching, painting, horse treks, walk-trails, motorbikes, wildflower viewing, stargazing or perhaps even lend a hand and get involved in station life. Some Stations offer guided tours where you’ll be able to head out with your Sprawling Stations offer a multitude of experiences over 100’s of thousands of acres
Accommodation where to stay A wide range of accommodation is available for travellers to the region including Station Stays, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, chalets, caravan parks, nature based-camping and more. Use the below list to contact accommodation providers and remember to book in advance where possible.
Yalgoo Caravan Park Gibbons Street, Yalgoo Phone: 08 9962 8472 Email: [email protected]
Cue Tourist Park 1 Austin St Phone: (08) 9963 1107 Email: [email protected]
Yalgoo Hotel 40 Gibbons Street Phone: (08) 9962 8031
Murchison Club Hotel Austin Street Phone: (08) 9963 1020 Web: www.murchisonclubhotelcue.com.au
Paynes Find Roadhouse & Caravan Park Great Northern Highway Phone: (08) 9963 6111 Email: [email protected]
Carnegie Station 342km east of Wiluna Phone: (08) 9981 2991 www.carnegiestation.com.au
National Hotel 17 Payne Street Phone: (08) 9963 5801 Web: www.sandstonepub.vpweb.com.au
Gabyon Station Stay Gabyon-Tardie Road, Shire of Yalgoo Phone: (08) 9963 7993 Email: [email protected]
Outback Accommodation Thaduna Street Phone: (08) 9963 5869 Email: [email protected]
Kirkalocka Station Stop - Overs Great Northern Highway, Shire of Mount Magnet. Phone: (08) 9963 5827 Web: www.kirkalocka.com
Alice Atkinson Caravan Park Irvine Street Phone: (08) 9963 5859 Email: [email protected]
Lyndon Station 289km north-east Carnarvon Phone: (08) 9943 0540 Email: [email protected]
Meeline Station Meeline Narndee Rd, Shire of Mount Magnet Phone: (08) 99635828 Web: www.meelinestation.com Murchison Offroad Adventures Coolcalalaya Road, Shire of Murchison Phone: (08) 9933 1050 Web: www.murchisonoffroadadventures.com.au Nalbarra Station Burnabinmah-Nalbarra Rd, Shire of Mount Magnet Phone: (08) 9963 5829 Web: www.nalbarra.com.au Ninghan Station Great Northern Highway, Shire of Yalgoo Phone: (08) 9963 6517 Email:[email protected]
Wandina Station Carnarvon-Mullewa Rd, City of Greater Geraldton Phone: (08) 9962 9597 Email: [email protected]
Wogarno Station Great Northern Highway, Shire of Mount Magnet. Phone: (08) 9963 5846 Email: [email protected]
Wondinong Station Mount Magnet - Wondinong Rd, Shire of Mount Magnet Phone: (08) 9963 5823 Email: [email protected]
Wooleen Station Twin-Peaks Wooleen Rd, Shire of Murchison Phone: (08) 9963 7973 Web: www.wooleen.com.au
Wide range of accommodation
Mount Magnet Caravan Park Hepburn Street Phone: (08) 9963 4198 Email: [email protected]
Commercial Club Hotel Hepburn Street, Phone: (08) 9963 4021 Email: [email protected]
Grand Hotel Hepburn Street, Phone: (08) 9963 4110 Email: [email protected]
Miners Rest Units Thurkle Cove, Phone: (08) 9963 4380 Outback Gold Accommodation Scott Close Phone: (08) 9963 4433 Email: [email protected]
Swagman Roadhouse Great Northern Highway Phone: (08) 9963 4844 Email: [email protected]
Mount Magnet Cabins Lot 331 Richardson Street Phone: (08) 9963 4673
Murchison Murchison Oasis Roadhouse and Caravan Park Carnarvon Mullewa Road Phone: (08) 9961 3875 Email: [email protected]
Queen of the Murchison Hotel B & B Great Northern Highway Phone: (08) 9963 1625 Web: www.queenofthemurchisonhotel.com
Auski Inland Motel Main St crn of Roberts St Phone: (08) 9981 1433 Commercial Hotel 77 Main Street Phone: (08) 9981 1020 Web: www.commercialmeeka.com.au Meekatharra Hotel 34 Main Street Phone: (08) 9981 1134 Royal Mail Hotel Main Street Phone: (08) 9981 1148 Web: www.royalmailhotel.com.au Meekatharra Accommodation Centre (Caravan Park) 64 Main Street Phone: (08) 9981 1253 Web: www.meekatharraaccommodation.com.au Paddy’s Flat Meekatharra Sandstone Road Phone: (08) 9980 1220
Wiluna Club Hotel/Motel Corner Wotton & Wall Street Phone: (08) 9981 7012 Web: www.clubhotelwiluna.com Gunbarrel Laager 15km east of Wiluna Phone: (08) 9981 7161 Web: www.riverblueholdings.com.au Wiluna Caravan Park Corner Wotton & Wall Street Book at Club Hotel Phone (08) 9981 7012
Upper Gascoyne Junction Pub and Tourist Park 4 Viveash Way, Gascoyne Junction Phone: 08 9943 0868 Web: www.junctiontouristpark.com Mt Augustus Tourist Park Landor-Mt Augustus Rd, Shire Upper Gascoyne Phone: (08) 9943 0527 Web: www.mtaugustustouristpark.com
arts, museums and events MORE THAN JUST STUNNING SCENERY When you travel in the Gascoyne Murchison you will be awe struck by the historic pioneering towns and stunning red earth scenery, but that’s not all. In some towns you’ll find museum exhibits, art galleries and fun events all held in a true relaxed Outback style. Most galleries, the artists are from the local area, you might even find them creating masterpieces as you enter.
MUSEUMS Filled with unusual artefacts, even “museumed out” travellers love to experience the rich and diverse museums of the Murchison and Gascoyne. It may be many kilometres between these uniquely individual collections, dotted throughout the region, but it’s worth searching them out! From the early explorers, such as Lieutenant George Grey and Robert Austin, through to the pastoralists and prospectors that scoured the red dirt, many artefacts and relics of times gone by can be found and marvelled over within a Gascoyne Murchison museum. Learn how the early pioneers managed to carve a future from this harsh landscape by wondering over the collections and remnants of early life in the outback. Like the larger town museums (listed on town pages), Station Stay museums, with often rusty relics authenticated by the dust of a life on their property, tell a myriad of stories of past and precious times. Like cathedrals of the outback, shearing sheds add to station buildings to create living outdoor museums.
The Murchison and Gascoyne region have attracted some of Australia’s best known and loved artists.
Various events offer varied experiences throughout the district. From the annual races to motor sports through astronomy and geology, there is something for everyone in the Gascoyne Murchison. Below is a list of the major events. More information can be found on individual town pages.
Internationally represented Robert Juniper, George Haynes, Tam Ambrose and Judith Dinham are among many who have found inspiration here. Small galleries are found throughout the region. The wall sized “Children of the Outback” painting by Judith Dinham, representing the country where they live and filled with their stories, can be seen by visitors at the Meekatharra School of the Air in Geraldton. Call in before heading into the region, to admire this grand and inspiring artwork. Here you can also watch teachers give daily lessons to the children who live hundreds of kilometres from their neighbours on stations scatted across the region. One of Australia’s newest Aboriginal art centres is located in Mount Magnet, Wirnda Barna Artists Inc. Local Aboriginal artists from Badimaya and Wajarri country are beginning to be recognised in the region and around the world.
Major Events Mt Magnet Races - 22nd - 24th April 2016 Junction Races - August 2016 www.junctionraces.com Murchison Polocross - 9th - 10th July 2016 Murchison Astrofest - August/September 2017 (bi-annual event) www.murchisonastrofest.com.au Yalgoo Emu Cup - 9th - 10th October 2015 Meeka Outback Festival - 24th - 26th Sep 2016 www.meekafestival.com.au Landor Races - 1st - 3rd October 2016 www.landor.net.au Gascoyne Dash - 22nd - 25th October 2015 www.gasdash.com
Clear skies are perfect for the Murchison Astrofest
Shire of YALGOO Yalgoo & paynes find Population 406
Yalgoo Visitor Information
Shire Office, Gibbons Street, Yalgoo WA 6635 Tel: (08) 9962 8042 www.yalgoo.wa.gov.au Or contact Yalgoo Caravan Park, Gibbons Street Yalgoo WA 6635 Tel: (08) 9962 8472 [email protected]
527km north of Perth Situated along the historic Miners’ Pathway Yalgoo offers true outback adventure and unique attractions, including prolific seasonal wildflowers and the Courthouse Museum showcasing over 80 Years of Yalgoo history. Be sure to view the Railway Station, historical Yalgoo cemetery, Monsignor Hawes convent chapel and the fascinating Jokers Tunnel. Accommodation is available at the Yalgoo Caravan Park or the historic Yalgoo Hotel Motel. A general store is open 7 days a week and self service credit card diesel/petrol bowsers are available 24/7.
Places of interest Jokers Tunnel Located 10 kilometres south of Yalgoo, the tunnel was carved through solid rock by early gold prospectors and is a great place to view native flora and fauna.
Paynes Find Gold Battery & Information Centre
Paynes Find WA 6612 Tel: (08) 9963 6513 Email: [email protected]
Yalgoo town entry statement signage
Court House Museum Once located in the Day Dawn townsite near Cue, the Court House was transported in 1921 to Yalgoo and is now a museum with displays of old photographs, gold rush history, memorabilia and artefacts. Monsignor Hawes Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth Designed in 1920 by the famous priest and architect Monsignor Hawes for the Dominican Sisters who were based in Yalgoo. Wildflowers White, cream, yellow and pink everlastings are prolific in the Yalgoo Shire from late July to early September.
424km north-east of Perth Renowned for its glorious carpets of wildflowers during the season, Paynes Find is also recognised for its Gold Battery. Established in 1911, the Paynes Find Gold Battery is the only working battery in the state. Take a tour and enjoy the museum and displays.
You can commence your Miners’ Pathway adventure from the Gold Battery in Paynes Find, after which you will travel north through Mount Magnet and Cue to Meekatharra, south-east to Sandstone, west to Yalgoo via Mt Magnet and finally south-east again to finish at Payne’s Find, viewing Joker’s Tunnel and historic Field’s Find cemetery on the way. For information on the Miners’ Pathway self drive see page 12. The Paynes Find Roadhouse/Tavern offers travellers a welcome break with fuel, snacks, meals and accommodation available.
Places of interest Visit Paynes Find to see the only working Gold Battery left in Western Australia. The Battery guides you to the town’s Museum filled with relics of the mining, pastoral and sandalwood industries.
Monsignor Hawes Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth
Shire of Murchison
Murchison settlement Population 114
Murchison Visitor Information
Murchison Oasis Roadhouse Murchison WA 6630 Tel: (08) 9961 3875 Email: murchison [email protected]
Murchison settlement 738km north of Perth
Places of interest NO COVERAGE
Where the outback begins. It doesn’t get any more outback than the Shire of Murchison. ‘The Shire without a town’ is home to sprawling pastoral stations, abundant wildlife, and seasonal wildflower displays, yet very few people. The Shire covers an area of 49,500 square kilometres with a population of just 114. The hub of the Shire is the Murchison Settlement, home to around 20 people. All the Council infrastructure is located in the Settlement including Council offices and depot, staff housing, the roadhouse, sporting facilities, museum and power and water supply. Murchison Shire is also the home of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site (MRO). The purpose of the ASKAP/MRO is to provide a world-leading survey radio telescope to explore the history of the universe. The MRO is operated by CSIRO as a restricted site and is not open to visitors.
Murchison Settlement Be at one with nature on the newly upgraded rangeland botanical walk or view the many artefacts of pastoral and indigenous life at the Murchison Museum. Go bird watching, enjoy the sunsets, gaze at the amazing night sky or just boost the population for a day. Murchison Oasis Roadhouse & Caravan Park Located at the Murchison Settlement the roadhouse, which incorporates motel style accommodation and a first class caravan park, providing visitor needs with tourist information, shady trees, grass and modern facilities. Shop, great food and 24 hour eftpos fuel available. Errabiddy Bluff and Outcamp Located 15 kilometres west of the settlement, Erabiddy Bluff’s large rock formations make a significant mark on the landscape. Ideal for a day trip and a picnic or BBQ. The magnificent sunsets seen from the bluff are a prelude to a display of stars you never thought existed. Bilung Pool and Wooramel River Gorges On the Carnarvon-Mullewa Road, discover the tranquil waters and enjoy a picnic at Bilung Pool. While you’re there be sure to take in the Wooramel River Gorges, a spectacular example of an inland river system.
Spectacular Errabiddy Bluff
Old Stock Well 55 kilometres south of Murchison Settlement on the Carnarvon-Mullewa Road, this recently restored well was once used by drovers moving stock. A picnic area with barbeque is now available for visitors making it a great place to stop off and take in the vast history of the area. Ballinyoo Bridge Further south, cross the Murchison River - once spanned by the Ballinyoo Bridge. Ballinyoo was the oldest concrete bridge in WA and was replaced in late 2015 for safety reasons. A historical interpretive site has been set up using a span of the Ballinyoo Bridge just north of the river crossing. Stop for a picnic and learn about this significant piece of infrastructure. Wildlife and Wildflowers Kangaroos, emus, majestic eagles, red-tail black cockatoos and many amazing reptile species. Seasonal rain can bring fields of everlastings and other rangeland natives. Station Stays Experience true station life, discover indigenous rock art or soak in the outback atmosphere. From the Murchison Settlement, Wooleen Station is located 35kms and Wandina Station is located 135kms.
Murchison Oasis Roadhouse and Caravan Park
Shire of mount magnet mount magnet Population 700
Mount Magnet Visitor Centre
Southern entrance to town, Hepburn Street Mount Magnet WA 6638 Tel: (08) 9963 4172 Fax: (08) 9963 4289 Email: [email protected]
Places of interest MOBILE COVERAGE
560km north-east of Perth Gateway to one of the world’s natural geo parks of awe inspiring rocks - Mount Magnet, Geo Hub of the Murchison and on “one of the finest Goldfields in the world” is more than just about gold! Be drawn to Mount Magnet and the ancient rocks of the Murchison and adjoining Gascoyne region, where oldest, rarest and largest rock formations have been created over eons of time. Mount Magnet is named after local magnetic rock and is situated at the centre of the Gascoyne-Murchison Miners’ Pathway. Here, rich heritage of Aboriginal presence is also revealed and celebrated. With sealed roads to all four points of the compass, Mount Magnet is at the Magnetic Centre of Australia’s Golden Outback and the perfect place to begin exploring the region. Seasonal flowers fill stunning landscapes under a vast and often clear sky. Sunset and full moonrise over low horizon, welcomes night skies perfect for stargazing. A centre for Indigenous culture, early pastoralism from 1878 and longest continuous goldmining centre since 1891, Mount Magnet is rich in history and more. Services include: visitor centre, swimming pool, caravan park, station stays, hotel-motels, units, post office, mines office, police station, medical service, pharmacy, supermarket, butcher, bakerycafé, hardware, Pick Axe Trading, Centrelink, library, internet, mechanic, two service stations, airport and more.
Mount Magnet Visitor Centre Southern entrance to town. Welcome stop for local, regional and state-wide information. Amazing “Treasures of the Earth” Rock collection and MWA radio telescope display. Stock up with unique books and gifts of the region. Mining and Pastoral Museum Entered through the Visitor Centre, purpose built Mining and Pastoral Museum gives unique insight into a rapidly vanishing way of life. Heroes and hardship, images, artefacts and stories to inspire. Extraordinary exhibit of stories on the No.1 Rabbit Proof Fence. Wirnda Barna Arts Centre Visit the Gallery where you can purchase insightful and discerning artwork by Indigenous artists of the Murchison region. Heritage Walk Take a walk through history, where stories of pioneer pastoralists, grand gold rush days and Government Proclamations are revealed through buildings and sites unique to Mount Magnet. Insight into Aboriginal stories being developed. Tourist Drive Trail Popular 37km drive or cycle through famous gold mining areas, scenic lookout, ghost town and spectacular outback scenery, includes:
Couple at The Granites, located near Mount Magnet
Warramboo Hill Lookout Be exhilarated by spectacular views across open cut mines and township to far horizons. A great place to enjoy sunrise or sunset just minutes from town. Amphitheatre Extraordinary rock formations believed to be the site of an ancient waterfall and a cave, these are special places to stop for photos and explore. The Granites Just 9km north of Mount Magnet, The Granites offer driving, cycling and walking trails and picnic sites. This magnificent area of granite breakaways holds great significance to the Badimaya people and is expected to be treated with due respect. Outdoor Cinema One of only three still operating in Western Australia. A movie under the stars is one of Australia’s great experiences and the warm Mount Magnet evenings provide the perfect atmosphere. Occasional and seasonal.
Events 2016 will be another exciting year for visitors, ANZAC DAY remembrance ceremonies April 25. Autumn and Spring Races. Gymkhana. For more details about events, visit www.mtmagnet.wa.gov.au.
The Granites - 9kms north of Mount Magnet
Shire of sandstone
sandstone Population 111
Sandstone Heritage Museum & Visitor Information Centre
18 Hack Street Sandstone WA 6639 Tel: (08) 9963 5061 or (08) 9963 5802 Email: [email protected]
Places of interest MOBILE COVERAGE
725km north-east of Perth Lying in the heart of the spectacular lower Murchison district, Sandstone’s bronzed landscape contains many unique and picturesque locations. Throughout the area, natural rock formations or breakaways contrast dramatically with the rust stained landscape. Gold was first discovered in the immediate Sandstone area as early as 1894 and remains a popular spot for the casual gold prospector. From 1907 Sandstone grew to a small city of some 3,000 people. By the end of the 1920s only 200 people remained. Fortunately Sandstone, the Oasis of the Murchison, has survived and today makes an ideal stopover at the centre of some of Western Australia’s great tourist routes. Sandstone offers the traveller a range of accommodation facilities with a hotel, accommodation units and caravan park. The very popular 40 powered bay Alice Atkinson Caravan Park is centrally located in the town and takes bookings all year around. For enquiries telephone (08) 9963 5859 or [email protected]
London Bridge and Breakaway Country Photograph the natural ‘London Bridge’ - over 350 million years old (part of the ‘Heritage Trail’), or visit the Peter Denny Lookout complete with barbecues and picnic tables, 30 kilometres from town. Evening and Night Sky Sandstone is one of the best places on earth to experience the glory of the night sky. In the evening you can witness some truly spectacular sunsets. At night the darkness of the outback sky and clear atmosphere, make it a brilliant location to stargaze. To assist with stargazing the shire is looking to install a telescope system that will be available for all visitors to use (free of charge). Sandstone Golf Open Weekend 2nd weekend of September each year. Golfers come from near and far to hit the course. Pack your swag and enjoy a BBQ under the stars. For more information Tel: (08) 9963 5831.
The historic National Hotel
The National Hotel The National Hotel was the last and smallest of four hotels built during the gold rush years, and the only one still standing. As the township shrank in the 1920s, ‘The National’ became the hub of activity in Sandstone, and is still today a great place to meet some of the locals. Sandstone Heritage Trail This drive trail is 18 kilometres in length and features sites of historical and natural significance. Don’t miss the ‘Brewery’ built into a breakaway, old ‘State Battery’ and ‘Contradiction Well’ as well as London Bridge mentioned above. Wildflowers Subject to seasonal rain, Sandstone is transformed from red earth to a carpet of colour from late July to mid September. Be sure to contact the Visitor Information Centre to check on availability of wildflowers and best viewing locations.
Golf Course Visitors can play a round on the town’s rather unique 18-hole golf course. Clubs available for hire from the Sandstone Visitor Centre.
London Bridge, 30kms from Sandstone
Shire of CUE
Cue Tourist Centre
Cue Community Resource Centre 33 Robinson Street CUE 6640 (08) 9963 1198 Email: [email protected]
649km north of Perth Cue, located on the Great Northern Highway, is known as the ‘Queen of the Murchison’. Being central to the district, Cue hosts many meetings including the Murchison Zone of the WA Local Government Association, colloquially known as Cue Parliament.
Places of interest Aboriginal Art - Walga Rock A huge granite monolith known as Walga Rock, situated 48 kilometres west of Cue, is a site of deep Aboriginal cultural and spiritual significance. The most unusual art depicts a sailing ship in white ochre with masts, rigging and portholes. The Cue historical photograph collection A fascinating and popular collection of historical photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Nallan Lake Nallan Lake is a nature reserve and during periods of heavy winter rains transforms into a favoured picnic spot.
Government Buildings The government buildings are situated in the main street and were built between 1895 and 1897 from locally quarried limestone. The buildings were, and remain, among the most impressive in the region. Cue Shire offices The Cue Shire offices were built in 1895 and were once home to the London and Western Australian Investment Company offices, and then the Gentlemen’s Club. Milly Soak Milly Soak is 16 kilometres north of Cue and was a popular picnic spot in Cue’s early history. Amateur prospectors and keen fossickers are welcome to try their luck on non-tenement sites or with the approval of tenement holders. Remember to keep an eye out after it has been raining, you may just find gold! The Old Municipal Chambers This building in Robinson Street was opened in 1896, and the Shire conducted its first meeting in this building. Masonic Lodge Built in 1899 from timber and galvanised iron, is subject to many a ghost story.
Cue Hospital Ruins The original hospital was rebuilt from local stone in 1895. Today several walls from this building remain, as does the ruins of the chimney from the hospital’s crematorium. Old Gaol Located in the Cue Tourist Park was built in 1896 and was a temporary home to prisoners being transported from outback lock ups in the north until its official closure in 1914. Great Fingal Mine The Great Fingal Mine Site Office is another turn of the century structure that is a truly magnificent example of the buildings of this period. Interestingly Herbert Hoover, President of the USA, worked in this building. Big Bell Once a vibrant centre with everything from a hospital and picture theatre to first class hotel, you can now learn more about Big Bell by wandering through the ruins and reading a series of interpretative signage The most popular time to visit Cue is March to October when the weather is mildest and the winter rains turn the sweeping red landscape into a lively palette of wildflowers. It is a popular destination for people heading north and escaping the chills of winter. You can view more at www.cue.wa.gov.au.
The Great Fingal Mine Site Office
Shire of meekatharra
meekatharra Population 812
Meekatharra Visitor Information
Shire Office Corner Main & Savage Streets Meekatharra WA 6642 Tel: (08) 9980 0600 www.meekashire.wa.gov.au
764km north of Perth
Meekatharra is a golden prospect for visitors on their Golden Outback adventure. Situated on the Great Northern Highway, Meekatharra is the largest centre in the Murchison. In town, you’ll find a choice of establishments offering meals or a cold drink, excellent three star motel accommodation, a shady caravan park along with a well-stocked supermarket.
Meekatharra Main Street
Walk or drive the 900m trail to Meeka Lookout for stunning views over the town and the rich red rangelands extending in every direction. Take a drink or picnic to enjoy while watching an awe inspiring outback sunset. Venture further afield with the Eastern Loop Drive Trail, a self-guided tour that provides a true ‘outback’ experience. Don’t miss the stockyards, State Battery remains, Paddy’s Flat, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Royal Flying Doctor Service Meekatharra’s central location makes it the ideal location for the Flying Doctor. The base opened in 1945, taking advantage of the large runway built by the Americans during World War II. Tours of the base can be arranged by contacting RFDS. Meekatharra Community Resource Centre Meekatharra CRC services the town with an internet café with WiFi, printing, scanning and free government website access.
Meekatharra was originally a gold prospecting centre and is now a major service centre for local mining and pastoral industries. The town was officially gazetted in 1903 following settlement as a result of the discovery of gold in the region around 1896.
Meekatharra Museum Located in the library in the Shire building, the museum contains a large collection of photographs, prints and historic memorabilia showcasing Meekatharra’s past. All items have been donated by residents looking to preserve local heritage.
The CRC also displays job opportunities, broadcasts Westlink TV and operates an in-store Westpac. Pop in and speak to a Meekatharra local for all your visitor information.
Grand hotels and wide streets pay tribute to the town’s rich history. Open-cut mining pits are viewable close to town, and visitors can still try their hand at prospecting, many with surprisingly good results! With rocky outcrops and plenty of native animals, Meekatharra offers many natural attractions too.
State Battery The State Battery on Main Street acknowledges the early prospectors and miners who followed them. It stands proudly along Meekatharra Creek along with other interesting relics from Meekatharra’s gold mining past.
Queen’s Birthday long weekend is celebrated in true outback style with an annual festival and race meetings.
Places of interest Heritage walk and drive trails Explore Meekatharra’ heritage with a range of walk and drive trails. Each trail features interpretive panels with fascinating facts about Indigenous culture, natural wonders and Meekatharra of old. The Meeka Rangelands Discovery Trail is an easy 3 kilometre loop around Meekatharra Creek. The complementary Meeka Town Heritage Walk guides visitors through the present day townsite and showcases Meeka’s transition from temporary miners’ shacks to impressive stone hotels.
Gold Mining Pits and Prospecting Meekatharra echoes with the district’s rich gold mining heritage. Disused and operational opencut mining pits provide a fascinating and spectacular site. Many prospecting sites around the town still yield regular finds. Visit the Mining Registrar’s Office on Savage Street to arrange your own Prospecting Licence and try your hand at gold mining. Peace Gorge Just 3 kilometres west of town, this fascinating area of granite rock formations is an ideal picnic spot. Its reputation for picnics dates back to World War I when Meekatharra’s servicemen were welcomed home with a gala picnic and sports day at the granites. Since that day, the area has been known as Peace Gorge.
Starting with a street festival Friday night the weekend brings stalls, food vendors, children’s rides and a float parade. The acclaimed Meekatharra Race Club holds its annual races on Saturday and Monday afternoons. Be part of over 100 years of racing history alongside a licensed bar, trackside seating and a family area. As the sun and dust settles Sunday evening it’s time to dress up for the annual outback ball. A great weekend not to miss! For more information contact (08) 9980 0600 or check out meekafestival.com.au
Pease Gorge - 3kms from town
Shire of Upper Gascoyne
Gascoyne Junction Population 300
Gascoyne Junction Community Resource Centre
5 Scott Street, Gascoyne Junction WA 6705 Tel: (08) 9943 0988 Email: [email protected]
1,069km north of Perth
Nature, humanity and time meet at the intersection that is the Gascoyne Junction - it’s where the ancient Lyons and Gascoyne Rivers join up, and where the stock routes of the past overlapped. As well, it is a place where the land still gives a clear view of life on earth millions of years ago. The abundant fossil beds, and unmistakable evidence of vast oceans of the distant past paint a fascinating picture.
A Mighty River The Gascoyne River flows for 760 kilometres from the Western Desert to the Indian Ocean at Carnarvon. The Mighty Gascoyne is known as the ‘upside-down river’ because most of its water is beneath the surface. Along its path the river surfaces, keeping people and animals alive during the scorching summer heat. The river also provides a wonderful habitat for the many species of birds that flock here all year round.
Respecting People and Country Visitors are advised to leave all rocks, stones, water holes, hills and ranges, exactly as you found them. You should be mindful that there are places here that are powerful and sacred to the original occupiers, and may not be visible to the casual observer.
Roads Less-Travelled With around 1,800 kilometres of unsealed road, there is plenty of opportunity to explore the country. Amongst the wildlife you’ll encounter are cattle, goats, sheep, horses, kangaroos, emus, wild turkeys, bungarras, dingoes, a vast variety The Junction Races during August
of birds, and the occasional vehicle as well. The roads are generally in very good condition, but it’s always wise to bring a couple of spare tyres, and plenty of water.
Geology 200-300 million years ago most of the area was underwater, and sea-life fossils are common. A fault zone 10 kilometres wide is just north of the Errabiddy homestead. What takes the eye most is the types and colours of precious and semiprecious stones which are so attractive.
Places of interest Junction Pub and Tourist Park Following the devastation of the December 2010 Gascoyne River flood, the Junction Hotel has been replaced. Now you will find a state of the art facility including a roadhouse with 24 hour eftpos fuel sales; tavern and caravan park with onsite cabins, ensuite van sites, van sites and grassed camp sites. The facility has a pool and two children’s playgrounds. Stop in for a well earned break and relax with a cool drink in the beer garden or by the pool. The Yarning Spot, Cattle Pool Yarning Spot is to the north of the Gascoyne River at the Junction, and Cattle Pool is on the Lyons River near Cobra. The prolific and ever-changing bird life congregate here. Ornithologists have counted over 128 species of bird-life in the Gascoyne and the sights and sounds of these birds are truly wonderful.
Kennedy Range National Park
Mt Augustus National Park Mt Augustus is the largest monocline in the world, bigger that Uluru. However, the vegetation on the Mount is deceptive. Colours and hues change throughout the day, and make this a spectacular sight. A walk to the top is achievable and very rewarding. Gascoyne Junction Community Resource Centre Gascoyne Junction CRC offers a wide range of services including tourist information, public library, internet café, postal agency, Centrelink agent, Dept of Transport Licencing agent. Local postcards and gifts also available for purchase.
Events The Junction Races A bush race meeting held each August, where there are as many genuine characters as there are racehorses. The Racecourse is 10 kilometres west of the Junction, bring your caravan, tent or swag and camp out. The Landor Races A picnic race weekend held over 4 days in October, and is a great opportunity to stay over and look around the local country at the same time. Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash Run on Bidgemia Station. A world-famous event for off-road enthusiasts, there’s plenty of action and speed. Camp out over the weekend in November.
Kennedy Range National Park This is a truly awesome place to visit with many places to walk to and explore such as Honeycomb Gorge. During July to September you may be lucky enough to witness the colonies of the unique Dawson’s Burrowing Bees. Junction Pub and Tourist Park at Gascoyne Junction
Shire of wiluna
Shire of wiluna
Scotia Street Wiluna WA 6646 Tel: (08) 9981 8000 Email: [email protected]
966km north-east of Perth The Shire of Wiluna covers an area of 184,000km2 and is predominantly mining and pastoral land. The town of Wiluna is on the edge of the Little Sandy Desert, located east of Meekatharra (unsealed) and north of Leinster (sealed), on the Goldfields Highway. It’s the gateway to the Canning Stock Route which runs north to Halls Creek, and the Gunbarrel Highway that runs east to Alice Springs. Good fuel and grocery outlets are available in Wiluna.
Places of interest Historical Buildings The Wiluna Shire Offices were formerly the town hospital where the retired Governor General Sir Michael Jeffrey was born. Statues of Warri and Yatungka Be sure to visit the town’s statue ‘Last of the Nomads’ and read the plaque to learn of the beautiful love story behind their culturally frowned-upon relationship. Their deaths marked the end of a tribal lifestyle that has stretched back more than 40,000 years. Not to be missed!
Tranquil North Pool
Tjukurba Art Gallery The Tjukurba Art Gallery offers visitors a sample of unique and affordable paintings by the Birriliburu artists, some of whose works have been exhibited overseas. Clay Pans These fill with water at different times of year and are great for windsurfing, canoeing, bird watching and picnics. Lake Violet Located near the township of Wiluna, this lake can host hundreds of black swans over the winter months. Pioneer Cemetery 19 grave sites identified from Shire records dating from 1893 to 1903 when the cemetery was moved because of periodic flooding in the area first chosen.
North Pool North Pool is located on the Canning Stock Route. Both North Pool and Lake Violet are pleasant spots for a picnic and are fantastic for bird watching. Like many other features these are within 20 kilometres of town.
Enjoy friendly outback hospitality; Wiluna has accommodation in and close to the town.
Gunbarrel Highway The Gunbarrel is a popular four wheel drive which takes you across the ranges and central desert to Warburton and Alice Springs. Lorna Glen Reserve 90 kilometres east of Wiluna, an historic cattle station where fauna and flora are returning to the natural state in the care of DPaW.
Canning Stock Route Well numbers 1 and 2 are close to the town, as are the original cattle loading yards. Trekking to various parts of the track between Wiluna and Halls Creek is popular in the cooler months of the year.
‘Last of the Nomads’ statue
TRAVEL TIPS AND CONDITIONS
DRIVE SAFELY AND FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE TIPS The Gascoyne Murchison offers spectacular scenery and the chance for great adventure. But it is important to be ready for the rigours of travelling in isolated areas.
Canning Stock Route, true outback adventure
Canning stock Route
• Make sure you have good quality maps and plan your route • Always tell someone where you are going, your return dates and your itinerary. • Check road conditions before departure as rain can make some roads impassable. Never attempt to cross flooded bridges or causeways; most flash floods recede within 24 hours • Be careful of how much you pack on your roof rack; a heavy load on top increases the chances of a roll-over • Carry extra food, fuel, vehicle spares, and water. Store water in various containers instead of one large tank and check for leaks • Make sure you have a summary of your medical history and bring all medication and repeat scripts with you • Make sure you are familiar with first aid and pack a first aid kit • Wear clothing suitable for the climate; wear good walking shoes; take warmer clothes for the evenings • Try to avoid travelling in the hottest part of the year
Safety on unsealed roads • Reduce speed on unsealed roads because traction often decreases and braking distances increase • Beware of hidden dangers (dust filled holes, soft and sloping edges); when overtaking, beware that dust obscures vision and dangers may be hidden • Slow down before making a turn to avoid sliding • Stock and wildlife: beware of sheep, cattle, kangaroos, emus. Dawn, dusk and night driving are the most dangerous time to travel • Road trains: always give trucks and road trains (which can be up to 50 metres in length) plenty of room; if overtaking, allow at least 1km of clear road ahead
General information for Outback travellers Sacred Sites: there are a number of places or objects that hold special significance for Aboriginal people; visitors are welcome but respect must be shown for these sites; some are protected by law and there are penalties for trespassing; permit applications and general enquiries must be directed in writing to the relevant Land Council. Truck parking bays: never park in truck parking bays which are provided exclusively for the use of trucks and road trains; these rigs need room to manoeuvre their trailers and often need to run noisy refrigeration units Rest areas are provided for regular fatigue breaks and there are camping and caravan park facilities for overnight stops Pets: dogs and cats cannot be taken into National Parks. Please be advised that 1080 poison baiting programs are carried out on Pastoral Land and Department of Parks and Wildlife properties to control wild dogs, foxes and feral cats. Exercise caution with your pet when visiting these areas.
In an emergency If well planned, your trip should go smoothly and safely, but, if you get into difficulty, there are a few key things to remember: • If your car breaks down or you become lost, never leave your vehicle; use it for shade and shelter and remember it is easier to locate a missing vehicle than a missing person in the vast Outback • If you become lost while out walking, sit down and study your maps; determine where you came from and slowly take that route back; if you can’t find the way back, move to higher ground
On page 7 there is information on the Canning Stock Route, for more details can we suggest you contact the following: Shire of Wiluna PO Box 38, Wiluna WA 6646 Tel: (08) 9981 8000 Shire of East Pilbara PMB Box 22, Newman WA 6753 Tel: (08) 9175 8000 Shire of Halls Creek PO Box 21, Halls Creek WA 6770 Tel: (08) 9168 6007 Department of Main Roads Tel: 138 138 (24 hours) www.mainroads.wa.gov.au Royal Flying Doctor Service Meekatharra Tel: (08) 9981 1107 Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community (Well 33) Tel: (08) 9176 9040 Billiuna Aboriginal Community (Halls Creek) Tel: (08) 9168 8076 Department of Aboriginal Affairs Ground Floor, 151 Royal Street East Perth, Western Australia Tel: (08) 6551 8000
Canning Stock Route App One Road: Canning Stock Route Project app available.
More info visit www.canningstockrouteproject. com/digital-futures/one-road/
• Light a small smoky fire with green leaves during the day and a small bright fire with dry materials at night
Please note: all drive times mentioned in this holiday planner are suggestions only. These are usually based on travelling at 100kms per hour in 110kmph designated speed zones. Please ensure that you drive to your capabilities and according to the conditions at the time. All dates were correct at printing but may be subject to change.
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