Driving You Bush

Trip Photos
Rob and Andrew’s Mystery Holland Track Trip Report

25th – 28th March 2016

I remember when I first put the flyer out for this trip and had a few comments about it being a “mystery trip”. Let’s just say the trip was full of all types of recoveries, lots of fun and let’s not forget rain and mud!
Kick off time was Friday morning at 8:30am from Getaway Outdoors car park at Kelmscott. Andrew, Brett and I were there ready to get going and we were to meet up with Steve and Amanda at the top of Greenmount Hill. Jack Dowling from the TLCC had previously emailed me to ask if we could drop off a new visitors’ log at Banker-Mount Day Road.

We met up with Steve and Amanda, did a quick briefing and set sail on our adventure. As we drove out through Mundaring, this voice comes over the two-way saying “she has been up since 5:30am baking some muffins for the trip”. There was an eerie silence over the two-way as this person has always told us she doesn’t cook!

Our first stop was the Meckering Roadhouse for morning tea. While everyone made cups of tea and visited the amenities, the muffins came around. Well I must say, they were very nice Amanda and also cost you a fine!
We set off again travelling through the countryside. It was cloudy and we could see the odd shower happening to the north west of us. Our next stop was the railway dam at Merredin where we had our lunch. I learnt about this place from a previous trip that I had done with Peter and Judy Baker.

The next leg of our journey took us through Southern Cross where there was a quick stop for a drink and ice cream, then onto our overnight destination at Boondi Rock, 80km west of Coolgardie. This was another old railway dam which was used to supply water to the steam engines when they used to run between Merredin and Kalgoorlie.
These have been turned into camping areas with a drop toilet on site.

We set camp, did some exploring around the rock and the dam then everyone was into cooking their tea. After tea we all sat around for the usual chat and beverages. I thought I would check my phone and there was a message from Bob Smith warning us about storm fronts that would be coming through and the possibility of a lot of rain. I was telling the others about this when we all looked skywards and thought “what are you talking about”? The stars were out and only a few clouds in the sky.

Our entertainment for the night was watching a wood spider trying to make a web. Every time he tried to anchor it to something, eg a chair or stretcher, he would get moved. We were all sitting there talking when I reached down beside my chair to pick up my beverage. I happened to glance over to where our spider was in the tree when I noticed something move on the ground. I took another look and realised it was a small snake. After we had headed him away from the camp it was decided it was time to go to bed.

Saturday morning we woke to a grey overcast sky. Everyone was up and having breakfast and packing up to be ready to move out at 8:30am. As we packed the final items away, a light drizzle started.
The closer we got to Coolgardie the rain was more constant. While everyone was topping up with fuel at Coolgardie I asked the guy at the servo “had they had much rain and what was the track like”? He said “the rain had only just started this morning and from what he had been told by other travellers, the track was badly rutted but with a bit of water around”.

So off we set on our adventure and headed out on the Victoria Rock Road. The rain was still light but constant. As we went further, we started to see water forming on the side of the road and I was thinking had I made the right choice to go on. We past the road conditions sign and it stated the road was still open, so that had to be a good omen.

After travelling 80kms we came to the start of the Holland Track and we turned right onto the track and aired our tyres down. After about an hour and noticing a lot of water around, it was still raining so we decided to stop for morning tea.
After everyone had finished, off we set again and it wasn’t long before we had our first of many recoveries for the trip. The Trip Leader, who shall remain nameless, decided to drive through a puddle and his spare wheel bottomed out on the rut and to make matters worse, he had to be recovered with a Nissan!

Once the recovery was complete we pressed on for about 2 hours when it was decided to break for lunch. We found a suitable spot and out came the awnings as it was still raining and didn’t look like stopping anytime soon.
After lunch we set off again. By this time there was a lot of water around on and off the track. I had an idea how much of the track I wanted to cover today but it was slow going as there were large puddles to negotiate and the track was badly rutted. The further we got into the track the worse it got. Around 3:30pm I started looking for a suitable campsite. After a lot of looking we found a site around 4:30pm. Everyone set up camp and in true fashion of camping, a campfire was set where even with the drizzle still around, we stood there having a chat, some beverages and a good time.

Sunday morning and we woke to more rain so everyone got up, fed and packed up ready to go. We hit the track around 8:00am. As we drove, there were a lot of large puddles to negotiate or go around along the badly rutted track and it wasn’t long before we had one of many recoveries for the day. This was apart from when Steve decided to
remove a tree with the camper trailer and put the trailer on its side, it always seemed to be the Trip Leader being recovered. Makes me think if I would do another trip with this guy! Throughout the day we negotiated puddles, clay pans and long water crossings with the Trip Leader doing a lot of walking through water crossings. Kind of reminded me of being at primary school and walking home in the rain!

After a long day, we finely made it to the Marvel Lock Southern Cross Road. It had taken us 8 hours to do 80kms. We started down the last 20kms of the track when once again, the Trip Leader needed to be recovered. At this point, a suggestion was made by Janette to head straight down the Marvel Lock Road to the Norseman Hyden Road and onto the Wave Rock Caravan Park. After a quick consideration, which took all of 30 seconds and a call to the Wave Rock Caravan Park, we aired our tyres up and off we went.

When Amanda made the call to the caravan park she was told that they had shut the roads at lunchtime on the Saturday. As we headed in now with Andrew in the lead (as the Trip Leader had enough of being recovered), there was a lot and I mean a lot of water over and on the side of the road. We got to the caravan park at around 6:39pm and set up camp.

Steve, Janette, Ryan, Amanda and Tony went to the pub for a meal while the rest of us stayed and cooked our own meals. After a few more beverages and some club port (note to self must buy some more) we turned in for the night.

Monday morning we woke to a blue sky and sunshine - what a change from the previous two days. We broke camp and were on our way home at 9:30am. It was a nice drive considering what we and our vehicles had been put through previously. We stopped for lunch at Brookton and then it was homeward bound and ended back in Kelmscott around 2:30pm.

Despite all the mud, rain, recoveries and track conditions all the vehicles and the camper trailer made it through with only some minor damage.

I would like to say a big thank you to Andrew, Thomas, Tony, Amanda, Steve, Janette, Ryan, Brett and my dad Tiny for all the help and support you gave me on this trip. It’s the first time I have run a trip this big and without your support, it would have been a lot more nerve racking.

When I asked who was running the next big trip, the comment came back from Tony that he wouldn’t run one, just come on mine. Wish I knew what he meant by that!

Rob Venables