Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 7th
Peace Gorge near Meekatharra is a really lovely place to camp. The morning and evening light on the large rocks is spectacular. We walked in the area and found a Minnie Ritchie/Red Mulga tree which is a type of type of Acacia. They are distinctive trees in the way the red bark curls. The walk to the top of the rise called Meeka Walk  was worthwhile for the view, especially the view of the open cut mine. The soil colours are surprising. Gold was found in the area in late 1903. After doing a few final shopping items we headed north for the Collier Ranges. The trip along the Great Northern Highway was really attractive with low bushes spreading across the country interspersed with many wild flowers..sometimes mauve and blue, sometimes yellow with acacia and cassia and lastly a wonderful white/snow carpet of white daisies. I think the rain which fell a few weeks ago has made the plants very green. There are some flowers that I cannot identify despite searching my wildflower books. I found one such bush today which had lovely dark red flowers and developed into white spotted petals.. a mystery bush especially as they were quite common.

This Great Northern Highway is very busy with Road Trains transporting goods of all kinds to those industries and people who are in northern Australia. I saw one Road Train with 9 Army Jeeps on it. There were huge tyres being transported and several half houses. The maximum length for a road train is 53.5 metres which is very long. While we were in the queue to get fuel in Meekatharra John  chatted to the chap who  was already filling his rig which weighed 120 tons and carried 1,500 litres of fuel. It had 4 trailers attached and the fuel rate was 1.1 kilometers per litre when loaded and 1.4 kilometres per litre when unloaded.

It is surprising how many people we speak to, here in the Gold field areas, because of the ‘lure of gold’ . Both  men and women spend weeks/months of the year camping and detecting gold and evidently quite successfully paying for their holidays.

Mid afternoon we arrived at the Kumarina Roadhouse. We expected to be able to find our way into the Collier Range National Park but staff at the Roadhouse told us there was NO ACCESS despite the fact that staff at the Meekatharra Shire offices had said we could enter this NP.
Peace Gorge near Meekatharra

Minnie Ritchie Tree

We re-assessed our plan and retraced our steps a few km and eventually took a road which we expect will take us to the Mt Augustus National Park. We actually came upon a couple of young chaps who had lost their positon on the map after taking a wrong turn. They were obviously pleased to see us. This evening we are camped on a secluded spot on the Gascoyne River. It is a huge water system with several arms. I think we are on the Middle Arm.

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