Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 8th
Mt Augustus
After camping in a secluded spot on the middle branch of the Gascoyne River we started on an excursion through Station properties to Mt Augustus. These properies and the homesteads are very remote. I cannot imagine living so far from neighbours and friends. We travelled over 300 km before we reached our destination shortly after lunch. The road was very good and led us through the most magnificent wild bush garden..I am envious as I would love such a garden around my own home! There were distant ranges in our view for most of the way, but the roadside green bushes and  flowers took our attention for most of the time. Blue, mauve, yellow, white, bright pink and everything in between made a glorious garden. I can identify many of them but the books I have do not answer all my queries. I asked the Volunteer Ranger at Mt Augustus about one bush which I thought to belong to the  Eremophila or Emu Bush family of plants. Yes, I was correct it was a Royal Poverty Bush (common name) These bushes were wide spread and different in size and height from each other. They looked a bit like a daphne bush from a distance. Another blue flower which appeared many times, I think was a Cattle bush despite the fact that cattle rarely feed on them.
There are very few birds to be seen other than galahs and a few kites and hawks although,

Wattle found near Mt Augustus
I did see a Red capped Robin and a tiny wren today. The wren was fawn/brown in colour with a distinctly blue colour in its erect tail. Again very hard to identify correctly when I am not a qualified ‘birdie’. We did not see another vehicle on the road for the whole way. There were a few kangaroos and a couple of small mobs of cattle which were sleek and fat. The rains have certainly suited this normally arid and barren area of Australia. About 100 km from Mt Augustus we crossed from the Meekatharra Shire into the Shire of Upper Gascoyne. They are both huge shires with many roads and river crossings to maintain ..especially after rains.
Mt Augustus appeared on the horizon.. the magnificent rock grew larger and larger as we approached. This rock is the World’s largest isolated monocline, twice the size of Ayers Rock and one billion years old. The shrubland around it is dominated by wattles ( acacias), eremophilas and cassias. Mulla Mulla and Pussy tails are in abundance as well. We drove the 49km loop around the sandstone and quartz massif with the plan to return tomorrow and explore some walks and gorges. One section of the road was cordoned because ‘Burrowing Bees’ were nesting. We had never heard of these before. Evidently this is the only area in the world where they are found. It was hard to feel comfortable amongst them even though the notice said that they do not bite. They were doing a lot of BUZZING though.

We walked over to the Bar at the reception area of the Resort before dinner. We were given free WYFI access when we purchased a drink. I was able to send and receive a few messages but not post this blog.

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