To the top!

Mt Augustus 18-09-26 Roadtrip-319

Driving in the middle of the road. Because he can. Burringurrah Drive, Mt Augustus National Park.

The road to Mt Augustus from Meekatharra is unsealed. In the rear view mirror I could see billowing clouds of dust enveloping every crevice of the unloved camp chairs and brand new ‘pub bike’ we bought for this trip, strapped mercilessly uncovered to the trailer. It was Wednesday, Day 4. Around 75km from Mt Augustus we saw a sign for annual Landor Race Meeting at the East Gascoyne Race Club, kicking off Friday. Count us in! Darned if we were going to miss another compelling sounding local event.

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Is it me or does this look breast-like?! The only image I managed that looked like a single rock.

But first Mt Augustus.

I kind of expected Mt Augustus to look like Uluru, but twice as big at eight kilometres long, and older, clocking in at 1650 million birthdays. Well, it has a lot more trees and what-not on it, so it is nothing like it really. The rock is so big you cannot actually get a photo of it in entirety.  I even drove around the short ends of it, and, nope. So here’s a partial image.

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Another piece of the mountain

Mt Augustus is known as Burringurrah by the local Aboriginal Wadjari people.  The main dreaming story associated with it tells of Burringurrah, a lad not enjoying his initiation into manhood instead electing to take off, breaking tribal law. Punishment came in the form of a tribesman’s spear through his leg and a finishing off by the women wielding fighting sticks. If you look at the mountain along the long side, you can see his prostrate body and the broken-off spear. I can think of a few men that have avoided transitioning to adulthood, and who appear to have been lucky they weren’t under Wadjari law.

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Mt Augustus Tourist Park oasis

As a working station covering 1,250,000 acres, running over 100 windmills and bores, and a hard to count number of cattle, Mt Augustus offers travellers a campground oasis of lawns and sprinklers, 100% groceries in the fridge (yep, even the potato chips) and a bar specifically prohibiting ‘dickheads’ and open when deemed appropriate by the extremely genial and unintentionally humorous tourist park managers. If you are prone to dickheadery, avoid.

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There’s a Milky Way in there dammit

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Yes, wildflowers here too

There are numerous short walks or drives to lookouts from the base of the Mount, doable for small people, and featuring magical rock engravings you can walk right up to. There are so few places in the world you can stand right in front of 30000+ human handiwork without a security rope and cctv. I love Oz.

Mt Augustus 18-09-27-Roadtrip-325

Dawn at Mt Augustus

The pinnacle activity for most is to climb the 12km return, 700m ascent Beedoboondu Summit Trail. The general guide says to expect a 6-8 hours climb, and that it boasts some savage radiant heat, that along with the terrain, tests the unwary. The day before we arrived, a woman had to be transported (a four stage several hour process) to Royal Perth and the bar manager said earnestly while pouring a chardy with ice, “I had to grab some people that looked like you to carry her down from the top”. We did a quick calculation and retired with a view to kick our walk off at 4.30am.

When the sun warmed our duvet it became apparent the alarm had been set for a time other than the appointed (4.30pm- not looking at anyone in particular!), and we were an hour behind schedule. Undeterred, we stormed up that hill like the undead from seven hells was upon us, and cracked a sub four hour return. I think the compelling feature for Waz was that someone told him you could get Telstra coverage on the cairn at the top.

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Unposed. A guy built this Cairn and a picnic table with stuff he hauled up the mountain himself. Commitment!

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Top level calls, also unposed. Corner evidence of aforementioned picnic table.

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As I took this he said, “There are no flies”.

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Beat the heat!

With days north of 35 degrees in September, Goolinee (Cattle Pool) on the Lyons River offers surprisingly chilly respite in the noon day heat.

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Goolinee swimming hole on the Lyons River. Surprisingly zesty!

But this morning we were not dilly-dallying. We got back and packed without pause; we had a country race, of which we knew little, to attend.


5 Comments on “To the top!”

  1. Beryl Drake says:

    Once again photography Is excellent and your commentary so lovely to read . Hope you backed a winner and enjoyed the races, keep up the good work live xxx

  2. Rob says:

    Bloody awesome Neen, and no it’s not just you, I saw that breast too.

  3. Laura & Olga says:

    We’ve loved the part where Waz was looking for the Telstra coverage and the unposed pictures!! Highly funny post 😀


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