26-Nov-2005 -- This confluence point is situated in the Great Victoria Desert, roughly 160km to the east of the mining town of Laverton.
We had actually been to within 25km of this point whilst on our return trip from 30s 125e & 29s 125e in June 2004 but due to time and access restrictions were not able to attempt it back then.
Initially after checking the 1:250 000 scale map of the area, we had planned to hike in on foot the 25km to the point as there were no tracks visible on the map leading anywhere near this CP. Also from what we had observed on the previous trip the scrub looked like it would be too harsh on our vehicle’s road tyres to attempt to drive through it.
Whilst digitising our planned GPS route on the computer, I happened to bring up the old 1984 version of the Minigwal topographic map instead of the latest 2002 copy and found that an old track had once existed in the area that ran within 6 kilometres our point. It was decided that we would take our chances with this track instead of the hiking option – not a hard decision really.
Our route was re- digitised with the inclusion of this lost track, for the last 6 kilometres to the point I used Google Earth to help plan our way in. Surprisingly the area of the CP was covered by a reasonably good resolution photo that enabled us to digitise a track in between the sand ridges whilst keeping away from areas of thick vegetation, a very handy web-site.
With our route uploaded into the GPS, our party of four set off in two vehicles from Kalgoorlie around 6:00pm on Friday 25th November 2005. We planned to make camp at Queen Victoria Springs, 300km east that night. Our route took us through the old abandoned ghost of towns Kanowna, Kurnalpi, then on to Pinjin and south at Argus Corner to Queen Victoria Springs, arriving at midnight.
The early Australian explorer Ernest Giles successfully crossed Western Australia in 1875 with a party equipped with fifteen camels. He discovered Queen Victoria Spring in the Great Victoria Desert after 17 days of waterless travel. It is not actually a spring but a soak that at the moment is bone dry.
Waking early the next day our party headed north back past Argus Corner then through the abandoned PNC camp site, Snake Corner and turned right at Bench Mark GN9 to head towards the lost track. As daylight waned our second night’s camp was set up about 40 kilometres south of our CP destination.
After another early start we finally made it to the unplotted track. It was in places overgrown, washed away and hard to follow but is still quite manageable in a decent 4WD vehicle, though many times we lost sight of it and had to follow the digitised track in the GPS in order to pick it up further along. The going was pretty slow and the vehicles only averaged a speed of 10-15kmh travelling along it. Eventually we came to the point where we had to leave it and travel east to the CP. The track that was digitised from the Google Earth photo turned out to be pretty good and led us in between 5 – 10 metre high sand ridges to the point, arriving just before 11:00am. The necessary photos were taken then it was back through the sand ridges to our track, which we continued to follow north to intersect with the Rason Lake Road. About 8km away from it we lost the sight of the track completely and had to use our GPS to guide us through the scrub to the road. Surprisingly we obtained only 3 flat tyres for the trip considering some of the vegetation we drove through.
Once we hit the Rason Lake Road we headed west towards Laverton, our final nights camp was at a breakaway area called Crow Cave Hill. After another early start in the morning we headed home through Laverton, Kookynie and Menzies, arriving back in Kal around 5:00pm.
Total trip distance : 1200km
Gps : Trimble Path Finder Pro (precision 1 metre)
Map Reference : SH5107 Minigwal 1:250 000
: Australia’s Great Desert Tracks (SW Sheet) 1:1,250,000