22-Feb-2006 -- After obtaining a shire plan in the town of Surat, we decided to quickly find this confluence and be done with it within the hour.
First we needed the landowner’s permission, so we drove onto a farm and spoke to a friendly young farmer. After some awkward smiles and explanations, he remembered a phone conversation he had 5 years ago with someone inquiring about a certain GPS point on his property. And of course, we were free to roam his farm (a block of land roughly 10x10 km).
From the house the distance was 6.5 km. On the map the distance from the main road looked almost half of that. So we got directions and drove to what seemed to be the nearest point, parked the car next to the fence and realised we had 6.6 km of fine Aussie landscape (ploughed over fields, two creeks, random bushland and an unknown number of fences) between ourselves and the magic point. But hey, what’s a 14 km walk when there’s only an hour until sunset?
With some water, muesli bars, spare batteries for the GPS (no torch) and a data logger for temperature and humidity, we set out at a brisk pace (average speed 6.4 km/h, average adrenaline and testosterone consumption 1L/km) and managed to beat the sunset by not more than 15 minutes.
We gave a ride to at least 3 million flies, by transporting them on every exposed bit of our faces. Our Aussie salutes greeted many kangaroos, emus, a dog, some cows and lots of other invisible creatures.
There were several types of fences, some with mesh, some looked electrified, some with barbed wire as Arjen’s shirt now knows. It was a small price for him to pay for a First Confluence Visit.
It was also good to discover that this confluence is located right next to an unsealed road of reasonable quality, which wouldn’t have been a problem for our 2WD vehicle.
After the necessary photos (slightly off-compass due to mental blur caused by physical exhaustion) and the consumption of the muesli bars and the water, it was time to repeat the walk in darkness and feed the mozzies. So we came up with the sound idea of taking a new route which gave us delights such as screaming and running cows in the dark (on and off our path), rough and muddy surface and new fences, now invisible (but easy to find by walking into). As we found out, starlight in the bush is not quite bright enough.
Nevertheless, when we arrived at the car we braved the mozzies and took some time exposure pictures of an amazingly beautiful Milky Way.