17-Jan-2004 -- This confluence point is quite a unique one in Australia; on most globes of the world the latitude and longitude lines are shown every 30 degrees apart. If you look on a globe there are only 2 confluence points plotted on the Australian continent, this point 30°S 120°E, and 30°S 150°E which is situated in New South Wales, so it was fitting that it ended up being quite a worthy challenge to get there. A point like this should not be an easy one to get to.
This CP is situated 120km south west of the town of Menzies, just east of the Mount Manning Nature Reserve and basically out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest populated area is an isolated gold mine called Davyhurst some 60km to the east. From topographic maps of the area that are 20 years out of date there are three tracks that pass within 8km of the point.
For our first attempt Jamie Davies and myself took the track from the south east starting at the Callion Mine turnoff; it starts off not too bad but as you proceed it progressively gets worse. It looks like it has not been travelled on in a long time and is very overgrown with scrub. The land out here is pretty impressive, particularly the breakaway country. We stopped and climbed to the top of one the rocky outcrops for a grand view of the vast openness of the bush out there. As far as the eye could see no evidence of man was visible. We also checked out the numerous small caves located there. They looked like perfect places where you would expect to find Aboriginal rock paintings but unfortunately none were evident. After our short break we continued on and got to within 35km of the point where we punctured one tyre and had to return because we were due back at a certain time and I had under estimated the time it would take us.
The second attempt was on another typical Goldfields mid summer's day - a hot 40°C; we always carry 80 litres of water just in case we get stuck. Jamie and I allowed ourselves more time and took 3 spares and got to within 25km of the point before the track totally disappeared in overgrowth. I decided to try and continue and maybe pickup the track further up using the GPS. This was not a wise decision as we eventually punctured 2 tyres before deciding to turn back and punctured another 2 not long after, with only 3 spares we had to drive on flat which after 15km peeled off. So we were forced to drive the remaining 30km back to the Davyhurst mine on a rim where we borrowed a spare to get us home.
For the third attempt we decided to take a different track, this time from the east at the Ularring Rock turnoff. This track is far worse than the first. A bush fire went through a couple of years ago and burnt the scrub. Even with the GPS it is virtually impossible to stay on it as the fire has burnt the original small trees and bushes, making hard to distinguish the track. All that remains is 6-inch stakes sticking up out of the ground, not ideal conditions to drive over. We only drove about 8km on this track before turning back and decided to immediately attempt the next CP south (31°S 120°E) which resulted in our first successful visit.
To plan for the fourth attempt I obtained the latest 2003 Natmap Raster mapsheets that contain all 1:250000 scale maps covering Australia published up to August 2003. For this trip I uploaded the track we planned to take into the GPS; this time I selected the track from the north, the turnoff is situated on the Evanston Menzies road, 20km west of Mulline. A couple of other blokes from work joined myself and Jake for this attempt; Jason Van Lochem, Greg Burke and his young son Jarred. Our group left late in the afternoon in two vehicles and planned to camp overnight wherever we ended up when the sun went down. Our planned route from the north turned out not so bad, the track is moderately overgrown but not too much of a drama, although a top speed of only 25kmh could be maintained comfortably along its 55km length. We ended up as close as the track would take us to the CP at around 6:45 that evening, 8km directly south. The decision was made to try to reach it and camp at the point that night, unfortunately we were only able to make it 1.5km through the scrub before we punctured one of the tyres on the vehicles.
Camp was set up there and we decided to make an early start the next morning and walk the rest of the 6.5km to the point. That evening we had a BBQ, a few beers and bourbons late into the night and discussed all matter of topics as you do with the "increased knowledge" that alcohol gives you.
The next morning I was feeling very ordinary and thought of walking a round trip of 13km through scrub wasn't very appealing. We had breakfast and began our walk to the CP around 6:30, fortunately the temperature was a very pleasant 18°C. Our direct route to the CP followed along a ridgeline and we had to walk up and down a series of hills and valleys to reach it. Excellent views of the south and north peaks of the Mount Manning Range 30km to the west were visible from on top of hills and made the walk quite pleasant. My headache had all but disappeared by the time we arrived at the CP around 8:00am. The necessary photos were taken and we eventually made it back to the vehicles around 10:30, we then drove back along the track to the Evanston Menzies road and setoff west towards our next destination the CP 30°S 119°E. When we eventually arrived at the track that was to lead us close to this CP, we found it was heavily overgrown and the decision was made to leave it for another trip and go home.
GPS - Trimble Pathfinder DGPS unit - accuracy sub-metre
Map - Jackson SH5012 1:250000 scale