28-Apr-2003 -- After my previous two confluences with their 6km round-trip walks, I'd decided I wanted a confluence close to the road. This one managed to surprise me.
We left the previous confluence (at 27°S 125°E) and continued west along the Great Central Road. The next point of interest was Empress Spring, 60km down a track off the GCR.
In 1896 David Carnegie was led to this place by an aboriginal. The water he found here may well have saved the life of his party. It's not really a spring, but a rockhole and small cave where water collects after rains.
Returning to the GCR, we headed west. After some way we took a rather poor track off to the south. Stuart had read about a place called Lang Rock, where a dogger had broken down in 1972 and left a message carved on a rock. We found the rock quite easily - it's a large outcropping of rocks able to be seen from a long way off. The rock message was more difficult, but we did find it.
While examining the maps for a good way to continue on, we noticed a confluence at the corner of the map with a track right next to it! Much less than 3km to walk.
The tracks there were mostly very good, although it was obvious that they get very soft when it rains. Some people had got themselves badly bogged and put down branches, planks, even bricks to try to get out. We could see where a tractor or similar vehicle had been used to pull another vehicle out. When we were there, the tracks were dry, and the going was very good.
We were getting quite close to the confluence, about 1km or so, and we considered stopping and walking the rest, but we continued a little further. We reached a T intersection with one of the roads heading almost directly towards the confluence. Following that we got to within 80m! Talk about a difference from 3km!
Although we approached the confluence from the south-east, a better way is from the north. When we left the confluence, we followed a fenceline north until it intersected the GCR. There we found a shiny new windmill.
For future visitors, drive along the GCR until you are within 1-2km of the line of longitude, then keep an eye out for a windmill and tank on the south side of the road. The fenceline goes north-south at the windmill. Follow the track alongside it south for about 5.5km and you'll reach the confluence. The track is nice, flat, and straight (except for a few fallen trees). Any car should be fine, so long as the track is dry.
This ended up being the last confluence of our trip. We did have a short list of others that appeared to be easily reached, but we had run out of time. Maybe next trip?
On the way home to Perth, we visited Lake Ballard. An enthusiastic sculptor has set up a display 50km north-west of Menzies. His 51 sculptures are set right into the salt lake. Very impressive, if only for the remote location.