The other week I touched briefly on my trip along the Holland Track- which was mainly about the amazing storm we experienced on the first night. So here’s a bit more of an in depth post about the trip and what the Holland Track is.
Originally cut back in 1893 by John Holland- the track was made as a short cut for miners coming up from Albany who were heading out to Kalgoorlie in their rush for gold. It set off from Broomehille, heading North East through dense scrub land to Coolgardie, 530km’s away! Unbelievably this was cut in 2 months, led by John Holland who set out each day on horseback to locate the distinct rocks that trace the track. These were generally the only source of reliable water. What makes this feat even more remarkable- was that the section of track to the North East of Hyden regrew very soon after due to the Perth to Coolgardie train line being completed. It remained overgrown until in 1993 Adrian Malloy and Graeme Newbey retraced the route as close as they could with a tractor. I’m not entirely sure how long they took to cover the same ground to re-open it- but the first official trip occurred 5 months later.
2 months to cover that distance, in the dense scrubland and extreme climate conditions really is something to be admired. We went for a bit of a walk to try and locate some remnants of the original track at Thursday rock (which is no longer used for about 15km) and that was enough to realise partially what the original team experienced. It still wouldn’t even come close. The crossing was only made possible with the help of local indigenous people who knew where the rocks and their precious Gnamma holes were. Gnamma holes are water holes, kind of like wells that naturally occur in some of the large rocks found in the region.
The section from Hyden to Coolgardie is a popular 4wd track, with some tight, twisted and rutted sections to negotiate but all in all a pretty simple drive. We cruised along at a reasonable pace, taking in the sights. The Goldfields and their especially Mallee sections are stunning- when you see the magnificent Gimlet Tree’s you will be blown away. Growing in groves of hundreds of thin, wiry tree’s- the reds that can be found in their bark is unbelievable. Unfortunately this time I wasn’t able to get any pics of them, but next time I’ll be making sure i’m at a nice location late in the afternoon when the sun lights them up in spectacular fashion.
We didn’t stay at the intended campsite the first night as there was a large number of travelers staying at Sandlewood Rock- so we made do on a side track. Which of course provided the incredible view of the thunderstorms that were in the region. A night that I still think about daily. After packing up we set off to our campsite for the next 2 nights, which was a nice big campsite nestled at the base of Thursday Rock.
Here we were lucky to pretty have it to ourselves for the 2 days, and each morning and afternoon I headed up the rock to try and get some photos. Managed a couple but nothing that I was really happy with. The light just wasn’t co-operating and I managed to find myself in the wrong places. There’s always next time 🙂
So here’s another couple of photos I got on the trip. The first is sunset on the first night. The clouds lit up quite uniquely, so I used the track we came along for the foreground. As you can see there was no foreground interest anywhere as the tree’s are still quite young after the fires that swept the region. This is quite a contrast to the scene that was unfolding to my left.
To the left was were the storm was building, sparking up and then going nuts! The ground lightning just wouldn’t spark out of the storm head for me, so I had to go a bit wider to get some. Unfortunatley resulting in a bit too much black for my liking in the top right, but the clouds were that thick there wasn’t much else I could do. A nice bit of cloud lightning in that area would have topped this off I think. I love how the rain has been iluminated by some lightning!
The last image here is from Thursday rock. I waited for sunrise to light up the rock face. I think this image sums up the feel of the Goldfields. The precious water, a golden bit of light, and then the harshness of the region. I still didn’t quite get what I was after, and I wish I tried a few other things with this pool. But that will unforetunately have to wait untill next time.
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