Our Camping Trip into the Golden Outback Murchinson Goldfields 6th – 14th July 2015

First stop Ninghan Station, 360 kms N.NE of Perth on the Great Northern Hwy. Definitely a place to find your first isolated camping spot near the granite outcrop of Wardaga or explore further out. Most Stations mentioned here have different types of accommodation available, Cottages, Units, Shearers Quarters, Camping and Caravan sites, all in close proximity to the Homestead if wanting to take advantage of the hospitality, showers, toilets, kitchen facilities, and fireplaces. Each Station or camping spot had their own unique features to talk about. For example the view from Mt Singleton was definitely worth the visit!

Next stop Kirkalocka Station approx 426 kms from Perth, 60 kms south of Mount Magnet. We were warmly greeted by Ann and Geoff Pilkington and shown each style of accommodation from the budget Shearers Quarters to their Homestead, set in time from when Australia prospered on the Sheep’s back. Kirkalocka is now been de stocked and caters for tourists wanting to explore the station surrounds.

Next destination is the Murchinson River but not without having lunch overlooking the picturesque Lake Nallan Reserve. A shallow seasonal lake, a haven for a large variety of birds and conveniently located right near the Grt Northen Hwy for a quick overnight camp.

We finally reach Bilyuin Pool, one of a string of pools on the Murchinson River. We turned left onto the Ashburton Downs – Mount Augustus Road 74 kms north of Meekatharra, 839 North of Perth on the Grt Northern Hwy. We then traveled on this good gravel road for 13.8 kms to the normally dry Murchinson River bed and turned left after the crossing and followed the river to one of several campsites. From here you can explore by foot different branches of the river that open up to the flood planes, bird watch, or simply collect firewood. Or travel by car to Mt Augustus or closer still visit the old abandoned Peek Hill Goldmine approx 40kms to the north.

Peek Hill is marked on most maps and is definitely worth the visit if you enjoy history and fossicking. The Gold mine was opened up in 1892 and by the turn of the century the town was thriving with fortnightly Cobb and Co mail deliveries from Cue. The mine closed at the beginning of WW1 and quite a few ruins of the substantial and surprisingly elegant cement rendered rock and mud mortar buildings from this period still remain today. The mine reopened 1988 and was worked for eleven years until it’s closure again in 1999. Travel along the Ashburton Downs Rd for approx 23 kms to the Peak Hill Rd intersection, turn right (East) and continue for about 17 kms to the old mine ruins on the right. The township ruins are about one kilometre further on, with the majority of buildings on the right. The highlight for this area quite unexpectedly was this huge open cut mine with an abundance of fresh water at its base in the form of a lake, closed off to the public in recent years.

We then set off to discover our own isolated camping spot on the mighty Gascoyne River (middle branch) approx. 52 kms further along on the Three Rivers Road. Just after the river crossing to the right is a great camping spot alongside a very picturesque pool, fully shaded by river gums. Approx 300 metres further on is the sign post to the Mingah Springs – Three Rivers Road T-Junction. This area is fantastic for those campers wanting to get away from everybody and explore the scenic beauty of the area from a high vantage point. Simply trek alongside the south bank heading in a easterly direction towards Mt George, only an hour away. Climb the gentle slopes and watch how the flood plains open up into this vast landscape. This view faces north with the Gascoyne River meandering in the forefront east/west with the relatively unknown Collier National Park in the distance. I simply ran out of time to to head off and explore the majestical Collier Mounting Range.

It was time to head home! Back onto the Three Rivers Road we headed Easterly passing Three Rivers Station on the left until we hit the Grt Northerh Hwy approx. 50 kms on. We turned left to head south for Perth.

Our last night in the bush was camping at Nalbarra Station, signposted, 70 kms north of Paynes Find and just 17kms off the Grt Norhtern Hwy. A working sheep station set on
161000 hectares. John and Karen Wainwright were only too happy to direct us to a very private campsite and then show us the Shearers Quarters style accommodation with fully self contained kitchen, showers, toilets, and BBQ area. This Station can easily cater for large groups, clubs, and touring companies. Our hosts were only too happy to offer suggestions on where to adventure further afield on their property. What a great opportunity to explore this great country of ours and see at first hand what life is like on a Station as proud as this.

This 8 night Camping trip was both exciting and casual without the need to travel vast distances to get the more popular tourists areas of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.

But in July dress for the cool nights for temperatures around 1-4 degrees and days around 16-20 degrees. Great for sitting next to a hot, cosy campfire and having the time to cook your favourite camp meal.

“Living the Dream”