Monday, November 12, 2012

WA's Granite Loop Trail

I decided it was time once more to explore Western Australia's north eastern wheat belt. Specifically, the large granite rock outcrops in the district. I found a small brochure called "The Granite Loop Trail" and used that as a guide.

You can download a PDF copy from here:

I invited some Bushtracker friends along, Jim & Judy and Brad & Denise. We all met at Brad & Denise's house in Gidgegannup, as it happened, on Melbourne Cup day. There for drinkees, nibbles and the inevitable Cup Sweep were other BT friends John & Wendy and Marilyn and several friends of Brad and Denise. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

In the morning we six intrepid explorers departed up Toodyay Road through Toodyay to Goomalling. We stopped there for a morning coffee and raisin toast at a very busy café. It's good to see some of these country towns recovering from poor economic conditions of the past. In the café having a great chinwag were several local young mums and their kiddies, all fresh from some sort of exercise or sporting activity. Everyone was happy.

We pushed on to Dowerin.

This town has a very large agricultural Field day every August. There were a few new homes being built. Again, showing signs of recovery.

Rusty, the Tin Dog welcomed us at the edge of town.

Opposite Rusty was a nice park where we pulled over to spend a few minutes here.

As we turned north onto the Dowerin/Kalannie Rd I noticed several more wide and long parking areas suitable for vans. One had a new public Dump Point in it. Dowerin obviously values the spending power of we Grey Nomads (two of us, who shall remain nameless, had a secret meat pie and pastie while getting fuel. Motivated only by helping the town economically, I'm sure).

We veered right onto an unsealed road to arrive at Minnivale. This town is now just a grain siding with possibly one or two residents. It has a public rest stop adjacent to some old tennis courts. There is a toilet, cold shower and a dump point. A motorhome from Queensland was enjoying the solitude.

South to the main road and then east to Wyalkatchem.

The town's motto is: Strange Name, Beaut Place. They're right too.

Last year we stopped here on Anzac Day and Robyn and I went into the pub. It was a hot day and I had a thirst. There were about 4 or so Anzac veterans with their medals proudly pinned to their jackets. I was determined that they weren't going to pay for any drinks while we were there; I had one or two as well.

Placed around Wylie are several metal sculptures of large flowers. These ones were in front of the caravan park.

Continuing east we stopped at Trayning for lunch. Spending a couple of bob at a deli.

Just past Nungarin (which also has a new Dump Point) we turned off to Talgomine Rock. Now I may seem preoccupied with Dump Points but it's very important to know where these are when the van's toilet cassette gets full, as I'm sure you can understand.

Talgomine Rock (on some maps it is called Talgomine Reserve or Mt Moore) is the first granite outcrop we will be exploring.

We drove in and found a nice place where we could camp for the night. It was getting late-ish and we had been driving for some distance so drinks and nibblies were set up, although it was impossible to stop Judy bounding up to the top of the rock for a late afternoon explore. Those of us who know our age stayed back and enjoyed some wine and cheese in the company of several million bush flies.

In the morning we all walked up to the top of Talgomine Rock.There were some colourful flowers in amongst the bushes.

Strange to see, water seeping out of the rock halfway up.

It's no wonder I refer to us West Aussies as Flatlanders.

Talgomine Rock was used as a visual navigation point by the early Flying Schools during World War 2. Looks like it still is.

A Summit Meeting. Plotting to overthrow the Trip Leader, I'm sure.

Mid-morning we set off to Mukinbudin. There's a BP servo there. I find the BP "app" on my iPhone so handy, I use it all the time. Refuelled, we continued north east to Yanneymooning Hill Reserve. Along the way we noticed a flock of sheep being looked after by two Alpacas. The poor Alpacas were desperately in need of a shear.

Yanneymooning is 531 acres of nature reserve with Yanneymooning Rock as the centrepiece.

Once more, if we turned our backs, Judy was off to the top. She must have driven her parents to distraction as a youngster with this relentless desire to explore.

A little further north we stopped at Eluchbutting Rock for lunch and to explore. Robyn and I came here in 1995 with our 4WD Club. It has been organised into designated campsites since then. You can still drive up to the top of the rock. We didn't with our vans hitched up, but back in 1995 we did. In our mighty 80 Series.

This time it was my turn to stride off ahead of the rest. We all walked up to the top.

This is the grassy area where we used to camp all those years ago with the Club. Now it's blocked off and inaccessible. We used to cram a dozen vehicles and tents in here and have a great campfire.

There's a part of the rock that has collapsed and formed a tunnel. Rumour has it that a giant Yowie with a real fearsome nature can be heard growling in there.

We all walked the 2 kilometres around the northern end of the rock back to our vehicles and vans. It was quite a warm afternoon and I must admit to enjoying a couple of lagers when we got there.

It was then just a short drive to our overnight campsite, Beringbooding Rock.

Beringbooding Rock has undergone a makeover since we were here Easter last year. There are now designated campsites laid out in gravel with pine logs. I think it's actually an improvement.

This huge tank was built in 1937 by "Subsistence Labour", which, I assume, means they were paid with their meals. It has a capacity of 2,250,000 gallons and cost, at that time, £10,000 and is supplied by the largest rock water catchment in Australia.

This cairn of stones was built by early West Australian explorer H.S. King in 1889.

This very large water hole (gnamma hole) is on the northern side of the rock.

A brick wall about 50cm high spreads all the way around the rock, funneling water into the tank.

There are some beautiful rocks just sitting around. You would think they would slide off but they have stuck fast for many, many years.

From Beringbooding we headed west through Bonnie Rock and picked up a wide gravel/sand road through Wialki to Beacon. These unsealed roads were as smooth as can be; much better than a lot of bitumen roads. We stopped in Beacon for a late coffee and a snack from the Beacon Co-op store. We were welcomed to town by a nice lady, obviously proud of her town and keen to see visitors here.

From Beacon we drove north to Billyburning Rock. Surrounded by more expansive cropping country Billyburning Rock has a couple of good campsites but isn't as well defined as Eluchbutting and Beringbooding. There's more vegetation and small rocks on its surface.

From Billyburning we drove south through back roads and stopped for lunch at Mollerin Lake on the way to Koorda. After refueling at Koorda we continued on and took some more back roads to turn up, once more, back at the rest stop at Minnivale. We spent another pleasant night together under a clear starry sky spotting satellites.

Time to head home to suburbia and resume our humdrum lives. Here are the intrepid rock climbers and explorers. Great company. What a life.


  1. Hi Guys,
    Excellent post, looks like you all had a great time.
    I do understand about the "Dump Point" acknowledgements :)
    We noticed while driving along the Nullabor e few weeks ago that alot more rest stops & toilets have been put in.
    Cheers & happy Travels,

  2. Thanks Shell,

    in the last week the 3G (Telstra) coverage has been extended a lot over the Nullarbor too, especially the WA side.

    Nice to hear from you.

  3. Hi guys,

    I just wanted to get in touch with you about reproducing some of your images from Dunns Swamp - January 2011. It's for an interpretive sign project. Please let me know if you would be interested.

  4. Hey Stephen & Robyn,

    Nice blog and looks like you had a ball. I think you travel more than us..., you were in Norway as I recall when we were away on our 'fateful' 4 months in UK/Europe...referring to the LC200 which didn't start on our return.....

    Hopefully we will get back your way and get to meet you sometime??

    We are spending 3 months in Tassie next year.., Feb-May, but after that, no plans yet.

  5. Anonymous8:02 pm

    Great read Stephen, i went to a concert at wave rock a few years ago, and would love to do the same trip as yours one day. Ben and Jenna

  6. Anonymous9:26 am

    Great Blog Guys - will have to look you up when we get back to the Perth region
    John and Jean