Saturday, 18 October 2008

From Wave Rock to Jilakin Lake

After my stint in a lot of dirt roads and the associated dust, I am back at Kalgoorlie for a bit of comfort, a hot shower and to wash my dirty clothes as well as a few lazy days. I leave Kalgoorlie to drive toward Hyden, make a rest stop at Merredin again and follow the secondary road south from there to Hyden, where I want to take a look at the much publicised "Wave Rock". I am in the heart of the wheatbelt again, wide open spaces of green grain fields or pasture with plenty of sheep. It is a real pleasure again to see those open spaces again instead of the dry scrub that also restricts views. Obviously, the area receives a lot more rainfall, the dams are full of water, most of the grain fields are flowing green to the horizon. Occasionally, lower parts of the landscape contain salt marshes and also, often white, salt encrusted lakes. As soon as the land rises to higher ground, its grain fields again.

At Hyden I go to the Visitor Centre to check on some details and drive the few remaining 5km to Wave Rock. An interesting formation of Granite marked with stains of embedded minerals. It is very interesting to see, there are quite a few visitors at the site, certainly as a result of clever advertising, spreading information about this place. What I had never realised from any of the published information is, that its actually only a small part of a very large rock formation.

This picture shows a bit more of the Granite Rock itself as well

Naturally I climb the rock which is also used as a water catchment because when it rains there is always a huge run-off from such a large area of rock. To catch that run-off low stone walls have been constructed around the bottom to collect and chanel the water to a dam that supplies the town with water via pipeline.

There is also a Hotel and Visitor Centre with shop across the road, the camper van site charges $32 just to park the vehicle for the night. I decide that that is a bit of a rip-off and head further up the road for about 18km toward a place that is called "The Humps", find a nice place in the bush, well away from the road, with plenty of firewood around. It’s a Full Moon that night, so the place is well lit after the moon rises, the glow of my small fire providing great ambience.

In the morning I drive the remaining 1km to The Humps and discover a remote and beautiful granite Hill, overgrown with lichens and moss and small colourful plants that have taken to grow in this harsh environment, anywhere water can collect in hollows of the rock face.

These tiny blossoms are only about 1cm across

I am all by myself, not a single tourist to be seen anywhere. There is also a cave that I visit, with rock art that has been used by Aboriginal People for thousands of years. It’s a great place that I really enjoy visiting.

Two views across "The Humps"

From Hyden I drive south west to Kulin, then east again to check out the "sculptures" along the so-called Tin Horse Highway, where many a metal sculpture, all of them painted in bright colours, have been placed along either side of the road. Vitually all of them are quite funny, with commentaries placed alongside.

I take the turn-off to the "Kulin Race Course", where the annual horse race is held in the first week of October, ultimately the reason why all these horse sculptures have been created along my way there. I drive past a very quiet Race Course, then along the big salt lake, Jilakin Lake and make my camp there for the night, another campfire and a still bright moon rising over the lake.

Just after sunrise on Jilakin Lake

The same view in late afternoon light

Love it, love the silence, only the gentle hiss of the breeze in the trees above.

A dead tree at the edge of the salt lake - not even termites like that salty stuff

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