Wheat fields, Gold fields and Wild flowers - Part 3
We decided to stay put at Canna for another rest day. With the main focus of the trip now behind us we could afford to relax a bit and just wander round the immediate area as our fancy took us.
Next day we went looking for wreath flowers and finally found what we have managed to miss on previous trips to this area. These things seem to grow in the most remote parts and you have to drive a long way to find them. They are so unique that they are worth the effort to find. These ones were on the Yalgoo - Morawa Road 6km north of the Gutha East Road. We saw others later on the Perenjori to Carnamah Road.
Had a good look round Morawa which is an interesting small town with quite a bit to see. We have been through here before but usually on the way to somewhere else and we haven't taken the time to have a good look round. There is a very interesting museum that may not look much from the front but there are some big sheds behind the small entrance building that contain all sorts of interesting memorabilia.
St. David's Church is also worth visiting and it is part of the M. John Hawes trail.
The visitor's centre has a useful booklet that details many of the interesting buildings in town so if you plan to take a walk around, get the booklet as it will help explain what many of the old buildings were built for and how old they are.
The next destination was Perenjori to get some information from the local visitor's centre and then out to a campsite at Camel Soak (38km east).
Camel Soak is off the Rothsay Road and has a toilet and thankfully with an aerial it is possible to get phone reception which means internet.
Another rest day was called for and we walked around the rock and found some wildflowers to photograph. Nice quiet spot, pleasant bushland to walk through.
Next day it was off to Dampawah State Farm, now nothing more than a ruin. It was once a test site for developing new types of crop. The site, for whatever reason, is not sign posted but is about 400 metres beyond the Lucky Well off behind the trees to the left of the road.
There are three old houses here plus a lot of general junk strewn around. If you visit this place beware of all the broken bottles especially if you have pets or children with you.
We returned to the Perenjori - Rothsay Road and continued east until we reached the turn off to John Forrest Lookout. There is a campsite of sorts here but Camel Soak is much better.
The view from the top of the hill was good and I was struck by the idea that John Forrest would have seen more or less the same view that I was looking at when he climbed this hill well over a hundred years ago.
The main reason I wanted to go up this hill was to stand where John Forrest stood and look out at the same view he saw. It was quite a special feeling and I am glad I made the effort.
Then we drove back to Perenjori and had a look inside another church designed by M. John Hawes. A key is available at the Visitor's Centre. This is a much more utilitarian church - which basically means rather plain and boring compared to his other designs. The inside of the church is quite a bit more attractive than the outside.
Perenjori is another town that is worth wandering around.
Next stop was Three Springs where we dropped into yet another visitor's centre to get info on where to look for local wildflowers. Three Springs has a free 3 night short term caravan facility but we didn't feel like staying in town and pressed on.
We considered stopping at Arino rest area but decided to try out an unknown campsite on nearby Bluewater Road. There was no site to speak of but rain was starting and we had to get set up for the night. We found a suitable spot and got the van up just before the rain came down. Anyone wanting to stay at this site should know that the main track leads to a dead end where there is a water authority compound. Don't follow the main track that bends to the right, instead follow the smaller track that goes more or less straight on. This leads to an area next to the Arrowsmith River (more of a creek at this point) that may be dry. If it is dry you can continue to a large area on the far side.
Thankfully the rain had cleared over night and we woke to a nice blue sky. We spent half the day driving up and down dirt roads where we had been told we would find masses of wildflowers, we didn't! The wildflowers were very scattered and it took a lot of driving to find some interesting examples.
A quick lunch stop in Three Springs was followed by a drive south to nearby Carnamah. Here we found an interesting museum (that is apparently only open of Fridays) and the restored Macpherson Homestead and then on through Coorow and Watheroo.
We were looking for a decent campsite and tried a place listed on Eagle Hill Road. It was National Park and useless for our purposes. Finally we found a large area by the side of the road about 9km north of Moora.
We had intended to be out longer but over night the bad weather arrived and we decided it just wasn't worth staying out with storms predicted over the next few days.
On the way south from Moora we did find three more abandoned houses that we managed to photograph but after nearly three weeks and a lot of kilometres, our trip was over.
Looking back at all we saw and did over three weeks we think the trip was one of the best we have done in recent years. There is so much to see and do that you could easily take twice as long and still not see everything. We were limited by time, money and the weather but in the end were very happy with what we managed to see.
The best places? Well for me absolute top of the list was camping out for a couple of nights next to the old Big Bell Hotel. I just loved that place. Gwalia, Kookynie, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie and so many others were incredibly interesting. The only places we found were a bit less attractive were Kambalda, Laverton and Leinster. They are all working towns and have little to offer casual visitors.
The only regret about the trip was that we didn't have more time.
Wildflowers were pretty scarce in the wheatbelt and goldfield areas but once we came west from Yalgoo everything changed. Some stretches of flowers reaching into the bush were stunning. I have never seen anything to rival the wildflower season of 1998 but this year was pretty good.
PLACES ON THE WAY