While getting away at any time is a good time in our books, the colder months are perfect to head inland if you’re eager to explore Australia’s magnificent remote areas. So when an opportunity arose for us to head to WA’s Gibson Desert region, there was no way we were going to miss out, and so we grabbed the opportunity with both hands!
But it was never a trip we were going to take lightly, as preparation here was the key. When you realise on a map just how isolated the area is, it’s really the last place that you want to get into any strife.
Leaving Adelaide on a cold Wintery morning, our itinerary saw us travel up the Stuart Highway to Marla before heading west to Warburton through the APY Lands. The scenery through this region was nothing short of spectacular, and the minimal road traffic gave you the sense you had the place all to yourself.
We used Warburton as our last refuelling point before venturing into the Gibson, and also took the opportunity here to apply a second skin to the vehicle to protect the duco, and fitted shade cloth and sponges to the vehicle’s front to prevent grass seeds from entering the radiator.
For this trip, we made a few modifications to our set up, including adding a REDARC 1000w Pure Sine Wave inverter to run a variety of appliances, including a small bread machine. And boy, did it get used! As we were travelling with a group for this Gibson Desert adventure, the machine made light work of breadmaking by regularly pumping out either warm fresh bread, pizza dough, or dough for rolls or buns to feed our masses. There was no doubt this is one addition to our set up that everyone in our travelling party was very grateful for!
We left Warburton with over 300 litres of fuel on board and a couple hundred litres of water, so we knew we were travelling anything but light. But as we knew our next fuel stop to be some weeks away, we calculated what we needed to cover the exploring we had planned, and added in some additional for reserves.
Initially travelling on the Great Central Road, we turned onto the Hunt Oil Road before long and found ourselves exploring some magnificent caves. The scenery along here was definitely not expected – the area was so remote and the landscape flat, but then an outcrop such as the magnificent Mt Worsnop and Mt Allott appeared as if out of nowhere. Taking the time to climb these two attractions, we saw the cairn commemorating explorers, Forrest and Carnegie’s visit (1874 and 1896 respectively). We loved the fact that we were following in an explorer’s footsteps and being able to see what they saw more than 120 years earlier.
Camping along the Hunt Oil Road was sensational, and with so much choice for camping, finding something suitable was never going to be an issue. Our nightly campfires were always filled with laughter from tall stories, and the star filled sky, complete with falling stars was something you never wanted to miss.
The Hunt Oil Road (which is more like a track) isn’t long in distance, but it sure was a trip highlight. When we reached its end, we took the opportunity to refill water supplies at Geraldton Bore, as the water quality here was exceptionally good when we visited.
So we’ll continue to travel further into the Gibson Desert, and if the Hunt Oil Road landscape was anything like what we were to experience ahead, then there’s no doubt this was going to be one fantastic trip!
Grant & Linda
My Aussie Travel Guide