Dry lakes and bulldust

Friday 39 October

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Spent 2 days in Mt Magnet. Like a lot of towns in this area the town once serviced a thriving pastoral industry now it is mainly a base for mining activity. We stocked up on supplies and did the washing. The caravan park was cheap, had a piece of grass to camp on and had some of the best amenities we have seen. The only down side was the road trains carrying ore that came through town regularly day and night.

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Wildflowers are still with us but only in certain areas as we are now starting to get into desert country. Wildlife has been prolific, emus, feral goats and monitor lizards in abundance.

Made for Sandstone after Mt Magnet. This is a small town, with a general store, tourist information centre, caravan park and hotel yet it is the shire centre. A lot of effort has gone into making this town attractive and it has a really informative heritage parkPA280015.

Just out of town was this old ore stamper used for gold extraction. Sandstone is surrounded by old mining relics yet the town, like many others was once the hub for pastoral enterprises.

Our map showed a track from Sandstone to Menzies (south east 300 kilometres) which looked interesting so after being told that it should be okay off we went.

PA280022    The track turned out to be in excellent condition. It was obvious that it was well maintained for both stock road trains and mining supplies. In fact it was more a dirt highway than a track, just with lots and lots of bulldust.

There were even some trees instead of just the low lying scrub that we had become used to! It was great to be able to stop in some shade for the mid day meal as the temperature even in the shade was 38 degrees.

PA280020Half way along the road we crossed Lake Noondie (photo left). When full this would have been about 60 kilometres long by 10 wide. However at the moment it is virtually a dry salt pan with only some pools of salty water.

We then skirted Lake Barlee an even larger lake but this was also dry.

This track would become a quagmire in even the slightest rain and of course is closed at the first sniff of rain.

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Near the end of the track is Lake Ballard on which is a sculpture arrangement. Very strange. Called “Inside Australia” there are 51 stainless steel stylised representation of inhabitants of Menzies planted around the lake. You can see some of the sculptures to the front and on each side of the island in the photo.

We did not venture onto the lake surface to look closely at these sculptures as it was over 40 degrees with a very strong hot wind blowing.

We made Menzies about 1700 and decided to stay at the caravan park for the night before heading off to Kalgoorlie in the morning.

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