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The push to reach the final destination was ready to begin. I’d travelled thousands of kilometres to get this far and I wasn’t going to give in now. The final border crossing had been successful a couple of days before; all that’s left is to tackle the wonders of the Western Australian outback before reaching the stunning beauty of the Coral Coast. Would I make it?

Having struggled along the Gary Highway for what seemed like days, it was only hours. The track was tight and in poor condition in many sections; the Prado copped a beating from the bushes and trees leaving deep cuts in the skin of the vehicle. Upon reaching the Tropic of Capricorn, I was surprised with a plaque standing tall among the spinifex. Harry the Happily Made Monkey couldn’t contain his excitement and was posing before I even had a chance to grab my camera.

CAPRICORN CROSSING

STAGE 3

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

The wonders of Western Australian will blow you away

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TRAVEL

The outdoor office where all the writing is done

BELOW And two years later it had moved, so who’s GPS was wrong?

LEFT The Talawana Track was a test for the vehicle, Harry and me

NEW 12TH EDITION AUSTRALIA
ROAD & 4WD ATLASES

HEMA HX-1 NAVIGATOR
THE ULTIMATE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM

Proudly Sponsored by
Hema Explorer App
hemamaps.com

FIRST WE BUILT AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTS THEN WE BUILT AN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY NOW WE ARE BUILDING AN AUSTRALIAN BRAND DRIFTA… AN AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING COMPANY

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He was even more excited when we spotted a second plaque 50 metres further down the track. “What’s going on here?” Harry asked. I had to remind him that the position of the Tropic moves slightly each year as the Earth doesn’t spin in a perfect axis. Harry enquired, “Is that what is causing the ice caps to melt?” and I replied, “No Harry, the Earth is flat.”

With only a short distance to Windy Corner, onwards I went. Upon reaching the Talawana I turned west for the last time and headed for the Indian Ocean. A suitable campsite was located not too far along the Talawana and the swag rolled out; I was bushed.

After checking out several burnt-out vehicles on the side of the track, I soon crossed the Tropic; there was no plaque for Harry.  The conditions of the Talawana changed regularly, but it was smooth sailing in the long run. The everchanging landscape increased the splendour of this remote desert track. My heart was in my mouth as I crossed a damp salt pan just prior to reaching the Canning Stock Route, north of Well 24. I headed to Georgia Bore for the night; the Talawana is an awesome track, thanks Len Beadell!

Next morning, I was in two minds about heading on a 200km return trip down the CSR to reach the Tropic just south of Spring Creek. I was keen on seeing Lake Disappointment, but it was going to cost me a lot of fuel, $100 for a permit and stress on my vehicle. I’d also have to buy fuel first and that would be another 200km return run. Feeling disappointed, the nays won, and I continued along the Talawana Track towards the mining town of Newman.

Corrugations and tall spinifex dominate the eastern end of the Talawana

Georgia Bore is where decisions had to be made

The Western Australian deserts are just spectacular

lightforce.com

Fortune favours the brave,
but not the stupid.
See more,
stay in control.

Your adventure ends when you say it does. 

Striker LED for powerful night vision
Australian-made • High performance • Compact design

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Fuelling up at Parnngurr, I joined the long queue as CSR travellers detoured this way, then up through Karlamilyi National Park to the Telfer Mine Road, rejoining the CSR at Kunawarritji. The CSR was suffering from water over the track at Well 25 so was closed between there and Well 33. With tanks full and my bank account empty, the Talawana became a recently graded six-lane highway and I smashed the scenic drive to Newman, pulling into town as the night sky set in.

Thank goodness for the Hema HX-1 having navigator, as I had no idea where I was going. Hanging out for a nice bed, shower and flushing toilet, and having been guided to Oasis@Newman, I was relieved to be told there was a room available. Meryl checked me in quickly; I’m sure her eyes were watering from the obvious stench of a man who’d been in the desert for over a week.

The steaming shower washed away the dirt and grime of the desert, the orange coloured water disappearing down the drain; I finally felt clean. For a little extra coin, I headed to the restaurant and enjoyed an all you can eat buffet dinner. My plate was filled with cauliflower mornay and a load of other vegetables, something else my body was craving.

Crawling into a bed made with fresh, white sheets was a real Homer moment and I slept like an anvil. It was strange waking up at sunrise, without seeing it. As a bonus, by paying for a dinner and breakfast package, I received a discount. A plate full of bacon and eggs (cooked three different ways) and a strong coffee were in order and very much enjoyed. The perfect way to start a day.

There are some challenging tracks around Newman

And then the Talawana was a six-lane highway

The Capricorn Roadhouse was only a couple of kilometres south of Oasis and Harry was excited as I’d mentioned to him that there was a cairn at the Tropic. As you can imagine, Harry was shattered, and so was I, upon seeing it had been vandalised and the plaque was missing. This was a tragedy for us. The Capricorn Roadhouse is where the fuel drop for the Canning Stock Route was organised and they would send the truck out to drop them off when required. I don’t think this happens anymore with Kunawarritji and other communities supplying fuel along the Canning these days.

From here we wouldn’t cross the Tropic until close to our final destination as it dissects few roads. We would get to explore some amazing places though as we neared the west coast. The stunning Karijini National Park and the pristine Coral Coast, just to highlight a couple. Western Australia is an amazingly beautiful state with many hidden treasures.

Warroora Station was where I was heading, where the Tropic of Capricorn leaves our continent and continues across the Indian Ocean. It was from here that Andrew Harper began his challenging crossing of Australia along the Tropic of Capricorn with three camels in 1999. When I had contacted the Station to gain permission to complete my crossing, the McLeod Family couldn’t have been more receptive and accommodating.

I nearly missed the Tropic sign on the Great Northern Highway, only just pulling over in time. I startled a young family who were using the nearby bushes to relieve themselves and had to wait while they took their family snap under the sign. A couple of gung-ho camper trailer owners screamed into the roadside as well, leaving us all in a cloud of dust. They tried to push in, but Harry was having none of that and climbed the sign pole before they had a chance to become bigger tools than they already were.

With happy snaps taken at the final TOC sign, the bitumen led me to the turnoff to Warroora Station. The graded track ended at the old homestead, where I was greeted by Harry the Fencer. A true outback character, with tobacco-stained moustache and long peppery beard, there was still a strong glint in his eyes.

Harry, meet Harry

The rocky outcrops rise above the spinifex

Harry was shattered by the thoughtless act of vandals

The coastline near where my journey would end

Arriving in Australia from Sweden in the 1960s, he landed in Carnarvon and worked the local stations for years. Now, he arrives at Warroora during the school holidays to man the store then returns home to Carnarvon to recover. I settled into my room in the old shearers quarters and the night sky was dark. It was Friday 13th and even with no moon, the wild dogs howled into the night.

I awoke with a start, it was the final day. Today I would head for the beach where my bottle would be filled, the salty waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans shaken, not stirred. I listened to the directions from Marty and proceeded to drive the sandy tracks to the secret shack at Nev’s Corner. I might be the last person to be given permission to access this spot as the McLeod family may lose all their coastal frontage, including their campgrounds, to Western Australia National Parks, meaning restrictions will be put into place.

Parking the Prado next to the shack, Harry and I made our way down to the beach on the Ningaloo Coast. The coordinates were double checked, and I entered the water with my water bottle, filled it and then walked back to where I had parked. It was a surreal feeling as my mind relived the memories of the journey. The places, the tracks, the people, an amazing challenge completed. The beer tasted wonderful and with smiles, Harry and I hugged. “Well,” said Harry. “Where to next?” That, my friends, is something you will have to wait on.

Where did Harry come from?
Happily Made Monkeys is an initiative of Veronica Sherman. Having spent time living in Cambodia with her family, she was drawn to helping the single mothers and their children living in poverty. Connecting with a group of Cambodian women who knitted, Veronica came up with an ethical solution that would help them escape the poverty cycle by earning an income from their creations.

Veronica came up with the idea of a monkey in the back of a tuk-tuk and with a lot of hard work and anxiety, the rest is history. You can help the cause by purchasing your own Happily Made Monkey, but you must be willing to love it, take it on your travels and post about it on social media. Harry, Veronica and the women who knit the monkeys will be extremely grateful.

As I neared the beach, I felt a strange sense of satisfaction

Nev’s Corner was near our final destination

DESTINATION DETAILS
WHERE: Pilbara and Coral Coast, Western Australia. Coast to coast, the Tropic of Capricorn covers 3780km, however driving it adds close to 2000km.

SUPPLIES & FACILITIES: Fuel and limited supplies are available at Kunawarritji and Parnngurr. Times are generally Monday to Friday daylight hours and Saturday morning. Newman has all the facilities you may need, except a car wash. The closest towns to Warroora are Exmouth in the north and Carnarvon to the south.

CAMPING: There’s camping at Well 33 and Georgia Bore on the CSR as well as many bush camps along the Gary Highway and Talawana Track. The Hema HX-1, Hema apps and Hema maps all have suitable camp spots marked.

Newman has a limited number of places to camp: Oasis@Newman has rooms, powered, unpowered and bush sites. Clean ablutions, free laundry facilities, dining room and recreation room.
Whaleback Village Caravan Park (phone 04 0770 3340) has rooms, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen clean ablutions and free laundry facilities. Site numbers are limited.
Warroora Station has designated beach camping sites, shearers quarters, cottages and the old homestead. Chemical toilets are required at all beach camping sites and can be hired from the office.

BEST TIME: Milder months from May to September.

TRIP STANDARD: The Gary Highway and Talawana Track are extremely remote, with severe corrugations, washouts, soft sand and salt pans. You will need to be self-reliant, have suitable recovery gear, satellite phone/HF Radio, EPIRB, remote first aid kit, extra food and water. Your vehicle will be severely scratched by the end of the track. Travelling solo is not recommended.

From Newman to the coast, the road is bitumen. The tracks around Warroora are best tackled with a high-clearance vehicle and all sites except 14 Mile are 4WD only.

TRAVEL

CAPRICORN CROSSING

STAGE 3

The wonders of Western Australian will blow you away

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

SCROLL DOWN

The push to reach the final destination was ready to begin. I’d travelled thousands of kilometres to get this far and I wasn’t going to give in now. The final border crossing had been successful a couple of days before; all that’s left is to tackle the wonders of the Western Australian outback before reaching the stunning beauty of the Coral Coast. Would I make it?

Having struggled along the Gary Highway for what seemed like days, it was only hours. The track was tight and in poor condition in many sections; the Prado copped a beating from the bushes and trees leaving deep cuts in the skin of the vehicle. Upon reaching the Tropic of Capricorn, I was surprised with a plaque standing tall among the spinifex. Harry the Happily Made Monkey couldn’t contain his excitement and was posing before I even had a chance to grab my camera.

The outdoor office where all the writing is done

BELOW And two years later it had moved, so who’s GPS was wrong?

LEFT The Talawana Track was a test for the vehicle, Harry and me

HEMA HX-1 NAVIGATOR
THE ULTIMATE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM

NEW 12TH EDITION AUSTRALIA
ROAD & 4WD ATLASES

Proudly Sponsored by
Hema Explorer App
hemamaps.com

He was even more excited when we spotted a second plaque 50 metres further down the track. “What’s going on here?” Harry asked. I had to remind him that the position of the Tropic moves slightly each year as the Earth doesn’t spin in a perfect axis. Harry enquired, “Is that what is causing the ice caps to melt?” and I replied, “No Harry, the Earth is flat.”

With only a short distance to Windy Corner, onwards I went. Upon reaching the Talawana I turned west for the last time and headed for the Indian Ocean. A suitable campsite was located not too far along the Talawana and the swag rolled out; I was bushed.

Corrugations and tall spinifex dominate the eastern end of the Talawana

Georgia Bore is where decisions had to be made

After checking out several burnt-out vehicles on the side of the track, I soon crossed the Tropic; there was no plaque for Harry.  The conditions of the Talawana changed regularly, but it was smooth sailing in the long run. The everchanging landscape increased the splendour of this remote desert track. My heart was in my mouth as I crossed a damp salt pan just prior to reaching the Canning Stock Route, north of Well 24. I headed to Georgia Bore for the night; the Talawana is an awesome track, thanks Len Beadell!

Next morning, I was in two minds about heading on a 200km return trip down the CSR to reach the Tropic just south of Spring Creek. I was keen on seeing Lake Disappointment, but it was going to cost me a lot of fuel, $100 for a permit and stress on my vehicle. I’d also have to buy fuel first and that would be another 200km return run. Feeling disappointed, the nays won, and I continued along the Talawana Track towards the mining town of Newman.

The Western Australian deserts are just spectacular

Fortune favours the brave,
but not the stupid.
See more,
stay in control.

Your adventure ends when you say it does. 

Striker LED for powerful night vision
Australian-made • High performance • Compact design

lightforce.com

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Fuelling up at Parnngurr, I joined the long queue as CSR travellers detoured this way, then up through Karlamilyi National Park to the Telfer Mine Road, rejoining the CSR at Kunawarritji. The CSR was suffering from water over the track at Well 25 so was closed between there and Well 33. With tanks full and my bank account empty, the Talawana became a recently graded six-lane highway and I smashed the scenic drive to Newman, pulling into town as the night sky set in.

Thank goodness for the Hema HX-1 having navigator, as I had no idea where I was going. Hanging out for a nice bed, shower and flushing toilet, and having been guided to Oasis@Newman, I was relieved to be told there was a room available. Meryl checked me in quickly; I’m sure her eyes were watering from the obvious stench of a man who’d been in the desert for over a week.

There are some challenging tracks around Newman

The steaming shower washed away the dirt and grime of the desert, the orange coloured water disappearing down the drain; I finally felt clean. For a little extra coin, I headed to the restaurant and enjoyed an all you can eat buffet dinner. My plate was filled with cauliflower mornay and a load of other vegetables, something else my body was craving.

Crawling into a bed made with fresh, white sheets was a real Homer moment and I slept like an anvil. It was strange waking up at sunrise, without seeing it. As a bonus, by paying for a dinner and breakfast package, I received a discount. A plate full of bacon and eggs (cooked three different ways) and a strong coffee were in order and very much enjoyed. The perfect way to start a day.

And then the Talawana was a six-lane highway

The Capricorn Roadhouse was only a couple of kilometres south of Oasis and Harry was excited as I’d mentioned to him that there was a cairn at the Tropic. As you can imagine, Harry was shattered, and so was I, upon seeing it had been vandalised and the plaque was missing. This was a tragedy for us. The Capricorn Roadhouse is where the fuel drop for the Canning Stock Route was organised and they would send the truck out to drop them off when required. I don’t think this happens anymore with Kunawarritji and other communities supplying fuel along the Canning these days.

From here we wouldn’t cross the Tropic until close to our final destination as it dissects few roads. We would get to explore some amazing places though as we neared the west coast. The stunning Karijini National Park and the pristine Coral Coast, just to highlight a couple. Western Australia is an amazingly beautiful state with many hidden treasures.

Harry, meet Harry

Harry was shattered by the thoughtless act of vandals

Warroora Station was where I was heading, where the Tropic of Capricorn leaves our continent and continues across the Indian Ocean. It was from here that Andrew Harper began his challenging crossing of Australia along the Tropic of Capricorn with three camels in 1999. When I had contacted the Station to gain permission to complete my crossing, the McLeod Family couldn’t have been more receptive and accommodating.

I nearly missed the Tropic sign on the Great Northern Highway, only just pulling over in time. I startled a young family who were using the nearby bushes to relieve themselves and had to wait while they took their family snap under the sign. A couple of gung-ho camper trailer owners screamed into the roadside as well, leaving us all in a cloud of dust. They tried to push in, but Harry was having none of that and climbed the sign pole before they had a chance to become bigger tools than they already were.

With happy snaps taken at the final TOC sign, the bitumen led me to the turnoff to Warroora Station. The graded track ended at the old homestead, where I was greeted by Harry the Fencer. A true outback character, with tobacco-stained moustache and long peppery beard, there was still a strong glint in his eyes.

The rocky outcrops rise above the spinifex

Arriving in Australia from Sweden in the 1960s, he landed in Carnarvon and worked the local stations for years. Now, he arrives at Warroora during the school holidays to man the store then returns home to Carnarvon to recover. I settled into my room in the old shearers quarters and the night sky was dark. It was Friday 13th and even with no moon, the wild dogs howled into the night.

I awoke with a start, it was the final day. Today I would head for the beach where my bottle would be filled, the salty waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans shaken, not stirred. I listened to the directions from Marty and proceeded to drive the sandy tracks to the secret shack at Nev’s Corner. I might be the last person to be given permission to access this spot as the McLeod family may lose all their coastal frontage, including their campgrounds, to Western Australia National Parks, meaning restrictions will be put into place.

Parking the Prado next to the shack, Harry and I made our way down to the beach on the Ningaloo Coast. The coordinates were double checked, and I entered the water with my water bottle, filled it and then walked back to where I had parked. It was a surreal feeling as my mind relived the memories of the journey. The places, the tracks, the people, an amazing challenge completed. The beer tasted wonderful and with smiles, Harry and I hugged. “Well,” said Harry. “Where to next?” That, my friends, is something you will have to wait on.

As I neared the beach, I felt a strange sense of satisfaction

Where did Harry come from?
Happily Made Monkeys is an initiative of Veronica Sherman. Having spent time living in Cambodia with her family, she was drawn to helping the single mothers and their children living in poverty. Connecting with a group of Cambodian women who knitted, Veronica came up with an ethical solution that would help them escape the poverty cycle by earning an income from their creations.

Veronica came up with the idea of a monkey in the back of a tuk-tuk and with a lot of hard work and anxiety, the rest is history. You can help the cause by purchasing your own Happily Made Monkey, but you must be willing to love it, take it on your travels and post about it on social media. Harry, Veronica and the women who knit the monkeys will be extremely grateful.

Nev’s Corner was near our final destination

The coastline near where my journey would end

DESTINATION DETAILS
WHERE: Pilbara and Coral Coast, Western Australia. Coast to coast, the Tropic of Capricorn covers 3780km, however driving it adds close to 2000km.

SUPPLIES & FACILITIES: Fuel and limited supplies are available at Kunawarritji and Parnngurr. Times are generally Monday to Friday daylight hours and Saturday morning. Newman has all the facilities you may need, except a car wash. The closest towns to Warroora are Exmouth in the north and Carnarvon to the south.

CAMPING: There’s camping at Well 33 and Georgia Bore on the CSR as well as many bush camps along the Gary Highway and Talawana Track. The Hema HX-1, Hema apps and Hema maps all have suitable camp spots marked.

Newman has a limited number of places to camp: Oasis@Newman has rooms, powered, unpowered and bush sites. Clean ablutions, free laundry facilities, dining room and recreation room.
Whaleback Village Caravan Park (phone 04 0770 3340) has rooms, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen clean ablutions and free laundry facilities. Site numbers are limited.
Warroora Station has designated beach camping sites, shearers quarters, cottages and the old homestead. Chemical toilets are required at all beach camping sites and can be hired from the office.

BEST TIME: Milder months from May to September.

TRIP STANDARD: The Gary Highway and Talawana Track are extremely remote, with severe corrugations, washouts, soft sand and salt pans. You will need to be self-reliant, have suitable recovery gear, satellite phone/HF Radio, EPIRB, remote first aid kit, extra food and water. Your vehicle will be severely scratched by the end of the track. Travelling solo is not recommended.

From Newman to the coast, the road is bitumen. The tracks around Warroora are best tackled with a high-clearance vehicle and all sites except 14 Mile are 4WD only.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT