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As I dropped my tyre pressures for the thousandth time this year, I started to wonder why is it that I always get a kick out of travelling the outback on my Pat Malone? I also wondered why Stanley ‘Goog’ Denton decided to carve a sandy track in this neck of the woods…

A straight gravel road and golden wheat fields. The coffee kicked in and I felt truly alive. It’s exciting being remote and alone. The adrenaline kicks in at strange times. Noises, rustles, shadows.

The flies, all shapes and sizes, annoy and frustrate; a fly net and some ‘Bugger Off’ provide mild relief. As I follow in Goog’s footsteps into Yumbarra Reserve, the landscape is relatively flat, but scarred by fire. The dunes soon started, the first of 363 on this trek, also referred to as a mini Simpson Desert crossing.

DO I LOSE MY SANITY WHEN I TRAVEL SOLO?

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

My passion for travel and the frequency in which I do it means I’m by myself a hell of a lot.

NEW 12TH EDITION AUSTRALIA
ROAD & 4WD ATLASES

HEMA HX-1 NAVIGATOR
THE ULTIMATE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM

Proudly Sponsored by
Hema Explorer App
hemamaps.com

TRAVEL Googs Track

Sleeps 5-10+
Full Height 2 Room Tent
Certified Fire Rating To CPAI-84

ADVERTISEMENT

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

BELOW Not much water left in this arid environment

I’d been listening to the discussions between two vehicles on UHF channel 18, the channel required to be used on this track; they appeared to be moving along the track towards Mount Finke. I set up camp overlooking Lake Goog and relaxed in the shade of my awning with a bunch of friendly flies as the temperature reached 32°C. There was a good amount of wood left at the campsite, and with my collection, a good fire was going to be possible tonight. I sat and watched the sunset and the moon rise, a darkening sky filling with twinkling stars.

Footsteps on my swag woke me. Probably a field mouse or something small, but in my mind, it was a massive bird-eating spider roosting on my swag! Oh, and I’d left a window open on the Prado!

BELOW Mount Finke soars above the sand dunes

The further north I travelled, the larger the dunes became but the going was good and the good was going. It is spinifex and Mallee country. My map showed a short side track to a rock hole, currently with only a brackish puddle remaining. The track wasn’t signposted.

On reaching the memorials I spent time reflecting on the efforts of Stanley and son Martin to link his property of Lone Oak with a track from Tarcoola to Mount Finke. The love of the bush, the love of driving a grader blade through scrubland and over soft sand dunes, the love of the outback.

My frustration with online bookings for campsites was exacerbated when I couldn’t find the campground I had paid for. I drove a long way around Googs Lake and found three other camping areas – they were well signposted but were booked out. Funny that I’m the only one out here yet there was only one campsite available. It’s a debacle of a system and I’d be interested to know how many people say “stuff it” and either not pay or just camp in the best spot they find.

BELOW FROM LEFT G’day mate! // You can see the mind turning as I relax in front of the fire // A time to reflect on what an epic track Goog carved

"The mind can play tricks when you’re on your own. Remote, sat phone not working properly, noises, whispers in the wind."

ABOVE Lots of room to camp at Googs Lake

Do I ever get the heeby geebys? Bloody oath. Lying in my swag, the wind moves through the trees and makes the sound of a vehicle approaching. There isn’t one. Or the light shining in the distance that disappears when you stare at it. There is no one else about, or is there? Thanks, Wolf Creek! The mind can play tricks when you’re on your own. Remote, sat phone not working properly, noises, whispers in the wind.

Then you wake up next morning, alive and well with nought but a mozzie bite. How lucky we are in Oz that we don’t have any wild animals able to attack us when we are asleep except for salties, maybe a wild boar, buffalo, human or even the dreaded drop bear.

Up early to beat the flies and the bush bees, it took five litres of water to quell still-hot coals. Back on Googs Track, the dunes grew in stature and difficulty. The southern face of the dunes were severely scalloped, washing off telling amounts of momentum. This damage is caused by inexperienced 4X4 drivers who don’t drop their tyre pressures enough and use too much right boot trying to get over the dune. As the wheels spin, they tear up the dune and every other driver that follows then adds to the problem. I dropped more air out of my tyres and tightened the straps holding my gear on the roof rack.

What if I get stuck? Do I really want to dig myself out? What if my vehicle fails me? Why not stop asking questions and enjoy the experience for what it is?

BELOW Sunset surprise

"Four shovels out, two shovels back in, I was knackered. I couldn’t winch my way out, there were no trees big enough to attach to. The sand was so soft, I couldn’t get my Treds under the wheels enough. Keep digging."

Defect – Where the installation has not been carried out in accordance with the product manual,  using dedicated wiring from a single battery supply, there is potential at any time for no trailer brake output indicated by a flashing yellow/red warning lamp. 

Hazard – When towing, the braking distance of the tow vehicle and trailer may be increased and that could lead to a risk of a car accident.

What to do – Affected customers should contact REDARC Electronics by calling 1800 733 272 or 08 8322 4848, 8am‑5:30pm Mon-Fri (ACST), or by email at service@redarc.com.au or visit the REDARC website -
www.redarc.com.au/recall‑notice.

If a consumer is affected, they should either go back to their installer to seek free repair or call REDARC Electronics Technical Support line to receive details on a dealer network to arrange a free repair.

If the Tow-Pro V2 electric trailer brake controller is not installed in a vehicle, the consumer should contact REDARC to arrange a free replacement.

Customers can also contact REDARC Electronics at
www.redarc.com.au/recall-notice and check, using the serial number checking tool, if their product is in the affected batch.

I wasn’t concentrating and lost momentum. I got stuck. It was a big dune and the sand extremely soft. One more foot. One more foot and I would’ve breached the crest. That one foot earned me a couple hours of digging. Four shovels out, two shovels back in, I was knackered. I couldn’t winch my way out, there were no trees big enough to attach to. The sand was so soft, I couldn’t get my Treds under the wheels enough. Keep digging.

Every 10 minutes I’d call on the radio while catching my breath and quenching my thirst. Every 10 minutes. After 45 minutes I finally reached the two vehicles that I thought were ahead of me. When I gave them my coordinates, it turned out they were behind me and only 3km away. Within minutes the lead vehicle had reversed up and snatched me out with ease – that’s how close I was to extracting myself.

Once I was extracted from my predicament, I left my tyre pressures as they were, 18psi all round, and made it up and over the dune in first gear high. This gave me the torque I need to get up and over and continue on my way, having thanked my rescuers.

The rest of the journey to Mount Finke was uneventful, only some chatter on the UHF with a group of vehicles who were heading south towards me. I turned off the main track to check out Mount Finke and never did see any other vehicles. It was still early in the day, so after sending the drone up to capture some footage of Mount Finke, I continued, returning to Googs Track having crossed some salt flats. It would be treacherous when wet.

From here the sand was deeper and the track was in a terrible shape. Corrugations in the swales, up the dune faces and down the other side. Scalloped sand, rough and slow-going. It is frustrating how much damage ignorance can cause. Was my sanity wearing thin?

ABOVE I successfully reached the Trans-Australian Railway // BELOW After a good night’s sleep, it was time to farewell Kingoonya and find my next adventure

Googs Track officially ends on the northern side of the Trans-Australian Railway where it intersects with the Trans Access Road. As I aired up my tyres, I was startled by the Dog Man, the fella who spends his days repairing a 200km stretch of the dog fence. He was up for a chat and I don’t blame him seeing as he hadn’t spoken to a fellow human being for nearly a week. Camels are his main concern; they destroy the fence when they trample through. He hadn’t seen any for a while though.

I pushed on the final 133km to the Kingoonya Hotel, playing catch up with a goods train as it slowed through Tarcoola. Rumour has it the Tarcoola Hotel might be reopened soon; that wouldn’t be a bad thing, surely? As I washed the dust from my throat with a cold one in the bar of the Kingoonya Hotel, I smiled knowing that my sanity was still intact and I was bloody happy and bloody lucky to be travelling solo.

ABOVE 
Night falls on Kingoonya

ABOVE 
Wildflowers dotted the track

ABOVE 
I love exploring on my own

ABOVE 
Passing through the dog fence means it’s time to reduce tyre pressures

DESTINATION DETAILS

REGION: Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

NEAREST TOWN: To the south, Ceduna is located 30km from the Yumbarra Conservation Park. From the north, it is 381km to Coober Pedy or 414km to Port Augusta from Tarcoola. Fuel is available at Kingoonya.

WHEN TO GO: The cooler months from April to September are the best times, but access may close after rain. The warmer months bring native bees that are attracted to water.

ACCOMMODATION: Camping permits are required to camp in Yumbarra Conservation Reserve (at Googs Lake) and in Yellabinna Regional Reserve (at Mount Finke). There is a pit toilet at Callitris Campground at Googs Lake, otherwise, there are no facilities.

WHAT TO TAKE: This is remote country and you will need to be self-sufficient. You will need a satellite phone or HF radio, compressor and tyre gauge, tyre repair kit, first aid kit, firewood, food and water. Take out what you take in (except wood of course).

DIFFICULTY: Googs Track is not maintained and is severely corrugated with rough conditions, especially on the southern side of the dunes. The sand is deep and soft on many dunes so high clearance 4X4 vehicles are required.

CONTACTS:
National Parks SA - Yumbarra Conservation Reserve
National Parks SA - Yellabinna Regional Reserve
Kingoonya Hotel

BELOW Googs Track stretches as far as the eye can see

DO I LOSE MY SANITY WHEN I TRAVEL SOLO?

My passion for travel and the frequency in which I do it means I’m by myself a hell of a lot.

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

As I dropped my tyre pressures for the thousandth time this year, I started to wonder why is it that I always get a kick out of travelling the outback on my Pat Malone? I also wondered why Stanley ‘Goog’ Denton decided to carve a sandy track in this neck of the woods…

A straight gravel road and golden wheat fields. The coffee kicked in and I felt truly alive. It’s exciting being remote and alone. The adrenaline kicks in at strange times. Noises, rustles, shadows.

The flies, all shapes and sizes, annoy and frustrate; a fly net and some ‘Bugger Off’ provide mild relief. As I follow in Goog’s footsteps into Yumbarra Reserve, the landscape is relatively flat, but scarred by fire. The dunes soon started, the first of 363 on this trek, also referred to as a mini Simpson Desert crossing.

HEMA HX-1 NAVIGATOR
THE ULTIMATE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM

NEW 12TH EDITION AUSTRALIA
ROAD & 4WD ATLASES

Proudly Sponsored by
Hema Explorer App
hemamaps.com

TRAVEL Googs Track

Sleeps 5-10+
Full Height 2 Room Tent
Certified Fire Rating To CPAI-84

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

BELOW Not much water left in this arid environment

The further north I travelled, the larger the dunes became but the going was good and the good was going. It is spinifex and Mallee country. My map showed a short side track to a rock hole, currently with only a brackish puddle remaining. The track wasn’t signposted.

On reaching the memorials I spent time reflecting on the efforts of Stanley and son Martin to link his property of Lone Oak with a track from Tarcoola to Mount Finke. The love of the bush, the love of driving a grader blade through scrubland and over soft sand dunes, the love of the outback.

My frustration with online bookings for campsites was exacerbated when I couldn’t find the campground I had paid for. I drove a long way around Googs Lake and found three other camping areas – they were well signposted but were booked out. Funny that I’m the only one out here yet there was only one campsite available. It’s a debacle of a system and I’d be interested to know how many people say “stuff it” and either not pay or just camp in the best spot they find.

BELOW Mount Finke soars above the sand dunes

I’d been listening to the discussions between two vehicles on UHF channel 18, the channel required to be used on this track; they appeared to be moving along the track towards Mount Finke. I set up camp overlooking Lake Goog and relaxed in the shade of my awning with a bunch of friendly flies as the temperature reached 32°C. There was a good amount of wood left at the campsite, and with my collection, a good fire was going to be possible tonight. I sat and watched the sunset and the moon rise, a darkening sky filling with twinkling stars.

Footsteps on my swag woke me. Probably a field mouse or something small, but in my mind, it was a massive bird-eating spider roosting on my swag! Oh, and I’d left a window open on the Prado!

BELOW G’day mate! // You can see the mind turning as I relax in front of the fire // A time to reflect on what an epic track Goog carved

"The mind can play tricks when you’re on your own. Remote, sat phone not working properly, noises, whispers in the wind."

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Up early to beat the flies and the bush bees, it took five litres of water to quell still-hot coals. Back on Googs Track, the dunes grew in stature and difficulty. The southern face of the dunes were severely scalloped, washing off telling amounts of momentum. This damage is caused by inexperienced 4X4 drivers who don’t drop their tyre pressures enough and use too much right boot trying to get over the dune. As the wheels spin, they tear up the dune and every other driver that follows then adds to the problem. I dropped more air out of my tyres and tightened the straps holding my gear on the roof rack.

What if I get stuck? Do I really want to dig myself out? What if my vehicle fails me? Why not stop asking questions and enjoy the experience for what it is?

Do I ever get the heeby geebys? Bloody oath. Lying in my swag, the wind moves through the trees and makes the sound of a vehicle approaching. There isn’t one. Or the light shining in the distance that disappears when you stare at it. There is no one else about, or is there? Thanks, Wolf Creek! The mind can play tricks when you’re on your own. Remote, sat phone not working properly, noises, whispers in the wind.

Then you wake up next morning, alive and well with nought but a mozzie bite. How lucky we are in Oz that we don’t have any wild animals able to attack us when we are asleep except for salties, maybe a wild boar, buffalo, human or even the dreaded drop bear.

BELOW Sunset surprise

ABOVE Lots of room to camp at Googs Lake

"Four shovels out, two shovels back in, I was knackered. I couldn’t winch my way out, there were no trees big enough to attach to. The sand was so soft, I couldn’t get my Treds under the wheels enough. Keep digging."

Defect – Where the installation has not been carried out in accordance with the product manual,  using dedicated wiring from a single battery supply, there is potential at any time for no trailer brake output indicated by a flashing yellow/red warning lamp.
Hazard – When towing, the braking distance of the tow vehicle and trailer may be increased and that could lead to a risk of a car accident.
What to do – Affected customers should contact REDARC Electronics by calling 1800 733 272 or 08 8322 4848, 8am‑5:30pm Mon-Fri (ACST), or by email at service@redarc.com.au or visit the REDARC website -
www.redarc.com.au/recall‑notice.
If a consumer is affected, they should either go back to their installer to seek free repair or call REDARC Electronics Technical Support line to receive details on a dealer network to arrange a free repair.
If the Tow-Pro V2 electric trailer brake controller is not installed in a vehicle, the consumer should contact REDARC to arrange a free replacement.
Customers can also contact REDARC Electronics at www.redarc.com.au/recall-notice and check, using the serial number checking tool, if their product is in the affected batch.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

I wasn’t concentrating and lost momentum. I got stuck. It was a big dune and the sand extremely soft. One more foot. One more foot and I would’ve breached the crest. That one foot earned me a couple hours of digging. Four shovels out, two shovels back in, I was knackered. I couldn’t winch my way out, there were no trees big enough to attach to. The sand was so soft, I couldn’t get my Treds under the wheels enough. Keep digging.

Every 10 minutes I’d call on the radio while catching my breath and quenching my thirst. Every 10 minutes. After 45 minutes I finally reached the two vehicles that I thought were ahead of me. When I gave them my coordinates, it turned out they were behind me and only 3km away. Within minutes the lead vehicle had reversed up and snatched me out with ease – that’s how close I was to extracting myself.

Once I was extracted from my predicament, I left my tyre pressures as they were, 18psi all round, and made it up and over the dune in first gear high. This gave me the torque I need to get up and over and continue on my way, having thanked my rescuers.

The rest of the journey to Mount Finke was uneventful, only some chatter on the UHF with a group of vehicles who were heading south towards me. I turned off the main track to check out Mount Finke and never did see any other vehicles. It was still early in the day, so after sending the drone up to capture some footage of Mount Finke, I continued, returning to Googs Track having crossed some salt flats. It would be treacherous when wet.

From here the sand was deeper and the track was in a terrible shape. Corrugations in the swales, up the dune faces and down the other side. Scalloped sand, rough and slow-going. It is frustrating how much damage ignorance can cause. Was my sanity wearing thin?

ABOVE I successfully reached the Trans-Australian Railway // BELOW After a good night’s sleep, it was time to farewell Kingoonya and find my next adventure

Googs Track officially ends on the northern side of the Trans-Australian Railway where it intersects with the Trans Access Road. As I aired up my tyres, I was startled by the Dog Man, the fella who spends his days repairing a 200km stretch of the dog fence. He was up for a chat and I don’t blame him seeing as he hadn’t spoken to a fellow human being for nearly a week. Camels are his main concern; they destroy the fence when they trample through. He hadn’t seen any for a while though.

I pushed on the final 133km to the Kingoonya Hotel, playing catch up with a goods train as it slowed through Tarcoola. Rumour has it the Tarcoola Hotel might be reopened soon; that wouldn’t be a bad thing, surely? As I washed the dust from my throat with a cold one in the bar of the Kingoonya Hotel, I smiled knowing that my sanity was still intact and I was bloody happy and bloody lucky to be travelling solo.

ABOVE 
Passing through the dog fence means it’s time to reduce tyre pressures

ABOVE 
I love exploring on my own

ABOVE 
Night falls on Kingoonya

ABOVE 
Wildflowers dotted the track

BELOW Googs Track stretches as far as the eye can see

DESTINATION DETAILS

REGION: Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

NEAREST TOWN: To the south, Ceduna is located 30km from the Yumbarra Conservation Park. From the north, it is 381km to Coober Pedy or 414km to Port Augusta from Tarcoola. Fuel is available at Kingoonya.

WHEN TO GO: The cooler months from April to September are the best times, but access may close after rain. The warmer months bring native bees that are attracted to water.

ACCOMMODATION: Camping permits are required to camp in Yumbarra Conservation Reserve (at Googs Lake) and in Yellabinna Regional Reserve (at Mount Finke). There is a pit toilet at Callitris Campground at Googs Lake, otherwise, there are no facilities.

WHAT TO TAKE: This is remote country and you will need to be self-sufficient. You will need a satellite phone or HF radio, compressor and tyre gauge, tyre repair kit, first aid kit, firewood, food and water. Take out what you take in (except wood of course).

DIFFICULTY: Googs Track is not maintained and is severely corrugated with rough conditions, especially on the southern side of the dunes. The sand is deep and soft on many dunes so high clearance 4X4 vehicles are required.

CONTACTS:
National Parks SA - Yumbarra Conservation Reserve
National Parks SA - Yellabinna Regional Reserve
Kingoonya Hotel