Mud and Trees, challenges of the Southern Goldfields

Day 1 Perth to McDermid Rock,

Friday, 22nd January 2016

Another long weekend and another opportunity to leave the city behind so we’re going to clear some trees along the Old Hyden – Norseman Road. There had been some rain out in the Southern Goldfields but not enough to cause any dramas with mud or deep water. At the moment we do not have a snorkel fitted to the Pajero however with the Cooper AT3s and with its proven traction in mud from our previous trips, the mud would have to be pretty bad to cause us any problems.

As we were heading out along Brookton Hwy, about 40kms from home, we saw a shape up ahead on the road. It looked like an eagle but we haven’t seen Eagles ( or Dockers ) out this way for about 30 odd years and reasoned it may be a goshawk or kite. We slowed a little as we approached to give it time to fly off. As we got closer it took off and we saw its unmistakable tail which confirmed is was in fact a wedge tailed eagle. Unfortunately there was a vehicle coming up behind us and a couple coming toward us so we didn’t get a photo but we were glad we saw it.

They’re magnificent birds with adults having a wing span of up to 2.3mts. The female is larger than the male and adults tend to be very dark brown/black while juveniles and young adults are lighter in color. When in flight they’re easily distinguished from the Little Eagle by looking at the tail. Both are found all over Australia. As a result of vehicles hitting mammals and smaller birds the wedge tail will feed on carrion and this can unfortunately bring about it’s own demise if the carrion is on or close to the road. Due to their large wing span they need a fair bit of time to take off and gain a safe height, this is why we always slow down when we see them feeding on or near the side of the road. We ask you to please do the same.

We continued on to Hyden where we topped up the tank and headed for McDermid Rock, our camp for the night. We arrived with a few hours to spare before sunset so relaxed taking photos of the local wildlife. We saw Crested Dragons, a Purple Gaped Honeyeater, a pair of Bull Skinks who lived in the cracks under our concrete table and a Stink Bug.

Where possible we like to bush camp but McDermid Rock is also a nice place to camp. There is an enviro toilet and 3 or 4 camp sites. If you have time take the walk trail to the top of McDermid Rock and enjoy views, they also have information signs along the way. Once at the top the view is good especially as sunset. We walked up to get some sunset photos and were surprised by the amount of gnamma holes with water still in them. We were a couple of days short of the full moon however we did get some photos of the moon while the sun was setting. On the way back to camp we spotted a Granite Bottlebrush and in the fading light grabbed a photo.

Back at camp we had tea and relaxed enjoying the evening being serenaded by the nightlife.

Total Time : 6.49 Hrs
Total Distance: 509 kms

Maximum Speed : 106 KPH
Average Speed : 74 KPH

Views: 736