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Home > Travelogues > 2007 Travelogues Index > Holland Track southern tracks
2007 We investigate the history of the Coolgardie Kalgoorlie Goldfields including the Holland Track, the John Holland Way, the historicWoodlines and the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. This section takes us along the southern section of the Holland Track from Broomehill to the Hyden-Norseman Road. 

This was an opportunity to try out our F250 for camping on a two week holiday without taking the caravan.  We were unsure about taking the entire Holland Track with our newly acquired larger vehicle, due to reports of narrow ‘scratchy’ sections and woodlands with a winding and narrow track.  However we were not willing to let the thought of few scratches put us off completely. September is usually the earliest that travel can be undertaken on the Holland Track, as prior to that it can be too wet and boggy. We travelled late in September.

 

For continuity, places have been grouped in this travelogue, rather than a day by day diary. 

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Outback four wheel drive routes: Holland Track and Holland Way

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The southern part of the Holland Track commences at Broomehill and, using rural roads and tracks, roughly follows the route taken by John Holland in 1893.  He and three companions set out to cut a track suitable for horse drawn conveyances along a 500 kilometre route between Broomehill and Coolgardie.  This was to expedite the journey of gold seekers, many who came from the eastern states by ship to Albany.  Finding watering points was a major part of this expedition.  A few years later when the railway from Northam to Coolgardie was completed, much of the track was abandoned and became overgrown. 

 

Graeme Newbury of Broomehill was instrumental in retracing and reopening the track. Together with researcher Adrian Molloy, they commenced in 1984 retracing the route from Broomehill to Mount Holland.  In 1992, Graeme used his farm tractor to clear parts of the track north of Mount Holland. In May 1993, Graeme led a small group of travellers through the newly re-opened Holland Track.  Now travellers with high clearance four wheel drive vehicles can re-trace the steps of John Holland as his party along the northern section (north of the Hyden Norseman Road), which is maintained by the Perth Four Wheel Drive Club.  The southern section is in the majority on regular roads and can be undertaken in any type of vehicle.  Difficult sections can be avoided by alternative routes. 

 

References from the booklet “Explore the Holland Track and Cave Hill Woodlines” Westate Publishers Pty Ltd 2002, which we used as our guide. 

We commenced our journey near the small Wheatbelt town of Broomehill.  After turning onto the signed track just north of Broomehill, we met an unexpected obtacle only a few hundred metres down the track when our way was blocked by a fallen tree.  We had to find a way to drive around.  

We then followed the general direction of the former route along various rural roads through wheat farming land.   

Near the Nyabing Pingrup Road we called in at “Holland Tank”, which John Holland mapped as Nowernalup Tank.  At this spot, a small soak (now dry) had been dug to provide water along the route.  We crossed Gnowarnalup Creek, running through a cut channel, to a good camping spot, but did not stay after finding an abundance of large mosquitoes.  Getting back across the deceptive trenchwas trickier, and our long wheel base saved the day.
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We spent the night in an old gravel pit south of Lake Grace, where many wildflowers were in full bloom.

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A little further along Holland Tank Road, a roadside concrete tank marks the site of Holland Rock (formerly Krakouer Rocks), where a low stone wall directs water from the flat granite outcrop into a channel to fill the tank.  The tank was full. 

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Water collected from rainfall on granite outcrops was a significant water source along the Holland Track.  Granite rocks were also used to collect water to supply the towns during the gold rush.

We failed to find the track to a preserved section of wheel ruts from the original track, which is to the south of the Lake Grace Newdegate Road.   

Needing to re-fuel, we took a short detour into Newdegate, and found a new public convenience block, complete with free hot showers, next to the service station.  Something to remember for our return trip home. 

Back on the Holland Track route to the north of Newdegate we passed the former town site of Lake Biddy.  Our journey continued past larger farms and nature reserves.  Within a large reserve, we located the unsigned track which led to Dragon Rocks.

Signs of wheel ruts from the days of horse drawn wagon transport can be found on the other side of these rocks.  Dragon rocks contain many gnamma holes and are an important water source.  In just one of the pools were very tiny frogs.  The rocks are named after the dragon lizards, which scurry across the granite to hide under flaking rocks, and are found throughout the region. 

 

The rare species the Numbat is Western Australia’s faunal emblem. Its species status is vulnerable – less than 2000 individuals are believed to be left in the wild. Land clearing and red foxes are their biggest threat. They have been reintroduced to national parks and nature reserves where control programs reduce introduced predators.  

Numbats, also known by the names Walpurti or Banded Anteaters, live exclusively on termites, which they catch with a 100-mm long tongue. Individuals eat 20,000 termites a day and is the only small mammal to forage during the day, when it can easily be seen on the forest ground or climbing trees after termites. Good places to see Numbats are Dyandra State Forest, Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve, Perup Forest and the Boyagin Nature Reserve, all in Western Australia.

Further north, Emu Rock is a large area of flattish granite outcrop, much of it covered with green lichen, alongside a salt pan, surrounded by higher rocks.  Beyond this, the track was narrow, with tea tree brush alongside which did scratch our vehicle.  This section can be bypassed taking the Hyden Lake King Road to Hyden and as a side trip to Hyden.  Alternatively taking the Bushfire Rock Road which is eight kilometres further north west to reach the Hyden-Norseman Road, and prior to the track to Emu Rock will avoid the narrow track and would be wise for anyone towing.   

Vegetation soon became sparse as we crossed a state vermin proof fence, until we met the Hyden-Norseman Road.    

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We were intrigued when we found termite mounds that had been broken into.  The mound had been scratched to access termites, and I believe this to be the works of Numbats. 

 

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The Holland Track

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Continue reading about the Holland track north of the Hyden-Norseman Road.
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