There is something special about this place / track. It´s tiny, compared to things like the Canning Stock but it has a special feel to it, standing in the middle of the bush, with a days drive in any direction to the nearest main road. It´s kinda magic. And still, only a days drive from Perth through the Wheatbelt and into the outback Goldfields!
The magic presumably stems from…
The history of the track
Motivated by the intense gold rush after the first discovery in Coolgardie in 1892 bringing thousands of fortune seekers from the eastern states, John Holland together with Rudolph and David Krakouer and John Carmody set out to clear a 500 km track directly into the Goldfields through the dense thickets equipped with nothing but 5 ponies and a 450 litre water tank (100 gallon). The area feels remote today but one can only imagine what this endeavour meant more than 100 years ago. Every day, Holland rode out alone up to 30 km ahead in search for water. Rockholes in the occasional granite outcrops where the main source for drinking supplies. He then went back to his party and directed them in remarkably straight lines between water and feed sources. It took them only two months, reaching Coolgardie on 18th June 1893. Travelling time on the completed track by horse and camel teams usually took two weeks. We used two days to traverse it.
Oh what a joy! It´s not difficult terrain, no rock climbing or axel twisting its mainly sand / clay and some forest sections. Main challenge are very very very deep ruts that can be a bit of an adventure after rain. The track is closed during most of winter (“summer road only”). It hadn’t rained for quite a while when we drove it on 19&20 December 2017 but we still encountered water filled ruts, one that almost swallowed the Cruiser (almost thanks to Maxtrax!).
Along the way
I find that one of the key awesomeness factors of 4WDing is taking in the landscape while cruising along the tracks. And I found that very much along the Holland track. The bush, the plains, the “foresty” areas, areas recently burned, salt lakes, granite outcrops and more. Just breathtaking. To much to post as photos. Let´s see whether a wordpress slideshow can to the trick..
One more thing
A remarkable detail to this remarkable track experience: The teenager in the family turned 16 during our last trip up north and used the time until the next to acquire her WA driving learners permit. That’s why you may have noticed yellow “L” signs on the Cruiser. It was on the Holland Track, that it was time for a first drive. The very first meters controlling a vehicle, done in the outback along the Holland Track. How awesome is that?
After two days of negotiating the deep ruts and sharp stakes we exited the track and headed to the Coolgardie hotel, which was an adventure on its own …