Outback Road Trips

Esperance to Perth

Monday 30 August: Esperance to Lake King 260km

We had driven from Ravensthorpe to Esperance last week (here) and had to return on the same road before continuing on to Lake King for the night.

We stopped for a halfway break at Munglinup Roadhouse which also sells booze after 8am
Bought a frozen homemade Spag Bol and a clean skin Margaret River Shiraz, both delicious
The Lake King Goods Shed was constructed in 1936 and is still used as a goods receival point. It is located opposite the store which had a liquor licence and the goods shed became the social gathering place known as the “Hole in the Wall” until the tavern opened in 1987
Shed at Lake King with painting of the “Hole in the Wall” and a homemade tractor

Tuesday 31 August: Lake King to Kulin 280km

Struck truck about 15km north of Lake King, nobody knows its story
Wave Rock near Hyden, a 15m high concave wall of granite streaked with algae
Erosion has sculptured this rock into the shape of a huge yawning hippo
Delicate ground orchids we saw on the Wave Rock Walk
.100 years ago these lakes were fresh water full of life, now they are salt
Clearing of native vegetation for farming disrupted the equilibrium, raising salt levels and killing the trees
Flowers on the Macrocarpa Trail near Kulin
Kulin Hotel, construction completed 1918

Tin Horse Highway

The “Tin Horse Highway” is a 15 kilometre stretch of road which heads east from Kulin out to the Kulin Bush Races Track. There are over 70 horses-themed roadside sculptures made from farm junk on the Tin Horse Highway. Here’s our favorites.

Wednesday 01 September: Kulin to Katanning 220km

Pingrup

Pingrup is a small town in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Primarily producing wheat and sheep. It’s also known for its pink lakes and its country Races. We went there to see its silos and were lucky enough to have a break in the rain when we arrived.

“Featured on the silos are figurative depictions of the town’s iconic Pingrup races, its Merino sheep, its people, cattle dogs and even the blue tractor found in the main street of town.”

Pingrup Silo Art – Artist: Evoca1 (2018)
Pink lake near Pingrup

Katanning

Katanning is town in Great Southern with many of fine old buildings, more than 109 Heritage Listed, street art and big enough to have a Woolworths but cold weather, rain and winds prevented us from sight seeing.

King George Hostel built in 1910, unlike a hotel it had retail shops at ground level instead of bars
It still has accommodation on the upper floor and shops below
Kobeelya was the first significant residence in Katanning and one of the most up-to-date in the state when it was erected in 1902; it now functions as a conference center
Emu Lane by local artist Margaret Innes

Thursday 02 September: Katanning to Collie 270km

Collie is Western Australia’s most important coal mining town and has grown to become a major centre. We came to see not the giant coal mines but the artwork covering the Wellington Dam wall.

The Wellington Dam Mural was painted by Guido Van Helten (who also painted the Portland and Brim silos) between November 2020 and February 2021. At 8000 sq meters it is the largest dam mural in the world. In the center, children are playing with the water. An aboriginal man looks over from the right. Did he know the landscape before the dam was built? From the other side two men look towards the scene. The first European settlers into the area? The dam builders?

Wellington Dam Mural – Artist Guido Van Helten (2021)
Detail of children playing with the water

During November 2020, 15 mural teams painted at 20 mural sites throughout Collie depicting elements of the town’s history, characters and culture adding to the already 20 plus murals. Funded by the WA Government, the murals are part of a plan to diversify the economy of the traditional coal-mining town.

Three Workers – Artist: Fintan Magee (2020)
Cherax Destructor (Yabby) – Artist Amok Island (2020)
Collie Street Art – Artists: Donald Cook : Ian Hutch : Jarrard Marytn
A Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo feeding on the grass in Collie
Byzantine and Romanesque style All Saints Anglican Church was built in 1915
Inside are 17th Century brass candlesticks and altar crucifix

Friday 03 September: Collie to Perth 220km

Blue Tree – helping to raise awareness around mental wellbeing
There are about 350 Blue Trees spread across Australia

We returned our Apollo campervan after 2,900km around south-west WA without incident and had a couple of days in Perth before flying back to Brisbane.