Australia Prt 14, WA: Leonora to Coolgardie

Route: Leonora – Menzies – Davyhurst – Ora Banda – Kalgoorlie – Coolgardie

Day 177: 3 August 2019
From few km before Leonora to 12 km before Menzies
105,54 km (Total so far: 8.733,10 km) – Altitude climbed: 287 m
Weather: Sunny, strong and moderate tail and side wind

After riding back into town, I first visited Gwalia, an old mining village a few kilometer outside Leonora. The rest of the day was spend on the Goldfields Highway.
Much less busy than f.e. the Stuart Highway, but still too much to make it a pleasant ride. Too much of your time is occupied with watching the rear view mirror and negotiating traffic. Can’t let the mind wander and enjoy.

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The “mini-superpit” from Gwalia

I find a nice camping spot a bit before Menzies. The spot is nice and although I’m almost 500 meter from the road, the noise of the road trains is too much to call it peaceful.
Tomorrow, back on gravel.

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Day 178: 4 August 2019
From 11 km before Menzies to 10 km before Davyhurst
67,44 km (Total so far: 8.800,54 km) – Altitude climbed: 225 m
Weather: Sunny, light & strong head and side winds

Menzies, an old mining town, is pretty neatly maintained. Lot’s of tourist signs and information about their past. A hotel, a tourist information, a campground, but no shop (the so called ‘general store’ in the hotel is nothing). I drink a coke at the hotel pub before leaving town, back on gravel. 250 kilometer / 3 days on asphalt since Laverton has been enough.

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I take the Evanston-Menzies road going west out of town. A light wind from the northwest works against me. If I would have stayed on the highway, it would have been to my advantage. But this is so much better, even when the wind picks up soon after that.
A perfect gravel road, hardly any corrugation, no loose sand.
Pretty soon, I get taller trees again. Nice to see, as nothing grew much higher as the six meter mulga trees the last months.

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On the 27 kilometer stretch to the junction with the Davyhurst Road, I saw two cars. On the 27 km after the junction, on the Davyhurst Road, still on excellent gravel, zero cars.
Cycling heaven, outback cycling as I had imagined it.
Lots of different plants and trees.
The fauna even feels a bit tropical.
Temperatures are more agreeable as in the tropics. 23 degrees in the shade, 33 degrees in the sun. 8 degrees just before sunrise.
A perfect day.

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Sometimes it’s like I’m cycling in a garden, but is just nature creating this.

Day 179: 5 August 2019
From 10 km before Davyhurst to few km passed Ora Banda
80,20 km (Total so far: 8.880,74 km) – Altitude climbed: 321 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate side and tail wind

Another brilliant day.
Well almost.
First I rode through Davyhurst. At the map and in the tourist information in Leonora and Menzies, they say it’s abandoned. Well, nothing is left. The hotel once standing there its heydays is just a pile of stones. There is apparently a mining office where you should present yourself when continuing on the road to Kalgoorlie, but I didn’t.
This is a national park, this is a road on the map not marked as private, so they have to leave me alone.

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The total lack of wildlife both in Northern Territory and WA surely must have something to do with the poison they lay out everywhere in nature. Strichine and 1080 to kill (wild) dogs, foxes, … Of course other animals will eat from these carcasses and…

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The rest of the day cycling towards Ora Banda, the road goes up and down a bit all the time. So much different trees again, it’s fantastic. The first 75 kilometer of the day I see one truck and two motorbike riders, that’s all.
I expected Ora Banda to be deserted as well.
The hotel next to the camp ground burned down recently.
The campground itself is a place for the miners, I think, because mining is what they do here.
A lot !
What I didn’t expect either, was a paved road from Ora Banda. I hoped to be on gravel till rejoining the Goldfields Highway at Broad Arrow.

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I passed through abandoned Siberia.

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Thoses causes of death 🙂

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I pitched the tent a few kilometer southeast of Ora Banda. The night was loud with continuous road trains passing the road a few hundred meters away.
To make this a perfect loop, I think you better continue riding the dirt directly to Coolgardie. I wanted to have a real supermarket again, because I haven’t seen one since Alice Springs, 2.500 kilometer ago. Also want to buy a new bottle of shellite for the stove. Kalgoorlie has a Bunnings. The next one would be in Albany only (although I later found out Esperance has a Bunnings store as well).

Day 180: 6 August 2019
From few km passed Ora Banda to Kalgoorlie
62,76 km (Total so far: 8.943,50 km) – Altitude climbed: 173 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate tail and side wind

Rode the paved road towards Broad Arrow, where there’s an ancient pub. I asked the bar tender wether there’s a possibility to follow the dirt track along the railway towards Kalgoorlie (instead of the Goldfields Highway) but both he and the people in the kitchen didn’t have a clue. The pub is right beside the railway.

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The pub in Broad Arrow. I parked my bike next to the Angels’ rides. The moment I also put my helmet on my mirror, like they do, I think they started to realize I was making fun of the situation.
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All walls inside and outside are written full.

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I took my chances and tried it. First halve, there are a couple of active mines and every time I thought there would be signs that it’s forbidden to enter, but that track along the railway is open all the way down to Kalgoorlie.
Fantastic !
No worries about traffic.

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Second half, the scenery improves, but the track becomes a bit more sandy and deeper gravel the last 10 km before Kalgoorlie.
Overall, very recommended.
I can stay two night with Shirley and Eddy in Kalgoorlie. Susie, a teacher I met on the GCR arranged it for me.

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Day 181: 7 August 2019
Kalgoorlie
Weather: Sunny

Eddy takes me out in his car to visit Bunnings and a few of the highlights. The main one of course the Super Pit.

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The Super-pit in Kalgoorlie / Boulder, one of the largest gold mines in Australia.  It is about 600 meter deep.  The largest open pit is near Slat Lake City in the Usa.   Over here, they blow out about 15 million ton a year.  They find a gram of gold or so in every ton they blow out.  Huge environmental impact but good for someones economy.
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Especially for me, they made a nice explosion which later filled the whole pit with dust.

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Theatre inside the town hall.

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Day 182: 8 August 2019
From Kalgoorlie to the forest a few km outside Kalgoorlie
13,39 km (Total so far: 8.956,89 km) – Altitude climbed: 150 m
Weather: Sunny

Shirley and Eddy left town for a couple of days. As I don’t want to go too far south too soon (it’s still winter), I chose to take a few rest days in that forest outside of town. Just load up some good food and enjoy the quietness.

Day 183-185: 9-11 August 2019
Forest, 8 km outside Kalgoorlie

Rest days

Day 186: 12 August 2019
From forest, 8 km outside Kalgoorlie to 6 km passed Coolgardie
59,97 km (Total so far: 9.016,86 km) – Altitude climbed: 347 m
Weather: Sunny

Rode back into Kalgoorlie.
Lunch at MacDonalds and shopping at Coles.

As I found a good road to ride into Kalgoorlie along the railway line, there is also a good option to avoid the highway between Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie.
Studying the map, I saw there was a (water)pipeline running between the two towns, and a maintenance track alongside it.
It is good riding almost all the time.
Most of the time, I stayed south of the pipeline. There is a track north of the pipeline as well, but less scenic.

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Once the track south of the pipeline joins the main highway, it is only a few hundred meters before the pipeline goes underground for a bit and you can cross to ride along the track north of the pipeline, away from the highway.
If riding the opposite direction, towards Kalgoorlie, there’s a small hill to tackle just outside Coolgardie. Don’t be discouraged by it, the rest of the road is only slightly undulating and in much better shape.

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Coolgardie is a historical mining town. The highway runs through it.
Hope to visit the museum when I come back in a few days to buy provisions.
Rain is forecasted for the day after tomorrow, and I don’t want to be in the middle of the dirt track between Coolgardie and Norseman, so I will pitch the tent outside town and wait it out.
There is a campground in Coolgardie, but it is right next to the main road. That will be awfully loud.

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Day 187-189: 13 – 15 August 2019
6 km passed Coolgardie

Quite a lot of rain was predicted for Wednesday 14th August. The 13th was still a nice sunny day with blue skies, and what’s more, a pretty strong wind from the north. That would be a tail wind, if I were to ride today. But I didn’t want to be caught up in the bad weather somewhere in the middle between Coolgardie and Norseman on these dirt roads, so I decided to take some more rest days.
14th of August brought indeed a lot of rain.
Around sunset, I heard a thunderstorm coming from my left and another one from my right. Of course, they met each other right above my head.
Hundreds of lightnings, immediately followed by loud thunders, strong wind gusts, rain and hail.
The whole area flooded, my tent standing in two centimeters of water.
Too much to worry about, especially those lightnings above my head, so I decided to distract myself and prepare a nice meal. Cutting broccoli, peppers, carrots, onion to prepare a delicious vegetable curry with couscous.
I heard the water flooding under my tent but I stayed perfectly dry inside.
By the time I started eating, there was some time already between the lightnings and the thunder and by the time I finished my meal the worst was over.

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Impressive sky. Looks like lungs.
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Feeding the local wildlife.

Contrary to the predictions, the 15th was also a rainy day, so I stayed put another day.

7 thoughts on “Australia Prt 14, WA: Leonora to Coolgardie”

      1. Hoi Koen,

        Je hebt een weer een heel stuk afgelegd – lekker zo richting de kust te gaan. Klinkt alsof het weer ideaal is om te fietsen – overdag lekkere temperaturen en ‘s nachts lekker fris om goed te slapen. En leuk om weer regelmatig wildlife te zien. Fijn ook de track die je langs het spoor hebt kunnen volgen – geen auto’s. Heerlijk :)!
        Ik heb weer genoten van je verhalen bij de dagen en natuurlijk de mooie foto’s – fijn die extra rustdagen die je hebt kunnen nemen.
        Vraagje mbt banden voor je. Ik had het met mijn lbs over jou en je tocht door OZ en daar Jorma ook een fervent wereldfietser is was hij benieuwd naar je banden. Je hebt er nu geloof ik almotions op liggen – zou je dat een volgende keer weer doen? Of zou je voor andere, misschien meer mtb banden en/ of bredere banden gaan?
        Ben erg benieuwd naar de gps tracks die je vanaf Alice Springs hebt gereden dus mocht je weer eens tijd en zin hebben om ze te plaatsen – dat zou mega zijn 🙂

        Groetjes en wederom veel veilige kilometers en fijn fietsweer gewenst,

        Inge
        PS Mijn fiets is inmiddels besteld – en mag nog een weekje of 4 geduld hebben alvorens ik hem in kan gaan rijden.

        Like

      2. Hoi Inge,

        Men laptop was gehacked dus het heeft even geduurd eer ik de zaken weer op orde had.
        Ik fiets op Schwalbe Marathon Mondials, 2 inch breed. De Travelmaster neemt niet veel bredere banden als je ook de spatborden erop laat zitten. Als ik jou was zou ik minstens 2.4″ of zelfs 2.6″ gebruiken als je off-road gaat fietsen in Australië. Dat gaat op het wasbord en in de secties met losser zand veel aangenamer zijn. Maar 2″ lukt dus ook wel 🙂
        Ik heb reeds enkele posts voorbereid en de volgende heeft de gps tracks van Alice Springs tot Esperance. Indien je deze nu al wil zijn ga je gewoon op Wikiloc naar mijn tracks en daar vind je deze al.
        Je fiets wordt dus bijna geleverd. Wanneer vertrek je naar Australië ?

        Like

  1. Hoi Koen, (nogmaals),

    Vanochtend vergeten mee te nemen maar je schrijft dat je shellite aanschaft voor de stove. Wat zijn de hoeveelheden die je meeneemt onderweg? En hoe lang kun je ermee doen?
    Voor mij wordt het geen shellite maar metho (voor Trangia) – ga ervanuit dat 1liter shellite ongeveer net zoveel maatijden maakt als 1liter metho – vandaar de vraag. En heb je zicht op hoe makkelijk/ moeilijk het is om aan metho te komen?

    Groetjes Inge

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    1. Met 1 liter shellite doe ik ongeveer 3 weken. Dat is ‘s ochtends 2 of 3 koppen warme drank en ‘s avonds koken. Geen idee waar je metho koopt.
      De shellite is van het merk ‘Diggers’. Misschien eens opzoeken of zij ook metho hebben. indien yes, dan vind je dit in de Bunnings of Mitre 10 hardware stores. Deze hebben een vestiging in elke middelgrote stad (formaat Kalgoorlie, Esperance, …)
      Groetjes,
      Koen

      Like

      1. Hoi Koen,

        Dank voor beide reacties. Fijn! Helpt weer bij de voorbereiding.
        Balen dat ze je laptop gehacked hebben maar ben blij voor je dat je alles weer op orde hebt.

        Ik ga qua banden voor hier (en Europa) beginnen met met g one Allround banden van 70mm breed. Eens kijken hoe ze bevallen. Voor OZ zijn ze niet robuust genoeg en de mondial is er nog niet breder dan 50mm/ 2.0. Ik ga maar hopen dat Schwalbe de bredere banden trend gaat volgen voor de mondial en/ of de Almotion. Ik ga je advies voor 2.4/2.6 brede banden zeker opvolgen 👍- net als jij zal ik het nodige fietsen over gravelwegen/tracks.
        Ben erg benieuwd naar je volgende posts en de mooie foto’s die je bijvoegd. Fijn dat je de GPS track bijvoegd van Alice Springs tot Esperance. Ben erg nieuwsgierig hoe je bent gefietst in vergelijking met wat ik nu ruwweg in Basecamp/ Osmand heb gezet.

        Het klinkt alsof je met de shellite dan ongeveer net zo lang doet als ik verwacht met 1l metho te doen. Dan zou 1l voldoende zijn om niet zonder te komen. Per ca 3 a 4 weken zit er vast ergens een middelgrote stad in de buurt. Ik ga zeker kijken naar het merk Diggers en naar Bunnings of Mitre 10 hardware stores.

        Mijn fiets komt in mijn herfstvakantie, nog ca 3 weken geduld hebben. Dan kan ik op het gemakje gaan wennen aan en de optimale afstelling van zadel enzo bepalen en leren hoe ik de verschillende, wat lastigere, reparaties zelf moet uitvoeren. . Ik vermoed dat ik ergens in 2023 weg ga – eerst mijn allergie behandeling in het ziekenhuis afmaken (immunotherapie). Tussen nu en weggaan focus ik me vooral op veel lezen, leren van anderen en af en toe wat voor de uitrusting aanschaffen. Verder ben ik aan het werken om mijn conditie langzaam wat beter te maken en de spieren krachtiger te maken (dingen kosten me 2x zoveel energie in vergelijking met iemand zonder allergie astma).

        Groetjes voor nu en zie zoals altijd uit naar je nieuwe posts,
        Inge

        Like

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