Day 8 – At Mount Augustus

After our late arrival yesterday evening it was time to regather. Though for Carrie, Nick and Mike, who were intending to climb to the summit of Mount Augustus, it was, of necessity, an earlier start.

Our campsite was in the scrub adjacent to the ablutions block. Management spared no effort on facilities.

The wildlife was obviously used to human interaction.

Garry led the non-climbers on a drive around Mt Augustus on the Loop Drive.

Mount Augustus is an inselberg or monadnock which is an isolated hill or small mountain that rises abruptly from a surrounding plain (literally ‘island mountain’). Geologically, it is an asymmetrical anticline or monocline. The more famous Uluru is, however, a monolith – mono (‘one’ or ‘single’) and lithos (‘stone’). Mount Augustus is often referred to as both a monolith and (or) a monocline.

It was named by explorer F.T. Gregory in 1858:

“One hill of considerable elevation … lay directly up the valley of the river, and was ultimately named Mount Augustus, after my brother, now conducting the expedition in quest of the remains of Dr. Leichhardt”.

Just after we turned left out of the campground we saw a couple of bustards.

We turned right off the Landor Road to drive the ‘loop’ around the mount. A few kilometres later we came across a Dawson’s Burrowing Bees’ nest.

The Dawson’s burrowing bee (Amegilla dawsoni) is a species of bee that nests by the thousands in arid claypans in the Gascoyne. It is one of the largest Australian bees. Each female bee digs her own solitary nest but as they aggregate in large communities it gives the appearance of colonies. The larger males – called majors – aggressively patrol the areas where females emerge from their burrows and will compete in physical fights to mate with virgin or recently mated females. Smaller males – called minors (80% of the male population) – wait at the fringes of the emergence area and mate with females who are able to fly away unmated from the immediate vicinity of their nests.

Next stop was the Ooramboo, then Mundee, a site of signifigance to the local Wajarri people.

Before we turned back onto the Loop Drive we stopped to collect wood for our campfire tonight.

Further along the ‘loop’ road is Flintstone Rock, also known as Beedoboodu. The petroglyphs at this site are hidden under a large slab of rock.

After a stop at The Pound and Goordgeela we returned to the caravan park for lunch. Steve and Joe went on a chopper trip.

After lunch we took a leisurely drive to Cattle Pool, a permanent stretch of water on the Lyons River, just downriver from its confluence with the Lyons River North.

A walk track winds its way along the river bank amid beautiful river redgums.

A sharp wind from the west kept most out of the water.

It was time to return to the caravan park, refuel, prepare for the drive to Poondarrie tomorrow, and listen to Carrie, Nick and Mike tell us how they conquered the world’s largest monocline.

The first part of the climb was a relatively easy ‘walk up a hill’.  Closer to the summit they had to scramble over rocks and near vertical slopes.

The reward was magnificent views over the surrounding country.

Garry and Kirk had run out of tyres for their trailer.  When they approached the manager of the caravan park he was less than helpful and it wasn’t until the next morning that they secured a suitable tyre.

Go to Day 9 – Mount Augustus to Poondarrie