Holland Track Western Australia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Eaglebeak, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
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    Perth.
    Just back from a ride down the Holland Track.

    The track was cut in 1893 by a team of four experienced bushmen led by John Holland with the aim of opening up the goldfields around Coolgardie for prospective diggers arriving in the southern port of Albany.

    Over 500 kms were cut from around the townsite of Broomehill in just over two months. Holland roamed up to 30 km ahead every day and by compass, dead reckoning and a lot of tree climbing he led them straight to Coolgardie.

    He then ran a cartage business for three years until the State Government completed the rail line from Northam to Coolgardie.

    The track fell into disrepair until the northern portion of nearly 400 kms was reopened by a group of history enthusiasts in 1993. It has now been adopted by the local Toyota club who maintain some small signs and do occassional track clearing.
    The southern portion has been swallowed up by freehold farming whereas the top lies in virtually pristine crown land.

    Three of us...
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    Pat, sensibly leaving his Harley in the shed and borrowing John's old XR600, John on his new GS1200 after countless dirt miles on his 20 y.o K100RS and ...
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    me on my R1150R.

    We left Perth Friday and planned to make Hyden by midday, refuel and start up the track, hopefully making Mt Holland by nightfall.

    Passing through York we stopped at the old Greenhills Church, still in use today.

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    If you plan to head to Hyden simply to see Wave Rock, forget it. Heaps of tourists and they charge you to park ! Go to Elachbutting Rock north of Merredin. It's bigger, better,with no crowds, free camping and you can drop by the brilliant Military Museum at Nungarin on the way home.


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    Crossing the Rabbit proof (not) fence

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    The track can be impassable in heavy rain and although we have been in a drought for some years this last few months have seen fairly good rains. That is why we left this trip relatively late in the year.
    The locals told us they hadn't had much for some weeks but there was a lot of water lying around.

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    Finally making Mt Holland on dusk.

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    There are excellent trip notes with waypoints marked both in distance and GPS. These are in a locally published booklet available from map and chart shops in W.A. The Toyota club have done an excellent job with the track markers but without them it would be easy to get lost. There are a lot of cross roads from mining exploration activity.
    I used my original bike trip meter to monitor my overall distance in relation to fuel and a pushbike speedo for the constant waypoint distances. (tracks sometimes crossing every 5-10 k's)
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    Morning at Mt Holland.

    After a cold night the next two days began to heat up. A weird feeling as there was still a lot of water on the track and the countryside was very green.

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    Track conditions varied. Light sand/deep sand, clay, deep ruts tight corner.
    We averaged 25 kms/hr.

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    I hate sand but love the bush. Over 30 years on bikes and I'm still learning.

    John complained his new GS didn't handle the sand as well as his old K100RS. Yes, he had road tyres on but so did the old K and we took that to Israelite Bay with my old GS80 in the '80's. He kept saying the front washed out but he and Pat still moved smoother and faster than me.

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    I had dropped my bike twice in deep sand when finally the GS went down. John was trying to ride the ridge between the deep ruts when his rear slid off and down he went...

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    Slight damage to pride and bike. Busted indicator.

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    Well, I tried to post this in the Oz regional forum and couldn't get any text space under my first image posting. That wasted an hour. It's late and I'm knackered from work (that's "tired" to northern hemisphere people).

    Still to come, Cave Hill, rusting V8's, a sports bike (?), wildflowers ...and oh yes, why the BM riders had to start the Honda every day.

    More tomorrow.

    Andrew Linton.
    #1
  2. davorallyfan

    davorallyfan Commonist

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    Well done Andrew - looking forward to the next installment.

    Great pix

    WA bush is amazing - so different to the eastern states - must get over there again on a bike, some time soon (wishing).
    #2
  3. sandgroper

    sandgroper Long timer

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    Andrew
    thanks for posting nice report and pictures. We did the trip late 90's in a defender. Always wondered what it would be like doing it on my 1100gs. I've been looking around on line for a map of the track with not much luck. Do you have one just to give the punters a general idea of where it is.
    Ed
    Bridgetown.
    #3
  4. GSPeP

    GSPeP Long timer

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    Great report :thumb

    Looking forward to see the next part.
    #4
  5. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
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    Perth.
    Thanks for the comments fellas.
    Not only did I have trouble posting in the regional forum earlier but my photo host kept logging me out as well. Then I would lose my original opening paragraphs.
    I'm not a techno wiz, more of a Luddite really. That's probably why I've been riding BM's for 28 years. Like it simple I do !

    Each time I rewrote the opening it seemed to get worse. Never mind.

    I'm on Mrs Beak's laptop at home now. I'm off to bed, got to go training in my kayak at 0500 tomorrow.
    Ed, I'll take a pic of the map and add it with my further post, hopefully finish this tomorrow afternoon.

    Andrew Linton
    #5
  6. TREE

    TREE Interloper

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    Nice trip Andrew, thanks.
    Brings back memories when I was working around Lake Grace, Varley and Coolgardie in the early 70's.

    Hope to get back there on 2 wheels one day. :thumb
    #6
  7. slowbike smallpenis

    slowbike smallpenis Tester of Tooheys Old

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    great report Andrew - looks like a good loop after the OCR :thumb
    #7
  8. hardybaker

    hardybaker Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Marquez, Texas
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post for us. We enjoy it tremendously. I hope to see your homeland in the not too distant future. Regards, HB
    #8
  9. richard cabesa

    richard cabesa The Mayor

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    Great stuff, Andrew

    :lurk
    #9
  10. Andrew2

    Andrew2 Long timer

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    Excellent Andrew.Hopefully coming over next year for the OCR.

    Andrew
    #10
  11. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

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    Great report and photo's.

    I remember reading about the Holland track in an early Sidetrack and thought it sounded good, you have definately confirmed that.

    Looking forward to the next instalment :thumb.
    #11
  12. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
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    Stay tuned. I'm busy at work for another hour then I'll finish it off. Few more good photo's to come.

    Thanks again for all the feedback.
    #12
  13. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

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    Nice to see some of WA again. I lived over there for 6 years, Nullagine, Perth, Dampier,Karratha, Margaret River, Agnew Nickle Mine and Kalgoorlie. Lots off good memories. Can you tell me the make of soft saddle bags on the BMW that fell over. Are they any good. Cheers Toddy
    #13
  14. FuddyLogic

    FuddyLogic Blue'n'Orange

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    Howdy Andrew,

    Great report and pics mate.

    Glad ya couldn't post in the regional forum...it really does deserve to be for everyone....top stuff!!!

    Eagerly awaiting the next installment...
    #14
  15. davorallyfan

    davorallyfan Commonist

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    #15
  16. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,064
    Location:
    Perth.
    Sandgroper suggested a map to give a rough idea of location.



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    Perth, the Capital of W.A , the yellow dot on the coast, approx. 350 kms from Hyden and the start of the track. Coolgardie, the end of the track and approx. 600 kms on the tar back to Perth.

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    The Holland Track looks obvious but there are a multitude of intersecting tracks.

    John had finally dropped his bike on the access track into Diamond Rock. After working my way around through the scrub and thereby avoiding the same fate we stopped for lunch and had a look around.

    There are plenty of these rock formations around in the Goldfields and in the 20's and 30's they were cleverly utilised for industry. An active business grew from supplying timber for use in the mines. Timber was cut by teams living in "fly" camps and carted to the mines by a series of railways built specifically for this purpose. The trains ran on steam and the water for the trains was collected by building walls around the rock formations and funneling the water into dams.

    This sluice, running from the walled rock to the dam, is at Karalee Dam, 5 kms off the road and 20 kms east of Southern Cross on the way to Coolgardie. Well worth a look with good camping facilities.
    The steel still in remarkable condition.

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    Diamond Rock was where we planned to leave the Holland and cut across to Cave Hill by a series of other tracks. On our way out we met the third group of vehicles we had seen in two days.

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    At this stage I was beginning to regret my choice of jacket for this trip. The temperature was rising and I was sweating profusely.
    John and Pat tend to ride fairly light in the body armour stakes. Me, I like to dress for a fall. I'm old and heal slower. The trouble is I can't afford the ultimate BMW gear so wear cheaper stuff that doesn't breathe as well. It's fine when the temp is under 30 degrees Celsius and you are moving at more than 25 kms/hr. Unzip the neck slightly and get a draft.
    Out here I was really losing body fluid.

    Realistically I would have been better off in my Draggin' Jeans denim jacket. The impact from a drop at our speeds wouldn't have been too bad and it would have allowed more venting.

    We pushed on with myself narrowly avoiding a large brown snake, maybe 1.2 metres long. Several emu were seen but of course were camera shy, unlike these wildflowers.

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    My BM series 3 helmet decides to drop the chin foam out around my neck. The plastic fixing bracket holding it in has broken but looks fixable with the Araldite or Supa glue I'm carrying.

    Finally arriving at the Cave Hill campsite I set to work on the helmet only to discover the screw holding it in is one of those Tork headed things BM like to use. not only that but the smallest I've ever seen ! Luckily John, being the good Mechanical Engineer he is, had a full set of the same in his toolkit. Araldite and the jobs done.

    That night we kicked back around the fire drinking cask red, discussing the meaning of life and solving all the worlds problems.

    These next few are of Cave Hill. Note the graffitti left by the morons.

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    This place was brilliant and we could have wandered here for many hours but we were "burning daylight" and had to get moving.
    Moving, did I say that ?

    Pat, a motor mechanic by trade, seems to enjoy working on his Harley and occassionally riding it when all the bits are working together.
    Apparently the one thing that always works is his electric start. So when he borrowed John's old XR for this trip the kick start seemed to mystify him. He turned up Friday morning limping heavily after it kicked back at him. so John and I had to do the leg work for the first two days until we remembered he had two legs and we got him to use his left.
    He's a tough nut, 20 odd years in Oz from Zimbabwe, great company, a good rider. Like John, predictable, smooth style. Very safe guys to ride with.

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    Riding up from Perth, sitting on Honda speeds of 100-110 kph the BM's got 21 km/litre and both had 20 litre tanks. The honda had a little 11 litre tank and predictably used a little more on the tar.
    We had another 25 litres between us and it was now time to head out to the small settlement of Widgemooltha to refuel.
    50 k and nearly 2 hours later we were again back on tar and while rehydrating both ourselves and bikes a group of miners from Kalgoorlie rode in on their sports bikes. The contrasts could not have been greater.

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    I spent the break knocking back over a litre of water.
    We planned to head back into the bush on another track for a waterhole named Burra Rock. The idea always being to not ride the same ground twice.

    After a fruitless half hour getting lost on mining lease roads and ending up back at Widgie twice the boys decided to back track 40 k of dirt to meet the one road we knew went to Burra Rock. From there it would be another 50 - 60 k's to the tar at Coolgardie. We wanted to be there by 3 pm to then ride the nearly 200 k to Southern Cross before dark and take a Motel.

    I was still feeling pretty dehydrated and as I was already the slower rider I opted to take the 75 k's of tar to Coolgardie and meet them them there in a few hours. We would then begin our trip home to Perth.

    Sunday afternoon and I arrive in Coolgardie to be informed by the lady in the servo that the temperature was 37 degrees.
    Bored with the wait, I took a tour of the town.


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    Five minutes later I'm back at the servo waiting for the fellas.

    They meanwhile are having a fine old time bouncing around on the rutted old track until the Rock where this awaited them.

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    ...and of course, more water in a dam.

    I did a quick check of my bike. It's stock apart from handguards and a sump plate both from a 1150 GS. The sump guard had taken a big thump from a boulder and would need some heavy hammering when home.

    My quick fix "bigfoot" had worked well and saved me from that sinking feeling we have all had at some time.

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    We made it into Southern Cross and had a pubfeed, few games of pool and were in bed by 9 pm. Youth, yeah, I remember my youth ! Drink all night, chase women in the morning, never needing sleep. Oh those were the days.

    Monday morning and we began the ride home. Always looking for new, less crowded roads.

    I managed to find another little Church, this one at Westonia. What is it with Atheists and Churches ?

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    Same builder as the first I reckon.

    We did manage to find a great little road from Tammin to York thus bypassing the main highway.

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    Finally back in the City around 2 pm to be met by a warm greeting from the family.

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    Okay, okay, the photo is a year old. But you can see why as much as I like getting out bush, I LOVE coming home.

    We are already working on another. maybe revisiting Peak Charles and of course there are always the day trips with the pillion in a million.

    It's a good life !
    Safe riding.

    Andrew Linton
    #16
  17. nomiles

    nomiles Sledge-o-matic

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bay Area ~ NorCal
    Excellent report!!! nice history and pics. :thumb :thumb

    Glad you posted in ride reports.

    lots of great pics but the last pic, of your family, is very cool :thumb

    Thanks from Lat.38N :D
    #17
  18. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,064
    Location:
    Perth.
    John's now registered on this site so I mailed him to give you more info.
    He's only had them a short while. Pat also. I know they were made by "Moto Dry" and cost $99 here in Perth. Velcro straps across the seat, zipper closer. Plenty of room inside. For the price they seemed dam good.

    This is my fourth BM and I've had three sets of stock panniers. The "Clam" opening type. Don't know why I bother. Although the volume is huge they are hard to fill properly. Top loaders are better or maybe soft ones for me next.

    Andrew Linton.
    #18
  19. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

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    Andrew,
    You need to be careful or the next thing you know, Perth will be over-run with foreigners looking for those tracks. :rofl

    Great ride. Incredible photos. Manly men, doing off-road things on street tyres. You make us all feel inadequate.

    Well told my friend. When you do the next one, tell us again. :thumb
    #19
  20. JWL

    JWL Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    16
    Just a bit more info on the saddle bags , same ones on Honda as BM .They also come with a shoulder strap to make into carry bag . Made frame on BM to hold away from exhuast/wheel . Appear good take two 1.5 litre water bottles side by side . Stiching on zip is looking like it may pull out eventually but I did over fill them and force closed .
    #20