Peak Charles – Esperance – Fitzgerald National Park

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lemondelicous77, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Lemondelicous77

    Lemondelicous77 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Sisters Beach, TAS
    So as the ADVRider website has inspired me to get out to places that would otherwise be unknown, I feel it’s my duty to give back so to speak and document one of my trips I did back in Jan 2012.

    So things were starting to get a bit mundane in the office so I yelled over the cubicle to me old mate Ned Jones “Hey Ned, Lets get outta here for a few days on the bikes”………..”Ahhhh great idea” he replied………the planning was underway.
    A few google maps and the memory of a somewhat recent ADVRider blog regarding Peak Charles and that was it, those familiar feelings prior to a new adventure were flooding back and my mind was thinking of all the things I had to organise, buy or borrow.
    Most importantly was a fuel bladder to extend the range of the 800GS, she’s a mighty machine but if BMW missed the mark on anything it would be the 17L tank and the lack of a factory steering dampener. Anyway, not another bad word against the bike, she’s my pride and joy.
    So a 12L fuel bladder was arranged, new TKC’s to replace the bald ones and I had the majors ticked off.
    The map was highlighted with a preliminary plan, Day 1 Fremantle – Peak Charles, Day 2 Peak Charles – Somewhere on the Telegraph track, Day 3 Telegraph Track – Israelite Bay, Day 4 Israelite Bay – Fremantle
    It was a plan, albeit very green from a very green wanna be off roader.

    The completed route (Very different from the proposed one !)
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    The bikes
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    Day 1
    Fremantle – Peak Charles


    So we departed Perth about 9:30am on the Friday and cut a B-line which was bound for Hyden to check out Wave rock. Along the way a couple of notable mentions were the Corrigin Dog Cemetery, a brand new waterslide park in the middle of a dusty wheat belt town called Kulin & and the randomness of the Tin Can Highway.

    A quick bite of lunch at Wave Rock, the oh so touristic photo of attempting to surf the rock face, a cold drink from the local shop and it was time to re-board the bikes again (Ned rides a 680 Transalp) for the slab to Lake King.

    As we rolled into Lake King we decided to drop a few litres in the fuel bladders as we really had no idea how the plan would unfold once we got a little further outta range. Fuel topped up and an icy Carlton Cold down the neck and it was time to jump on and head for Peak Charles.
    FYI it was about 41 DegC and was during the hot spell that we had in January….sweating it out big time !!!
    Off the slab and onto the gravel, the excitement of being on the hunt for that new outta the way destination was starting to flow through the body.
    It might be 2012 and most of the great adventures have been conquered but my little one was just getting underway and I was really loving it !
    The turn off to take the old track to Peak Charles appeared at the end of the straight and we hit sand for the first time. I swear the feeling of being on a nice firm sand track on the GS it probably one of my all time highs…..a twist of the throttle lights up the rear and the GS is feeling like Black Caviar at Flemington (Ok maybe some hyperbole there but I think most of you know what I’m talking about !!)
    Punching down the track it started to occur to me, “Shit, it’s a fair way to Peak and it’s already 5:30”……Soft sand is never to be underestimated on a big bike laden with all the kit required for a trip like this, particularly when you don’t bother letting down your tyres until after your first off !!…….Flying along at good speed I watch Ned get well outta control and was just about to witness his unplanned exit when I lost the front of the GS in soft stuff also, I went left, Ned when left, track went straight !!! Off !!, I jumped up laughing and noticed Ned arse up under the bike as he’d pinned his leg pretty badly and required my assistance to free him from the resting Trannie…bikes up, tyres down, ciggie to calm the nerves hopefully settle down Neds sore knee and it was time to push on !!
    Makes you think what can go wrong when you’re out in these sorts of places though & I got admit I started to ride with a little more care, for a little while anyway !!!! The investment in the Spot tracker was also instantaneously justified!!
    Further down the track and we ride through a stand of spindly gums and all I can think is that these are exactly what the First Australians used to manufacture their primo A-grade spears, I’d never seen such straight perfect weapons & the wood was burnt hard as nails by the relentless outback sun.
    Further on and it was time to consult the map to try and work out where the hell we were?, still a way to go was the verdict, maybe halfway if lucky, fatigue was kicking in and the heat was getting to me big time, I was wet through and starting to suffer random blood noses, I was thinking heat stroke or exhaustion, this would have to be a first !!! “Mmm whata ya reckon Ned ? Keep going or pull up here ?”…………”Let’s keep going for a bit”……..”Ok” I replied as I staggered back onto the GS really starting to think I may have bitten of more than I could chew.
    ½ hr further down the track and we approached a small hill, upon reaching the top we caught our first sighting of Peak C…………way way on the horizon ! A reasonable size peak coming out of nowhere on an otherwise flat panorama
    “Whatta ya reckon mate ?” Ned asked me as we both sat with our view fixed to the horizon…………..”Shit yeah” I replied, voice in over-drive with excitement. I lit up the rear and that was that…..a long straight race to the finish line
    A setting sun, dust, filthy visors, lengthening shadows and we were hooking full tilt!!!!!
    An hr or so of some of the purest riding of my life, fast & reckless, the mind was clear, fully in tune with the bike, no distracting thoughts of life, just changing gears, balancing brakes and picking lines……it’s gotta be one of the best feelings in the world……….only a motorcyclist knows it !
    We made camp just on dark, sent a quick “I’m fine don’t worry” via Mr Spot tracker and proceeded to pull out the 2L goon bad of Banrock Cab Merlot………”How good was that last hr” we mused as we layed there looking at the passing Satellites overhead……..”Wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else eh !”

    Frothy time @ Lake King, Ned left, me right
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    The result of getting a bit loose
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    First view of PC
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    Getting closer
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    View from campsite carpark the next morning
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    Day 2
    Peak Charles – Esperance


    A quick review of the map & it was decided that attempting to take on the Telegraph track was probably biting off more than we could chew, considering 40 degree heat was taking it’s toll and the risk of not being able to refill our water supplies if something went wrong was sending off alarm bells that this wasn’t the right timing for that route, "Next time !" we vowed.
    We snaked the gravel south until we made Esperance around lunch time…a sweet feed of fish and chips and a quick look around town and we were off to Cape Le Grand.
    Coming from Tassie I’ve always claimed we had some of the best beaches in the world but after experiencing this area, South East WA was added to that list. Cape Le Grand beaches are probably the most visually stunning in OZ I think. A nice ride along the beach and a refreshing swim and we decided to back track to Esperance & make camp, cook some pasta, drink some wine and reflect on the sights discovered throughout the day.

    Heading south out of PC NP
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    Cape Le Grand NP
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    Mmm wonder how all that sand got messed up ?
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    Cape Le Grand NP
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    Medication
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    Day 3
    Esperance – Fitzgerald National Park


    A route was plotted that took us from Esperance to Fitzgerald National Park via the coast as much as possible along with a few detours into coastal hamlets such as Stokes National Park & Lake Shaster Nature Reserve for some off road blasting through various sand tracks. The discovery of top quality camp spots such as Starvation Bay & Mason Bay and I’d made my mind up that I would return here one day with the tinnie & the girlfriend and make a long weekend of it , a magical spot indeed. A top notch Egg & Bacon roll at the café on the main drag of Hopetoun then it was off to the local pub to have a well deserved frothy or two & check out the great white shark memorabilia on the wall!! Ned grabbed some ice and a few takeaways were crammed in the saddle bags and we were headed 20 min down the road to our proposed campsite & Hamersley Inlet on the eastern side of Fitz Nat Park or so we thought !! Road closed, no access….WTF ? Seems the road gang were upgrading the road into the Park from the eastern side and there was no way around !! Fortunately the guy we spoke to at the road closure was a local and kindly told us of a back way into the park, “Just head back out the road for so many km’s, turn up this road, keep going till ya past the tank, keep going till ya past the turnoff, look out for this, turn left at that and then follow your nose ! “ Anyway we managed to navigate our way and enjoyed some of the best riding for the whole trip, tight tracks, bouncing roo, creek crossings etc etc and we were having a ball….Ned disappeared outta sight for a while as the Trans Alp ran outta fuel, we finally made camp and set ourselves up. The march flies were absolutely shocking but luckily after lathering up on the heavy duty Rid, things were all good !!!!

    Stokes National Park
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    Lake Shaster Nature Reserve
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    Mason Bay Campsite
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    Ned soaking up the panoramic
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    Simultaneous Crashes
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    Day 4
    Fitzgerald National Park – Perth


    The reality of the long ride home kicked in, gear packed, bikes refuelled and we were off. The ride out of Fitzgerald Nat Park was a nice start to the day but soon enough the black slab appeared, so tyres back up to pressure, assume the position and open up the throttle. The high winds made things a little more interesting than what they would’ve otherwise been and Neds GPS led us though some pleasant country back roads which eventually intersected the Great Southern Highway at Katanning.
    The traffic shuffle from there on and soon enough we were parting ways at Armadale traffic lights and back to the metro way of life.

    All in all, awesome 4 days riding, major highlights would include, track from Lake King to Peak Charles, beaches of Cape Le Grand, racing through the back tracks into Fitzgerald Nat Park & the coastal road east of Hopetoun.

    Bikes, camping & discovering new places…….couldn’t really ask for anymore !! :D
    #1
  2. ktmgeoff

    ktmgeoff Remember it's not a race!

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,593
    Location:
    Norf East Tasmania,Australia
    Nice one !!:D
    #2
  3. jtb

    jtb Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,329
    Location:
    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Thanks :clap some nice looking parts of WA there!
    #3
  4. chelo5sur

    chelo5sur Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    199
    Location:
    Chile.
    nice trip , beautiful colors pictures.
    thanks for sharing
    #4
  5. Miss Jane

    Miss Jane Ride like a girl

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,120
    Location:
    Central Victoria
    It's a while since I've been down that way, but you are right about southern WA beaches. Stunning.
    #5
  6. duckslider

    duckslider unintentionaldrifter

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,955
    Location:
    down from The Mount...Australia.
    Good RR+Great pics!:D
    #6
  7. Gobby

    Gobby Trust Me!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    480
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Thanks for sharing, looks like a ride I need to do :wink:
    #7
  8. The Blue Kazoo

    The Blue Kazoo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Great pics, looks like fantastic place to ride.
    The picture with the peak that appears to have an arch close to the summit, is that peak Charles or a different one? Looks interesting for a hike.
    #8
  9. Glenn C

    Glenn C Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Sydney
    Great RR, thanks for sharing. I love reading about places like this. They plants little seeds that may grow into a big trip at some time :D

    Cheers
    Glenn
    #9
  10. Not for Highway Use

    Not for Highway Use Wannabe hasbeen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,011
    Location:
    Canowindra, NSW, Australia
    Good yarn. Thanks.
    #10
  11. makad

    makad P/T Shed Dwelling Hermit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    The Shed, Coolup
    Nice Pics!

    Great Country

    Good times :norton
    #11
  12. Hodgo

    Hodgo TWIN Cylinder ADV

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,655
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Great pics thanks for sharing.
    #12
  13. Lemondelicous77

    Lemondelicous77 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Sisters Beach, TAS
    Nah, that's Frenchmans Peak in Cape La Grand NP
    #13
  14. Wilmo

    Wilmo Orange Fever

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,307
    Location:
    North Perth
    Nice adventure, good to see some new places down that way, as we bypassed some of what you saw on our trip.

    Thanks for posting.
    #14
  15. philth

    philth www.motorbikin.com.au

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    bald knob
    good stuff!
    #15
  16. DANNOj

    DANNOj Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,163
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Fantastic RR and great photos!! Looks almost identical to a ride I did last year, so I am certain that you had a ball :thumb

    I agree that the road from Lake King to Peak Charles is a pearler!

    Cheers
    Dan
    #16
  17. b0mb3r

    b0mb3r Old Git

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,989
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Great RR

    just love the white sand ... and thanks for sharing :clap
    #17
  18. paddyhannen

    paddyhannen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    102
    Location:
    Perth, better side of australia
    Looks like you had a ball mate, You'd be missing the damper pretty fierce in the sand with all the gear on:)
    What pressure were you running in the front?
    #18