Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Kellerberrin town from the lookout point

Approaching Kokerbin Rock

View from the top of Kokerbin Rock

View from the top of Kokerbin Rock showing the wheat fields

The smallest bank in Australia in Shackleton

Dog in the Ute advert

View from Gorge Rock showing the natural pool used for swimming

Lake Grace, partly water and partly salt lake


5 Jan - 7 Jan

Sylvia's comments

We left the campsite and headed into the town to find the tourist information centre. The young girl behind the counter was a great advert for the town, when we asked what there was to see in the area she indicated not a lot, gave us a leaflet about the town and told us about Kokerbin Rock which was a distance of 30 km away.

Kellerberrin is located on the Great Eastern Highway 200 Kms East of Perth on the road to Kalgoorie. The area was first settled by the Aboriginal people who had lived there for tens of thousands of years. It was with their help that early European explores of the region were able to settle in 1861. At that time the land appeared an inhospitable place and in need of taming, and it was only when Gold was discovered in Western Australia in the 1880's was the future of the town secure. Survival was further enhanced when the locals successfully petitioned the Government to move the proposed Railway link from Perth to the Goldfields from its original site of 18 kms away to pass through the town.

Today Kellerberrin is the centre of a wheat and sheep growing area and is one of the main stops along the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail taking the traveller from Mundaring Weir ( approx 32 kms east of Perth) to the Goldfields at Kalgoorie. We had followed this trail ourselves from Perth.

We followed the small heritage trail around the town which details the town's history along side significant events in Australia until you reach a plaque indicating a time capsule buried in 2003 to mark the centenary of the water supply.

Having completed the trail we drove up Kellerberrin Hill Lookout where we got some really good views of the town and the surrounding countryside. In spring the hill is covered by an abundance of wildflowers but we arrived too late for that treat.

It was now time to move on to our next stop which was Kokerbin Rock. This is the third largest monolith in Western Australia ( I cannot name the first two) and the area has its own mini wave rock and a historic well. To reach it we had to drive on some of the more country roads which have a sealed centre part taking the width of a lorry, and a wider gravel verge at each side. The idea is you drive along the sealed road and when you meet another vehicle coming towards you both move over so there are two wheels on the gravel verge and two on the sealed road. I suppose it is an Australian version of the Scottish single track roads without the need to hunt for a passing spot. We eventually came across a sign, buried deep in the hedge row indicating the road to Kokerbin Rock, we turned into it to discover it was a gravel track for about 7 miles. We trundled up it and at some points got a speed up as high as 19 miles per hour, we do live daringly. The country side around us varied from farm land to bush and then to salt lakes as we travelled along, eventually arriving at the rock to find a sealed road leading up to it.

We parked in the picnic area and had lunch before attempting the scenic drive up to the top of the rock. Some local people, also picnicking said we would have no trouble getting our motor home up to the top, so nothing ventured nothing gained we set off. The road around the bottom was one way but the road to the top is not so we kept hoping the family that had gone up before us were not coming down, luckily they had seen us on our way up so had waited till we arrived. Jeff was dismayed to find the car park at the top was not at the top and there was a steep climb for the rest of the way, more exercise for us. Once again we got some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Our next night stop was to be at Corrigin, another Wheatbelt town, and the family at the picnic spot had told us to go via a small township called Shackleton which had the smallest bank in Australia. We thought we would make this our afternoon tea spot hoping to find a nice café there. We were wrong, there is nothing at Shackleton except a couple of houses, a few closed down shops and a huge well maintained community hall. The bank was not so easy to spot as it looked like a garden potting shed, it had ceased being used in the late 1990's, but still has the information sign on the door.

We arrived in Corrigin and found a camp site and settled down for the evening. After tea we were sitting outside the van in the warm evening air when a gentleman returning from the ablution block looked over so I gave him a wave. He turned and came over to speak to us and invited us to join him and his friends further down the site for a drink. So we upped our chairs and went along and once again we were given lots of good ides of places to visit and things to see on our trip.

The next morning after saying goodbye to some of our new friends from last night, some had not yet risen, we went in to Corrigan to shop and have a look around.

Corrigan was widely known as 'A town of Windmills' due to the abundant supply of ground water. Almost every home had a windmill until 1960 when the town was supplied with mains water. Some houses still have a windmill in the garden as a decorative feature. Today Corrigan is known as the home of the Dog in the Ute event. This involves the coming together of two great rural Aussie icons - the 'ute' and man's best friend the dog in an attempt to break a World Record, to raise funds to donate back into the community, encourage visitors and provides recognition of rural Western Australia. Corrigan currently holds the world record (1527) of a continuous queue of dogs in Utes. This record breaking attempt was held in 2002, breaking the previous record held by Victoria of 797. They tried to break the record again in 2005 but failed by a mere 202 dogs in Utes. So if any of you out there have a dog and a Ute and would like to get involved the web site is www.dogandute.com.au

Located a short distance out of the town is Gorge Rock, another big monolith with a natural rock pool which was once used by the locals as a swimming pool. Swimming is no longer allowed in the pool (the town has a lovely big one in the centre), but you can still walk to the top.

As we drove on through the countryside to our next destination we passed lots of stone and rock outcrops in the fields. We were now heading for the south coast and our route took us through the town of Kulin, the town with the tin horse highway, so we were able to get photos of the statues we missed the first time around. We were driving on small country roads and once again the scenery around us kept changing from the crop growing farm lands to bush areas and at Lake Grace we ran along side several large lakes. Some of theses had water in but mainly they were dried up salt lakes. As we drove nearer to the coast area we were surprised to see in the distance a hill range begin to appear. We had not realised we passed any hills so on looking at the map noticed we would pass through the Stirling Range National Park and the Propongurup National Park before reaching Albany, our final destination.

We arrived in a small town called Borden and according to our camping map we could 'free camp' at the recreational ground or in the rest area opposite the shop. We thought the recreational ground would be good so went looking for it. We found a lovely big sports complex of football ground, tennis courts, bowling green and cricket pitch with a big sports pavilion attached. The town did not seem big enough to have such a big complex. We were not sure this was where we were meant to camp so headed back to the rest area in the town. On checking at the local pub (the only place open, believe me) we were told that some book was indicating there was free camping at the sports arena but this was not true they did really encourage people to camp there. When we told them where we were parked they said that we would be ok there as many caravan's had stayed there overnight. So we had a quick drink, just to be sociable you understand, and then headed back to cook tea. After tea we decided to be sociable again and returned to the pub, there was nothing on the TV, and in discussion with the land lord were given some places to visit in the Stirling Ranges the next day.



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