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The Canning Stock Route passes through some of the most remote and isolated country in the world. Built in 1910 to break the West Kimberley beef monopoly, the route begins in Halls Creek and extends all the way to Wiluna in the mid-west, a distance of over 1800kms. The rugged terrain and sheer isolation of the stock route demands an unparalleled level of planning, expertise and competency.
In certain parts the stock route is incredibly beautiful, with freshwater springs creating oases in the middle of nowhere. Other areas are home to narrow gorges, sheer cliffs, ancient Aboriginal art sites and engravings of explorers and drovers.
Very few people ever get to see this unique part of Australia. If you’re interested in being one of them, make sure it’s with Outback Spirit.
Outback Spirit operates Mercedes Benz G Wagons for its unique adventures across the Canning Stock Route and Simpson Desert. The utilitarian variant, the ‘Professional’, is one of the most capable and robust all-terrain vehicles in the world and the longest produced Mercedes Benz in history. Over 200,000 units sold since 1979, including 2500 recently procured by the Australian Defence Force. The G Wagon is an incredibly unique vehicle. During our initial testing phase, it quickly became evident that it was the only vehicle suitable for our desert adventures. Off-road, the G Wagons are simply unmatched by any other vehicle. They ride exceptionally well, are fitted with forward facing coach seats and have more legroom than other vehicles in the same class. Their iconic boxy shape also affords more headroom for occupants.
Our two fleets of G Wagons consist of both 6x6 and 4x4 vehicles. The 6x6’s under-pin the whole expedition thanks to their high payload and remarkable capability, allowing us to carry our own custom-made kitchen and amenities unit. The amenities unit features two flushing toilets and two hot-water showers, and retain all toilet waste for subsequent disposal. For a trip like this, the ability to have a hot shower and flushing toilet makes all the difference. Each fleet of vehicles is also equipped with satellite telephones and advanced medical kits.
Outback Spirit has invested over $4 million in these remarkable vehicles. When it comes to our passengers' comfort and safety, no expense is spared.
The idea of going without basic comforts is enough to turn anyone off heading bush. Digging holes or hooking up a cumbersome hot water apparatus is no-one’s idea of a good time. That’s why our desert safaris are so unique.
In each G Wagon fleet, a 6x6 military style G Wagon features a specially engineered bathroom pod. Complete with 2 equal sized bathrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, these pods are a real work of art and feature a hydraulically raiseable roof, large water storage tanks and effluent capture. So, in addition to providing that all-important level of comfort, we’re also looking after the environment by removing waste instead of burying it in the scrub.
In each Desert Safari crew there’s an experienced camp cook who’ll provide delicious cuisine for the expedition. And, with ample refrigeration and a re-supply rendezvous, we’re never short of good quality, fresh food.
A good night’s rest is just as important as a hot shower and a good meal, so we’ve provided the best camping equipment available to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. The large tents are easy to erect with only one centre pole and a few pegs. You’ll be sleeping off the ground on sturdy lightweight stretcher beds, with a self-inflating mattress to go on top. As the desert nights can get quite cold, we also provide you with a high-quality sleeping bag to keep you warm and comfortable.
No campsite is complete without a crackling fire, and it’s here that you’ll be able to relax and unwind at the end of the day, chatting to new friends under the desert stars.
At the beginning of the 20th century, East Kimberley cattlemen were looking for an alternate way to move their cattle south and supply of beef to Perth and the southern goldfields. The problem for East Kimberley cattlemen was that their cattle were infested with Boophilus ticks, which were infected with a malaria-like parasitic disease called Babesiosis. It was feared these ticks would survive the sea journey down to Perth, which gave West Kimberley cattlemen a monopoly in terms of supplying beef to the south.
The Canning Stock Route was first proposed in 1905 by East Kimberley pastoralist James Isdell, who strongly argued the Boophilus ticks wouldn’t survive the journey down the long dry stock route. With support from other East Kimberley cattlemen, and a state government keen for competition in the beef industry, his proposal was taken seriously and resulted in the government appointing Alfred Canning to survey the route.
With a team of 23 camels, two horses and eight men, Canning surveyed the route in less than six months. He needed to find significant water sources along the way; enough for 800 head of cattle at a time and no further than a day’s walk apart. Once the survey had been completed, Canning returned with a construction party and between March 1908 and April 1910 built and installed 51 wells along the route. Commercial droving finally began in 1910.
The Canning Stock Route didn’t prove popular and few cattlemen were prepared to embark on the epic drove. Renewed interest followed a 1928 Royal Commission into Western Australia beef prices, but in total just 37 droves were recorded down the stock route. The last drove was in 1959.
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