Durba Springs has been described as one of the most beautiful places in Australia. Towering red cliffs, swimming holes, shady gums and Aboriginal rock art make this special oasis a spectacular spot to camp.
Watch the panorama come alive as the sun sets over Lake Disappointment, a vast salt-lake named in 1897 by Frank Hann. Imagine his disappointment when expecting a large fresh water lake, he found this dry salt-encrusted expanse instead!
In the desert, the Milky Way seems so close that you can almost reach out and touch it. Gaze in awe as the night sky comes alive with millions of stars, a truly incredible experience.
Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Canning, the surveyor who established the longest stock route in the world. Learn the rich history behind many of the 51 Wells and experience the harsh, but magnificent desert landscape.
Today you’ll be picked up from Broome airport by your Outback Spirit safari team and whisked off to Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa. This evening, meet your fellow adventurers during your pre-tour briefing, enjoy dinner together and start to get a little excited. Meals: D
This morning we depart Broome for the adventure of a lifetime. Follow the Great Northern Highway to Fitzroy Crossing before continuing to our first campsite near Halls Creek. Your crew will help you become familiar with the camping equipment and prepare a sumptuous dinner under the stars. Meals: B.L.D
Anticipation grows today as we turn down the Tanami Road and reach the official start of the Canning Stock Route at Billiluna. From here we pass Bloodwood bore, Well 51 and Well 49 - known as the ‘Crystal Well’ because of its reliable drinking water. Our first night on the stock route will be nearby at Canning’s 303 Marker. Meals: B.L.D
Our destinations today were named after two members of David Carnegie’s expedition of 1896. As the party desperately searched for water, Godfrey Massie found a huge natural stone catchment, hence the name Godfrey Tank. Another party member, Joe Breaden, also found water in a lower area which was named Breaden Pool. Today we’ll explore the wonderful natural features of these waterholes before continuing our journey south. Briefly stop at Wells 48 and 47 before tackling the first of the big sand dunes. Tonight, we camp at Well 46. Meals: B.L.D
Today we tackle the Great Sandy Desert and head to an area known as Gravity Lakes. We’ll make brief stops at a couple of wells, spending longer at Well 43 - traditionally known as Billowaggi.
A drive over the Guli Lake System takes us to our camping spot just north of the Helena Springs Track. Make camp amongst the gum trees and enjoy another magnificent evening under the desert stars. Meals: B.L.D
Our first stop this morning is at Well 41, also called ‘Tiru’ by traditional owners. The area surrounding ‘Tiru’ has better than average soil which in turn provided good feed for the mobs of cattle that were driven down the track. Well 40 has some fascinating history regarding a fellow called Michael Tobin, who was part of the original 1906 survey expedition.
After morning tea we trek across Lake Tobin to arrive at Well 39, home to hundreds of budgerigars that thrive on the surface water provided by the well, now in ruins. We then arrive at Wardabunni Rockhole, the location of Well 38 which was created when members of Canning’s party blasted a hole in the rocky creek bed. Water was abundant but it proved difficult to persuade cattle to drink at the site. Nevertheless, it makes for a lovely campsite. Meals: B.L.D
After packing up camp our first stop is Well 37, a place shrouded in mystery since the first cattle drive down the stock route in 1910. 150 or so bullocks were being driven by George Shoesmith, James Thompson, Fred Terone and an Aborigine called ‘Chinaman’. After Fred Terone headed back to Halls Creek due to illness, the remaining men pushed on to Well 37 where they were later found dead under mysterious circumstances. Their graves have been preserved near the well.
After morning tea, we continue south to Well 36 where you’ll learn about Eileen and George Lanagan. We then press on and make camp at Well 33 on the outskirts of Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community, one of the most remote communities in Australia. Well 33 has a large water tank and windmill providing plenty of fresh water, so it’s a good spot to catch up on some washing. This afternoon we also meet our resupply plane at the airstrip. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we stock up on diesel from the community store and continue our adventure south to Wells 32 (Mallowa), 31 (Wullowla) and 30 (Duna Jinnda). Enjoy lunch under the shady trees surrounding Well 30 before trekking on to Thring Rock, named by Larry Wells in 1896 after a member of John McDouall Stuart’s 1862 expedition across Australia. Thring Rock is an impressive sandstone outcrop, and a short climb to the lookout provides exceptional views of the surrounding countryside. Tonight, we camp at the base of Thring Rock. Meals: B.L.D
After breakfast we pack up camp and traverse numerous sand dunes en route to Well 27. Enjoy a short morning tea break before continuing to Well 26, recently restored to provide excellent drinking water. After replenishing the convoy’s water tanks, we push on to Well 25 for lunch under the shade of some beautiful Desert Oak trees. This afternoon we arrive at Well 24, located just past the intersection of the Talawana Track. Set up camp and get ready for a superb sunset. Meals: B.L.D
Today’s section of the route is also part of the Talawana Track, which if followed west for 450kms will take you to Newman. Pass by the Capricorn Roadhouse Fuel dump, where many travellers pre-arrange a ‘fuel drop’ through the Capricorn Roadhouse in Newman. Fuel is carted out in 44-gallon drums with names written on top, but with the availability of fuel at Kunawarritji the practice has become less popular.
This morning we make a stop at Georgia Bore, which is not a traditional Canning well but a bore drilled by CRA for use by their survey crews in the 1970’s. We then trek on towards Lake Disappointment, an ephemeral salt-lake named by Frank Hann in 1897. After following the direction of several creek beds, Hann was expecting to find a large freshwater lake. He instead came across a large dry salt-lake, hence the name ‘Lake Disappointment’. This afternoon we set up camp on the banks of Lake Disappointment. Watch the spectacular panorama come alive as the sun sets. Meals: B.L.D
After breaking camp this morning we follow the western edge of Lake Disappointment to Savory Creek. Depending on recent rainfall, we may need to travel further west to avoid the muddy creek bed. We’ll pass by Well 19 and Onegunyah Rockhole before arriving at one of the most scenic parts of the entire stock route, Durba Springs (Jilikuru). We’ll camp here for two nights to get the most out of this truly magnificent setting. Meals: B.L.D
Durba Springs was always a popular spot for drovers to rest up for a few days while driving cattle down from the East Kimberley. The area, traditionally called ‘Jilikuru’ by the Martu people, is also home to a number of distinctive Western Desert Aboriginal rock art sites. This morning, enjoy guided walks around the Durba Hills taking in some of the art sites. The afternoon can be spent at your leisure. Meals: B.L.D
Well rested, we begin early and head south to Well 16. Here you’ll learn of the area’s torturous history before moving on to Well 15, where we stop at the lookout for morning tea. Next, we pass Wells 14 and 13 before reaching Well 12, which offers excellent drinking water thanks to a recent restoration. After replenishing our water supplies, we continue on to McConkey Hill near Well 10 and set up camp. Meals: B.L.D
Also known as Weld Springs, Well 9 is where the remote pastoral property Glen-Ayle Station begins, evident by the cattle yards and infrastructure. It’s also where John Forrest, the first premier of Western Australia, was forced to build a small fort in 1874. Here, we deviate from the official stock route and travel through Glen-Ayle Station to Wiluna. After refuelling, we return to the stock route and set up camp at Well 1. Meals: B.L.D
Today marks the end of our journey along the Canning Stock Route as we meet up with the Great Northern Highway. Arrive into Newman early this afternoon and check in to the Seasons Hotel, with time to unwind before our final celebratory dinner together. Meals: B.L.D
Enjoy breakfast together once more, before being transferred to the Newman airport for your flight to Perth*. Farewell, until your next Outback Spirit adventure! Meals: B
* Please confirm the time of your included flight with our office. This flight can be excluded from the package.
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