Bilyuin Pool on the Murchison River
We had seen Bilyuin Pool in the Camps Australia Wide map book & thought it looked like a good free campsite. After leaving Lake Mason Conservation Park in the morning, then a quick fuel up at Meekatharra we headed north along the Great Northern Highway again towards Newman. 75 km north of Meekatharra we turned up the Ashburtown Downs road for 14 km until we crossed the Murchison River, we the went directly left & found a nice little waterhole with camping along the edge. There was one other camp set up, but plenty of room. We pulled into the firs spot to have a look, it was lovely, but I said to Mat something's dead! He couldn't smell it but I kept getting whiffs of something. As we looked around we soon found smell, the remains of roo guts, someone had killed a roo & gutted it in the campsite. We went up the other end of the waterhole & found a spot there. As we drove up we went past a car with a trailer full of dead roos. It seems the indigenous people still hunt roos out here. I think that is great, but was far from impressed about them gutting the animals in campsites right on the waters edge, I think it is pretty disrespectful.
Anyway, our campsite on the other end was really good, only about 10 meters from the water, we set up & had some lunch. Just after lunch the wind really started to blow & hasn't stopped since nit even overnight, the tent flapped all night on both nights. It also got pretty cold overnight. We had seen the weather forecast so knew it was going to happen, but it doesn't make it any nicer!! We stoked up the fire & I got out my scarf.
After a cold night it was still blowy in the morning, but there wasn't much we could do about it, so decided to take advantage off it by doing our clothes washing! We had a pretty lazy morning, with fruit damper & tea for smoko & a bit of book reading. In the afternoon we got out our maps again & decided we would go to Newman the next day, I had to sort out my photo storage so needed to find somewhere with a computer & the internet. We also had to resupply before heading to Karrijini National park. So in the afternoon we packed up what we could, I got some photos including some more bird photos (the bird life was amazing, Ringnecks, Galahs, Budgies, Ducks, Swamphens, hawks, plovers & even a rainbow beeeater). The wind did finally die down about 8pm that night & was okay the next morning, but soon started to pick up again as we packed up camp.
Bilyuin Pool is a great free campsite, we stayed 2 nights but could of easily stayed longer if the weather had of been a bit nicer & Karijini wasn't beckoning!! There are no facilities, plenty of room for campsites, a good track in, water in the river, plenty of firewood, lots of birds & very quiet. There are cattle around, but they didn't bother us, just keep an eye out if you are going into the bush, I don't think they see humans to often. The only thing that concerned us about this campsite was the locals shooting roos (we didn't see or hear any shooting, just the roo guts & them driving out with a trailer full) & also we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving our campsite for to long, it just had that feel that everything might be gone by the time you got back. Definitely a great campsite though, just keep an eye out.
After we packed up we started to head north again to Newman. The country was still arid but it started to get a bit more grass, large hills & ranges. We passed over the Gascoyne River another camp spot we had considered & it was lovely, a big waterhole with lots of caravans already enjoying the camping, so we continued on. We stopped on the way at Kumarina roadhouse, it was in the middle of nowhere so we just had to stop. What a stop it was! A talking Corella greeted us with a "hello" & "wanna scratch", there were wild Galahs hanging around the aviaries of budgies & parrots. A baby donkey, goat & calf, we thought rounded out the experience, but no there was more! Two girls then were walking their ferrets on leads!! What a place, it was awesome!!
We continued onto Newman a large mining town with apparently the largest open cut coal mine in the world. The mine was right along the town like Kalgoorlie. We stopped at the Kaglan Rest caravan park & at $28 a night for powered sites we thought it was pretty good. The park also has a large miners camp attached, but it was really well run. They also had free washing machines & dryers much to our delight, we don't think we have ever seen that before, so the bed sheets were quickly stripped & every scrap of clothing that was sort of dirty got a wash!! Newman also has a Woolworth's, so we got a few groceries & some beer as well. We also used the local library to back up our 1000 photos we already have taken. We considered another night in Newman, but the call of Karijini National Park was too strong, so we set off the next day (Thursday the 1st of May already!!). We can't wait to bring you that post.