Given the CSR had been out of bounds for the last 2 years due to COVID and we had no idea as to the state of the infrastructure in readiness for the upcoming tourist season, we began negotiations with Kuju Wangka (the group that controls the permit system for the CSR) about doing an audit of the track and any minor maintenance along the way. Once we had gathered all this data, we could then make informed decisions about what to do in the future. So, the scene was set.

A group of 4 vehicles set off Monday Aug 8th heading for an overnight stay outside Meekatharra and then on to Wiluna the next day for a reception with the Shire CEO and councillors at the Discovery Centre.

After we had copious supplies of sandwiches it was time to get on with our job on the CSR and we hit Well 1 in the early afternoon. Here we discussed roles for each person. These included, Road Conditions, Environmental Condition, Sign and POI photos and GPS locating everything. A process was developed for everyone to follow. This turned out to be very efficient and we could progress our way through the Wells at a cracking pace, averaging about 120km per day

The camping was excellent with magnificent sunsets and full moon rises to treat us to some astronomical delights.  After a few days, the sand dune country started and provided us with a “smoother” road, but the overgrowth closed in!

Our job was to document all infrastructure and POIs that make up the CSR and it’s not until you have a forensic look at it you discover just how much is out there. Track Care has taken a very proactive role in making sure that what facilities are available are maintained to the best of our abilities and knowing what is located where is very much a function of that work. Most think that it’s just desert but it’s amazing how much has been put there for appropriate purposes and also what has no place at all. We found 70 signs that were CSR specific but many more used for pastoral or mining purposes, 70 benchmarks (official survey points) and 15 vehicle or trailer wrecks. We didn’t count them but there were many 44-gallon drums, and these are becoming a real eye sore.

By the end of the trip, we had emptied all the dunnies we could (as some had tyre troubles too), did a bit of handyman stuff and importantly recorded and documented all that we could on this famous track. We also climbed 575 sand dunes on our journey of 1750km from Well 1 in the south to Billiluna in the north. Thanks go to my fellow travellers in completing this project in the really quick time of 15 days.

From this trip we have produced a 100-page report which will be the basis of our maintenance program for years to come. For the most part the track and the infrastructure is in good condition, and we can be confident it will be ready for the expected influx of visitors next year and I guess some more work on our part.

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