14/08/2022 ….. Lake Ballard to Mount Elvire Station

Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

Well, it has been nearly 2 weeks since we have encountered any orchids. Over this time, we visited the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool before heading up to Carnarvon where I caught up with a old CBA colleague and her hubby by chance. It is here that we start our planned road trip. We are to travel the Kingsford Smith Mail Run which runs from Carnarvon to Meekatharra. On this road trip we pass through Gascoyne junction and visit Mount Augustus National Park for the very time. At Meekatharra we meet up with friends, Sandy and Noel with whom we travel with for a few days. Our first night we camped at Barlangi Rock which is on the Miners Pathway trail. 2nd night is spent at Lake Mason Homestead, a free camping site. Next day we do the tourist loop in Sandstone before heading toward Menzies. We pull into Lake Ballard to camp the night.

View of mount Augustus

So, we awake to a wet campsite due to overnight rain. Whilst we wait for the sun to dry us out, we venture over to Lake Ballard. Richard decides he will walk out onto the lake and climb the central hill. The rest of us just hang around exploring the area. Once Richard, with so much mud on his boots returns, we venture back to camp, pack up and head into Menzies. Here we grab a coffee and cake before fuelling up and heading west towards our planned destination, Mount Elvire Station.

First stop is a Historic Town Site of Mulline (1897) where we found scattered debris. Next, we pull into Hospital Rocks and go exploring. Woohoo orchids are found. Due to our inland location, I believe the orchids to be the Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) which covers a vast inland area from Nerren Nerren Station and Balladonia.

Also discovered were some sun orchids (Thelymitra sp.) in bud. We take the opportunity to have lunch of left-over pizza before moving on.

We eventually make it to Mount Elvire Station and take our time picking a spot to set up our three campers. Not as many facilities as Lake Mason and it feels much more remote, but we have the place to ourselves which is great. This is Sandy and Noel’s last night with us, so we enjoy their company around the campfire.

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