Road Trip Hillarys to Mukinbudin

The Great West Australian Wave is alive and well and living in the Wheatbelt!

We had a wander out yonder for a few days last weekend and one of the joys was that everybody in cars or on foot waved to one another – not that we saw a lot of cars. Once we turned off the Great Northern Highway, vehicles were few and far between. Of course, even in the country, there is always that one driver….I’m taking to the idiot who overtook our convoy of one motor home and four cars towing caravans in one go  – even although we were travelling 100 metres apart.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

When our Seniors group decided to visit the Wheatbelt, my husband and I hired a motor home. Our group hadn’t yet decided on an itinerary and we had some discussion about free camping that would involve a long drop toilet so we decided that a motor home, complete with toilet and shower, was the way to go travelling.

We hired a Maui Ultima 2 berth Mercedes Benz for five days and got a very good deal – $74 a day plus $35 a day for the full insurance package – a grand total of  $545.  The downside of hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic is that we weren’t allowed to look inside the motor home before hiring it so it came as a bit of a surprise that the shower and toilet were actually all in one very small compartment!

We left on a Friday morning and met the rest of our group in Bindoon at 10am. Using the new North Link road from the Reid Highway it took us about 50 minutes to Bindoon from Hillarys. I have seen many online discussions about the North Link Road centring on the road noise and the road surface, which seemed to be causing a lot of damage to windscreens with loose chips. However we had no problems and found it a very quick, easy and pleasant drive.

Travelling through the countryside was very easy on the eye and the drivers had no complaints about the lack of traffic on the road. Our next stop was at Wongan Hills via Calingri. Wongan Hills is a pleasant little rural town with a population of about 900.

We had lunch there and took the opportunity to have a comfort stop at the very clean public toilets next to the Visitor Centre. We also took in a local arts and crafts show that had some beautiful quilts on display.

Wongan Hills bills itself as having trails, tracks and tractors and the menfolk enjoyed looking at the tractors on display near the car park including a huge tractor, built by local farmer Ron York using second-hand parts.

Just before Wongan Hills is the Lake Ninan rest area – it looked beautiful and has picnic tables set up but there are no restroom facilities.

Back on the road, we passed through a small place called Cadoux. Its claim to fame is that it suffered an earthquake in 1979, which registered 6.1 on the Richter scale. Luckily there were no fatalities and only one injury – a child with a broken arm. On our way out we noticed a few large stuffed animals in a garden – at least we thought they were stuffed until two of the Llamas looked up at us!

We bypassed Bencubbin – the home of the Golden Grains and drove through Koorda – it is Corn Dolly Country – a mystery to solve on another trip.

We went through numerous train crossings that have lights but no gates but didn’t see even one train. Lots of sheep in the fields and flocks of galahs rising from the ground but no other fauna around.

The scenery was definitely Wheatbelt country – fields of corn, barley and wheat not to mention the ubiquitous rape, which looked great from a distance but close up was not good news for my hay fever. Lots of wildflowers at the side of the road were a distraction but lovely to see. The roads were mostly very straight but narrower than we are used to in Perth.

After a diversion to see some local attractions we arrived in Mukinbudin around 4pm having driven about 345 kilometres.

The drive back, which included a comfort stop in Wongan Hills and breakfast in Bindoon, took us five hours.

About Hazel Broomhead

My name is Hazel and I am a Perth senior!

Originally from Edinburgh in Scotland, my husband and I moved to New Zealand with our children in 1974. As my husband is in the oil business, we moved to several other countries including the Sultanate of Oman, the Netherlands, Singapore, the Philippines, the USA, Russia and Kazakhstan during the next 36 years before retiring to Perth.

We have six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who live in different parts of the globe – New Zealand, Scotland and Colombia - which makes a great excuse for us to travel and visit.

My career background is in radio and print journalism in Scotland and New Zealand as well as public relations in various other countries.

We love to eat out, walk, travel and enjoy the wonderful lifestyle here in Western Australia.

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