Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 24 June 2013

Camping with heritage - Karalee & Boondi Rocks - Western Australia

Over the last few weeks or so I have taken you up the Holland Track to Thursday Rock, Cave Rock, Burra Rock, Coolgardie and along the Perth to Kalgoorlie Pipeline. Today we continue our journey, turning westward along the Great Eastern Highway which connects  Perth and Kalgoorlie. 

If you missed my post about the pipeline, you can check it out by clicking here - The need for water on the goldfields

It can be a long drive from Perth to Kalgoorlie,  especially if you are exploring the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, but there are a couple of great picnic stops and campsites at granite rocks which I recommend you to stop and take a look at between Coolgardie and Yellowdine.  

The rocks are a great opportunity to take a break, explore and learn about the rocks, the goldfields, pipeline and railway and their importance to the development of the interior of Western Australia. 

Karalee, Boondi and Woolgangie Rocks feature rock catchments and dams built in the 1890s to service steam trains travelling between Perth and the Goldfields.

Thousands of years ago Aboriginal people camped at these rocks and collected water from the gnamma holes and soaks.  Early explorers, sandalwood cutters, travellers, prospectors, and supply teams also camped here, as well as construction workers building the railway line in the late 1800s and the Goldfields Water Supply Pipeline in 1902.  

Kilometres of granite slab walls up to a metre high, all cut from the rock and laid by hand surround the enormous rock catchments, directing the rainwater into the dams. It is amazing to see these constructions which were an enormous achievement of both manual labour and horsepower.   

In the mosaic below you can see the rock walls around the base of the rock, the channels through the bush, and the outlet into the dam at Karalee Rock.

70 Kilometres west of Coolgardie is the remains of the former Woolgangie telegraph station. The rock catchment and dam was used by travellers on route to the goldfields before the railway line reached Woolgangie in December 1895. During the two months that Woolgangie was the railhead it became one of the busiest towns in Western Australia. During this time the region was gripped by severe drought. 1000 horses were stranded here quickly diminishing the water supply. A heavy thunderstorm on 9 January saved the dire situation. 

All that remains today at Woolgangie is one wall of the telegraph station, and the pipeline, but it is still an interesting stopover for a morning tea or lunch stop.  Sadly we didn't make time to climb up the rock (I wish we had). 

7 kilometres west of Woolgangie is Boondi Rock, located in the Goldfields Woodlands National Park.  The day use and camping area, which is managed by WA Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC) is 3km north of the Highway. At Boondi Rock rainwater is directed off the rock into the Boondi dam by way of rock lined channels.  A walk trail takes you over the rock to the quarry and then back through the bush along one of the rock channels. You can see it in the picture below.

131 kilometres west of Coolgardie is Karalee, my favourite of the rocks along this section.

Karalee was officially gazetted as a water reserve in 1888 and by 1895 around 600 teams and 4,000 horses plying their trade between Southern Cross and Coolgardie regularly stopped here.

When the railway between Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie was completed in 1896 a series of rock walls, an aqueduct and 48.3 million litre dam was constructed at Karalee. Rain water is directed to flow off the rock into the dam via rock walls and a large semi-circular steel flume aqueduct, hand riveted at each joint. The flume has been conserved by the National Trust of Australia (WA) for its heritage value so we can still see it today.  The water was then pumped 3.6 kilometres south to the railway siding. 

Thanks to the National Trust and Southern Cross community, visitors can camp or picnic in the peaceful shady surrounds. Two marked walk trails with interpretive signage start not far from the camp ground and take you through bushland and over a section of rock. You can also walk around the dam wall.  When we camped here the sunset from the rock was magnificent. 

You can see the flume in the images below -

The shady open campsites at Karalee and Boondi are lightly wooded with salmon gums, eucalypt and mallee trees.  Both are suitable for caravans, camper trailers and tents, although it can be sometimes difficult to hammer in pegs!  

We found that there were a lot of birds around the dam area, making it a great camping place for bird watchers. During spring the surrounding bushland would be ablaze with wildflowers. You may see red fruited quandong trees which were an important food source for Aboriginal people and early settlers. You can see the quandong fruit below.  Isn't that a wonderful sunrise?

One of the things I enjoy about bush camping is the sunsets. Away from the city lights they are amazing - how about this sunset at Karalee Rock......

I hope you have enjoyed the continuation of our tour.  Have you ever seen rock catchments like this in your part of the world? Do you have a favourite bush camping spot?
Have a great week. I look forward to hearing from you.

So how do you get there? -
Karalee Rock – GPS: -31.250561 119.84024 - 5km north of the Great Eastern Highway, 51km east of Southern Cross and 131km west of Coolgardie, on the northern side of the highway.
Boondi Rock – GPS: -31.181156  120.384468 - 3km north of the Great Eastern Highway, 108km east of Southern Cross and 77km west of Coolgardie.
Woolgangie –  GPS: -31.16235 120.55886 – approx 7km east of Boondi Rock on northern side of the Great Eastern Highway.
Facilities: Information boards, echo flushing toilet, hand washing basin, picnic tables and fire rings. Bring own firewood, be aware of fire restrictions and take away rubbish. The camping areas are suitable for caravans, camper trailers and tents. Non potable water.  There is a RV dump at Karalee. 
Wheelchair access: Wheelchair friendly toilet. 
Rates: Free
Pets : Not permitted at Boondi Rocks and not encouraged at Karalee due to wild dog baiting. 

Interested in learning more?  A couple of websites for you to check out - please click on the links -
DEC campgrounds Western Australia
Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday (@Little Red House) Our World Tuesday, Travel Photo Thursday (@Budget Traveler's Sandbox) and a new linking party at Oh the Places I've Been (@The Tablescaper) Please click on the links to see contributions from around the world. 
 Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday 
Travel Photo Thursday 
Oh the Places I've Been 


  1. Wow ~ great photography ~ love the last mosaic of the beautiful skies ~ happy day to ^_^

  2. Noooo, no amazing rock formations like these nor landscapes like these nor trees like these nor names like these. It's all so new and interesting to me. Thank you for all the pictures. I'm coming back to take a longer look, but the storms are back and I must shut down the computer.

  3. Thanks for this look at your part of the world. Things look very dry- wish we could send you some of the rain we've been getting. That sunset is gorgeous!

  4. WOW!! what a beautiful and informative post - I had to come back and read once again. Specially love your images, your look on your world !!

    wish you a lovely week,


  5. Amazing sunset! Going through the post and the beautiful pictures I was reminded of the Wild Wild West novels I used to like once. Mining towns started based on someone getting lucky and finding gold among the odd rocks. The train line and the telegraph office will always have a role to place in them. Nice informative article on the Australian side of it.

  6. What a wonderfl post. I wish i was living in Australia and. Would love to make that trip. Your sunset photo is fabulous.
    Have a nice day.

  7. Stunning photography! Thanks for the amazing tour of your country and a wealth of information. Great post and blog!

    The French Hutch

  8. What dry and lovely scenery. And those skies are beautiful!

  9. Very interesting and scenic trip. It's amazing what those early settlers went through to get water in the desert. Great photos.

  10. Yes, precious pictures, I love this series! Best regards!

  11. It is so interesting to be able to see these magnificent and unique parts of the world through someone else's eyes. Thank you for sharing

  12. Jill, what a scenic trip. No, I have not seen these rock formations. Maybe something similar to catch the rainfall here in Florida. The sky shots are beautiful. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing.

  13. Fascinating tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  14. Beautiful images! This is a whole different world for me - thanks for the tour!

  15. thank you all dear readers. I am so glad to hear that you have enjoyed the tour over the last few weeks. It really is a fascinating area to visit, so full of history. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you.

  16. Thank you for the lovely tour of Western Australia Jill. I so regret I didn't venture outside of Sydney when I used to go there for business. Thank you also for visiting us at prety-a-vivre.com. Have a beautiful week.

  17. The sunsets look spectacular! Australia seems so beautiful and so diverse that I think when I finally get there that I'm going to have to plan to stay awhile!

    1. Australia certainly is very diverse Lisa. I have lived here all my life and have only seen a quarter of it!

  18. Water is so important in Western Australia, like in any arid country I guess. My eye is immediately drawn to the water. Love the reflection. :)

  19. Hi Jill, it looks like a great bush camping experience. The landscapes are so interesting and so new to me. You captured that sunset in Karalee Rock so beautifully.

  20. Australia has so much variety ...rainforest, desert, mountains...I can imagine that it's enough for a whole lifetime to visit places there! Thank you for visiting my blog earlier this week:)

    1. yes we are slowly working our way around. We had an overseas travel bug for a while, and there are still places overseas I would love to visit, but we still have lots and lots to see in Australia too, so we are concentrating on seeing more of our own country for now.

  21. That first photograph of the pipe line is just perfect.
    Bush camping must be real fun.

  22. wow, what a fascinating place, great place for hiking and taking photographs and those sunsets, wow!
    Come and join my new Monday photo carnival on my travel site!

    1. thanks for the invite Noel. I'll see you over there!

  23. Oh my those sunset photos are spectacular. I've thoroughly enjoyed this tour you've taken us on. Look forward to where we will be going with you next week!

  24. Amazing terrain and spectacular photos!

    Great to have you be a part of "Oh the PLACES I've been!". Hope to see you next week!

    - The Tablescaper

  25. Lots of great information! It sounds like a nice place to visit.

  26. I'm enjoying this bush camping trip virtually through you. I find Woolgangie's history so interesting in that it used to be so big and is now nothing. I also like the flume photos and the water catchments.

    1. it really is amazing the number of booming gold towns (in particular) that were huge and have now dwindled back to dust and a few crumbling walls and scraps of iron.

  27. Wonderful shots, Jill. The sunset was magnificent. These old towns look like they would be really interesting to visit, and the guided trails a bonus.

  28. What a great area for a road trip and camping. Woolgangie reminds me of some of the ghost towns in the U.S. southwest -- love finding places like that.

  29. Hi Jill,
    I stumbled across your blog this morning,
    I was wanting to look at Woolgangie and Boondi rock for sometime now, i have now been to both those places and glad i did.
    Thankyou for posting those places on your blog
    Thanks, Grant

  30. Can you camp at woolgangie

    1. sorry - no - camping is not allowed. But Karalee and Boondi are not far away where you can camp.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.