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We live in Adelaide, South Australia and enjoy travel in the Australian outback in our Oka 4WD motorhome, hence the blog title.

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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Gulvida Soak, Well 50 on the CSR

At the top end of the Canning Stock Route, near Well 50 is a small but interesting gorge on an unnamed water course (Gulvida Creek?), but what is probably a remote branch of the Sturt Creek.

A short walk along the a creek leads to Gulvida Soak, a well hidden but important water hole in a cave at the back of a small gorge.

[Note Gulvida is variously spelled as "Culvida", "Guldiva" or "Culdiva". "Gulvida" is used on official Geoscience Australia NatMaps while Hema/WestPrint use "Culvida", the others appear to be wrong.]

Travels in this area, and maybe Gulvida Soak on the Sturt Creek, were described by Michael Terry in his book Across unknown Australia, published in 1925. Terry and companion Richard "Dick" Yockney had run out of benzine and nearly died of thirst when they stumbled upon a soak which saved their lives. It was in a creek very remiscent of, and in the same general area, as the Gulvida Soak creek, about 47 km (30 miles) west of Lake Gregory.

At a time when there were no roads, Terry was one of the first people to cross Australia by motor vehicle, and the book describes his travels from Winton to Broome in 1923. Prior to Terry's travels, all major outback journeys had been by camel train or on horseback.


Michael Terry and his 1923 transport...


... and our 2007 equivalent.

An interesting summary of Michael Terry's travels, by Ron and Viv Moon, can be found here, and a Wikipedia entry here.



Our GPS track (in blue) to Gulvida Gorge.

To access the gorge you need to drive about 4 km south west from Well 50 along a fairly obvious track to the top of the creek, scramble down and walk along the dry winding creek bed for about 1 km.

The Gulvida Soak marked on the maps is presumably an ephemeral water hole/billabong in the creek bed, not the gorge and cave we went to, which is further on.


Looking back at the "car park" on the top of the creek.

It's a good idea to keep a mental picture of where your car is when setting out on a walk in a remote area, to orient your self for the return. Or take a GPS with you. And if you're in groups, hand-held CB radios are valuable.

A 1 km walk along a dry creek bed along leads to small gorge off to the left (south) of the creek which contains a hidden and well protected water hole. On the walls of the gorge are aboriginal carvings which demonstrate the importance of this water supply to the aboriginal people.


The gorge is just around the corner on the left...


... behind the bush.



The gorge is quite easy to find, since its opening will be advertised by clouds of noisy zebra finches as they fly in and out of the cave and rest in the surrounding bushes.


At the back of the gorge, almost invisible in the bright sunlight, is a cave with a deep water pool in the darkened interior.



Depending on the seasons, there may also be small soaks in the creek bed, presumably dug out by kangaroos, which will also buzz with zebra finches.



But the most interesting part of the gorge is the gallery of aboriginal carvings on the gorge wall.






Then it's a pleasant walk back to the car. It's hot and we took plenty of water, but we are not wearing fly-hats so there can't have been too many pesky creatures about either.



And finally, here is a video of Gulvida Gorge taken by Michael Olsen in 2009, when there was plenty of water in the creek, unlike our visit in 2007 when it was bone dry.

Gulvida Soak near Well 50 - Canning Stock Route from Michael Olsen on Vimeo.

Michael has posted several other interesting videos here. Thank you Michael, I would thank you personally but I don't have your contact details. If you read this please leave a message by clicking the mail icon below.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Nice write up. Michael of the Gulveda video here. My email is texcat@optusnet.com.au.


    Michael (Mick) Olsen