Ninghan Station – Welcome to the Outback

I recently returned from leading a trip to Ninghan Station with some friends from the Austrekkers 4wd Club over the June Foundation Day long weekend.

Ninghan Station is located approximately 380km north-east of Perth, along the Great Northern Highway. It’s a working station property (sheep and goats) that allows 4wd enthusiasts to camp and explore the property. It stretches over a vast area of land (over 1/2 million acres) and there is no shortage of things to see (you could spend weeks driving around and exploring).

We had an early start to the trip, departing from Ginger’s Roadhouse at 6am. Good time was made and everyone was treated to an amazing sunrise. We took a shortcut before we got to New Norcia and stopped in Dalwallinu for a stretch of the legs. It was then onto Wubin to top up the fuel tanks. Wubin is the last fuel before Ninghan Station (98km away) so it’s a good idea to fill up your tanks and jerry cans here.

The roads become flat and straight from here on out and you know you’re really in the outback once you pass this sign:

The Outback Starts Here - complete with shotgun holes

A leisurely 98km from Wubin you will find the turn off to Ninghan Station on the right – it is well sign posted so you won’t miss it. The station itself is open between the hours of 8am-6pm.

Be sure to make you way to the station house and have a chat with friendly old Don. He is quite the character and can provide you with a mudmap of the property and suggest where to camp and what to see. Basically the entire property is open to 4wding so follow a trail, find a spot you like the look of and setup camp.

We decided to go exploring and find somewhere to have lunch. We headed out to a large outcrop of granite named Warrdagga Rock. It rises a couple of hundred meters above sea level and has great views of the vast surrounding country side. The more energetic of us hiked to the top and were treated to these views after a quick feed.

With full stomachs and rejuvenated enthusiasm we decided to head to the highest point on the property – Mt Singleton. At 689m above sea level this is the highest point for hundreds of kilometers and as a result there is a Telstra mobile phone tower and Aeronatic antennas at the peak.

The trail to the top is rocky and rough and it’s recommended you let your tires down. The terrain around the station is brutal on tires and you should be running pressures of around 20psi. We were lucky and didn’t have any punctures this trip.

As expected the views from the top were spectacular!

With the day getting on we decided to search fo an appropriate campsite. We headed back past the homestead and explored some more trails. We ended up finding a secluded spot off the trail surrounded by eucalyptus trees with a healthy stash of firewood lying around.

It wasn’t long until camp was setup, the fire was roaring and everyone was relaxing in their camp chairs with a cold beer in hand spinning yarns and excitedly talking about what to explore tomorrow.

Campfire - Ninghan Station

As the night progressed I decided to try my shot at some star trails. I read a few tutorials online (there is an excellent one here at NatureScapes.net) and thought I’d give it a shot. I used my wide angle Sigma lens at 10mm, f4 in bulb mode. I triggered the shutter with a remote and left it to expose for about 30 minutes. The fairly pleasing results are shown below:

Star Trails - Ninghan Station

There were a few sore heads on Sunday morning from the night before (Bec!) and a fully cooked breakfast of bacon and egg burritos was consumed at a leisurely pace.

Once the cars were packed (we setup a basecamp and left some of our gear under cover) we decided to head out to the northern side of the station across Great Northern Highway. After a 20min drive on nice graded gravel roads we came to Lake Monger – one of the large salt lakes on the property. There was water flowing between the various parts of the lake but it was still really saline.

On the way in we passed a trail that we decided to head back toward and explore. Driving along this trail we came across 2 wells with 1 very angry Yellow Belly Black snake down the bottom of one. There wern’t any volunteers to rescue him.

We continued on the trail as it headed toward some hills that looked like an interesting place to explore. We came to a halt following a fence line as the trail in front of us turned into a lake with endless water.

No problems we all thought as the ground was fairly firm and there was no spinning of wheels on the track. WRONG. As I reversed I realised I wasn’t moving. Put a call out on the radio and got a response that everyone else was having the same issue. We soon realised that the ultra slippery top few centimeters of earth had filled out mud terrain tires turning them into slicks and in turn we weren’t going anywhere.

After getting out and scratching our heads we decided to give the 4wds a bit of a push. This was successfully in giving them enough momentum to get moving and reverse out (with a lot of mud flying everywhere).

It was only after we had all managed to reverse that we realised the reason for the deep ruts off the side of the trail where people had obviously tried to turn around!

After that bit of muddy excitement we were all well and truly ready for lunch. We headed back toward the wells and setup on top of a granite platform near buy. A tasty feed of bbq sausages was cooked up and we took the opportunity to take some shots posing on the rock.

It was time to head back toward camp to stoke up the fire in preparation for the camp oven roasts that night. We couldn’t resist the challenge of climbing a smaller hill with no trails. After crossing a creek bed and driving through some scrub we started the ascent which turned out to be rockier and steeper than expected. Nothing that low range couldn’t handle and we were soon taking in the views and relaxing toward the top.

After arriving back at camp and getting the fire roaring to produce some nice coals, we left Jeff, Bec & the kids and decided to go try to find the lookout over Lake Moore that Don had told us about. Kam thought he found it on his maps and we drove around various trails but couldn’t find the turn off. We ended up at some goat trapping yards and decided to call it a day as it was getting dark. The drive back was very dusty and 400w of spotlights were basically useless if you were behind someone else. Andy had a bit of a misjudgement ended up in some ruts slightly deeper than expected. A quick snatch backward and we were on our way back to camp.

We were greeted by perfect Lamb and Pork roasts with all the trimmings – big thanks to Jeff & Bec and Kam for organising the meat. It was melt in your mouth tasty and the perfect way to end off the day around the campfire. Had a few spits of rain for about 10 minutes but it passed and was treated to a spectacular lightning show.

We awoke to another glorious day and hearty cooked breakfast. It was with heavy hearts we started packing up the campsite and vehicles.

We stopped by the homestead on the way out to say g’day to Don and sort out the money owed ($7 a person a night). A fairly easy run was had back to Perth where we parted ways.

It was a great trip with good friends into some spectacular country and I can’t wait to do it again. We might head out this way again in late August when the wildfowers are in full bloom.

USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT NINGHAN STATION

Where?

Ninghan Station is located approximately 380km north east of Perth, Western Australia.

When to go?

The cooler months in Perth (May-October) are preferable as the summer is scorchingly hot. August through to September are the prime months for Wildflowers. During this time the countryside is a carpet of native wildflowers.

What to Bring?

There aren’t any facilities at the station so you need to be self sufficient. Be sure to bring:

  • enough water for the amount of time you are planning to stay.
  • enough fuel to get around the station. The closest fuel is 98km away in Wubin. Be sure to top up your tanks here and fill your jerry cans before heading to the station.
  • the usual camping,food, first aid and recovery supplies.
  • there is plenty of firewood on the property so no need to bring this

The terrain is fairly brutal with sharp rocks, washouts and sharp sticks/roots everywhere. We didn’t suffer any punctures on the trip but we have heard horror stories. You’ll want to make sure you have a spare tire and tire plug kit.

Contact Information

Give Don Bell a call on +618 99636517

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Ninghan Station – Welcome to the Outback”


  1. 1 Dave August 10, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    How ya doin mate. I was working (surveyor) up there a few weeks ago, working with the exploration guys along the emu proof fence, on the western side of the highway. I had no idea that don welcomed 4x4ers to the property. It a really nice place with some great exploring to be done. HEaps of old bits and pieces around the quartz out cropping where old prosectors set up camps, if your into fossiking. Old don woulda been prettty pissed that youd cut up his track, it got yelled at for doin 60 on the main track. It was bloody freezing while i was there, staying in the dongas with no heating connected, laying in my bed breathing steam!!! Up at five to drive into paynes find for fuel, its only 60km away, closer than wubin and the girl behind the counter is a young, hot, french backpacker!!

    Its good to see people getting out and exploring. Im lucky i get paid to go exploring WA and have seen some great places.

    Not trying to pick your storey apart but it isnt really a working station. His main income it the exploration companies and he told us that in its prime they ran over 15000 head of sheep, now they are under 500 head of sheap and only round up the goats to get rid of them.

    Hopefully see you out the bush someday.

    Cheers
    Dave


  1. 1 Harvey - Chilly Winter Escape « Undefined Journeys Trackback on June 25, 2008 at 12:58 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: