Last week we went bush camping with another family and headed out to the Helena and Aurora Range.
Where on earth is that? I hear you ask.
To put it simply, the Helena and Aurora Range is 100km North of the town called, Southern Cross, and is about halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
It takes about 7-8 hours to drive there.
There is no power, no running water, no toilets, no showers. It was indeed the bush.
There was a whole lot of red dirt! It was a stunning colour and its consistency was strangely soft underfoot.
Looking back at it now, I can appreciate its beauty.
But trust me, the red dirt got EVERYWHERE and covered EVERYTHING. By the end of the trip, it was in our tents, our clothes, our underwear, our tea cups, our cutlery, our cooking utensils… we were literally EATING IT!
The campfire was a hit.
Collecting firewood. Pots of tea. Toasted marshmallows. 6 hour, slow-cooked lamb stew. Crackling wood. The glowing warmth on our faces. Watching embers fly high into the sky and dance with the stars above our heads. It was so enjoyable.
The nights were cold though. The temperature dropped down to -2 degrees.
I wore 4 layers of clothing, a beanie, gloves and scarf… and I was still uncomfortably cold. It was obvious that I should have invested in some proper cold-weather, “insulated” clothing… but we were only there for 5 days and I thought I could get by. Oops.
The next morning, there was frost and ice over everything.
Someone forgot to throw out the dish washing water and it froze into an impressive soapy chunk.
I’ve never seen that before – frozen outdoor things in Western Australia! Who would have thought!
I also forgot to tip out my camomile tea and it too froze into an cute little ice block.
The days were a bit cold too. We had daytime temperatures between 15C and 18C , and there was no wind and no rain.
So in fact, it was perfect for hiking and bush walking.
We did a couple of 4-5 hour bush walks up to the top of the range, along the ridge and along the base. We found small caves and over-hangs.
It was great!
The tracks were easy to walk along, but once we went off the track, everything looked the same and it was a bit disorientating.
The view from on top of the range was stunning!
The Helena and Aurora Range is made out of banded ironstone formations and the whole area was covered in a variety of little rocks. We weren’t entirely sure what they were, either banded ironstone, ironore comsposites, with quartz and ocre?
It was extremely dry, with very few birds, animals and insects. While the lack of visible wildlife made the place extremely eerie, I secretly enjoyed the fact that I DIDN’T have to worry about the kids getting bitten by a snake, spider, scorpion, or ants.
Overall it was a beautiful place to camp and it was so serene, quiet and still.
In fact, the whole place had a magical and spiritual quality to it.
I really enjoyed it, despite being physically uncomfortable for most of the time (from the cold, not showering for 4 days, the constant use of baby wipes and menstrual cramps – blergh).
At the moment the region is proposed for iron ore mining, which is pretty sad.
If you’re interested, you can read a bit more about the conservation history and the national park proposal on the official Helena and Aurora Range website.