Mt Augustus

Mount Augustus resides, surprisingly enough, in the Mount Augustus National Park, 850km north of Perth, nearly 320km east of Carnarvon and about 400km northwest of Meekathara.

The mount rises 1105 metres above sea level and 858 metres above the surrounding landscape and covers nearly 48 square kilometres. Visible from 160km from the air Mt Augustus is an impressive sight.

The local Aboriginal people (the Wadjari) call Mount Augustus –‘Burringurrah’ and Aboriginal rock engravings can be found around the site.

A ring road approximately 50km long encircles the foot of Mount Augustus and allows access to various sites at or on the mount. Aboriginal engravings can be found at 3 sites while others entrances lead to walking trails or points of interest. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) provide a brochure outlining the walk trails in the park.

Why Visit Mount Augustus?
map of Mt Augustus

There are many reasons for wanting to visit Mt Augustus, for most people the prime motivation is to see, arguably, the ‘world’s biggest rock’. At twice the size of Uluru (Ayers Rock) it certainly makes for a spectacle driving towards it and seeing it rise from the ground.

However as a single destination it may come as a bit of a disappointment. The physical presence of the rock is impressive, climbing to the top is an achievement, seeing the colours change and experiencing the surrounding environment is interesting. But if you made it your only destination and drove flat out to get to it then Mt Augustus may leave you wanting more.

The real reason anyone should visit Mt Augustus is to make the journey itself with the trip to the rock being just one of the highlights.

Services

Don’t expect too much out here. Good advice would be to take whatever you require unless you have made previous arrangements to stay at a station or the Cobra Wayside Inn. The Mt Augustus Outback Tourist Resort at Mt Augustus Station was closed at last report and unlikely to reopen without some major infrastructure repairs.

A can of coke can cost you five dollars out here and fuel can be 50% dearer than town prices. Outrageous you may think but all supplies have to be delivered by the local mail contractor who usually charges ‘per item’ for cartage.

If the ‘resort’ (resort is a very loose term for what is essentially a caravan park & some dongers) remains closed then Cobra has what is called an ‘Eco’ camping facility and some accommodation. We have never really got our heads around the concept of Eco Tourism. It seems like a great way for the operator to provide less and charge more. Enough said.

The message here is that services are limited and those that are available are expensive. You won’t be left to die out here but I would visit the area with the mindset of taking everything you need and looking after yourself.

DEC states that there is no entrance fee to visit Mt Augustus National Park which seems reasonable considering the effort required to get there. DEC also states there may be a Ranger stationed at Mt Augustus Resort throughout winter – April to October. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that tourist numbers may dwindle with the closure of the resort and a Ranger may not be installed at all.

Summary
Mt Augustus

Mt Augustus is definitely worth going out of the way for. But we suggest that, if you are touring, you make a trip of it and try and get to understand this part of the Gascoyne Region. At first glance it is an inhospitable place. Summer brings scorching temperatures with the potential of having many consecutive days exceeding 45 degrees Celsius and odd days up to 50. If you visit the Rock in summer it is quite possible that you will have it all to yourself.

Combined with limited rainfall and fresh water it can be a harsh landscape where even native animals can struggle to survive.

For many people experiencing this region is an opportunity to see Australia without the bells and whistles. Sparsely populated where the area of a station can exceed 1.2 million acres visiting Mt Augustus is a real opportunity to get off the beaten track.


Update 17 May 2012. The Hammarquist family who own Mount Augustus Station have informed us that they have reopened and renamed their facilities the 'Mt Augustus Tourist Park'. Services include accommodation as well as camping facilities, a basic shop, tavern, tyre repairs and fuel.


Local conditions can be checked by contacting -

Shire of Upper Gascoyne

4 Scott Street

GASCOYNE JUNCTION WA 6701

Telephone: (08) 9943 0988

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