From Perth to the Gascoyne - Mount Augustus & Kennedy Range 2022 Trip Recap

Have you heard of the Gascoyne Region in Western Australia? It is located in the north-west corner of the state and covers some major tourist destinations such as Shark Bay (famous for the Monkey Mia resort & red sand beaches), Exmouth (a major tourism drawcard with the Ningaloo Reef, a large and easily accessible fringing reef which is mere metres from the shore in some areas!), and perhaps the lesser known but equally as spectacular inland national parks, The Kennedy Range & Mount Augustus.

On a trip in September 2022 my destination was Mount Augustus, a place that I'd been trying to visit for 4 years with multiple failed attempts.

- On my first attempt in 2019 I had left it too late in the season and it was really heating up out there (as it does between October - April), and with the forecast every day nearing 40°c for the time I'd planned to spend there, I decided to stick to the coast (no aircon + nowhere to shelter from the sun + 40°c = bad idea).
- For my second attempt in 2021 I planned to drop in on my way home from Karijini National Park, but I'd been on the road for 4 months prior and had some car troubles in Tom Price. I was waiting at the mechanic for a week for parts to be shipped up and repairs to be made, and I had to be home on a certain date so unfortunately had to pass on visiting again.

But in 2022 I was determined to make it happen! Instead of tacking it onto a trip for another destination, I would make a dedicated trip just to visit Mount Augustus. I wanted to visit in July for peak wildflower season but my schedule was busy for the year and I couldn't find any time to squeeze in a trip. All of a sudden, September has come around already and my chances or visiting for the year are narrowing significantly, but a last minute cancellation has left me 4 free days in a row and I jumped at the opportunity to go!

It was a very spontaneous trip, deciding I would drive 13 hours North just two days before departure, and knowing with all that driving I would only have two days at the destination, but it was now or never! Or maybe next year.

My grandparents had travelled all over Australia in a motorhome for many years, and Mount Augustus was their favourite location, I just had to go and see why.

Day One - Perth to Morawa

I'm sure you can imagine how disorganised I would be, deciding to go on a 13hr road trip through outback Australia in just two days notice. I left Perth a lot later than I had hoped but made it to Morawa, a small town in the Northern Wheatbelt in the late afternoon and decided to have a go at photographing a scene that I had driven past on my previous trip.

It was one of those moments where you see something on the roadside and think "that could make a great image!" but hesitate, keep driving, and then regret it later. The "what if" had been bothering me so I'm glad I got to go back and photograph this lone tree, with a mass of wildflowers in front, and the Koolanooka Hills in the backdrop!

After photographing the tree I decided to keep pushing North toward Mount Augustus.

Day Two - Carnarvon to Mount Augustus

After an overnight slog and a short sleep, I made it to Carnarvon for the morning. It was overcast and there was no sunrise to be seen so I didn't take any images on the morning of day 2! There was road closures due to recent rainfall on the inland route to Mount Augustus, so I had to go the long way unfortunately.

I had originally planned on being at the Kennedy Range for sunrise on day 2, but plans usually don't go to plan and it wasn't until mid morning that I was arriving. It was completely overcast which allowed me an opportunity to photograph one of the gorges there in soft lighting. I made my way into Temple Gorge and hiked both routes before deciding to get the camera out and take a few snaps, but I didn't have long before I had to keep driving to Mount Augustus!

It is 300km of gravel road between Mt Augustus and Gascoyne junction, and the road was open however it was wet and boggy in some sections, and a few of the river crossings where actually flowing. This made the journey take a little longer than expected and whilst I thought I'd have a few hours in the afternoon to explore and scout out some locations for sunset, I ended up arriving just in time! Despite a bit of a scramble to find a composition in time I managed to walk away with a few images that I am pleased with, have a look below and let me know if you like any!

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Day Three - Mount Augustus

After a good nights (and well earned) sleep, it was great to wake up at Mount Augustus knowing I didn't need to go for another long drive that day! Since I arrived late in the afternoon prior, I didn't have any time to scout out for my sunrise shoot and I basically just winged it by hiking the Goordgeela Trail.

To get to the top in time for sunrise I obviously had to hike the entire 3km trail in the dark, not being familiar with the area it took me a little longer than expected but I made it in plenty of time. The lookout from the trail end is pretty epic, with a sheer rockface on the mountain in one direction, and the vast landscape in the other.

Finding an angle to do this place some justice was the next challenge. I knew the drone was going to be the best option to show off this rugged hillside in the expansive landscape, but I first found a composition with my camera, set it all up, and then left it shooting on an interval timer to capture the changing light as the sun would lift above the horizon! This left me free to concentrate on flying the drone and maximise on my photographic opportunities on this short visit.

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For the remainder of the day I was scouting out my location for the afternoon by checking out all over the other hike trails apart from the summit! I would have loved to hike to the very top of Mount Augustus but as my visit was brief and my priority was photography it just wasn't going to happen this time round.

After deciding on my sunset location I made my way over to Cattle Pool for a late lunch in the shade and there was an abundance of wildlife (mostly birds but a few reptiles too). So I put the wildlife lens on and managed to snap a few images of the Budgies, which have been eluding my lens for a long time! I was very pleased to get some shots of these colourful little outback survivors.

The area that I went to for my late afternoon photoshoot is called "The Pound" it's only a short walk up the hill to where I was shooting and I arrived in plenty of time to frame up a few shots. Using the same technique as stated for my sunrise shoot, I was able to use the drone while the camera was shooting away to maximise my time here. After the sun set I packed up and started the long journey to my next destination!

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Day Four - The Kennedey Range to Karara Rangeland

After a long overnight drive, I woke up and continued on into the Kennedy Range National Park for my final sunrise shoot of the trip! As the early morning light hits the sheer rockface it glows in all shades from a deep red to golden. Mornings like these are what make it all worthwhile! The light didn't last too long, no thanks to some heavy cloud that had been lurking in the distance! I am thankful to have had a brief moment of the exact conditions I was hoping for though!

After the Kennedy Range it was a long day of driving and I made it to Karara Rangeland Park near Morawa just in time for sunset! With no time to waste I flew the drone over a nearby salt lake to see if I could capture any interesting patterns from above, and then captured a nice little breakaway glowing in the afternoon light, the sunset was incredible!

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Thanks for reading!

All of the images here are available as prints, if the photograph you'd like isn't in the online store, just contact me.

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