What is Hunts Track?
Hunts Track is a three part, 1160 kilometre, drive from York to Kalgoorlie and beyond following the historic track and explorations made by Charles Hunt and his teams in 1865-66, after he had made two reconnaissance trips in 1864. It is suitable for all 4WDs although after rain some parts of the Track could be problematic.
Since Hunt's work parties cut the Track, and countless travellers who followed further developed it, much of the first Stage has been subsumed by farmland and, of necessity, portions of today's Hunts Track follow modern day roads.
It is not a walk track and it was never designed to be a walk track although it is certainly possible to walk it.
Much of Hunts Track is through the Great Western Woodlands.
More information about Hunts Track.
Hunt explored further east (and south and north) than his 645 kilometre line of wells from York, and a 'Special Stage' extends the Track to an 1200 kilometre adventure that reaches the margins of the Great Victoria Desert.
Why is Hunts Track so important?
Hunts Track is significant to Western Australia’s heritage generally, not just its exploration history. It allowed:
- Prospectors and, later, pastoralists to travel into the Western Australian interior.
- The routing of the Perth to Kalgoorlie pipeline.
- The establishment of the telegraph line to Kalgoorlie.
- The construction of the first stage of the transcontinental railway.
In 1988 a considerable length of Hunts Track was identified and commemorated as the York to Goldfields Heritage Trail.
Some of Hunt’s wells along the Track have stood the test of time and are in very good condition. At least 10 have disappeared altogether while others are in a state of disrepair.
Who was Hunt?
Charles Cooke Hunt was an explorer/surveyor in Western Australia active from 1863 to 1868. More information here.
Where can I get more information about Hunt and his explorations?
The Western Australian Explorers Diaries' Project has published 15 Volumes on Western Australian Exploration of which Exploration Eastward 1860-1869 details Hunt's explorations east of York in the 1860s. Hesperian Press has also published C.C. Hunt's 1864 Koolyanobbing Expedition, his first exploration to the east.
Additionally, there is much information about Hunt, his Track and his wells on this website.
When was the ‘modern’ Hunts Track created?
Today’s Hunts Track was re-created by volunteers from the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society and the Cockburn 4WD Club in 2018-2020. The story of the re-creation is here.
What vehicles can drive Hunts Track?
The track is suitable for any 4WD vehicle, including ‘soft-roaders’.
The Track from York to Duladgin is suitable for 2WD vehicles. After that there are sections that may require 4WD.
When is the best time to drive the track?
Avoid driving the track after rain, particularly that portion of the track east of Southern Cross.
The height of summer on Hunts Track can be difficult and travel during this time is not recommended.
It is recommended that you use UHF Channel 25 when on the Track. From Woolgangie to Slate Well you should exercise caution and guard against collision with oncoming vehicles by frequently calling on Channel 25 and announcing your position.
Navigating the Track
GPX files will become available to download for the entire Track (see below). These files may then be used with a wide variety of moving map technology software such as Hema Explorer or Memory Maps. Alternatively, use a convertor such as GPSBabel to render the GPX files into a different format for Ozi Explorer, ExplorOz and others.
The off road sections of the Track are signposted. Look for the Hunts Track logo.
What fuel range do I need?
Over the first two Stages the longest stretch without fuel is 324 kilometres from Southern Cross to Kambalda.
On the Desert Stage (Kambalda to Kalgoorlie) you will need a range of 505 kilometres.
Where can I get resupplies?
From the start of Hunts Track to Woolgangie the route is generally reasonably close to the Great Eastern Highway. From Woolgangie the Track deviates south of the highway and should be considered as quite remote.
What highlights can I see along the Track?
Remote outback country, granite rock outcrops, wildflowers, historic water catchment projects, pumping stations, fantastic views, the goldfields pipeline, the Great Western Woodlands, historic woodlines, gold and nickel mines, amazing birdlife, and great camping sites. More details of these highlights are included in the sections below.
What can I do when I reach the end of the Track?
If you are not going to do the Special Stage (see below) then drive 58 kilometres north to Kalgoorlie. Visit Hannan Street including the iconic Palace Hotel, Boulder's restored, historic Burt Street, and the Metropole Hotel.
Experience, firsthand, the renowned work of Australia's flying doctors, nurses and pilots at Kalgoorlie's RFDS Visitor Centre - a busy regional base.
Karlkurla Park is an unexpected delight in the goldfields. Hammond Park is is the jewel of Kalgoorlie's parks and reserves. Have a cold beer at the Beaten Track Brewery, or do the quirky Questa Casa Brothel Tour.
The Desert Stage finishes at Kalgoorlie so the highlights listed above could also be visited then.