The Trip

The following list gives distances and compass readings between points when travelling between Wiluna and the Tanami Track at Billilina (Mindibungu Community) with a further 150km to Halls Creek but don’t pass the “Wolfe Creek Crater” turn off about 45km up the Tanami, it is well worth the 30km into see this massive 35m x 810m crater left by a meteorite thousands of years ago. (another nice spot to throw the swag for the night).

  1. Wiluna to Well 1 7.16 km NW 312°
  2. Well 1 to North Pool 19.71 km N 345°
  3. North Pool to Well 2 40.36 km N 18°
  4. Well 2 to Well 2A 35.85 km N 20°
  5. Well 2A to Well 3 29.6 km N 20°
  6. Well 3 to Well 3A 15.94 km NE 29°
  7. Well 3A to Well 4A 50.81 km E 83°
  8. Well 4A to Windich Springs 6.8 km N 6°
  9. Windich Springs to Well 4B 9.67 km NE 41°
  10. Well 4B to Well 5 19.35 km NE 42°
  11. Well 5 to Well 6 (Pierre Spring) 19.53 km NE 32°
  12. Well 6 (Pierre Spring) to Well 7 22.72 km NE 64°
  13. Well 7 to Well 8 12.68 km NE 59°
  14. Well 8 to Well 9 (Weld Spring) 25.11 km NE 64°
  15. Well 9 (Weld Spring) to Well 10 (Lucky Well) 20.73 km N 20°
  16. Well 10 (Lucky Well) to Well 11 (Goodwin Soak) 14.74 km NE 35°
  17. Well 11 (Goodwin Soak) to Well 12 32.23 km NE 39°
  18. Well 12 to Well 13 (Pulpurumal) 27.98 km NE 31°
  19. Well 13 (Pulpurumal) to Well 14 (Djindjimal) 19.88 km NE 24°
  20. Well 14 (Djindjimal) to Well 15 (Mandjangga) 24.54 km NE 43°
  21. Well 15 (Mandjangga) to Well 16 (Lawulawa) 37.22 km NE 36°
  22. Well 16 (Lawulawa) to Puntawarri Track & Canning Stock Route 16.83 km N 16°
  23. Puntawarri Track & Canning Stock Route to Durba Spring (Jurrpa) 19.53 km NE 61°
  24. Durba Spring (Jurrpa) to Well 18 (Wanykiyu) 80.6 km N 2° 
  25. Well 18 (Wanykiyu) to Well 19 (Kunangurtiti) 34.5 km N 345°
  26. Well 19 (Kunangurtiti) to Well 20 (Karanyulu) 51.28 km NE 30°
  27. Well 20 (Karanyulu) to Well 21 (Tjilkabulka) 41.11 km E 69°
  28. Well 21 (Tjilkabulka) to Well 22 (Matirlirri) 39.09 km E 75°
  29. Well 22 (Matirlirri) to Talawana Tk & Canning Stock Route 8.95 km N 341°
  30. Talawana Tk & Canning Stock Route to Well 23 (Kalpya) 21.48 km E 97°
  31. Well 23 (Kalpya) to Well 24 (Kartarru) 18.9 km E 105°
  32. Well 24 (Kartarru) to Talawana Tk & Canning Stock Route 2.96 km N 21°
  33. Talawana Tk & Canning Stock Route to Well 25 (Warntili) 20.05 km N 21°
  34. Well 25 (Warntili) to Well 26 (Tiwa) 19.59 km NE 56°
  35. Well 26 (Tiwa) to Well 27 (Rarrki) 28.96 km NE 46°
  36. Well 27 (Rarrki) to Helen Hill 11.91 km NE 55°
  37. Helen Hill to Well 28 (Waranu) 21.04 km NE 30°
  38. Well 28 (Waranu) to Well 29 (Mamurnarra) 30.6 km NE 52°
  39. Well 29 (Mamurnarra) to Thring Rock 5.64 km SE 117°
  40. Thring Rock to Well 30 (Tjunda Tjuntu) 39.24 km E 71°
  41. Well 30 (Tjunda Tjuntu) to Well 31 (Warlawarla) 37.27 km E 95°
  42. Well 31 (Warlawarla) to Well 32 (Nyarruri) 34.82 km NE 54°
  43. Well 32 (Nyarruri) to Kunawarritji Community 28.22 km NE 60°
  44. Kunawarritji Community to Well 33 (Kunawarritji) 7.22 km E 106°
  45. Well 33 (Kunawarritji) to Well 34 (Nyipily) 23.49 km NE 55°
  46. Well 34 (Nyipily) to Well 35 (Kinyu) 24.04 km E 72°
  47. Well 35 (Kinyu) to Well 36 (Kirlkirl) 29.79 km E 71° 
  48. Well 36 (Kirlkirl) to Well 37 (Lipuru) 20.8 km E 95°
  49. Well 37 (Lipuru) to Water 38 (Wajapurni) 26.8 km N 19°
  50. Waterhole 38 (Wajapurni) to Well 39 (Kokabana) 36.83 km NE 31°
  51. Well 39 (Kokabana) to Well 40 (Nadawulu) 21.04 km NE 52°
  52. Well 40 (Nadawulu) to Tobins Grave 0.2 km E 68°
  53. Tobins Grave to Well 41 (Tiru) 27.91 km NE 25°
  54. Well 41 (Tiru) to Well 42 (Guli Tank) 51.24 km N 8°
  55. Well 42 (Guli Tank) to Well 43 (Kadatjilkar) 20.53 km NE 40°
  56. Well 43 (Kadatjilkar) to Well 44 39.67 km NE 40°
  57. Well 44 to Well 45 (Tjinditjindi) 38.81 km N 6°
  58. Well 45 (Tjinditjindi) to Well 46 (Kotjowari) 24.93 km NE 35°
  59. Well 46 (Kotjowari) to Well 47 (Kardalapuru) 31.14 km N 1°
  60. Well 47 (Kardalapuru) to Breaden Pool 60.04 km NE 55°
  61. Breaden Pool to Well 48 (Koningara) 6.61 km W 267°
  62. Well 48 (Koningara) to Well 49 (Lambu) 23.58 km NE 60°
  63. Well 49 (Lambu) to Well 50 (Tjan) 29.93 km E 100°
  64. Well 50 (Tjan) to Well 51 (Wirijara) 25.81 km E 70°
  65. Well 51 (Wirijara) to Billiluna (Mindibungu) Community 113.17 km NE 39°

Canning Stock Route

The 51 Wells along its path tap the Great Artesian Basin were surveyed and sunk by Alfred Canning and his team in 1910, at the Western Australian Government’s request. This project was brought about by East Kimberley cattlemen looking for a way to traverse the western deserts of Australia with their cattle as a way to break a west Kimberley monopoly on the supply of beef to Perth and the goldfields. Once completed the Canning Stock Route was little used and started to fall into disrepair with fire, termites and vandalism at watering points making it impassable to drovers. After a few partial attempts to resurrect the route Canning was eventually brought out of retirement in about 1930 to complete the task.

During WWII the stock route was redefined and the wells brought back into operation in anticipation of an emergency evacuation if the NW was bombed. While it was used on occasion up until the late 1950’s, the shipping of livestock resumed after the war and again the stock route rarely used for its original purpose.

While there had been partial vehicular travel recorded along the Canning Stock Route back in the 30’s, it wasn't until the 1970s that the first complete traverse of the Canning Stock Route by motor vehicle was achieved and when the fuel dump was established in the 1980's, travellers intrigued by the Canning Stock Route heritage and the challenging overland desert adventure began to travel the Canning Stock Route in greater numbers.

Today, the Stock Route attracts adventures from around the globe, not to reach a destination but more for the journey itself and the kudos it attracts. Most travellers do the trip South to North so that they don’t have the sun in their eyes while others head off from Halls Creek down so that they can have a better view of the magnificent scenery when they top a sand dune.

Be aware that the CSR is unforgiving and isolated. Travellers have to cope with very harsh, arid conditions which quickly take their toll on vehicles and people. Do not travel through the area unless you have made plans to cope with vehicle breakdowns or personal emergencies. You and your party must be self reliant. Access is totally weather dependant, permits are required, planning is needed for the vehicle and drivers, sufficient supplies are paramount with up to 700km without a fuel stop and no guarantees that the wells you pass will have a sufficient or potable supply.

Some sections of the trip present their own challenges like the huge sand dunes north of Durba Hills & north of Well 25, the teeth rattling corrugations north of Well 33 and south of Kurnawarritji, the boggy Cunya Station sections after rainfall; but the joy of reaching sites like Lake Gregory (near Mulan Community) make it all worthwhile.

Travellers must also be aware that there is a permit system in place which was implemented jointly by the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC) representing the Martu native title holders and the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council (ANFWDC) - www.anfwdc.asn.au - enquiries@canningstockroute.net.au

Important Phone Contacts for Adventurers:
Wiluna Police: (08) 9981 7024
Cunyu Station: (08) 9981 2934
Granite Peak Station: (08) 9981 2983
Glenayle Station: (08) 9981 2989
Capricorn Roadhouse: (08) 9175 1535
Kunawarritji Community: (08) 9176 9040
Billiluna Store: (08) 9168 8076
Halls Creek Police: (08) 9168 6000