The Holland Track
The Holland Way
The Holland Track
WHAT IT IS:
The remnants of what was once the longest cart track cut in Western Australia stretches from Broomehill, 302 kilometers south of Perth; not far from Kataning, to the town of Coolgardie, 40 kilometers southwest of the regional city of Kalgoorlie. This 500 kilometer route now makes up the Holland Track and the Holland Way. The track is a multi-day 4-wheel-drive adventure that commences roughly 55 kilometers east of Wave Rock at Hyden and takes travelers 275 kilometers over rough tracks though to Coolgardie. The Holland Way, a 2-wheel drive scenic route that begins in Broomehill.
HOW WE DID IT:
We explored the first part of The Way, driving from Perth to Wave Rock in Hyden over a 3-day weekend, which is documented in Part 1. This takes place mostly on paved or gravel roads and features some points of interest, mostly for the history buff. At a later date, we took several days to tackle the Track, highlighted in Part 2. This
section is excellent for both those with an interest in history as well as the outdoor enthusiasts and 4-wheel-drivers.
We adopted a leisurely pace and spent a great deal of time filming; most travelers can do both the first part of the Way, as we did, and the Track over 3 to 4 days.
- The track is maintained, but not necessarily monitored. It is minimally signed, so purchasing a map, guidebook, or specialized GPS map packs are highly recommended. We purchased Explore the Holland Track and Cave Hill Woodlines / Explorer Series: Western Australia No.1 3rd Edition by Westate Publishers from the Chart and Map Shop in Fremantle. It contains great information about waypoints, points of interest, and the history of the track. We also also used a Garmin Nüvi Oz Toppo Map.
- Though we did not, traveling in a convoy is the safest option. Mobile reception is sporadic so having a UHF radio is wise.
- Potable water and fuel are not available on the Track, so travelers must be fully stocked. Both are, of course, available in both Coolgardie and Hyden.
- While there are designated camping sites, all are primitive and lack facilities. So, as always, remember to do the right thing and bury or burn toilet paper and pack your un-burnable rubbish out with you. Please, considerate to those following you!
- The track traverses through some extremely fragile ecosystems, so stick to the track and campsites and any posted regulations, such as fire bans.
- Certain parts of the track may be inaccessible due to flooding during certain times of the year. Plan accordingly and check with the Coolgardie Visitors’ Centre to see if they have any track condition reports.
Coolgardie Visitors’ Centre:
Phone: +61 8 9026 6090
- October through December is a popular time to do the track, as you will avoid the scorching heat. Spring time brings wildflowers, which makes for a spectacular visual feast.
- We did the 4-wheel drive section in early March. We encountered a bit of rain and some puddles but nothing too tricky. The flies were minimal and the heat bearable. We did not see a single other human along the entire track! Incredible!
- As noted in the film, 1080 poison is in use throughout the area; so, leave the pup (or unusually wanderlusty cat) at home!
The track was cut over a century ago by the experienced bushman, John Holland and his crew. Holland and his crew, which consisted of John Carmody, and brothers Rudolph and David Krakour, along with 5 ponies, a light cart, 450 liters of water, and 5-6 months’ worth of provisions set out to cut what would become the longest cart track in WA in April of 1893.
The inspiration for this track came courtesy of prospectors Arthur Bayley and William Ford, who discovered gold at Fly Flat at Coolgardie in 1892. The promise of wealth attracted would-be miners from across Australia and beyond. Now, Coolgardie is considered rather remote by today’s standards; back in 1892 it took weeks to reach the area from the main departure points, Albany and Perth. A more direct route was essential.
This is where Holland and his crew came in. Numerous failed attempts had been made prior to his success but Holland’s technique of surveying up to 30 km ahead of his track-cutting crew proved to be a smart strategy. They finished in just over 2 months.
Over 18,000 prospectors utilized the track over 3 years. It was at this time that a railway was built to accommodate the influx in population. Over the next hundred years, the Wheatbelt agricultural properties swallowed up the southern section of the track, while the northern half was reclaimed by the bush.
From about the 1950’s thrill-seekers started tracing the old track in search of a challenge but it was still largely inaccessible. This was until two 4-wheel-drive and history enthusiasts re-cut the track for the centenary of Holland’s expedition in 1992. The refurbished track has seen thousands of weekend adventure-seekers just as you can, as well! See how we did it and what you can expect in the films above.