Discovering The Canning Stock Route
Every second year, I am privileged to join a group of four wheel drive enthusiasts for a fortnight of adventure and fellowship. Our destination – Australia’s most remote, rugged and challenging landscapes. An incredible place to film some drone footage using the latest and greatest consumer drone from DJI, the Phantom 4.
On our 2016 expedition we travelled 5000 kms from Brisbane to the far northwest corner of Australia and the northern starting point of the Canning Stock Route.
This track runs from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to Wiluna in the mid-west, a total distance of around 1,850 km and the longest historic stock route in the world.
ABOUT THE ROUTE
The Canning Stock Route (CSR) was built over a four-year period starting in 1906, created to drive cattle from the Kimberley region to Port Hedland. Approximately 50 wells were built along its length, which act as key markers on the route.
Traditionally, the most complicated part of driving the CSR was being able to carry enough petrol for 1500 km length of the route – but this issue has now been eliminated, with fuel made available in an aboriginal settlement located about half way through the track.
The CSR is, without doubt, the most remote outback trail in Australia. Break down here and you either fix it up or leave it behind! The nearest tow truck is 1000km away in Alice Springs, so thorough preparation and planning is critical.
Our vehicles were set up to carry 200 litres of petrol and 100 litres of water. Provisions had to be carried for up to 10 days of unassisted travel, as the average distance travelled daily was less than 100km!
Our first introduction to the challenges of the CSR was surviving the world’s worst corrugations, which were created by too many overloaded four wheel drive vehicles travelling this route before us. An average speed of 20-40 km/h was the best strategy, so our progress was reduced to a crawl for hours on end.
On our final day, whilst again traversing some of these mountain-sized corrugations, one of the land cruisers blew both back shock absorbers. We limped the vehicle into the next aboriginal settlement, where we became certified bush mechanics, acquiring some shockers from an old bruiser in the car dump on the outskirts of town. Problem solved!
Travelling the inland of Australia is quite simply, a photographer’s dream. This tour was even better than expected because the landscape was in full bloom after recent rain over most of the route.
For this expedition, the Phantom 4 drone was the perfect companion. With a price tag of less than $2500, the capabilities and built-in smart controls are quite mind blowing. But what really makes this unit shine is its full 4k (super High Def) camera, which is supported in a gimbal so the images are super smooth.
The unit even creates a private Wi-Fi connection to your smart phone, so we could see the drone’s bird’s eye view, as far as 1.5 km above.
I’ve had a lifelong passion for photography – and new technologies such as the digital camera and the drone has opened up a new and exciting world of still and video capture.
Check in next time for some insight into our vehicle and camera set up during our trip along the Canning Stock Route – truly one of Australia’s most unique road journeys.