Googs Track is a 200km 4WD track that runs along the eastern edge of the Great Victoria Desert in South Australia that covers more than 300 parallel sand dunes before meeting the Transcontinental Railway Line at Malbooma.
We left Ceduna Friday morning and planned to camp 60km down the track at Googs Lake, a salt lake, which is a comfortable half day’s drive. As we pulled into the camping area we thought it looked like a pleasant place to camp along the shores of the dry, flat salt lake. As soon as we stepped out of the car our thoughts changed. The flies were ridiculous. A plague of the highest calibre. Never before have we seen flies of these proportions, even in the middle of summer in the Pilbara. Joe thought it could be tolerable, but less tolerable was the pain he’d receive from me! So we decided to head straight to Mt Finke, another 70km down the track and typically reached on the second day. Needless to say it was a long and arduous drive, arrival was well after dark around 7:30pm. The dunes increased in size and steepness after Googs lake, and they continued for what seemed like an eternity – up down up down continuously for many hours of driving. It was scary driving up the dunes at night with the headlights pointing straight into the air as we passed the crest of the dune wondering where the track was below us. The dune ascents were badly chopped up. We figured many before us had traversed the track with their tyres too hard. Overworking their motors and ruining the track, they forced their way through. We reduced tyre pressures enough to be able to crawl up the dunes so that our car and asses would not have to endure a severe pounding from the blowouts and hump-dee-doos on the track. With low pressure it was easy to idle up the worse dunes, the tyres performed well on the rough terrain.
Mt Finke camp area was nice, good clearings amongst some trees at the base of the mountain. The flies were also less, but still severe. We spent two nights here cooking up an impressive loaf of bread in the camp oven on the second night, the best bread ever!
I also climbed Mt Finke’s east peak. When I climbed the Mt Finke I didn’t know it was a twin peak mountain, I noticed at the top that there was what I thought a second higher mountain. It turns out that I just climbed the wrong peak of the same mountain. Having arrived at night the evening before I didn’t see the profile of the higher west peak of Mt Finke and it isn’t visible from the camp area. I’m sure many before me have made the same mistake.
A bit of Googs Track History
Googs Track (’00’ pronounced like book) was cut by Goog Denton a local farmer in 1973, from Lone Oak farm to Tarcoola which has an interesting story behind the creation of the road. In June 1973 Goog Denton with his brother-in-law, wife and three children began the massive task of building the road. The Denton family took two years to complete the track as they only cleared the track on weekends. Sadly his eldest son Martin died in 1993 apparently from a car accident along the Googs Track and Goog Denton passed away in 1996 . There is a memorial for Martin & Goog near the halfway mark along the track.