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Torrens Trek
Bronwen West
Expires Saturday, 18 April 2015

Torrens Trek

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On 2nd August 2014 myself, my friend Susie Barr and brother-in-law Oliver Koehn will be attempting to walk the entire length of the second largest dry salt lake in Australia, Lake Torrens.

We will follow the Western Coast, a hiking a distance of approx. 300km. It is expected this will take around 20 days to complete. Lake Torrens is located 345km north of Adelaide in semi desert country.  We will travel alongside the lake and collect supplies of food and water from pre-arranged points every 3 days.  

We will be raising money for the organisations, Frontier Services and The Cancer Council of SA.  To support my cause (Frontier Services) please click on the big green donate button to the right. Thanks!

View of Lake Torrens (above and right)         
Due to the nature of the terrain or the lovely smell of a nice roast dinner being delivered to us (hint hint) there is the possibility our supply drop off vehicle may not make the rendevous. Plan B is a water de-salinator. I have all but two of the "bits" necessary to make a high volume version. Hopefully it will be up and ready this weekend even if not tested. If it does well it will mean we won't have to cart as much spare emergency water between pick ups and the system itself will weight much less than the spare water. space The value of field testing hit home again this weekend. 4 modifications were needed, to the desalinator. Heavier securing of the copper coil to the bucket, a copper elbow was needed on the end of the pipe as the desalinated water was running back along the pipe at the outlet. The steel shovel/axe used to dig the hole for water needed a longer handle, PVC will do the job without adding too much weight. And a lightweight stand is needed for the kettle which can have the wind shield secured to it which will also be of use over a fire. With modifications now made another test should hopefully iron out these problems.
This Lake wants to throw everything it can at us. An assessment flight over the lake on Monday was worth the expense, it revealed a "lake" I made notes on my maps while up there and I have reset the GPS waypoints in case it rains again before the trip. The bad news the trek could take up to 100km longer to get around the water and be very exhausting going through some sections of mud. The good news... two of the large inlet crossings I was concerned about, Beda arm and Carapateena, have higher elevations where I was hoping we could cross. It would be muddy about 10km of it, but probably no more than 1/2km of water to wade through. Better than a 70km+ detour around each one. Here's hoping it doesn't rain again and it should be a relatively good trek. I put Oli in charge of researching and purchasing waders here's hoping we don't need them by August!!  

This weekend will be a hectic one with food drop offs planned at South Gap, Pernatty & Bosworth Stations. The boxes are ready to go except for wrapping in wire and a last minute stashing of toilet paper.....knew there was something I had forgotten to put in!!
The managers of the stations have been fantastic it's great to deal with such helpful people, what a difference it makes. Hopefully I can get all those food stashes buried in the appropriate places. The top end of the lake will be easier because of less distance to travel to and it's familiar home turf.

Food drops 1 & 2 completed. 5 hours of highway travel and 9 hours off road to cover 161km and the first stage is completed. Feeling relieved now. Couldn't have done it in that time without the GPS, and the efforts of my driver so that I could focus on navigating and getting the drops exactly where I wanted them. Hopefully nothing will get to them before we do. Thanks also Andrea for supplying some tins to secure some supplies.   Dropzone 1
Dropzone 2  

Waterproof waders are for fishing aren't they? Not only. They are also for any Lake Torrens Trekkers who prefer dry tootsies.


Food drops 3 & 4 completed, only 1 hour of highway travel and 11 hours off road this time. Bosworth Station owner Max Greenfield gave us some helpful local knowledge, and was kind enough to give a generous donation. Thanks Max. The fourt...h food stash had to be covered in rock as you can see in the pic, burying it was just not possible. Next top photo is a view of Andamooka Island from Bosworth food drop 4 and view from food drop 3. That was after a detour as I was so busy enjoying the scenery I was giving directions to campsite 12 instead of 11 and we were halfway there before I realised. Just as well my friends are patient!!! 

  Drop Zone 4

Picked up the cart from the engineering company today, and did the 2nd test run.  The first build wasn't steering well and it still needs work. The wheels are brilliant and you would hardly know you are pushing 50kg of gear on the flat.  On gentle slopes I can push the 50kg by myself.  Steep slopes or steep sandhills would be a problem so plan B is to take one cart instead of 2 and reduce the water we are carrying we would then have 3 people to push and pull it.  However I put in plans for another type of cart which should be finished by the weekend for a test I am not convinced the first one is going to handle the rough terrain. Then I will have to sit down and rack my brains and discuss it with the crew as to which is the best option. Getting close to the wire now.

  So much want to get out there now, tired of planning, thinking, designing, and buying. Just want to soak in those wide open spaces even if it will be exhausting.

One of the sandhills we would have to go around not over. We have to watch where we're walking and not rush over sandhill crests keeping an eye out for those sudden drop offs.


In 8 days our shiny new hiking boots will commence an endurance test attached to two very vertically challenged slightly eccentric women and one not so eccentric man who is an example to the truth of the phrase “Eat up all your veges and you will grow up big and strong.”  We will be faced with many challenging decisions such as shall we have the “Three cheeses noodle pack” for tea tonight or the “Four cheeses noodle pack. We may also have to deal with conflict if it is discovered that blocks of chocolate come with an even no. of squares not an odd number. Who is going to get the last square?  And through all of this we wish to ask you our supporters a favour.  Would you spread the word to all and sundry to boost our fundraising efforts.... you could ask your dentist’s receptionist’s third cousin, The lawnmower mechanic, the local schools tiddly winks team, or the neighbour’s carrier pigeons to spread the word and donate. So thank you for all your support so far and please help us in this venture so that we can make the fundraising a success. 






The three stooges have at last rendezvoused at the Andamooka base. Malinda-Ro and mascot Dali (the dog) have observed the three trekkers fashion parading their waders to much mirth and merry making. Susie looked quite spectacular in her waders while wearing a dress and her dance performance was quite "innovative". They look much better when the feet are facing the right way. Bron and Oli were seen trying to outdo each other with a display of their knives. Bron with her Ms Crocodile Dundee knife and Oli with his Bear Grylls knife. Now for a good nights rest before a continuation of preparing our kits and debating what will stay and what will be left behind.






Frontier Services

Frontier Services

Frontier Services provides community support and recovery, volunteering and pastoral support to people in remote Australia. This includes:

  • Short-term volunteers to assist families in need, through our program Outback Links
  • Patrol Ministry and pastoral support 

Frontier Services works with people across 85% of the continent, in remote areas, with Aboriginal communities, on isolated properties and mining sites.

Frontier Services is a charity and national agency of the Uniting Church that grew out of the pioneering work begun in 1912 by the Rev John Flynn (“Flynn of the Inland”). As the successor in the Uniting Church to the Australian Inland Mission, Frontier Services has supported the people of remote Australia for more than 100 years.




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Biggest Supporters:
  1. Scott Kelly: $106.00
  2. Gary Ferguson: $106.00
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