BOOK - Gaynor Shoeman hitchhikes the CSR twice 2010–11 by Phil Bianchi, Work Completed, Canning

Work Completed, Canning by Phil Bianchi Ref Pg364Schoeman, Gaynor, hitchhikes the CSR twice 2010–11

South African adventurer Gaynor Schoeman wishing to experience the Australian outback but couldn’t afford to pay for tours, so she hitchhiked. In mid September 2009, 43 year old Schoeman hitchhiked from Halls Creek to Alice Springs. On this trip one of her lifts had just completed a trip along the CSR; the stories he told gave her the idea for her next adventure, hitchhike the CSR.

In 2010, Schoeman was doing volunteer work at Billiluna and was asking CSR travellers how they fared. Three vehicles were refuelling at Billiluna including a 1981 Peugeot 505 driven by mechanic Andy Sutcliffe. The group had heard that a lady wanted a lift down the CSR but weren’t expecting to bump into her. Sutcliffe was travelling alone and the offer of a lift was readily accepted. As it transpired Schoeman got along so well with Sutcliffe so they travelled together all the way to Wiluna. They were on the CSR from 17 June–29 June.

In 2011, Schoeman was determined more than ever to have that real outback experience. She took the mail plane into Kunawarritji (Well 33), arriving on 31 May, and set off north carrying her 40 kg pack.

People were always amazed to arrive at a well to see a little yellow pup tent and a female by herself, without a vehicle. They would stop for a chat and almost always offered food or water if they couldn’t help with a lift. If they stayed overnight at the well, they would share a camp fire, food and stories. One party couldn’t fit her in their vehicle; instead carrying her pack for her to Well 37 and leaving fresh fruit as a bonus. At Well 37 she found the water to be grey and gruel like and unfit for drinking, so not taking a chance she returned to Well 36 for fresh supplies. People at Kunawarritji had been following her on SPOT  and were concerned she had turned back. Not knowing why they set out to bring her back. Schoeman didn’t want to go back but felt she couldn’t refuse. Schoeman had four lifts and walked 5kms north of Well33, 20kms between Wells 36–37 and 20 kms between Wells 37–36. Setting out again she reached Halls Creek and successfully ended her 21 day adventure.

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Work Completed, Canning by Phil Bianchi Pg ref 364


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