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Climbing Mount Meharry

Western Australia

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StateMountainHeight (metres)
New South Wales Mount Kosciuszko2228
Victoria Mount Bogong1986
Australian Capital TerritoryBimberi Peak1913
QueenslandBartle Frere1622
Tasmania Mount Ossa1617
Northern Territory Mount Zeil1531
South Australia Mount Woodroffe1435
Western Australia Mount Meharry1253


Climbing Facts

State Western Australia
Highest Peak Mount Meharry
Elevation 1253m (4110 feet)
First climbed 1967 (Surveyor Trevor Markey)
Vertical Elevation AWD Parking Spot to summit
Total Distance Great Northern Hwy Turnoff to AWD Parking
AWD Parking to Summit
Estimated hiking time AWD Parking to Summit 1.5 hours one-way
Difficulty Easy  
Required Maps  
Summit GPS S22 58.828 E118 35.276
Date climbed 1st June 2012


Western Australia - Mount Meharry

| About Mount Meharry |

It had been just over 4 years since my last successful State8 climb, so I was itching to get back to my long lost goal of climbing all 8 State/Territory highest peaks. Unfortunately, the logistics of reaching the highest peak in NT, SA and WA has proved to be a challenge for someone living on the East Coast.

Mount Meharry in WA, seemed to be the easiest of the remaining peaks, however it still proved to be somewhat a challenge. Fortunately, the mining boom means there are plenty of flights to get you into this remote part of Western Australia. Unfortunately, these same fly-in-fly-out miners means the prices for these flights is very high.

| Getting to Mount Meharry |

The closest airport to Meharry is Newman, although Karratha and Port Hedland are also close enough to drive. All these airports require a connecting flight via Perth (meaning a big ticket cost). We chose to fly into Port Hedland as this was the cheapest option, despite being booked 3 months in advance. There are plenty of car rental places at all these airports, however again be sure to book ahead. With so many miners coming into each town, all the cars are quickly booked out. We booked an AWD. Despite what you read, you really need, at a minimum, an AWD to get to the starting point of this climb. Without an AWD will mean walking a long way and add at least 10+ km additional walking. With a high-clearance 4WD you can literally drive right to the summit. But it's a nice walk, so don't be lazy and walk :)

Mount Meharry itself is inside Karijini National Park. However the access road sits on private property, and such, my research suggested that a courtesy call to the owners of the road (Rio Tinto) would be appreciated. I'm not sure this is correct, as it seems like the road is a public access road. Nevertheless, I did put a call to the Manager of Juna Downs Station. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to speak to anyone and left a message, outlining my intention, the vehicle I was driving and my arrival/departure dates. Juna Downs Station Phone Number: 08 9189 8278 (or 08 9189 8156)

The turnoff to Meharry is Packsaddle Road, on the Great Northern Highway. Great Northern Highway is bitumen. Thereafter the road is dirt.

The distance from Newman to the turnoff is ~120km.
The distance from Port Hedland to the turnoff is ~130km.
The nearest fuel/food is the Auski Roadhouse about 70km north of Packsaddle Road.


This area is really really isolated. Fuel and water is few and far between. Ensure you have plenty of both before heading off. We had no phone reception for most of our trip in the Pilbura.


While the turn-off is signposted Packsaddle Road, there is no sign for Mount Meharry. Packsaddle Road is a dirt road.

Follow Packsaddle Road for 15.7km. There is then a turn-off on the left, with a sign for Mount Meharry. The sign says 4WD, however you can continue for someway, even with a regular 2WD.

We passed a few mining cars and trucks along Packsaddle Road, so be wary. (Packsaddle Road continues north and eventually becomes Juna Downs Road, and exits at the entrance to Karijini National Park, on Karijini Road. We asked a local weather we could drive along this road. He said it really required a 4WD, so I do not know how rough/accessible this road is).

About 5km from the 4WD turnoff, you will cross a mining railway line. Continue along this road. The road becomes worse here and is quite sandy. I wouldn't be driving a 2WD along this road for risk of getting bogged in the soft sand.

At 5.1km the road looks like it should take a turn to the left. A less used road continues in a straight line. This road was covered in spinafex grass. This is the road you should take. Up until this point, you should always be taking the logically straight road. However, you now take the road that looks like the less used road.

Don't miss this turnoff. Continue straight, even though the road looks like you should go left.

Once past this turnoff, again take the obvious looking route. The road gets decidedly worse from here on out. Meharry is visible from here on in and is the big mountain/rounded hill off to the left.

Another 5.5km of thereabouts, some metal posts force you to go left. After a short drive, you drive into a river/creek gully. You will exit the creek a short time later. From here you can determine how much further you want to drive. There is a clear point at which the road starts to climb a steep hill and a 4WD is required to continue any further. There is a great tree to park under and commence walking.

Summary of Distances:

Newman to Packsaddle Road Turnoff: ~120km
Port Hedland to Packsaddle Road Turnoff: ~130km
Turnoff to Mt Meharry Turnoff: 15.7km
Turnoff to Railway Crossing: 5km
Railway Crossing to Confusing Bend: 5.1km
Confusing Bend to AWD Parking: 5.6km

| Climbing Meharry from AWD Parking|

If you've managed to get this far, then the route to the highest point in Western Australia is actually quite easy to attain. You're at 822metres at this point, and will only climb another 427 metres in elevation before reaching the summit at 1249 metres. However, you'll need to hike another 4.9km before completing the climb. And to top it all off, there is very little shade the entire way up.

After a short hike over the immediate hill in front of you, you drop back down to a flat area which leads to the base of Meharry. About 1.9km from the car, you will reach the base of Meharry. For the next 3km you will follow a ridge line which eventually leads to the top of Meharry. A further 2.1km there is a false summit, with Meharry a final 860metres further along. There are really very few shady resting places, so take them when you find them.

We fortunate to have fantastic weather. Clear blue sunny skies. About 24C with a breeze blowing across the mountain the entire time.

At the summit, there is a stone cairn, which it seems all manner of souvenirs have been left for would be summiteers. Unfortunately, there is also a reasonable amount of trash up here also. Hopefully future 4WD drivers will take some of this down with them.

The entire walk up took us just under 1.5 hours, walking at a medium pace. It took us about an hour twenty to get back to the car. Other than the heat and lack of shade, the walk is pretty easy. It's not too steep, and being a road (albeit a bad road) makes the walking straight-forward.

Munjina contains the actual summit of Meharry, while Mount Bruce contains the access road from the West. The Mount Bruce also contains the summit of Mount Bruce, Western Australia's second highest mountain and great climb. Remember, both maps are 1:100,000 so the detail is not very good, and the reality is you don't really require these maps to get to the summit.

| The Weather |

The peak holiday period for travellig in the Pilbura is April to October. During these months, the temperatures are lower and it is generally dry. During summer it is wet and very hot. So wet that some roads may be closed and so hot, that being outside is crazy.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High (C°) 39 37 36 32 26 22 22 25 29 33 37 38
Avg. Low (C°) 25 24 22 18 13 10 13 10 14 18 21 24
Mean Rain (mm) 50 80 39 25 23 25 13 11 4 4 10 27
Avg. Rain Days. 7 7 5 4 4 4 2 2 1 1 3 5
Temperature measured at Newman - ~120km away

| GPS Coordinates |

Start of Walk (AWD) S22 57.026 E118 34.209
Base of Meharry S22 57.926 E118 34.007
False summit S22 58.722 E118 34.796
Meharry Summit S22 58.828 E118 35.276

On this adventure: Angus and Roland

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