Happy Birthday to Me!
19.11.2010 - 21.11.2010
It was many years ago when I crossed the Nullarbor Plains and all I remember was the corrugated road and the dust. We travelled with a caravan and I had just got my licence, so my parents let me help with the driving. Not too much to see from what I remember. It was a long and dusty journey and no bitumen most of the way.
Null-arbor is a latin word meaning 'no trees'. This was far from the truth. Again semi-arid country with bushes/trees/plants/flowers that survive very well in this climate. Even though it was a 1200 kms journey (from Norseman to Ceduna), it was interesting and very unique. Lots of eucalypt trees as well and a lot of dead ones also. See map at end of blog.
The only part that had no trees was over the SA border where there is a small section of plains with just grass and scrub.
There are stops every 200-250 kms for fuel and caravan parks at the back of a roadhouse. Our first roadhouse, Balladonia, had a small museum with piece of space junk from the NASA Skylab that fell out of the sky onto this guys property. President Carter even phoned the guy to apologise for this. Also a tribute to the camels/Afghanis who brought them to our country.
On the long road every now and then we came across this sign and the road becomes a 'runway'.
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. For my birthday we stayed at a roadhouse called Caiguna. I cooked dinner on the promise that I would get a meal the next day. It was windy and cold and I loved it. What was more interesting was the farmer that had called in to the roadhouse to buy some fuel. $1400 later he left - check out his mode of transport.
The caravan park became one big dust bowl as a result. Most of these places only have about 5-10 people staying in the park (if that). Sunset was beautiful out in the middle of nowhere and lots of stars under a very clear sky.
The sign on the toilet door was also very interesting. Needless to say I was very watchful and wore my crocs most of the time. The floor of the ablution block didn't help to detect these unwanted reptiles!
My birthday meal was spent at Caiguna also. This sign says it all. I believe it is a tribe that is lost - preceded by the words 'where the ..'
Mmm, my favourite meal of the day!
The signs were also interesting and of course there was a lot of road kill to remind us. All we saw were the kangaroos. Was hoping to see a camel.
We also pulled into another roadhouse for fuel and this is what happened to a poor unfortunate driver after hitting a kangaroo. What would the towing bill have cost? Hope they had insurance.
We also had lunch with a beautiful view of the plains from an escarpment.
Along the way we also saw the most unusual trees. Unfortunately we couldn't stop for them all. There were also bras/panties trees, glove trees, Christmas trees and big fluffy toys trees.
It was a long road but all bitumen. Most of the users of the Eyre Highway are nomads like ourselves and huge semis transporting goods. It is not a lonely highway at all.
We arrived and stayed the night at Eucla. Eucla is a small town near the WA border. The views were awesome - overlooking the plains and the ocean. You could also see the Eyre Hwy and the transport on it. The toilet facilities were very clean and we even got beautiful rainwater which made my hair look and feel really nice. Even the TV stations worked here. I also had some resident roosters and hens visiting our campsite.
We also got closer to the dunes and there was an old telegraph station there which has been covered by sand over the years.
You could see our campsite at the top of the escarpment.
Finally we had reached the WA/SA border. We were required to toss out all our vegies and fruits. WA do this at their borders but SA were going to check our van at Ceduna which was about 480 kms away. We had to eat it up or throw it out. We also lost 2.5 hours at the crossing. SA have daylight saving. This now brings us half an hour ahead of Brisbane. The signs changed slightly - the emu is now a wombat!
At this stage the highway has changed from many years ago. It used to be further inland but now they have moved it closer to the ocean views. You can see the Great Australian Bight. The views were stunning as were the signs.
You are always thinking about a chunk of land breaking away - possibly the chunk you are standing on. There are certainly a lot of signs to remind you of the treacherous cliffs.
You can also free camp with these beautiful views.
There are still plenty of beautiful heathlands along the cliffs.
It is also possible to play golf on the Nullarbor. It is the longest golf course in the world - about 1400 kms. It starts at Kalgoorlie and finishes at Ceduna. The idea is that you play 1-2 holes at each stop/roadhouse.
I also found another unusual sign. Had they put the emu back into the picture!
Another interesting thing was transporting of the huge loaders - they would be going to the ' gold Superpit' at Kalgoorlie. They are worth 2.5 million dollars.
Eucla is on the border of WA, 12 kms from Border Village in SA.
And that was how I spent my birthday this year. Really exciting and loved every minute of it.