Eucla - close to the border

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Eucla Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, April 20, 2009

The drive from Balladonia was interesting with many more kilometres to travel before we reached Eucla. We were carrying 2 by 20 litre Jerry cans of Diesel in the back of the Pajero but decided that we would fill up at each roadhouse as we came to them.  First came Caiguna and we still had over half a tank of diesel so we gave that a miss and carried on to Cocklebiddy where we stopped for a rest break and refreshments.   Before leaving, we filled the car and after working out our fuel consumption reckoned that we should get to Eucla before needing any more diesel. Madura roadhouse is down a side road off the main highway and we had passed the turnoff before we knew it so kept on moving until we came upon the Mundrabilla Roadhouse. These roadhouses are located about 300 to 350 kilometres apart so make ideal places to stop for a short break. Food and drink is available as well as Petrol and Diesel but prices are high which is not surprising considering the isolation of these locations. After a short stop at Mundrabilla it was a relatively short drive to our destination for the day, Eucla.

Eucla is the eastern most locality in Western Australia, located on the Eyre Highway approximately 11 kilometres west of the South Australian border. It is the only location on the Eyre Highway that has a direct view of the Great Australian Bight due to its position  immediately next to the Eucla Pass where the highway moves out and above the basin known as Roe Plains. Its current population is around 50 people comprising Police, Quarantine Officers, Medical Staff and other people to keep the facilities like service station, motel and caravan park operating.

Eucla Caravan Park is situated on top of a hill overlooking the Roe Plain leading down to the Great Australian Bight where the sun was glistening on the waves in the distance. Being on top of the hill it can be quite windy but this can be a relief in very hot weather. The Traveler's Cross erected there can be seen from a considerable distance and has always been a very welcome site to weary travelers after the long drive especially before the road was sealed.  Despite its name, it is a monument to people of the area who have died.  Eucla was the manual relay point for the overland telegraph line joining Western Australia with the rest of the continent which commenced operation in 1877. The station was important as a conversion point because South Australia and Victoria used the American Morse Code while Western Australia used the International Morse Code which is familiar today.  The Caravan Park provides basic accommodation both for caravanners and campers. The grounds are dry and dusty which is to be expected but the showers and toilets are well appointed and clean. Showers cost a dollar on top of the camping fees for about 10 minutes of water to discourage the unnecessary waste of water by some people who we have noticed spend over 30 minutes showering. On site is a small museum displaying some of the apparatus from the telegraph station and old photos and papers describing life in this remote location in the early days.  After the long drive we went for a walk to stretch our legs.  From the caravan park is a path through the bush to the telegraph museum and motel with it's lovely garden surrounding the swimming pool.  In the other direction a few metres away down another bush path is the tall Travellers Cross in front of a wonderful view of the ocean.  By then we were ready for the delicious meal Mike had been preparing, consisting of Peri Peri Chicken and tiny tatters, before turning in for the night after the long drive and to be well rested for the drive through the Nullarbor on the South Australian side the next day.

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