Ceduna - Kalgoorlie

Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
Trip End Sep 19, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, May 7, 2012

Thursday 3rd May – Monday 7th May
(Ceduna to Kalgoorlie)

We wake up when it gets light, never setting an alarm clock, and it is usually around 8am.   Theo cooks eggs on toast every morning, and we pack up, and are no rush which is lovely.  We are enjoying exploring the countryside, and make steady, but not fast progress.  Today was one of the sunnier days so far, but the wind is still quite strong and coolish.

We played the 3rd hole at Penong after first getting our card stamped at the roadhouse.  There was no-one else around, the sun was shining, and we had fun.  Penong is also known as the town of 100 windmills, as it has almost no rainfall and relies on the water beneath the earth to supply the town and stock, and these windmills are everywhere.  Before leaving Penong we visited the Penong Woolshed Museum and wandered through the building which amongst other things in days gone by, was a post office, a school house and a ballroom for the local community.  Outside there were old carts and farm machinery.  We purchased some locally made chilli sauce and had it on our hamburgers for tea that night.  It certainly had a bite to it.

We had heard Fowlers Bay was a nice place with good fishing.  It was once an exploration depot for Edward John Eyre on his historic Nullarbor crossing in 1841.  Approaching the little village, there are saltpan flats and huge white sand hills right next to the town, and you wonder why the town is not completely covered in sand.  The town consists of a jetty, a caravan park, general store, small hotel and a few historic houses.  We stayed in the caravan park across the road from the jetty, and have a great site next to the fence. The fence is very welcome as there is a strong sea breeze coming off the water today.  The beach has sea grasses on the sand, like a lot of beaches in South Australia and it does not look very inviting to sit or walk on.  After setting up camp, we  headed off to explore the coast, driving on the soft sandy tracks between the dunes. Theo threw the line in but only got some nibbles off the rocks.   I had camped in this area 32 years ago on my first trip around Australia, and we tried to find the track leading to Cape Adieu.  After driving for quite some time we got to the beach, not far from my first campsite on the edge of the cliff all those years ago, and it is now a conservation area so tracks have changed.  The sun was nearly setting and it was getting late, so we headed back to our camp across the salt flats.  We can understand why they do land/speed records on salt flats as it was as smooth as glass to drive on.

Friday 4th May

Friday, and our first stop was Nundroo for our next round of golf.  As well as being fun and a totally new experience, it is giving us lots of exercise.  The courses vary in length and this is one of the longer ones, 520m.  Some of them require you to walk the full length to tee off, so we are doing lots of walking, and that is not including when the ball flies into the ‘rough’, which happens far too regularly for both ‘Tiger’ and his caddy.  In fact, all the courses are extremely rough.  Apparently each green costs about $30,000 and needs to be replaced every 12 months.  We
were warned to watch out for the crow at that the next course at Nullarbor Roadhouse, because he pinches the balls.  It must have been so funny to see me running down the ‘fairway’ waving my golf stick in the air to scare the crow away, and Theo spraying his balls with WD40 ,as he was advised to spray them with something smelly.

The Eyre Highway runs through the 250,000 square kilometres of the Nullarbor Plain and was named after Edward John Eyre who made the first east-west crossing in 1841 at 25 years of age.  The highway was sealed in 1976, making it a much easier and a more enjoyable trip than the long rough, dusty and remote adventure it used to be. There are roadhouses every 100km or so offering services to travellers and basic campgrounds. One stretch of road between Caiguna and Balladonia is the longest stretch of road in the world without a bend, and is known as the 90 mile straight (146.6kms).  At night, oncoming headlights can be seen for up to 40kms away.  The Royal Flying Doctor Service has several places on the highway which double as an emergency RFDS strip where planes can land, and the road is wider at these points.  If this happens, local police will stop traffic at either end. 

Our night was spent at a free roadside stop, parked behind a large gravel pile to get out of the wind and we went to sleep to the sounds of the Southern Ocean swells pounding the cliffs.  We both slept very well.  It is a pity that travellers before us did not take their rubbish with them as there were bottles and paper everywhere.

Saturday 5th May

Saturday we crossed the border to Western Australia, and we had to set up the van so the Quarantine Officer could inspect our fridges and cupboards.  Fruit, vegies, plants and honey etc cannot be taken into WA.

We played golf and took some photos of the big roo and the signpost saying Melbourne was 1994 kms from here.  We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go.  A further 12 kms west is the small town of Eucla.  In 1877 a telegraph station was established and was once one of the busiest and remotest bases in Australia. Now it is just a ruin, and the sand is slowly covering the building.

At the Mundrabilla Roadhouse, there is an old 1923 Rugby Open Roof Tourer that didn’t quite make the return Nullarbor trip to Perth on the old bone-crunching unsealed road back in 1967. It is slowly rusting away.

The temperature today has reached 30 degrees, and we are finding that the golf is slowing our progress down somewhat.  We are staying at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse tonight because we are both hot and tired and want a good hot shower.  Played the golf before tea, and got chatting to Caroline, Alistair and their two children Ebony and Georgie who left their home in Port Campbell the same day we did and are heading a similar direction to us.  We all sat outside chatting for ages as it was such a warm balmy night. 

Sunday 6th May

Theo was kept awake by the noisy generator at the roadhouse during the night despite wearing earplugs.  We adjusted our clocks for WA time before leaving Cocklebiddie and realized that we were on the road before we usually wake up, and it was only 8am!  We have noticed that since passing through the border of SA/WA there are more dead kangaroos on the side of the road.    We played golf at Caiguna, Balladonia and Fraser Ranges Sheep Station today, and the temperature was not as warm as yesterday, approx. 23 degrees.  After playing golf at Balladonia, we treated ourselves to our first brought coffee since leaving home.  

We set up camp at Fraser Range Sheep Station, and would recommend this site to anyone.  It was the first station settled on the Nullarbor in 1872 and it is quite large, the distance between the northern and southern boundaries is approx. 160kms.  The shearing shed is no longer used,  as the property only runs Damara sheep (meat only) now, which do not require shearing or crutching as they grow hair instead of wool.  There are a couple of old vehicles on the property, one, a 1927 Chrysler was traded for a camel at a car yard in Perth.  It is a great place to stay, there are some restored old stone buildings which visitors can stay in, and nice gardens and old machinery, and some farm animals.  The camp sites are separated by bushes and are not on top of each other.  People are friendly, and there is a communal campfire every night, which we sat around for hours chatting to fellow travellers.  The managers, Ian and Marie joined us at the campfire.  Did a few small loads of washing and cooked dinner in the Dreampot when we arrived this afternoon, which was great because after several drinks for happy hour around the campfire, I certainly did not feel like cooking.  Yummy stew (with a touch of Penola chilli), and rice for dinner with a few more wines and beers, and we had a great night.  We will be heading off tomorrow and hope to catch up with the Caroline and Alistair and their girls some time up north.

Tomorrow we will be in Kalgoorlie and the start of another leg of our journey.

We are nearly at the end of our Nullarbor adventure, and really enjoyed ourselves.  Some of the road is long and uninteresting, but we had the luxury of taking our time, and stopping at the towns and lookouts on the way, and talking to the locals and other travellers, and it broke up the journey and was not a boring trip.  Playing golf gave interest to our journey and gave us enjoyment and some great photo opportunities……

Of course, if all else fails and you are still bored, you can always wave at the oncoming cars and trucks.

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Ron & Loret on

Funny you talk about waving to the drivers coming the opposite way, I think Dad got RSI from our trip in '77-78. Love the pics because some I recognized.

"Flowergirl" Dumbrell on

Sounds and looks like you are having a great time! What - Still waiting for the fry pan to appear, maybe too early on into the trip! Travel safe, XXXX Jan

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