The Nullarbor

19 04 2013

What an interesting, exciting journey!  The Nullarbor is one of those treks that many people talk up or talk down.  It seems to be a love or hate type of place.  Well let me say, I LOVED it.  I’d do it again in a flash and next time pack more food and spend longer out there in the wilderness of what the haters call “nothing”.

We began our journey leaving Kimba after lunch and headed to Ceduna for fuel and a few supplies from the supermarket.  Our first stop was not far from Ceduna at Cactus Beach.  It is known as one of the best surf beaches of the world and has many a surfer there.  Arriving on a Sunday late afternoon we were very surprised at the amount of people.  The main area closest to the beach was totally full, we chose a back spot which turned out to be very quiet and a little more protected from the wind.  Wanting to sort ourselves out again after two weeks on the farm we chose to stay two nights.  The kids got to go swimming at the beach and also at a protected place at the jetty.

The next stop was the Nullarbor Roadhouse.  It is just inside the Nullarbor National Park, still in South Australia.  Along the way we stopped off at The Bight and paid our entrance fee to walk out to the viewing platforms to see the great cliffs and open waters.  It would be amazing to visit during whale season, but we were too early with the first whales being sited normally around May.  Even without the whales it is an amazing view.

The Roadhouses are quirky places, all with a motel section, camp ground, toilets/showers, a pub and place for a feed.  The prices are high with all meals being over $20 no matter how simply it is.  The huge trucks roll in all of various sizes and can be carrying quite interesting things like a bottom of an army tanker, train engines, livestock etc.  The roadhouses were pretty cheap for camping as they didn’t charge extra for the children.  So at $20 per night we chose to stay and use their facilities but the downside is sleeping with the hum of the diesel generators that keep these places running 24 hours.

The next day we rolled into Border Village and went through quarantine.  They are fairly thorough in making sure you have no fresh fruit, veggies or honey.  We were prepared and had pre-cooked or eaten all our fruit & veggies plus had just finished our honey jar.  Some fellow travellers were devastated to have to throw out their big honey they had just purchased.  I do find the honey thing a little interesting as I only had a black and gold brand honey with us and the IGA at Norseman WA sells the same one!  I’m sure they don’t come from different places.

We took a little detour at Eucla and checked out the ruins of a Telegraph Station.  It was half summered in the sand and had graffiti on it, but the delightful part was the large tree behind full of Major Mitchells (pink cockatoos).  I’ve only seen them around the Darling River area in North/West NSW and loved them.  It was so nice to see them here and the most I’ve ever seen in one area.

Our next stop over was Cocklebiddy Roadhouse.  Some fellow travellers we’d met in Victoria gave us some shower tokens for this place and we’d passed one onto Lily (our 10 year old) via the tooth fairy as a stir, but she thought it was awesome and wasn’t concerned she’d missed out on a $1 (sometimes you can never tell!).   By the way, the shower tokens were for a 10 minute shower!  Obviously they didn’t think their bore was going to dry out anytime soon.  Again the diesel generator was loud, but our spot was far enough away for it not to be too disturbing.

Upon an early start we drove on and covered the longest straight road in Australia.  It didn’t actually feel that long, as it went up and down a little.  The road out to Bourke felt longer as it is so flat you see the road in the far distance the whole way.  I love how the scrub around the road constantly changed.  The salt bushes and scrub had beautiful tones of green, grey and almost blue.  The birds were fluttering about and we even saw huge wedge tail eagles!

Our journey ended with a quick stop in Norseman for some fresh fruit and veggies plus an ice-cream.  We drove on 50km South towards Esperance to Salmon Gums and stayed at a community caravan park.  It was cute with it’s little gardens, immaculate amenities all for fees to be paid by honour system, no caretaker present.

The Nullarbor has a remote feeling, yet it is so busy.  It would have to be one of the busiest roads in comparison to it’s population.  Yet everyone waves as you pass.  Everyone says hello as there is a sense of oneness as we all have this trek in common.  As I said, I’d do the trip again in a flash and spend more time exploring.  I’d love to do the bird observatory near Cocklebiddy and have a meal in a road house …. oh the joys of planning the next trip!

Setting up late at Cactus Beach

Setting up late at Cactus Beach

Taking a swim inside the shark netted area

Taking a swim inside the shark netted area

Cactus Beach

Cactus Beach

Funny little toilet blocks!  The shower was worse and definitely required simmers to be worn if you weren't an exhibitionist

Funny little toilet blocks! The shower was worse and definitely required simmers to be worn if you weren’t an exhibitionist

Salt lake near Cactus Beach.  The salt has a pink tinge

Salt lake near Cactus Beach. The salt has a pink tinge

Cactus Beach area

Cactus Beach area

The cliffs of the Bight

The cliffs of the Bight

Looking for a whale

Looking for a whale

Us on the Bight of Australia!

Us on the Bight of Australia!

Set up at the Nullabor Roadhouse

Set up at the Nullarbor Roadhouse

Sunsetting on the Nullabor Plains

Sunsetting on the Nullarbor Plains

Nullabor Roadhouse

Nullarbor Roadhouse

A track to ... ??

A track to … ??

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Just before Border Village

Just before Border Village

Border Village

Border Village

WA border - quarantene

WA border – quarantene

Telegraph station ruins at Eucla

Telegraph station ruins at Eucla

Major Mitchells

Major Mitchells

Whoops ... out the back of Mundrabilla Roadouse

Whoops … out the back of Mundrabilla Roadouse

Emus doing a run for it

Emus doing a run for it

Sun setting at Cocklebiddy

Sun setting at Cocklebiddy

Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

90 mile straight road

90 mile straight road

The straight road!

The straight road!

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3 responses

19 04 2013
Lorna

WOW! WOW! WOW! I’m running out of WOW’s for this trip- what an absolutely fabulous thing to do as a family, trekking across this unique and dazzling landscape in this Great South Land of the Holy Spirit.
Love
Lorna xxxxxx

20 04 2013
Shirley Birch

I think I saw you seeing to this at Camp Wattle Grove 🙂 Loved seeing you all in the pics…we’ve been over the Nullabor many times and it’s a great trip.

20 04 2013
christinemcpherson

You did Shirley! Sitting here now watching the kangaroos having a munch 🙂

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