Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Completing the journey over the Nullabor

Coastline Great Australian Bight Marine Park

We camped overnight at the Great Australian Bight Marine Park – there was another group set up when we arrived so seemed a perfect place for us. It was a perfect camping spot with the cliffs of the southern coastline just a few metres away. There were a number of black crows hovering, and landing on the caravan and car, encouraged by our neighbour feeding them. We just hoped they didn’t take a liking to our wiring! In the morning a number of other visitors pulled in to see the view of the coastline and we were surprised that more overnight campers had not joined us. We spent the morning cooking up some of the vegetables we had as we were soon to cross the state border into Western Australian and pass the quarantine control.
Our camp spot Great Australian Bight

We reached Border Village and stopped to take a break – after three days with no internet coverage it was good to clear emails etc. The longest golf course in the world is located on the Nullabor Plain commencing from Ceduna and finishing at Kalgoorlie. This is a popular activity for avid and amateur golfers. The third hole is at the border and others are at roadhouses etc. There was a distance sign at Border Village and it showed just how far we are now from family and friends – 1994 kms from Melbourne, 4738 kms from Wellington and 15613 kms from Moscow. Unfortunately the distance from Auckland wasn’t shown but must be similar to Wellington. At the border we had to adjust our clocks to “middle” time which is 1 ¾ hours behind South Australia time. The roadhouse was busy with trucks arriving to wait to either change drivers or loads or go through quarantine. We continued on through the quarantine control – Peter handed the officer what fruit and vegetables we had and these went in a disposal bin. He then casually checked the back of the Patrol, looked in the Engel fridge in the car, requested access into the caravan and checked the fridge and the cupboards above the sink. There would have been many places we could have stored fruit and vegetables but we were honest and had handed in what we had. We are now in Western Australia!
Quarantine check point and Nullabor golf links at Border Village

Our stop for the night was the eastern side of Caiguna – there was a large parking area with tracks leading off with caravans and campers set up. We joined about fifteen others and stayed overnight – our second night on the Nullabor.
Our camping spot near Caiguna on the Nullabor
We continued our trek across the Nullabor. Our first stop of the day was at the Caiguna blow hole. This was a deep dry hole but interesting to see. Apparently there are also a number of caves but we didn’t see any of them. Soon after passing Caiguna, where we had to change our clocks to Western Australia time a further ¾ hour behind, we commenced the longest straight on the road – the 90 mile (or 146.6 km) drive on a straight stretch of road. It was certainly pleasing to get to the end of that!
90 mile straight

The last roadhouse was at Balladonia. This roadhouse also includes a museum which included an old Vauxhall vehicle that competed in the 1953 rally – of course Peter enjoyed seeing that. Within the museum can also be seen remnants from the crash landing of the Skylab space station which landed around the grounds of the roadhouse in July 1979.
Space shuttle hunks
The end of the Nullabor was in sight and after a short stop at a rest area overlooking a dry salt lake (which had an interesting tree decorated with stuffed animals) we arrived in Norseman and had ended our trek across the Nullabor. Norseman is a really small town with just 600. We stopped off at the information centre and met a very friendly volunteer who had lived in the area for 25 years. We had previously decided to head initially to Coolgardie and then Kalgoorlie before back tracing and heading to the south west coast. Our friend at the Information Centre said that The Gorge near Coolgardie was an ideal place for an overnight stay so we headed there only to find that the sign said “no camping” and “snakes inhabit this area”. This was no place for us! Norseman assisted with our need to see a camel – we didn’t see any live camels but one of the roundabouts in Norseman had a wonderful display which was better than none.
Camels in Norseman
Coolgardie is a very small town with lots of history. It is the “mother of the goldfields” as it was here that gold was initially found in 1892 and two miners found 554 ounces of gold. This would have made these men very rich. Apparently the greatest movement of people in Australian history followed this find and some amazingly beautiful buildings were built which are still standing today. They certainly knew how to build! The current locals are certainly working to retain the history of the area. In the replica park there is a camel with rider – a prospector reported in 1895 that he had ridden his camel for over 600 miles without water.
Replica of camel who went 600 miles with no water Coolgardie
Coolgardie is just 40 kms west of Kalgoorlie so we decided to head closer and stay overnight at Lake Douglas Reserve. The reserve gave us a beautiful view of one of the mines in the area, albeit with a bit of truck noise as it worked 24 hours.

We are now three hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time and five hours behind New Zealand time.
Sunrise over Kalgoorlie
View of mine from reserve Kalgoorlie
Lake Douglas Reserve, Kalgoorlie

Misc Photos

Waves hitting the southern Australian coast

Our camping spot at the Marine Park

Southern coastline

We camped within metres of this cliff face

Rugged coastline Great Australian Bight

Only wildlife we saw were the crows Great Australian Bight

How far away are we from family and friends - Border Village

Roo at Border Village

Hole no. 3 Nullabor Golf Course

Hole no. 3 Nullabor Golf Course

Trucks Waiting at the Border


Welcome to Western Australia

Caiguna blowhole information

Nullabor caves information

Caiguna Blowhole

On the 90 mile straight

Balladonia Roadhouse

Museum within Balladonia Roadhouse

Old Vauxhall from rally in 1953

Rally info

Skylap info

Decorated tree on Nullabor

Dry salt lake on Nullabor

The Gorge near Coolgardie

No camping and there are snakes - Gorge near Coolgardie

Coolgardie - mother of the goldfields

Coolgardie wardens court building

Old gaol Coolgardie

Pharmacy museum and Post Office Coolgardie

Details of the long ride

No comments:

Post a Comment