The Big Lap 2015 – Across the Nullarbor

We departed Streaky Bay on a morning when a damp fog clung tenaciously to the ground and refused to clear in patches until much later in the day. The road to Ceduna from Streaky Bay hugs the coast quite closely and passes the settlements of Haslam and Smoky Bay along the way.

The 110 kilometres to Ceduna was covered without incident; however, through one scrubby patch we had a fright with a kangaroo bursting out of the scrub and rushing to cross the road just in front of the vehicle. The emergence of the car and caravan must have been just as frightening to the kangaroo as rather than attempt to cross in front of the vehicle the roo checked quickly, hopped along beside us for a short distance, before darting back safely into the scrub. A fox darted across the road in front of us in the distance but no other wildlife showed up at all.

In Ceduna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceduna,_South_Australia), we topped up with fuel at one of the local servos; we had been dismayed by the price of diesel in Streaky Bay (145.9 cents / litre) with the going rate in Ceduna (136.9 cents / litre) being much more reasonable. Across the Nullarbor fuel prices were quite frightening and our concerns about the price in Streaky Bay paled into insignificance in comparison.

Penong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penong,_South_Australia) was our next stop in the journey and we pulled up for smoko at the Penong Pioneer Park joining a number of other caravaners with the same intention. There were some interesting displays in the park and we took some photos before we departed.

Pioneer Park Penong

Pioneer Park Penong

Pioneer Park Penong

Pioneer Park Penong

At Pioneer Park Penong

At Pioneer Park Penong

Pioneer Park Penong

Pioneer Park Penong

Penong Primary School

Penong Primary School

Only 1132 kms yo Norseman

Only 1132 kms to Norseman

Leaving Penong

Leaving Penong

Kangaroos and Wombats use the road

Kangaroos and Wombats use the road

Fog late in the morning near Penong

Fog late in the morning near Penong

Missed the turnoff so didn't see the Giant Wombat

Missed the turnoff so didn’t see the Giant Wombat

Yalata (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yalata,_South_Australia) had been our nominal destination for the day but with a favourable wind behind us we quickly covered the 312 kilometres to this point and decided to push on to the Nullarbor Roadhouse (http://www.nullarborroadhouse.com.au/?gclid=CJGTyu7I_cUCFdh7vQodNWgAJQ) where we again topped up at a price of 181.9 cents per litre. We stopped for lunch at a roadside rest area just past Yalata then pressed on.

Watch out for Camels, Kangaroos and Wombats

Watch out for Camels, Kangaroos and Wombats

The eastern end of the treeless plain

The eastern end of the treeless plain

Nullarbor roadhouse is very remote and I dare say the closest police station is not just around the corner, consequently there have been problems with drive offs without paying for fuel supplied. When we called in to the Roadhouse in 2010 one had to take a credit card into the office and leave it there before the bowser would be activated. When we arrived this time there were notices on all the bowsers indicating ones drivers’ license was required before the bowser would be activated.

Margaret headed in to the office while I prepared to fuel the vehicle but before she arrived the bowser was activated and the fuel flowed. Turns out the young guy at the office, who had only been on the job for two weeks – he wanted to get out of the city, considered we looked trust worthy and unlikely to not pay. As it was only early in the day we decided to drive a little further before finding a place to camp for the evening and eventually drove to within 50 kilometres of the South Australia / Western Australia border.

Nullarbor Roadhouse

Nullarbor Roadhouse

Nullarbor Roadhouse whale

Nullarbor Roadhouse whale

Hand over your license if you want fuel

Hand over your license if you want fuel

Along the Eyre Highway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyre_Highway) there are a number of spots where one can view the ocean and the cliff faces along the Great Australian Bight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Australian_Bight). We turned into Scenic Lookout One (Bunda Cliffs we think) and found a number of other vans taking most of the available space; many of these were obviously planning to spend the night. After taking some photos of the great view we moved on.

The view from Lookout 1 - rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 – rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 - rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 – rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 - rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 – rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 - rugged coastline

The view from Lookout 1 – rugged coastline

Daisy growing at Lookout 1

Daisy growing at Lookout 1

 

After traveling for some 520 kilometres we found a spot to camp for the evening at Campsite 607 (Camps Australia Wide 8) 52 K Peg Parking Area. We were about 200 metres from the shore of the Great Australian Bight alongside a pile of road metal which we used as shelter from the prevailing breeze. When we arrived we were alone but were eventually joined by a motor home and a guy towing a power boat. It was a reasonable campsite and we were on the road early next morning.

The coastal view from our Friday night camp

The coastal view from our Friday night camp

The coastal view from our Friday night camp

The coastal view from our Friday night camp

Our Friday night camp

Our Friday night camp

As we approached the Western Australia border we reached another scenic lookout and as there was no one else there we pulled in for an unimpeded view of the coastline at that point.

The view at Lookout 3

The view at Lookout 3

The view at Lookout 3

The view at Lookout 3

Departing Lookout 3 - the others are east from here

Departing Lookout 3 – the others are east from here

Pushing on we reached Border Village (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Village) where diesel retailed for 184.0 cents per litre (ten kilometres into Western Australia at Eucla the price had dropped to a more reasonable 172.0 cents per litre) and moved through the quarantine checkpoint. The quarantine officer checked the car fridge and the back of the truck then went through the caravan checking the fridge and cupboards and even checking under the bed. The interior of the truck was also checked before we were allowed to enter Western Australia with a clean slate but no fresh fruit or vegetables.

Not far to the border

Not far to the border

We approach the quarantine checkpoint

We approach the quarantine checkpoint

Welcome to Western Australia

Welcome to Western Australia

The Quarantine Checkpoint at the Western Australia border

The Quarantine Checkpoint at the Western Australia border

We drove on past Eucla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucla,_Western_Australia) and down the Eucla Pass heading for Mundrabilla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundrabilla,_Western_Australia) where the management advertises cheap fuel. Morning tea was taken here and we noted that the fuel had no “L”, perhaps that was why it was cheap – it was, in fact, no cheaper than at Eucla.

Eucla Pass

Eucla Pass

Only 712 kms to Norseman

Only 712 kms to Norseman

Another location where the Royal Flying Doctor Service use the road as an emergency air strip

Another location where the Royal Flying Doctor Service use the road as an emergency air strip

Low ridges along the highway

Low ridges along the highway

The wombat and camels have gone and the cattle have come

The wombat and camels have gone and the cattle have come

Low ridges along the highway

Low ridges along the highway

Mundrabilla Roadhouse and morning tea

Mundrabilla Roadhouse and morning tea

No wonder the fuel is cheap there is no "L" in it.

No wonder the fuel is cheap there is no “L” in it.

Onward toward Madura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madura,_Western_Australia) past Moodini Bluff and over the Madura Pass and on to Cocklebiddy where we topped up at 183.0 cents per litre and ate our lunch sandwiches prepared before we left that morning. As we had no fresh fruit Margaret went to the snack bar and purchased 2 mandarins and 2 apples for $1.60 per item (rather expensive by city standards).

Only 645 kms to Norseman

Only 645 kms to Norseman

Eagles were feeding on the road kill kangaroos along the way

Eagles were feeding on the road kill kangaroos along the way

A damaged and abandoned caravan along the road

A damaged and abandoned caravan along the road

No artistry in this graffiti just vandalism

No artistry in this graffiti just vandalism

Madura Pass

Madura Pass

The plains below the Madura Pass

The plains below the Madura Pass

Only 50 kms to lunch

Only 50 kms to lunch

The Snack Bar at Cocklebiddy

The Snack Bar at Cocklebiddy

I wonder if the kangaroos get to vote in community matters

I wonder if the kangaroos get to vote in community matters

The next roadhouse was at Caiguna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiguna,_Western_Australia) which is at the eastern end of the longest straight stretch of road in Australia (the 90 mile straight) running for a length of 146.6 kilometres.

Just 5 Kms. to Caiguna

Just 5 Kms. to Caiguna

Another time zone passed - 45 minutes gained

Another time zone passed – 45 minutes gained

The 90 Mile Straight Sign - Pity about the Model? Had to check his mobile.

The 90 Mile Straight Sign – Pity about the Model? Had to check his mobile.

Turnoff to Caiguna Blowhole

Turnoff to Caiguna Blowhole

We decided to press on to Balladonia

We decided to press on to Balladonia

We enter the Great Western Woodlands Area

We enter the Great Western Woodlands Area

Entry to Balladonia

Entry to Balladonia

We decided to continue on to Balladonia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balladonia,_Western_Australia) and look for a camp site in that area; we topped up at the roadhouse (179.5 cents per litre) and drove for about another 25 kilometres before reaching a camp site at Harms Lake (Camps 8 – 20) however no lake was apparent near the campsite. This was a good spot and we were able to move about 200 metres off the highway to be on our own well back from other campers. After travelling some 590 kilometres and gaining one and a half hours through changes in time zones, it was not hard to get to sleep and little traffic noise disturbed our slumber that night.

Sunset at our camp at Harms Lake

Sunset at our camp at Harms Lake

Sunday morning dawned clear and a little crisp but a beautiful day resulted. We only had a short run into Norseman that morning so we were the second last van to depart Harms Lake around 9:00am. About an hour later we stopped for morning tea at a roadside rest area at Fraser Range (http://www.caravancaravan.com.au/entity/fraser-range-rest-area/wa) where a dry lake was evident adjacent to the rest area. This was also a 24 stop complete with toilet and dump point so would be popular with travellers.

The road goes on and on

The road goes on and on

Our morning tea stop

Our morning tea stop

At our morning tea stop

At our morning tea stop

At our morning tea stop

At our morning tea stop

Along the road to Norseman

Along the road to Norseman

The Fraser Range

The Fraser Range

Along the road to Norseman

Along the road to Norseman

Along the road to Norseman

Along the road to Norseman

Hill overlooking Norseman

Hill overlooking Norseman

Are we there yet? Only 5 Kms. to go

Are we there yet? Only 5 Kms. to go

The Roads are Open

The Roads are Open

Norseman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norseman,_Western_Australia) was reached around 11:15am and we headed straight to the local grocery to buy some supplies before the shop closed for the day. Norseman was founded as the result of the discovery of gold by Laurie Sinclair in 1892. It is said that Sinclair’s horse – Norseman – pawed the ground and a piece of gold bearing quartz lodged in his hoof. The subsequent claim was named “Norseman Reward” and it became one of the richest reefs ever mined in Australia.

Statue of Norseman the horse

Statue of Norseman the horse

Statue of Norseman the horse

Statue of Norseman the horse

Main Street Norseman

Main Street Norseman

Old machinery in a garden setting in Norseman

Old machinery in a garden setting in Norseman

Businesses in Roberts Street Norseman

Businesses in Roberts Street Norseman

Information Centre Norseman

Information Centre Norseman

Park beside the Information Centre Norseman

Park beside the Information Centre Norseman

Camel memorial near the Post Office in Norseman

Camel memorial near the Post Office in Norseman

Post Office - Eyre Post - Norseman - dates from 1894

Post Office – Eyre Post – Norseman – dates from 1894

Rotunda in Memorial Park in Norseman

Rotunda in Memorial Park in Norseman

Memorial to the fallen in Memorial Park Norseman

Memorial to the fallen in Memorial Park Norseman

Dundas Council office in Norseman

Dundas Council office in Norseman

The rose garden at the Council Office in Norseman - lovely scents

The rose garden at the Council Office in Norseman – lovely scents

The Catholic Church in Norseman

The Catholic Church in Norseman

All the street signs in Norseman contain the horse "Norseman" motif

All the street signs in Norseman contain the horse “Norseman” motif

At the Gateway Caravan Park (http://www.acclaimparks.com.au/gallery/norseman/gateway-caravan-park/) where we had reserved a site for a two night stay, we set up the van on our allocated site. We stayed in this park when we were in Western Australia in 2010 and while I think the ownership of the park may have changed in that time little else has.

The Gateway Caravan Park

The Gateway Caravan Park

Our site at Norseman

Our site at Norseman

Having settled in and eaten lunch we took a walk around town and visited the local information centre. Next morning (Monday) we went to the Council Resource Centre to print some papers we needed to post home then to the local service station to fill the truck (140.9 cents per litre) prepatory to our departure Tuesday morning with our ultimate destination being Busselton on the West Coast.

More later!

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One Response to The Big Lap 2015 – Across the Nullarbor

  1. Murray Howard says:

    Well done great pics and good info I have done this trip many times the first in 1962 roads were dirt most of the way that was hard I drive Perth to Brisbane and back on my own that’s a long drive and I’m 75 Next week I’m off to Melbourne and back from Perth only problem it’s over 40degrees not so good thanks again for your photos they were great Murray Perth WA

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