Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

15-Nov-2004
   

We set off from Esperance on the 9th Nov to start our crossing of the Nullarbor Plain and have arrived at Streaky Bay 6 days later. In total we have travelled 1934kms since leaving Esperance, crossed two time zones and crossed the state border into South Australia.

Nullarbor means treeless and in some places it certainly lives up to its name. Photos can't express the vastness or the emptiness of the area but here is one anyway.

Nullarbor Plane

The first nights stop was at Fraser Station in the Fraser Hills. This is a sheep station that has facilities for caravans and camping. The owners are doing a lot of work to the site and it will be very nice when the plants mature. We got chatting to a couple from Queensland, John and Ros, who were also doing the crossing so we accompanied each other for the journey.

The next leg of our journey took us along the longest straight stretch of tarmac in Australia - 146kms. 90 Mile Straight, Nullarbor
Co travellers

Some of you might not know, but 4 passengers have accompanied us on our journeys. Allow me to introduce you to Pricilla and the three bears that insisted on getting out and having their photo taken by the sign.

As you can see, the bears are a bit disgusted with Pricilla the fish.
These travelling companions are very well behaved compared to some one on the trip. I have now given up on the navigation and taken up driving. Well there's not a lot of navigating on this road. When we did have to take a turning I was given the wrong directions and had to do a u-turn towing the caravan!! I quite enjoy the driving but have some trouble keeping to 90 kph and have been told off for using too much fuel . See I even get told off when I'm driving. Who said he was easy going

Our next stop was at the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse. We crossed a time zone here and had to adjust our clocks forward by 45min. (Hardly seemed worth it since there are only about 5 people who live here and they seemed just as confused about it as we did. There were three clocks on the wall in the roadhouse, one on Adelaide time, one on Cocklebiddy time and one on Perth time. A sign alongside said 'Don't ask'!!).

The roadhouse was close to the Cocklebiddy Cave. The cave is supposed to have the worlds largest cave water system. Some years ago, a French cave diving team set up the record for the deepest cave dive here. They explored the caves for over 6kms. Driving along the track towards the cave, you don't see any indication of it until you get to this enormous hole in the ground. Anyone is free to explore the cave and there are no entry fees or anything, just climb down the ladder with a torch and off you go.

  

Cocklebiddy Cave
The ladder takes you down about 5mtrs and then you scramble down over rocks. As you go down, the cave opens up to an enormous cavern. At the bottom, which is 90mtrs below the surface, there is a large lake of salty water. The air is very cool and it is totally silent, our torches could only just make out the roof and sides of the cavern it was so large.

The road follows the coastline, which mostly consists of 90mtr high vertical cliffs forming the 'Great Australian Bight'.

These are the Bunda Cliffs. The white blob at the top left is our caravan, which gives you some idea of the scale. The cliffs stretched as far as you could see in both directions.

Bunda Cliffs
Eyre Telegraph tation Eucla was our next port of call having crossed the border into South Australia and another time change. This time the clocks went forward another 45mins plus an hour for daylight saving. (They don't have daylight saving in Western Australia at the moment but there is a lot of talk about it). We turned off Highway 1 near Eucla to visit the old telegraph station. This was closed down many years ago now and is being slowly consumed by the sand dunes.
Ali explains to Ros and John the correct hand signals to give when reversing a caravan into a tight spot. That's an old cast iron telegraph pole in front of her that was brought out from England in the 1800's. Ali, Ros and John
Galah's The tree behind the station was full of noisy galahs. Sign at Eucla
For our next stop, we free camped just off the road. We managed to find a spot that sheltered us from the Westerly wind that was helping us across the plain. Free camping on the nullarbor
Head of the Bight We stopped at a viewing platform at the 'Head of the Bight'. This is where the cliffs give way to sand dunes. We were about a month too late to see the whales, which normally pass very close to the shore here.
All sorts of wildlife roam the plains including camels, wombats and kangaroos. The roos and wombats are active at night and make a real mess of your car if you are unfortunate enough to bump into one. Nullarbor Wildlife
The other wildlife! Pricilla and the three bears thought they should be included in the picture. I think the bears had words with Pricilla after the last incident. She definitely looks a bit sulky

We travelled on to Fowlers Bay where we spent two nights recharging the caravans' (and our) battery. Finally we passed through the quarantine checkpoint in Ceduna, which ended out trip across the Nullarbor. We stocked up with provisions in Ceduna and drove down the Eyre Peninsular to Streaky Bay where we will spend a couple of nights in the caravan park.

You have to get rid of all fresh fruit an veg before you cross the border because of fruit fly. Then you go into the next town over the border to buy more. I think the government have got shares in the fruit market! We lived off fruit and veg for a couple of days so we had none to throw away. Correction I lived on fruit and veg!!! I really enjoyed the trip across the Nullarbor. There was a lot to see along the way even though its supposed to be tree less some of the scenery was amazing. Onward now to the next adventure.