Sunday, September 12, 2010

Across the Nullabor

After enjoying ourselves in and around Perth and having got the car serviced, it was time to head across the Nullabor to Adelaide and then Melbourne.
We left Fremantle fairly early and headed off with no set plans of our travel that day - we would stop when we found a nice camp spot to stay at.
We have noticed a lot of roadside memorials as we have been driving along, and a lot of them on long straight stretches of road. We came across an accident (fortunately it had been cleared of victims), and had to wait for about 15 minutes before we could move on. One car was an absolute mess, the other one not so bad. We later found out from someone at our next campsite that one car had tried to overtake, and crashed head on into an oncoming car. One person died. It was quite distressing to see how squashed and damaged one car was. It made us think how lucky we were to have driven so far without anything nasty happening to us.
Our first roadside camp was good, a bit back from the road, not far from Coolgardie. We lit a fire and enjoyed sitting by it, as it was quite cool.
Randall was quite taken by a caravan at the campsite we stayed at - it was called an Aquavan, and could be towed like a caravan or launched in water to be a houseboat. We had quite a long talk to the owners as we left the next morning - they were very friendly and Randall enjoyed talking to them about their caravan/boat.
We went through to Kalgoorlie, and were amazed at the size of it - 30,000 people live there. It appears to be a very prosperous town, with all the shops along the roadside, not so much shopping centres like in a lot of towns. We had a wander around, enjoyed a pie from the Bakery, and, as we were wandering around, Randall recognised the name of a pharmacist - it was someone he knew from university days, so we went into the pharmacy to find out. He wasn't there as it turned out, but we found out that he was Tasmanian, so Randall left his name and phone number.
After Kalgoorlie it was time to head across the Nullabor! I was a bit excited about this, and had no expectations of the trip. There is lots of long straight roads, and we drove along the longest bit of straight road in Australia - 141kms! It is certainly easy to pass something - plenty of vision!
We do come across some very wide loads too - have to give them a very wide berth!!

We always make sure we have plenty of breaks when we drive long distances and take turns with the driving. Here's Randall enjoying a lunch break on the road:
We were also interested to see that the road is often a runway for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. We saw this quite often on the Nullabor:
We were excited when the road finally went near the Great Australian Bight and we could see water. As luck would have it we drove into a rest area and walked to the cliffs, only to see a couple of whales really close to shore. We were really excited to see them in their natural habitat.
We made an overnight camp near the cliffs, but not too close, and Randall lit a lovely fire, but it was so windy the chill factor sent us inside!!
The next day we headed towards Ceduna, and we called in at The Head of the Bight. The man at the service station guaranteed that we would see whales there - and we did. Three whales were moving along close to shore, and one other whale had his tail in the air for ages, just hanging about. It was great to see these mammals so close - something I will always remember. We found out later that the platform we were standing on was designed by my brother in law, James!

We then drove out and through Ceduna, had one more overnight stop, then arrived in Adelaide for some R and R after 6 nights on the trot without power. We caught up with my sister and family for a nice dinner, did heaps of washing and just generally relaxed and hung around for a rest. The last leg of our journey was coming up.

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