IN STARK CON­TRAST

Western Aus­tralia’s Golden Out­back.

Australian Traveller - - Contents - WORDS JENNY RING LAND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ELISE HASSEY

AS THE KILO­ME­TRES RHYTH­MI­CALLY tick away and mo­bile ser­vice dips in and out, I stare out of the win­dow and breathe deeply; the wran­gling it took to be sit­ting in a car next to one of my old­est friends, head­ing deep into Western Aus­tralia’s Golden Out­back was a jour­ney in it­self. The loop we’ve de­cided on holds prom­ise of wild desert plains, pris­tine beaches with the whitest of sand, and sto­ries of ex­plo­ration and com­mu­nity. Ad­mit­tedly my as­so­ci­a­tion with road trips has long been car sick­ness and sin­ga­longs, ar­gu­ments over bub­blegum and in­evitable “Are we there yet?” cries. But per­haps I’ve got it wrong, be­cause the speed at which I am be­ing en­veloped with calm as the land­scape shifts from the green busy­ness of hobby farms to un­du­lat­ing stretches of brown­ish pas­ture is a sur­prise to me. It ig­nites a dis­cus­sion about the ro­man­ti­cism of a road trip, the lure of ad­ven­ture and un­known ex­pe­ri­ences. My friend re­veals she finds hours spent in a car med­i­ta­tive, it’s her place of zen. As the road widens and flat­tens between York and Quairad­ing, and the car be­gins to hum to the sooth­ing tones of Chet Faker, I de­cide I’m a fast adopter and closer to care­free than I can re­mem­ber.

PERTH TO WAVE ROCK

For­get a jour­ney from A to B; it’s far more re­lax­ing to make stops (es­pe­cially the un­planned ones) along the way. York is the old­est in­land town in Western Aus­tralia, and has re­tained a lot of its orig­i­nal streetscape. There’s an old-fash­ioned sweet shop, a few eclec­tic cafes and a mo­tor mu­seum. It’s on the road from York to Quairad­ing that I have my afore­men­tioned ‘aha!’ road trip mo­ment. The land­scape dras­ti­cally changes from patch­work farm­land to a shock of ghostly salt lakes dot­ted with grey, leaf­less trees. We pull over for a closer look and – as we later find out – the trees are dead due to the ris­ing wa­ter ta­ble, a re­sult of the mass clear­ing for agri­cul­ture over the last 50 years.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: Kan­ga­roo-spot­ting on the way to Kal­go­or­lie; Hot wheels in York , the old­est in­land town in WA; Home to an old-fash­ioned sweet shop and a mo­tor mu­seum; En­joy the iso­lated beauty of Fitzger­ald River Na­tional Park . OP­PO­SITE: On the road from Wave Rock to the Humps.

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