IN STARK CONTRAST
Western Australia’s Golden Outback.
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.