‘DO­ING’ THE NULLABOR - BE­FORE AND BE­YOND…

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - THE GREYING NOMADS -

Col & Di de­cided to do a leisurely four day Nullabor cross­ing stay­ing in free camps all the way.

Be­fore we headed north from the WA coast we stocked up our sup­plies in Esper­ance and re­placed the GPS which had died. We picked up our van from Gib­son Soak and then drove 80km to Salmon Gums to stay at a lovely cheap, com­mu­nity park with power and wa­ter at a rea­son­able rate – not like Norse­man we are told.

Salmon Gums ex­pe­ri­enced ma­jor bush fires just af­ter we were there in Oc­to­ber 2015 and we won­der what it looks like now. It was a lovely lit­tle town with a nice pub with ap­par­ently cheap, nice meals. Care­taker Craig was laid back and trust­ing – lit­er­ally ‘leave the money in a tin’ in the laun­dry! He headed off to work with all the money there for the towns­folk to pick up.

At Norse­man we picked up the Nullabor map with a list of jour­ney high­lights from the Info Cen­tre. It costs to use the dump point at Norse­man so don’t! There are many free­bies along the way. We also picked up a fright­ened dog run­ning away from an im­pend­ing storm – he and his muddy paws climbed into the pas­sen­ger seat of our Isuzu MUX, pant­ing in fear. ‘Piglet’s’ owner from the Hard­ware store be­rated him with a few nasty words so we had to re­sist a strong temp­ta­tion to take him with us. We fu­elled our­selves up at the bak­ery and the SUV at the servo. Then onto the edge of the Nullabor at Fraser Range, gran­ite hills sur­rounded by the world’s largest eu­ca­lypt for­est.

First night 50 km past Bal­lado­nia, we stayed the night at Woorlba Home­stead Rest Area. Lots of room, shady trees and two drop toi­lets that were okay and not too smelly. Bit of road noise but it doesn’t really bother us.

Day two on the Nullabor we trav­elled Aus­tralia’s long­est straight road of 146.6km. I think every­one who goes this way takes a photo in the same spot. We stopped at Cai­guna for fuel and then to the Blow­hole, which is rather un­ex­cit­ing. Just a large hole in the ground that I guess blows in the wind. Here we changed our clocks for­ward by 45 min­utes. We stopped again at Madura Pass for a spec­tac­u­lar view over the Roe Plains and Madura it­self is an oa­sis at the bot­tom of the Pass. Pho­tos don’t do this jus­tice.

The sec­ond night we stayed at Moo­d­ini Bluff, 25km east of Madura, on the left amongst the shady trees again. One toi­let, use your own loo pa­per and there is a bit of rub­bish at the back but it’ okay. We had the usual ‘have-a-chat’ with other trav­el­ers in­clud­ing a cou­ple of ladies in a Jur­gens van like ours – a new one with a win­dow in the en­suite.

Day three saw more Nullabor and fu­el­ing up at the Mun­dra­billa Road­house. At Eu­cla we vis­ited the Old Tele­graph Sta­tion, which is be­ing taken over by sand and a 2km walk through the dunes to the beach and old jetty. Great photo op­por­tu­nity, then through Bor­der Vil­lage. Note, go­ing into South Aus­tralia you don’t need to eat up all your fruit and veg­eta­bles un­til Ce­duna as they don’t stop you at the bor­der. Here there is the sec­ond time change of one hour and 45 min­utes.

We LOVED the amaz­ingly rugged coast­line in the Great Aus­tralian Bight and stopped at the look­outs at Bunda Cliffs. If it’s not blow­ing a gale you could prob­a­bly sleep over at one of these road­side stops but we had high winds, and there­fore high fuel con­sump­tion. Also LOVED the fan­tas­tic, white sand dunes all along the coast.

On the third night we stayed at SA 157k Peg which is (strangely enough) 157km from Bor­der Vil­lage. Lots of space to wan­der around, we stayed right at the back among the trees and there was only one other van there. Met a lovely cou­ple from Nether­lands who travel around Aus­tralia for 3 months ev­ery year. No toi­lets, so we used our own en­suite in the car­a­van.

Don’t fuel up at the Nullabor Road­house un­less you have to – we paid top dol­lar here. There is a lot of rub­bish at road­side stops around the Yalata Com­mu­nity so not really any nice places to stop. Here the flat plains of the Nullabor are fin­ished and the views re­turn to trees and farms. Drove down to Head of Bight, a great view­ing spot for whales but the sea­son was over to­day so no point in pay­ing to do the look­out thing. Fowlers Bay is a nice fish­ing vil­lage and fab­u­lous sand dunes. The car­a­van park is cheap­ish and has a fish BBQ on Sat nights.

Fourth night we stayed at Co­hen School Ru­ins near the 396km marker. There are grassy ar­eas to camp there, a nice walk around the ru­ins and lovely birdlife. Again, no toi­lets and this is a sign of things to come in SA. Also, again there were only two of us, and the grotty back­pack­ers left their fire go­ing the next day. Col did his good deed putting it out.

The next day we woke up at the Co­hen School ru­ins to the dul­cet tones of those mag­pies singing. We then headed through the town of Penong of the many (more than 20) wind­mills, be­fore Ce­duna. When you go through this quar­an­tine check­point you need to have eaten, cooked or frozen all your fruit & ve­g­ies ex­cept washed pota­toes. They do go into your van but are more po­lite than go­ing into WA at Ku­na­nurra. They only ask you to open your fridge and cup­boards. Af­ter this we stocked up at the IGA. Food is ex­pen­sive here and it is bet­ter to wait un­til Streaky Bay, which is a lovely spot. The fences are not as high as Ce­duna, which tells the story about the pop­u­la­tion of Ce­duna. Oys­ters at Ce­duna were yum!

Fuel up at BP which is the first one on the right go­ing into Ce­duna – it’s the cheap­est. There is also a dump point and drink­ing wa­ter at the BP. We then drove around Per­lubi Beach, which is a pretty spot on the way to Streaky Bay. You are not sup­posed to camp at the beach at Per­lubi so we free camped out­side Streaky Bay at Eyre’s Water­hole. No toi­lets and room only for about six vans. We based our­selves here for a few days to en­joy the sights around the area.

Co­hen School Ru­ins

Fowlers Bay Fish­ing

Eu­cla Old Tele­graph Sta­tion

Bunda Cliffs

Eu­cla Old Jetty

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