Red dust, Flies, Pies, and the stench of rotting Kangaroos !!!!
26.09.2007 - 03.10.2007 23 °C
Amanda, the car is doing us proud! Why, I hear you wondering, did we call the car Amanda? Because she is a Holden ….. get it! Anyway she has done us proud so far and got us all the 2374 km to Ceduna. Steve has been totally amazed by the lack of traffic on the roads once we had left the city. We have mostly encountered road trains and Caravans. The road trains are great big long Lorries up to about 37 metres long., carrying all manner of goods. We even saw a four-decker carrying sheep, which was going to the abattoir.
Our first stop was Albany which is on the south coast of W.A.. We arrived at a Big 4 Holiday Park and were quickly talked into joining the Big 4 Holiday Park scheme, which will enable us to get discount on any Big 4 Park that we stay on. There are 175 of these Holiday Parks all over the country, and as members we get a good discount. So we will be staying at Big 4 sites whenever we can. Once we had set up camp we had a look round at the amenities. This is camping in luxury; we’ve even got WIFI in the tent! There was a communal camp kitchen with free barbeque, cooking facilities, fridges, freezers, etc. There was also a communal room with a big log fire. At night everyone seems to congregate there, whiling the evening away by telling travellers tales and drinking stubbies or Australian wine. On the first night we got talking to a lot of people and got lots of advice on good and bad places to stay.
On Thursday after mopping up the rainwater inside the tent, (it was really stormy in the night and absolutely tipped down and we had left the inner door open and the water had somehow got in), we decided to take a walk along the coastal path, where you could supposedly see Whales. We’d only got a little way along the path and lo and behold we saw a couple of Southern Right Whales, mother and calf we think, about fifty yards away from us in the Bay. We sat there for about an hour and watched them just wallowing around in the water. Apparently this area is a meeting place for Southern Right Whales before they head off south after wintering in the warmer waters. We also saw a Lizard about two feet long at close range and we quickly dragged the camera out thinking this must be a rare sight, but as we carried on along the coastal path we saw hundreds of them, just basking in the warm sunshine.
On Friday morning we were having breakfast when our neighbours in the next tent told us that there were Whales offshore. Steve immediately headed for the beach, bacon butty in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. It turned out that they were the same pair of Whales as the day before, but it was still good to watch them.
On Saturday morning we struck camp and set off to Esperance, a 500km drive on the South Coast Highway. Yet again a very easy drive, the only other traffic we saw was a handful of cars and about six road-trains. We saw several dead kangaroos along the roadside but we still haven’t seen a live one. We nearly ran over a snake, it was a big black one about a metre and a half long. Steve thought it might have been a Taipan. Luckily we managed to pass over it without doing it any harm; we watched it slither off the road in the rear-view mirror.
Esperance is a lovely little port in the Bay of Isles. It is surrounded by several bays with fantastic golden beaches. We spent three days there, exploring the town and the surrounding area, before setting off on the big drive across the Nullabor Plain.
We had picked up some advice about driving in Australia. “Keep between the ditches, shiny side up, greasy side down”. It’s a pity our minibus driver in Thailand hadn’t had the same advice!!!! The drive across the Nullabor was amazing, just over 1400 Km, a real road trip. Steve wished that we were in the Speedster rather than the station wagon. We travelled on the longest stretch of straight road in the world (?) 96 miles with no bends.
The whole outback experience has been a mixture of red dust (lots of it), flies (everywhere), pies (on the menu in every Roadhouse, the road-train drivers staple diet) and the stench of dead Kangaroos (we literally saw hundreds of decaying carcasses at the side of the road). Just as we thought that we wouldn’t get the chance to see a live Kangaroo, we saw about five whilst walking through the bush, on our way from Eucla to the beach. We also saw a couple of Emu.( or emusses)!!. We stayed at The Eucla Roadhouse in a motel room as it was a bit too windy to put the tent up. It’s on the Great Australian Bight, so is quite exposed to the elements. From the coast the next stop is Antarctica !!!
Today we did the last bit of the Nullabor and are now in Ceduna S. A.. The drive here was pretty good, although we could only pick up one radio station which was an Aussie talk show, god it was boring! On arrival in S.A. we had to go through a quarantine search before we were let in. Apparently there is a problem with fruit flies and no one is allowed to transport fruit and veg from west to east. We are staying in Ceduna for three nights and then heading off to Port Lincoln. Yes we have changed our plans again! But with so much advice on the best places to visit we thought we had to. One of the things that we have noticed is that although we are no longer on the backpacker trail, we have somehow joined the trail of the grey nomads, Nearly every camper/caravan that we see are driven by retired Aussies who are touring the country, we keep bumping into the same people at different sites !!
Love to everyone.