13 - 15 June 2011
We couldn't go past the famous surf spot, Cactus Beach, without a stopover. We drove into Cactus not really knowing what to expect as not only was the campground on private property, but we'd also heard old stories of surfers being chased out of the area by other territorial surfers armed with weapons! What we found was a lovely campground nestled amongst the sand dunes with basic but very clean facilities. The beach itself was one of those beaches that you could sit and watch all day. There were several surf breaks offering up perfect little barrels and cliffy headlands which made for some great fishing spots. The old fella that owns and maintains the land in and around the campground wants nothing more than the visitors to respect and look after the land and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. He bumps through the campground twice a day in his little old orange ute cleaning out the toilets, replenishing the firewood and chatting to the campers. The toilets, I might add, are the most unusual kind we've encountered so far.. Just a round rocky wall standing only about three to four foot high with a
wooden door in one section of the wall. Inside (not that you are really "inside") is a metal bin lined with a garbage bag and a toilet seat and lid. There is also a bucket full of lime powder and a scoop. Whilst it sounds terrible, they were some of the cleanest toilets we've been in since we started the trip. The only awkward part was the lack of height of the walls (not to mention a non-existent roof!) - standing up you were able to see straight over the walls to all the other campers! It was interesting (and somewhat liberating?) using the loo and looking up straight into the sunshine and trees and birds flying overhead....
We spent a night at the Nullarbor Roadhouse so we could visit the Head of Bight Viewing Platform the following morning. The drive across the Nullarbor Plain is long and tedious but mainly due to the lack of bends and hills. It is basically a long straight flat road that took us about 3 days to cross and by the end of it, we were getting excited by the possibility of a slight bend in the road or a crest!
The Head of Bight is the most northern point of the Great Australian Bight. A new viewing platform has been erected and there is now a fee to get to the viewing platform. It was definitely worth it though as we fortuntely found ourselves in whale breeding and migrating season. We saw about fifteen groups of whales, many of which had a baby calf with them and they were so close to the cliffs we were standing on. One of them even put on a performance for us and started breaching, it's head soaring straight up out of the water. The size of the southern right whales is phenomenal! Their body mass is so great that they act as a reef, with waves breaking over the top of them. It was such a memorable morning, standing at the Great Aussie Bight, the water full of southern right whales, the magnificent Bunda Cliffs to the West and the sun shining, overcome by a feeling that there is no where else you'd rather be.
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