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Published: November 17th 2011
Rooey and the signpost
Awakening to the Great Australian Bight at our doorstep was breathtaking. belived to be the longest line of sea cliffs in the world, The Great Aust. Bight is an ancient awe inspiring natural creation and apparently curves for 1160 klm. The Bunda Cliffs themselves form part of the longest line of cliffs in the world. Australia is the only nation to recognise the Southern Ocean, to you guys reading this in the UK and Europe, (or anywhere else), it is part of the Indian Ocean. Trish and I were sorry to leave this great overnight camp spot but were excited to hit the tree less plain. The Nullabor plain stretches 720 Klm from East to West and 320 from the coast to the Great Victoria Desert in the North and is almost as large as the sate of Victoria 200,000 square Kilometres (how big is England?). The name comes from the latin Nullus and Arbor meaning "no trees" ( thank you Sandra Doig). The Aboriginal name for the area is 'Oondiri' meaning 'The Waterless' and the average rainfall on the plain is 200mm per year. It is one of the largest arid to semi arid karst landforms in the world.
Western Australia - at Last !
So, continuing our trip, just up the road we came to the Border Village, aka 'Check Point Charlie'. Price of fuel here was $2.00/Ltr again and we were greatful for being able to carry 200Ltrs! Stopping for our quarantine check point where our vehicle and caravan were searched for 'contraband vegetables' and 'illicit fruit' we handed over our leftover tomatoes and salad, (could not eat it all last night!), but the 'wanted Honey' (1/2 jar) was our biggest loss. It must have done something really bad as they pounced on it ! However we gained 2 and 1/2 hours in time !!! Changing to WA time meant we were now 3 hours behind the eastern States. A giant Red Kangaroo named Rooey II presides over the Border Villlage, as well as a signpost to many points in the world. This is another eating and fuel facility that has a bar and accomodation.
Now in Western Australia, finally leaving SA, we headed 13 Klm down the road to Eucla. This is actually a town, not just a roadhouse ! Eucla is the largest settlement on the Nullarbor Plain. Eucla today is situated on the Hampton Tableland. The original site of
"Check Point Charlie"
Eucla is down on the plain and covered in sand dunes, however the ruins of the old Telegraph Station exsist at the original town site and beyond the ruins are the remains of a jetty a reminder of pioneering days when supplies arrived by boat. Opened in 1877, 33 years after Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, the Eucla Telegraph Station helped linked WA with the rest of Australia and the world. The first message, sent to Perth in Dec 1877, stated simply 'Eucla line opened.Hurrah'
Next stop along the Eyre was Mundrabilla Roadhouse, yep same as the others. Fuel here was $1.89/Ltr so we topped up to avoid the next few roadhouses (expensive) and to get us to Norseman. Not only did we top up the car but we also had a drink here.
Not far past Mundrabilla we began to see huge flocks of Budgies, (spring time breeding season), but unfortunately we saw many dead on the road. ninety percent of the budgies we saw were all bright green, their natural colouring. Driving along the Roe Plains with the Hampton Range on our right was fantastic. Madura Station which sits on these plains was settled in 1876
Trish checking out the tourist info
to breed horses for the British Army. Madura is now a 'Roadhouse' like all the ones before it along the highway. Leaving the plains and Madura we drove up onto the tablelands and stopped at Madura Pass lookout where we had spectacular views back over the plains out to the ocean.
Our next stop was Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, (lunch stop), we did not don diving apparatus to explore the cave system leaving that to film makers (The Deep ? - James Cameron movie) and to thrill seekers.
Next along the highway is Caiguna Roadhouse where e stopped for iceypoles (it was quite warm outside!) same same, fuel, food, bar, camping, motel etc.
Just down the road a bit we came to the 90 mile straight signpost, marking the Eastern end of the longest straight stretch of road in Australia, which runs for 90 miles or 146.6 Klm. The countryside has now changed - still flat - but with low scrub and Mulga. For the whole trip the countryside has looked fantastic due to good seasons over the past two years, and this region is no different, the semi arid land looked lush and I was continually thinking how
View down to plain and coast - the track you can se goes to the OT Station
many cattle you could fatten out here. By now we had done 400 Klm for the day and it was time to camp. We eventually found a site towards the end of the big straight stretch where we were able to get off down a track in through some scrub to an open area about 300 mtrs from the road, perfect, no noise and on our own.
This was a great spot as we became friends with the local birdlife, Ring Necked Parrots, Butcher Birds and a family of Magpies that it took Trish only 10 minutes to be able to hand feed them. Only problem was next morning at 4.30am they were on the roof of the van walking around waiting for us to get up...nice really.
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