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Published: August 8th 2019
After leaving Mandurah on Tuesday morning we took the Kwinana Freeway north towards Perth. Skirting the city was easy enough and then we turned east along the Roe and Eastern Highways through the W.A. wheatbelt.
We had a few 24hr free camps mapped out to get us to Kalgoorlie at which point we turned south toward Norseman before embarking on the Nullarbor and eventually back into South Australia.
York was our first stop. Such a picturesque main street with its heritage buildings; it was a shame there was car parking in front of them all – ruins what could be a good photo opportunity! Campsite was at the Avon Pioneer Park alongside the Avon River where several vans can park nose to tail in a service road behind the main street. 31/7/19
On to Merredin on Wednesday via Northam to see their silo art. It wasn’t the easiest of silos to photograph – we had to park in a small lay-by off the highway and whilst there are 8 silos painted, visibility was only good at 4 of them.
Arriving in Merredin at lunchtime we made our way to the camp ground near Merredin Peak – a single large granite boulder at the base of which runs a deep stone wall channel to direct water run off into a nearby dam. Walking almost to the top of the Peak we had good views overlooking the township and the surrounding area.
The last set of silos on the WA Trail is located at Merredin. We had to again park in a small roadside lay-by. Overall our opinion of the WA silos was disappointing. Compared to the highly detailed Victorian artwork, these seemed “childlike” in their design, colour and application.
As the afternoon wore away we spent a very pleasant happy hour with a couple (Jim and Jan) travelling home to Mandurah. Unfortunately, but understandably, with all the bushland around the area no campfires were permitted, but a glass of wine and some lighthearted chatter kept us outside until almost dusk. 1/8/19
After 2 relatively short driving days, making our way to Coolgardie
Railway Museum RV stop felt rather a long journey even though we had arrived by early afternoon. Unfortunately the Museum is closed for restoration - doors locked, windows shut tight – we could still access the platform however, but the standing engine and carriages have also been boarded over.
Taking ourselves on a walk through the town we came across the beautiful building that was once the Wardens Court. Built in 1898 it is now home to the visitor information and its many rooms have been converted into an extensive museum of the gold rush days when Coolgardie was the 3rd
largest town in Western Australia following Perth and Fremantle. When better quality and quantity of gold was found at nearby Kalgoorlie the town’s inhabitants and all the settlements quickly diminished. Good to see though that their stories aren’t completely forgotten. 2/8/19
Kalgoorlie is just a gold nuggets throw from Coolgardie – a mere 38km – and it was our Friday stop. Having been here before, and taking time then for a tour of the Super Pit, we used the city today purely for a “domestic
duties” catch-up of washing, shopping, refuelling and topping up water tanks. A tasty (and oversized) lunch at Monty’s meant there was no need for tea!
For the purpose of the Blog: up until 2016 the Super Pit was the largest open cut gold mine in Australia. It is approx 3.5km long, 1.5km wide and over 600metres deep, producing 628,000 troy ounces (19.5 tonne) of gold in 2018 – that’s a big hole in the ground. It is estimated that operations will cease in 2034, so you have to wonder what that will do to the town.
(photo courtesy of the www) 3/8/19
Next stop was Harms Lake Rest Area – a very large bush camp about 25kms west of Balladonia and it would seem a very popular place for an overnighter. When we arrived mid afternoon there was no-one else around but that soon changed as 5 or 6 vans pulled in. While most of them disappeared in amongst the trees and bushes there were 2 vans obviously travelling together that parked no more than 25metres away from us
– so close in fact that we could hear their conversations!
Throughout WA and particularly along the journey from Kalgoorlie there have been lots of Salmon Gums – a very pretty tree with bark ranging in colour from silvery pink to deeply rich caramel. The trunks, for the most part, appeared to be super smooth with few blemishes or knots, very few low limbs but with a nice full canopy.
We passed by a huge salt lake named Lake Cowan; it was massive so we checked out Google to discover that it covers (when full) an area of about 160,000 hectares. 4/8/19
Continuing our journey back across the Nullarbor our intention was to stop at Jilbunya Rockhole nr Cocklebiddy but it was no more than a roadside lay-by. There were a couple of tracks leading off it but we both thought we could find something a little more relaxing and sheltered for our Sunday night. Moonera Tank 47km west of Madura did very nicely. Lots of tracks/parking areas away from the roadway with some excellent spots for both solar
and wind protection.
As we descended Madura Pass the landscape changed – to our right was the Hampton Tablelands and Roe Plains and to our left a Bluff which stretches from Madura all the way to Eucla that probably has different names along its course, depending on the locality. At times it was set well back from the road and at others just a short distance away, but it was impressive and brought a welcome change to the scenery. Temperature today topped 27oC – lovely! 5/8/19
Crossing the WA/SA border at lunchtime on Monday we headed beyond Border Village to again soak up the majestic image of the Southern Ocean; so blue, so calm and such stunning views of the Bunda Cliffs. Temperature today was again hovering around 27oC.
Well it’s not quite what we planned for Monday night but it will do the job. We wanted to camp along the Bunda Cliffs, but without a telephone signal to access Wikicamps we couldn’t accurately find our chosen site. We stopped off at a couple of lookouts but they
aren’t designated camping areas so we continued on to what we assumed was the right place but did not like what we saw at all. Finally we pulled up at Mallabie Parking Area 29km west of Nullarbor Roadhouse. From the highway it is just a large parking bay but an access track for caravans brought us to a big gravel area out the back with a few bushes and trees around. Disappointing to say the least that we couldn’t camp with the Southern Ocean as our backdrop, but as I say, it will do the job. Tomorrow is another day and one where we will start our discovery of the bays of the Eyre Peninsula.
Our afternoon cuppa was interrupted by a Member of SA Police. We had seen her several times since lunchtime - as we drove in and out of the lookout areas so she too was driving. When she pulled in to Mallabie she stopped for a chat for a good 15minutes. She was following up on a reported “burnt out car somewhere between Eucla and Ceduna” - now that’s about a 485km stretch of roadway to search, but she
laughed as she said it filled in her day.
Tot: 2.828s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 12; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0423s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.5mb