Well we have done it….
Nullabor, the word is surrounded with an aura of adventure and mystique. An endless, treeless plain stretching to the horizon under an azure blue sky with the sun beating down. But in a way, to start with, it was an anti-climax. The adventure part has gone with a dozen emergency phones at regular intervals, parking bays every 20 to 30 ks, road houses with petrol and all basic supplies and friendly staff approx every 300ks.Also good free camp spots and an excellent road surface, no bulldust to be seen. The landscape was an ever-changing vista. The first part was still the eucalypt forest we had seen at Norseman and Kalgoorlie. The eucalypt trees were shimmering with new growth and some of them were flowering. We were told that there had been an unusually high rainfall during spring. Last month had double the YEARS total.( Weather patterns are strange every where. WA was suffering from its driest winter ever.)
Gradually the trees thinned out and golden grass waved in the breeze, dotted with more stunted trees, shrubs and salt bush.
The first night we stayed at Caiguna Roadhouse caravan park. A very basic van park. Next day the weather continued fine and sunny with a light sea breeze keeping the temperature to approx mid 20’s. What a lovely drive, we averaged approx 300ks a day. The scenery was still interesting and varied. Every so often a dead tree would be festooned with “things” ie a shoe tree, a hat tree even a bra tree, gave us some thing to watch for and of course always the possibility of seeing a native animal, but we didn’t.
Second night we found a beautiful free camping spot in the bush. Tracks led off from the highway and wound back through the bush with pockets of shady areas to camp in.I cooked all our remaining vegs for dinner as tomorrow we go into SA. That night there was a stunning sunset.
Third day dawned fine again and today we crossed the border into South Australia . Along here the road runs close to the ocean and we took the side trips to the lookouts over the Bunda Cliffs. They stretch 200kms and tower 90 metres above the Southern Ocean pounding in on the rocks below. Awesome sight….
As we approached the Nullabor Roadhouse, our camp for the night, the landscape flattened out to the iconic “treeless plain”, stretching to every horizon.The roadhouse was again a very basic, gravel parking lot, but we did manage to get under one of the three trees in the area.
At 2am we woke with a wind roaring across the plain and shaking Matilda frighteningly.We moved all the equipment down from the top shelf and pulled the pop top down. At 5am we woke to the sound of thunder and a storm with heavy rain passed over. When we looked out at 6-30 and started packing to move on, the sky was very black and stormy looking.
We now found out what the Nullabor can throw at you and how it can change so suddenly. The very strong wind was blowing from the north-east, across the desert area, and was like a hot blast from an oven. It would dehydrate you very quickly if you had to walk out into it. The sun beat down and we were very thankful we had air con. Even with that on the van was hot and uncomfortable, but Matilda just kept going at a steady 100kms/hr. We did have one side trip when we went down to the Head of the Bight lookout that was $5 entry and in the whale watching season is a perfect view-point, but the season is now ended. The treeless plain stretched for approx 100ks.
We were very pleased to arrive at the Ceduna Roadhouse at 4-30 and go into their air-conditioned cafe. We bought an iced coffee and took our books in and settled in a corner till the temperature started to cool down.
So we have experienced the Nullabor and I wasn’t disappointed with the trip, but don’t think we will be doing it again….
Next day it was another complete change of weather with the temperature dropping to 21deg and as we drove down the Eyre Peninsular even had a few showers.