There are a huge number of epic and iconic road trips in Australia. One of the most iconic has to be crossing the Nullarbor Plains.
The Nullarbor is the stuff of legends.. the greatest of all is the Nullarbor Nymph. She was first spotted in 1971 in Eucla, just over the Western Australian border. The legend was that a half naked white woman, just wearing a kangaroo skin, was spotted in the bush with the kangaroos. A huge number of media from across the world descended on Eucla in search of the mysterious woman. The legend persisted for some time, until it was eventually revealed that the Nullarbor Nymph was invented by a group of blokes having a beer at Eucla Hotel. I've heard a couple of different stories as to who the woman who appeared in the grainy photo was. One story was she was a backpacker working in the hotel, while I believe her actual identity was the wife of a local kangaroo shooter who was in on the hoax from the beginning.
Our adventure across the Nullarbor was no where near as legendary but we did see some incredible sights.
After visiting family and friends around Adelaide and the Yorke Peninsula we said goodbye once again … bound for the wilds of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Our first stop was Port Augusta where we stayed with a friend of Dave's. There may or may not have been some beverages consumed, and there may or may not have been an application submitted to a reality television show.
It was a late start from Port Augusta the next day once we stocked up on food and got some other jobs done before getting proper on the road.
With just a limited amount of travel time we passed a few legendary 'big things' like a big Galah in Kimba and made it as far as Poochera where we set up camp at the back of the Poochera Hotel.
I have heard of Poochera and was aware of its notoriety as the home of the 'Dinosaur Ant'. Poochera has a total population of around 130 people, however it indeed is home to an ant species that still exists from prehistoric times. Although I have to say, I saw a few ants while we were in town and they pretty much looked the same to me as any other garden variety ant.. except for the giant one outside the roadhouse, but I'm pretty sure that was a recreation 🙂
Day 3 we headed up the coast of the Eyre Peninsula, which despite the fact it rained almost the entire day, was still pretty impressive. We saw many more jettys, the biggest windmill in either Australia or the world, I can't really remember, and went searching for the famous but seemingly hidden, Cactus Beach at Penong. I think our little Jayco Dove got a bitten shaken up on that side trip.
Finally we reached Fowlers Bay, where we camped for the night. And oh what a night… we were hit with the first real bout of sickness for the girls since we set off over 18 months ago. First Avalon and then Marla both vomiting the entire night! I was considering turning back towards the nearest town the next morning to find a doctor if the vomiting didn't stop. The next morning it seemed to have cleared up, so we decided to keep going. However there wasn't over and my poor babies both had an awful day of sickness, which as quick as it started, thankfully stopped by the late afternoon.
Of course the girls being sick happened on the one day that we had planned to do the really fun things like see the whales at the Head of the Bight. They still wanted to do this but they were much more subdued over the experience than they would have been as they were pretty excited in the lead up to see the whales.
I was pretty excited though to spot the sign telling us we had finally reached the Nullarbor Plains. The Nullarbor (also known as the Nullar-boring – which I strongly disagree with) is the earth's largest piece of limestone at 200,000km square and 1,200km from east to west.
There is one section of the highway that at 146.6km is the longest straight length of road in the world.
The landscape is incredible, it is arid and sparse but hosts some of the most incredible coast line in the country. The Great Australian Bight looks just like a giant has taken a bite out of the bottom of Australia but its here that every year there are hundreds of amazing Southern Right Whales come to calve. This was such an amazing sight. It was better than I could have ever imagined and another bucket list item ticked.
I really wanted to do a run on the Nullarbor but I reassessed this once I saw the enormous amount of road kill on the road.. I really hadn't trained for hurdles over dead kangaroos and didn't really think I needed to start.
There are roadhouses along the plains around every 200km but of course the most well known one is the Nullarbor Roadhouse. I would have loved to have seen a sunset from here.
I've already talked about the legend of the Nullarbor Nymph and you can see how a legend like this can be born out here. Another amazing fact that I had no idea about was Balladonia, at the western end of the Nullarabor is the site where the NASA spacestation Sky Lab crashed to earth in 1979.
There is a museum with pieces from Sky Lab at the roadhouse and apparently US President Jimmy Carter phoned the hotel to apologise for the mess!
We eventually got to the South Australian / West Australian border where we stopped for the night.. mostly so we could use up as much of our fruit and veg we had on board before we had to throw it out to cross over the quarantine stop.
Day 4 we were prepared to have to completely unpack everything so that quarantine could make sure we weren't smuggling any produce but we got through pretty quickly and spent our biggest day travelling. We travelled from Border Village right through to the western end of the Nullarbor, a little town called Norseman.
So Day 5 we only had a short distance before we made it to Kalgoorlie… which will be the subject of my next update!
The GudLanges xx