THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER BORDER VILLAGE TO CACTUS BEACH 478kms
John slept in a little in the morning. He has had some pretty tiring days, one way and another. Also, his body time and that of the outside world are not yet in synch.
Today’s was a beautifully scenic day’s driving. We called in at all the wonderful coastal lookout points. For roughly 100kms, the highway hugs the coast. Here, the Nullarbor plain just falls into the ocean in steep cliffs. It makes for some very spectacular cliff views. It is also an area where one should be wary of driving – or walking – too close to the edge, which can be quite undercut.
Some 40kms west of Nullarbor Roadhouse, the Highway turns a bit inland, but from near the roadhouse, there is a track to the coast again, at Head of the Bight – the most northerly point of the Great Australian Bight. We had missed the Head of the Bight lookout in ’93.
We had lunch at Head of the Bight.
After this, the highway traversed a treeless section of the Nullarbor – from which it derives its name.
Just before we got to Nundroo Roadhouse, we stopped to help a couple of German backpacker girls, who’d had a blowout on their old station wagon. They’d made big black skid marks on the road – they were lucky not to have rolled it! They were a bit shaken. They did the labour of changing their own wheel, with John telling them how to do it. It was a retread that peeled off. They did not have matching tyres, either.
That stop took about an hour out of our day.
Refuelled at Nundroo RH – $1.15cpl.
At Penong, the little town with lots of windmills – which always seems rather surreal to me – we turned south on the unsealed 21km track to Cactus Beach.
I’d forgotten that, on the way to Cactus beach, there are vivid pink lakes and large white sand dunes. It is really beautiful.
Cactus Beach is well known in surfing circles for having some of the best wave breaks in Australia. We came here in ’93 at the behest of one of the offspring, and loved the “different” nature of the place. We do not surf, but the beach, views and sunsets were superb.
It is also periodically frequented by great white sharks, but this does not seem to deter the keen surfers who congregate here.
It was getting quite late when we reached there. Fortunately, we knew the layout from camping here in ’93. There are little camping bays in the low scrub, and every so often there is a toilet – a circular wall made of chunks of local limestone rocks, about shoulder high, and with quite a few gaps. Inside is a seat on a half drum, containing a heavy duty garbage bag! These are collected and replaced with clean ones, each day. It ensures there is no pollution of the fragile environment here, from toilet waste – though I am not sure where all the used garbags go!
We could not find anyone in charge of the place, so set up in a little camping bay, where there was ample room for the van. It was all unpowered, of course.
It was almost sunset time when we went for a walk on the beach. I collected some shells.
Back at the van, while a was getting tea, a man came round to collect our fees of $6.60 each.
Tea was gazpacho, coleslaw, mashed potato. John had a tin of tuna as well.
Afterwards, I had to have a cook up. I made potato soup, mashed potato, a tomato and onion pasta sauce. I couldn’t cook all the vegetable matter we have left, so decided to try to give some away, or else just forfeit it at the checkpoint.
Unfortunately, the night was too chilly for us to sit outside and watch for the little marsupial critters that we saw here in ’93.
The stars were really bright. I saw a falling star!
It would have been great to have stayed a few days here.