This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2006 Travels December 8

FRIDAY 8 DECEMBER   BALLADONIA TO NUNDROO ROADHOUSE   880kms

Early start.

Balladonia is at the western end of the 90 mile straight stretch of highway, so we had that at the start of today’s drive. There was still plenty of bushfire smoke and that was rather concerning.

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Unusual morning light due to bushfire smoke

Topped up the fuel at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse – $1.62cpl. Bought cold drinks.

Some welcome variety in the landscape came with the descent down the Madura Pass to the lower level plain closer to the coast. This meant we had low rises to our left now – something different to look at.

Repeated the fuel and cold drinks routine at Mundrabilla Roadhouse – $1.45cpl. Mundrabilla had the reputation of being amongst the cheapest places for fuelling along the Nullarbor.

It was a day of even greater heat –  40’s, almost 44, at Eucla! We endured…….

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A long day of driving was accentuated by losing time as we drove east – 90 minutes of it.

The bushfire smoke continued, to varying extents, until after we crossed into SA.

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One solitary bird….

I couldn’t persuade John to stop for the day when we reached Eucla, on the WA/SA border. In fact, I couldn’t persuade him to stop at all here. He wanted to really break the back of the Nullarbor section.

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He decided we would aim for Yalata Roadhouse – certainly for fuel and maybe to stay the night.

We did take a short break at the spectacular Bunda Cliffs – to admire the dramatic heights where the Australian mainland falls into the Great Australian Bight. It was a chance to take the mandatory photos – yet again – and walk around a bit to try to get the circulation going in my legs.

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Bunda Cliffs

At least, it did become marginally cooler as we moved east and as the day wore on.

I had another attempt to broker a stop for the night as we approached Nullarbor Roadhouse, but no deal.

It was late afternoon by the time we reached Yalata – and the bloody roadhouse was closed! All shut up, out of business, deserted. When did that happen? We were not happy and we were getting rather low on fuel. I wished we had stopped at the Nullarbor place, and said so!

There was no choice but to keep going. John decided to chance it and not go to the effort of unpacking the back of Truck to get at our spare diesel container. He thought we would make it to Nundroo and was right.

It was dusk, almost dark by the time we reached Nundroo Roadhouse. With great relief we refuelled – $1.24 cpl – then took a powered site – $20. This was not much more than a power pole on gravel, but we were really too tired to care.

Tea was a tin of soup and the few remaining vegetables. We were both beyond hungry. Fell into bed.

That essentially ended the Nullarbor crossing, but it had been a really unpleasant day.

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2004 Travels April 22

THURSDAY 22 APRIL   FOWLERS BAY TO MADURA   576kms

There was rain during the night, and wind. The day was grey and windy, and there was rain on the Nullarbor. It all matched my mood!

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Wet Nullarbor

We had a long day of slower than usual driving – into a head wind. There were too many trucks – going both ways.

We topped up the fuel three times: at Nundroo ($1.23cpl), Eucla ($1.13cpl), Mundrabilla ($1.07cpl).

John took the opportunity, when he could, to keep the tank topped up. He was mindful of our trip back across the Nullarbor, in 2000, when he passed up chances to top up, relying on getting fuel at Yalata – only to find that roadhouse had closed down! No more chances like that!

I was not really in a mood for dawdling and sightseeing. But took photos at the Bunda Cliffs – where the Australian continent plunges dramatically into the ocean, in a long line of sea cliffs. I had not before seen these in rain and with a grey sky back drop.

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The edge of Australia

As we travelled, I was doing lots of thinking, of course. Three times now I had crossed the Nullarbor, and each time I had been miserable – for different reasons each time.

There was a very thorough going-over of Truck and van at the border quarantine station. They netted a lemon quarter, which was left from a fish dinner, and which I’d forgotten was in the fridge.

We were back in WA! Third visit to that state: 1993 on long service leave, 2000 for months, and now.

We booked for the night into the Madura Pass Hotel Caravan Park, for $16. It had rather a bushy setting and was one of the better places to stay across these parts. There was TV too, which pleased John.

Put our time pieces back another 45 minutes, which put my system out of synch.

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