This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels September 20

THURSDAY 20 SEPTEMBER   FRASER RANGE TO NULLARBOR ROADHOUSE   810kms

Just one very long day of driving today. All familiar from previous trips.

At least, this time was more pleasant – slightly – than the one last December, when we experienced temperatures pushing close to 50 degrees around Eucla.

A little variety was offered by the descent and ascent at the Madura Pass, with its interesting views.

Also by stops for fuel – at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse ($1.75cpl) and Mundrabilla ($1.48cpl). The latter had a reputation for usually being one of the cheaper places for fuel on the Nullarbor crossing.

My plan was that we would stop at the WA/SA border, at Eucla, where we had stayed before and found reasonably pleasant. For me, that would have been quite a long enough day. I was conscious that the impaired circulation in my left leg was not helped by long days of sitting in the rather cramped space of the passenger seat in Truck. A couple of hour-long turns at driving, while John napped, didn’t really help much.

However, when we reached the border, John wanted to press on, and would not be talked out of it.

So we pushed on for almost another three hours, to Nullarbor Roadhouse. Our powered site in the caravan facility there cost $20. It was simply a place to stop. where the Roadhouse offered showers and toilets – convenience offset by the ongoing noise from the large trucks pulling in and out of the place.

Where the Nullarbor Plain meets the Great Australian Bight

It was a relief to stop for the day. I had shooting pains in my legs, my feet were swollen, and my lower back was hurting. Just too much sitting and being inactive, I guessed.

In bed at night, I could still “feel” the motion of travel. It was not actually all that unpleasant.


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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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2000 Travels November 29

WEDNESDAY 29 NOVEMBER   CAIGUNA TO BORDER ROADHOUSE   305kms

We slept alright. There must have been truck traffic passing on the highway, and coming into the roadhouse, but we were so tired that we didn’t hear a thing.

After breakfast, John jacked up the van, yet again, removed the wheel, and put the clip back in place. He was very careful to tighten everything up! It all ran well, all day – hallelujah!

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John doing brake work – again! Our very bare Caiguna site

He also topped up the fuel from the jerry can. Given the price of diesel across the Nullarbor, it made sense to use this.

There was just enough of interest along the road to stop boredom setting in.

The area around the Madura Pass and Hampton Tableland was scenic. This was where the road descends from the flat Nullarbor plain to a lower coastal plain. Further on, at Eucla, the road goes up again onto the Nullarbor plain.

We stopped briefly at the lookout at the Madura Pass.

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Madura Pass

At the base of the Pass, the vegetation changed abruptly from the low mallee trees and scrub of the past couple of days, to more arid tussocky grass and very low scrubby stuff.

Refuelled at the roadhouse at Mundrabilla – $1.27cpl!

Eventually, we could see the sand dunes of the Eucla area in the distance.

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Eucla dunes in the distance

When we climbed up to the plain again, we were back into the mallee trees and scrub again.

At Eucla, where there was a motel, caravan park and a small settlement, we made a bit of an attempt to find the track to the Old Telegraph Station, to the south. This was a repeater station on the telegraph line from east to west, from the 1870’s, to the 1920’s when a new one was built further to the north.

By then, rabbit plagues had eaten out the vegetation and caused the bare coastal sand dunes to start moving inland. The old Telegraph Station ruin was being slowly swallowed by sand, so I wanted to see it, whilst we still could.

The sign indicating the way to it pointed into the hotel-motel, but from that point we could not see an obvious way. With the van on, it is not so easy to take wrong tracks and turn around, so we gave up quickly, and kept on our way east.

When we got to the Border Roadhouse – on the WA/SA border, obviously – we decided to stop there, thus having a shorter day, rather than do another three to four hours of driving to the next roadhouse. With the heat, we did not fancy camping where there was no power source to run the air-con.

We also “lost” three  hours of time when we crossed the border! Whilst it is easy to adjust the clocks and watches, the internal body clock can take longer to adjust.

We paid $15 for the night’s site. This was a much more pleasant place, with some trees around the camp area.

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Site at Border Roadhouse

We had lunch upon arrival, then John had a sleep. I worked on my Xmas letter.

Later, we went for a short walk in the nearby bush, looking for birds.

Tea was gazpacho, sausages, mash, coleslaw.

I am working to use up my vegetable matter before we reach the quarantine point near Ceduna, the day after tomorrow.

Again, we slept well.

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