Crossing the Nullarbor and exploring the Eyre Peninsula

Our last views of Esperance were the beautiful beaches along the Great Ocean Drive.  We then embarked on four days of driving across the Nullarbor Plains (Null arbor = no trees) and three nights in free camps.  This is one of the famous great Australian driving trips. Along the way we saw the Norseman Camels (tin ones), Caiguna Blowhole (just a dirt hole leading to underground caves), the Travellers Cross, the John Eyre memorial and the old Eucla Telegraph Station Ruins (now reclaimed by advancing sand dunes).  We drove on ‘The Ninety Mile Straight’ – Australia’s Longest Straight Road (146.6k’s).  Did a big cookup of fruit and veg (to meet quarantine conditions) before we crossed the border into South Australia, and then the views picked up significantly.  A series of lookouts showcase the Bunda Cliffs and one of our free camps was on the edge of the cliffs.  Great sunset views and enough motivation for me to do my second sunrise photo of the trip.

We stopped at the Head of the Bight only to be told that we missed the whales by two days.  The Great Australian Bight Marine Park was initially declared in the mid-90’s to protect Southern Right Whales and is now one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, protecting many species and habitats.  That four days of solid driving plus a 2.5 hour time change really tired us out so we spent two nights in Ceduna.  We then saw a bit of the Eyre Peninsula coast – Streaky Bay for lunch and Point Labatt, home of the largest mainland population of Australian sea lions.  We saw about 30 males, females and pups from the viewing platform

Then we headed inland and had a day of seeing ‘rocks’ (Murphy’s Haystacks, Tcharkulda Rock, and Pildappa Rock) on our way to camp in the Gawler Ranges NP. There we visited the Organ Pipes, orchre red rock formations forged by volcanic activity more than 1500 million years ago.  As we were sort of in the area, we next went to Gairdner Lake NP to see Lake Gairdner, Australia’s fourth largest salt lake and the site of numous land speed record attempts when the lake is dry.  We walked about 2.5k’s on the lake in a vain attempt to see some water or something but its impossible to get any sense of the distances involved in crossing such a flat, white surface that blends into the horizon.  We camped there on our own and in fact didn’t see anyone else for almost 24 hours.  It was very remote! Then had another long day of driving with a stop in Kimba where we learned more about John Eyre (the first man to cross the continent from Sydney to the Swan River, heralded as a courageous explorer) and managed to watch a live streaming of Amy’s frisbee nationals final.  Ended up camping in Mount Remarkable NP before we drove to Adelaide.

Adelaide was also a social stop; dinner with Tim, lunch with Erica, a bit of shopping and another wash for the van.  One final post  coming to finish off the series.

 

 

Esperance beaches
Norseman Camels

 

Old Eucla Telegraph Station ruins, engulfed by the sand dunes

 

90 Mile Straight – on the Nullarbor

 

Lookout views of the Bunda Cliffs
Highway signs on the Nullarbor
Our campsite on the Bunda cliffs at sunset
Sunrise at the campsite on the Bunda cliffs
The original Nullarbor fuel station
Driving to our cliff-top camp on the Nullarbor

 

Head of the Bight

 

Point Labatt sea lions
Murphy’s Haystacks
Pildappa Rock
The Organ Pipes, Gawler NP

 

Marching across Lake Gairdner
A selfie photo on the lake, taken by the Apple watch
Looking down on the lake from a hilltop
Predawn view over Lake Gairdner (from the window in the van)

 

Kimba, features a John Eyre statute

 

Emu visiting our camp in Mount Remarkable NP

 

5 thoughts on “Crossing the Nullarbor and exploring the Eyre Peninsula

  1. Hi Pat and Dick, enjoyed reading your journal – well done.
    It was great to catch up with you and Dick on the road. I have just finished my 24000 km 7.5 month trip.
    The next trip? I’m sure you have one on your mind as you were both enthusiastic about the last one.
    Cheers

  2. Hi! Pat, just spent an enjoyable time reading your final blog, and as usual gorgeous photos.
    I recall that straight stretch on the Nullabor ‘cos it was my turn to drive, some years ago now!
    Yes! I’ve ditched my other email address, too many problems with it.
    Good luck settling in back home.

  3. This one came through in my spam folder too – weird!
    Shame you missed the whales but the seals are good.
    I’d love to see the dunes overwhelming the Telegraph Station – I hope it’s still visible by the time I get there.
    You are on the home stretch now so continue to have a great time.
    L
    F

  4. absolutely wonderful journal and photos of your escaped Pat and Dick…Brett and I are really enjoying and feeling as if we are right there with you as I doubt we will ever see any of the places you have been to.

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