Week 23 – 2/1/07 through 8/1/07

Week 23 Norseman, Eucla, Nullarbor, Fowlers Bay, Penong, Ceduna, Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay, High Cliff, Point Westall, Yanerbie Sandhills, Point Labatt, Murphys Haystacks, Point Wayland, Venus Bay

Day 155 Tuesday 2 January 2007

With new year celebrations behind us and the shops beginning to reopen back in Kalgoorlie, it was time to head back to town to fill up with fuel, post the last 2 weeks of web page updates, fill the fridge and start our journey east again. Pulling out of Kalgoorlie at noon we headed to Norseman, the home of the galvanised corrugated camels!

Norseman is also the last spot you can get fuel at a reasonable price of $132.9/l so we topped up the reserves before leaving. People always joke that Adelaide is behind the times, but here is proof. (see first pic below) It’s 2007 in the rest of the country, but 1986 in Adelaide.

The prosecution rests! (with apologies to all our friends in Adelaide, although we know they have a sense of humour ). Our house sitter must move on after 6 months (sadly for us) which has meant we are now a little time poor, and with the weather closing in on Esperance we had to rule out  heading back down that way out. We are disappointed about this, as this looked like another beautiful part of WA, recommended to us by many people. Missing Esperance also means that we will miss meeting up with Jan & Mick who we were so looking forward to meeting.

We have had many requests on producing a map of the route we have taken on the trip far, so here it is. Updated HERE!

The line here represents 28,000kms travelled so far over the 155 days. We are now realising that with only with 4 weeks to go, there is a huge gap between the start and the finish and that we will not make it all the way around. We still have not finalised the route home, but it needs to be a fitting finale to an incredible trip!

Day 156 Wednesday  3 January 2007

Last night a change moved in and it rained all night, which made the temperature cool this morning. As the change made its way across the Nullarbor, so did we.At times we would get ahead of it and the temperature would begin to rise, so a short stop would put us back in the cool. By the time we made Eucla we were ahead of the change once more. Within 15 minutes the change was upon us again, whipping up a dust storm which we watched from the lookout. We were told the temperature had dropped from 45c at lunchtime. We also heard during the day that Cyclone Isabelle crossed the coast near Port Headland, close to 80 Mile Beach. This, the first cyclone of the season and we have been very lucky to have had good weather so far in the trip.

One of our highlights of today was, we drove the longest straight road in Australia @ 146.6km (90 Miles). We also had intended to 4WD to the Baxter Cliffs, which is 30km south of Caiguna but after consulting local knowledge it was not recommended we attempt it with the weather closing in like it was, so we continued to the SA / WA border. We did not know that there was a time zone difference between Caiguna and the border. It is 45mins ahead of the rest of WA.

With the day coming to a close we decided to have a play in the Delisser Sandhills near the old telegraph station and to find a gorge to sleep in for the night. In investigating tracks up a gorge, we ended up on the top of the cliffs that surround the area with terrific views of the dunes. The tracks lead nowhere so we had to head down the very steep track again. The new muddies didn’t miss a beat on the track or in the dunes. Quite impressive!!!

The shots below include Steve at the entrance to one of the many blowholes dotted along the Nullabor, (these are not driven by the sea, but rather changes in the atmospheric pressures), the old Eucla Telegraph station (a wonderful photographic subject), and the sand hills.

Day 157 Thursday  4 January 2007

Woke up in Eucla area this morning in a gorge which had protected us from most of the rain and winds.

The rain stayed for a while which meant we didn’t leave campsite until 11am as we waited for the tent to dry. As the sun was breaking through the clouds a little, we 4WD’d to the old Eucla Wharf which produced some pleasing photographs.

Not much to report for the rest of the day as we recommenced the journey east, through the border village, stopping at all the lookouts and venturing to the edge where the winds we not to strong.

We seem to surf the edge of the storms all day, at times pushing our way through dust storms, only to stop and have the storms go past us again. We pressed on past Nullarbor until late, ending up in the foothills around Fowlers Bay for the evening.

Day 158 Friday  5 January 2007

Once again we were rained on last night, this time at Fowlers Bay. We must admit though that the overcast weather is giving us some great photographic opportunities. Cool conditions, but miserable getting in/out of vehicle conditions. On the way out of Fowlers Bay we found a dilapidated school house (one of many in the district) with an old hay bailer and caterpillar tractor in the grass near by. The clouds seemed to part as if on demand and we fired off well over 100 photos each before the sun vanished once more.

Our next stop was Penong, famous for it many windmills. We had hoped, but were disappointed; we didn’t see Don Quixote jousting at the wind mills anywhere in any shape or form! An old rusting truck also came to our attention in the corner of a wheat paddock, its long years of service behind it. What a treat as we had been looking for one the entire trip! This certainly added to what was a busy photographic day.

The fruit fly quarantine station when coming from WA to SA is Ceduna. We passed through this point without the issues we faced near Kununurra, almost an anticlimax! Our last stop for the day was the beach just south of Smoky Bay where we were lucky enough to see another beautiful sunset before we settled in for the evening.

The mosquitoes must have sent out party invites, for as twilight turned to darkness, we were inundated. As the hot humid evening progressed we slipped off into an uneasy sleep, only to be woken by the winds associated with the big change at about 1am. This meant a restless night in the cool, at least we could hide from the mosquitoes!

Day 159 Saturday  6 January 2007

Rest Day Spent at the Streaky Bay Hotel, sheltering from the winds and rain, and waiting for the weather to clear so that we could see more of the Eyre Peninsular, without the wind and rain. The Streaky Bay Hotel has been beautifully restored, and has a fantastic lounge and Bistro. We would certainly recommend a visit to this hotel!!! (Great beers too !!!!)

Day 160 Sunday 7 January 2007

Sunday morning and being near a newsagency, we headed for town to catch up on the papers and magazines. The February 07 issue of 4X4 Australia was on the stand. We made it on page 28, and we owe them a big thank you for including this web site in there. It is really great having another avenue to being able to share our photos and adventure with so many.

A lazy morning behind us we headed of to High Cliff for lunch. This area is simply breath taking and we were certainly surprised at its beauty. We ended up spending an hour or so there and in that time the grey clouds cleared enabling the stunning colours of the area to shine so brightly.

The further south we travelled from High Cliff, the more impressive the scenery became, demonstrating that High Cliff is not a lonely isolated spot for beauty.

Eventually we reached the most southerly point in the area known as Point Westall. The cliffs here gave way to a point where you could 4wd to. The Southern Ocean pounded the point and some of the waves were huge. Our next port of call was the White Sands of Yanerbie. The textures and the size of this area were certainly worth the stop. The weather also closed in again and set the scene for the rest of the day.

The last site we visited today was the sea lion colony at Point Labatt.  This conservation park is the only place where the Australian sea lions breed on the main land. The viewing platform gives a great view of the colony and young sea lions could be seen playing in the waters below, while others lazed on the beach and surrounding rocks.

Day 161 Monday 8 January 2007

Today turned out to be a very social day. At our first stop at a place called Murphy’s Haystacks we met Maurie and Shirley who have been on the road 4 years.

After sharing a cup of coffee and many road stories we went off to do some exploring and found ourselves in the middle of someone’s property.

Ross, the owner was there, looking after the sheep and was happy to see us back on the road again.

We spent around an hour chatting and hearing about life on the farm and exchanging stories about central Australia and the Finke River. It is just so wonderful meeting these interesting people on the road and it really gives you a whole new aspect on the world. Ross was also good enough to give us the good oil on the coastal road through his property from Baird Bay towards Venus Bay, and also permission to use it.

The coastal 4wding was simply incredible; it gave us cliff top views of Point Wayland. The coast on that peninsular is only a few hundred metres wide in places and drops many metres to the Southern Ocean. Words escape us in describing the beauty of the area and is it easier to simply show a few pictures.

We decided not to drive to the Venus Bay Conservation Park but to continue 4wding through the Venus Bay Conservation Reserve to Venus Bay where we found a bush camp for the night.

Can anyone help identify the following natural formation please?

A sand dune was blowing away and had left hollow tubes which vary in length from a few mms to 300mm, like burrows or hollow roots. They are very fragile and there were a large number of them. Pictures follow. Please email us if you can help, Thanks.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues……