When we woke on Saturday morning, we were not sure what time it was – 7.30, 8.15 or 9.00 – depending on which clock we were looking at. We discovered that the Perth time difference actually happens in two 45 minute increments across the Nullarbor from SA, but not all our clocks and phones changed automatically. We had breakfast and hot but short showers in the caravan.
As we had no reception from Optus, Testra Next G or any TV channel, we were amazed when Ann’s mobile phone rang. It was one of Ann’s brothers just ringing to catch up with how we were going. There was only one place in the van where she got reception but was grateful for the phone call.
We knew from the outset that today was going to be a driving day – no more whales, spectacular cliffs, or scenic views, just road. It was really just a matter of how far we would get before settling down for the night.
First we drove 26 kms to Mandura Pass to refuel, then on a further 73 kms to Observatory Turnoff Rest area for our morning break.
The road seemed to be a lot busier on Saturday with a constant stream of road trains and oversized vehicles. About 17 kms west of Caiguna, we started on the longest straight stretch of road in Australia. It is 90 miles or 146.6 kms of perfectly straight road. Amazing!
While the drought has had a huge impact on the Nullarbor, at the moment with all of the recent rain, it is actually quite green most of the way but you can see the damage caused by the drought- so many dead trees.
We stopped at Domblegabby Rest Area 39 kms west of Caiguna for lunch. This rest area was interesting because it had a huge covered structure which collected water into a tank. The water was drinkable if boiled and the structure would be great shelter for campers. There was loads of room for quite a number of vans here, should they choose to stay overnight.
We have seen 6 people riding bicycles across the Nullarbor. It is a long trip by car; I don’t know why anyone would peddle across.
We passed through Balladonia where there was the typical roadhouse/motel/pub/caravan park/etc except that Balladonia’s claim to fame is that in 1979 parts of NASA’s Skylab fell to earth in the area, so there is a small museum to celebrate Balladonia’s 15 minutes of international fame.
It seemed to be getting quite dark by 4pm so we followed a track to Fraser Range Station for the night. This is a working Sheep Station which has diversified into Farm Stay Accommodation.
We met up with about 6 other couples who were staying there and joined the station hands for dinner. Lamb shanks on a plate of vegetables and mash and very delicious chocolate pudding and cream (BYO wine). We had a great night in the shearers mess kitchen talking with fellow travellers until late. A great night, and the reason why we enjoy staying in farm/station situation so much.