After an early night (we really were tired after our mountaineering) we awoke uncharacteristically early this morning. It was a fantastic sunny day at Fraser Range Station as we left at 8.30 am.
Along the way we noticed plenty of evidence of recent massive water movement ranging from huge culverts to divert water off the roads; many signs indicating that roads were subject to flooding; and lots of what appeared to be dry lake beds. There were also lots of dead tall trees surrounded by healthy and vigorous undergrowth.
We drove the 108 kms to Norseman and refuelled and then into town to the Tourist Information Centre. There was a very nice friendly and very knowledgeable lady there and she gave us directions for walks around town. She also issued us with our official “We Crossed the Nullarbor” certificate.
We viewed the statue of the Norseman, the horse that is credited with first finding gold in the area, and walked on to see the corrugated camel sculptures, celebrating the role that camels played in opening up the outback so many years ago. Back in the day up to 70 camels were used in teams to pull heavily loaded wagons and the camels were controlled by 4 Afghans. The streets in Norseman are very wide and this is because they needed to be so that the camel drawn wagons could turn around.
Our impression of Norseman is that it is a remote country town that must have been busy in it’s day but now it is just a very sad town. Many of the shops and businesses are closed and windows are covered with iron sheeting. Even the Tourist Information Centre was so heavily shuttered that we didn’t initially think that it was open. This was not at all what we were expecting. Along the way we had picked up a Norseman Community Newsletter which gave a very different impression but I guess it showed that some enthusiastic people in the community are still trying to promote the area.
When we returned to the van we headed north on the Coolgardie Esperance Highway. There were lots of large mining vehicles on the road including 2 B-doubles carrying explosives! Everyone gave those vehicles a wide berth. There were signs on the roads warning that road trains could be up to 53.5 metres long – and that’s big!
As we passed Lake Cowan we noticed that it looked very low and very drought effected.
Approximately 55 kms south of Coolgardie, we turned off north-east and headed to Kalgoorlie- Boulder. We passed through Kambalda which is another dusty/muddy mining town with a busy BP Roadhouse. Further up the road, about 40 kms south of Kalgoorlie, we pulled over into a rest area and had lunch.
After lunch, we drove on to Kalgoorlie and had a look at the huge mining buckets at the entrance to the town. We then checked into the Kalgoorlie Discovery Caravan Park in Burt Street, Boulder. We managed to get the last big rig site and we were very happy to be able to unhitch and go to the local shops for supplies.
Since we left Melbourne on May 25, we have travelled 4,074 Kms. Crossing the Nullarbor has been a real highlight.
What an Adventure!!