Monthly Archives: June 2013

Kalgoorlie to Leinster

Every morning in Kalgoorlie has been different – this morning we awoke to very thick cold fog.  By 9.00 there were quite a few vans waiting for the fog to clear so that we could all get going, as no-one wanted to head off with poor visibility.

We headed north along the Goldfields Highway towards our first stop, Menzies.  Just after we left Kalgoorlie we noticed a very tall chimney from the Gidji Roaster spewing a huge cloud like a stain across the sky.  We could see it beside us for about 13 kms down the road and then it was still going as far as we could see.  To be honest we don’t know what the smoke/cloud is, but it certainly seems to be a bit of a worry.

Cloud from Gidji Roaster

Cloud from Gidji Roaster

Paddington Mine Site - Along the Way

Paddington Mine Site – Along the Way

 

Menzies is an interesting town.  It seemed to be a mining ghost town that was trying to come back as a destination town near Lake Ballard.  Most shops had closed although several had been restored or were in the process of restoration.  There was an Information Centre, an airfield, a number of new houses, a trendy pub, a café, a new Caravan Park, and  a card only petrol station which was covered all over with number plates and other car signs, etc.  There were a number of interpretive signs around the town telling the story of the town and its population, and a number of attractive iron sculptures along the street-scape.

Welcome to Menzies

Welcome to Menzies

Menzies Pioneer Store

Menzies Pioneer Store

Menzies Petrol Station Covered in Number Plates

Menzies Petrol Station Covered in Number Plates

Menzies Sculptures

Menzies Sculptures

Menzies Sculptures

Menzies Sculptures

Menzies Sculptures

Menzies Sculptures

 

From Menzies we drove further north to Leonora for lunch.  Leonora is a busy mining town.  We stopped at a truck stop through town for lunch in the sun before proceeding further north.

Leonora for Lunch

Leonora for Lunch

 

We intended staying at a free-camp just south of the town of Leinster but it was very exposed and unappealing next to the railway line, so we drove into town to the Leinster Caravan Park.  This can best be described as a bush camp with a mix of powered and unpowered sites, some with water, and a reasonable amenities block and laundry. It’s really good value at only $15 per night.

Site at Leinster Caravan Park

Site at Leinster Caravan Park

Leinster is a BHP Billiton mining town with a quite modern shopping centre comprising a number of shops, and a card only petrol station.  There’s a police station and a drive-in theatre.

Tomorrow we will be heading westwards to Mt Magnet.  We’re not sure if we will have mobile or internet access, although it does seem that miners need internet access so we may be lucky.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: ,

Kalgoorlie – Day 3

After a cold night, we were pleased to see that we had a heavy dew but no ice this morning.  It was a fine sunny day so we headed off early along the highway to explore Coolgardie.

In 1892 rich specimens of gold were found in the Coolgardie area and by the turn of the century, Coolgardie was the third largest town in Western Australia, after Perth and Fremantle, with a population of 15,000 plus another 10,000 living in the surrounding area.  It was known throughout the world for its sensational riches and splendour.  Coolgardie is now known as the Ghost Mining Town and its magnificent buildings are used as museums for tourism.

Coolgardie Visitor Centre - Old Courthouse Building

Coolgardie Visitor Centre – Old Courthouse Building

Beautifully Restored Building

Beautifully Restored Building

Old Marvel Bar Hotel

Old Marvel Bar Hotel

Not Exactly a Hive of Activity

Not Exactly a Hive of Activity

Olde Worlde Shoppes

Olde Worlde Shoppes

Coolgardie Post Office - Closes in July

Coolgardie Post Office – Closes in July

Coolgardie Safe Story

Coolgardie Safe Story

 

The Coolgardie Museum was very interesting and we spent quite some time wandering and reading all about the history of this once booming town.  There was a room dedicated to the Modesto Varischetti Story.  On Tuesday, March 19, 1907, a sudden violent storm, accompanied by very heavy rain, broke over the Mount Burgess and Bonnievale area.  The rain pelted down and in just a few minutes, heavy flows of water rushed into some of the mine openings carrying much mud, stones and other debris down into the underground workings. On March 28, 1907, a miner, Modesto Varischetti was brought to the surface after having been entombed for 10 days under water in a mine at Bonnievale near Coolgardie.  Largely due to the prompt measures taken to give him food, warmth and comfort while he was entombed, Varischetti was able to return to his employment in the industry.  This was the first time that divers in heavy, old fashioned gear were used in a mine rescue.  The Coolgardie Museum also included a magnificent old bottle collection.

There was another Pharmacy Museum which was also very interesting.  It displays one of the largest collections of objects relating to medicine, beauty, dentistry and health in Australia.  A man called Eddy Grant amassed the collection over many decades, built the display cabinets and a pharmacy shop front and put all of the impressive displays together.  Most of the collection is Australian with a few objects coming from England and Europe.  All of the objects are in excellent condition, showing paper wrapping, glass, labels and all the original details of the product as it was once sold.  We have never seen anything like it before!

We walked further to the end of town to a café at the Motel and had morning tea.  It was cold outside but warm in the sun so we walked to Ben Prior’s Park to see an eclectic array of old mining and agricultural equipment before getting back into the ute and cranking up the heater while we drove back to Kalgoorlie. It was a very interesting morning.

After lunch I had a bit more of an explore around Kalgoorlie, including a visit to Bunnings to pick up some supplies for a couple of minor modifications to the caravan.  I also had a quick look at Centennial Park which has a designated area set aside for free camping.  The rule that only totally self contained vehicles can stay there, and there is a limit of 24 hours per stay.  It’s walking distance to town, and the Park itself is quite interesting with memorials to the Kokoda Track and Vietnam veterans, plus a music bowl for concerts etc.

A Big Truck on a Big Truck

A Big Truck on a Big Truck

Another Big Truck - They're Everywhere!

Another Big Truck – They’re Everywhere!

Caravan Park - Weather Forecasting Stone

Caravan Park – Weather Forecasting Stone

Unique Cabins in the Caravan Park

Unique Cabins in the Caravan Park

Statue Honouring Miners in Kalgoorlie

Statue Honouring Miners in Kalgoorlie

 

Tomorrow we are heading North and may be out of range for mobiles and internet for a couple days, but we will continue the blog after that.  Thank you for caring to those followers who expressed concern last time we failed to blog, but we are never sure when we will be in range in these remote areas.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: ,

Kalgoorlie – Day 2

When we woke this morning it was 4 degrees and the windows of the ute were completely iced over.  After we had hot showers and breakfast, the sun was up and we had the perfect day to explore Kalgoorlie.

The first thing we did was to drive up to the lookout at “the Super Pit”.  The Super Pit is one of the world’s largest open cut gold mines, being 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 360 m deep. Haul trucks carry up to 225 tonnes of ore, burn 360 litres of diesel per hour, and travel at 15 kph.  Face shovels load 60 tonnes per scoop.  The annual production here is 85 million tonnes of ore producing 800,000 ounces of gold valued at $1.2 billion.  The Super Pit is managed by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) and operates 24 hours a day, 364 days per year.

Well known WA businessman Alan Bond is credited with getting the Super Pit project underway.  He started by consolidating a large number of small mining leases which were in separate hands for nearly a century to the point where it was possible to operate a gigantic and ever-descending super pit, from which gold could be extracted at a much reduced cost.  KCGM took over the project in 1989.

The views from the lookout were spectacular.

Tony standing in a face shovel which holds 60 tons per scoop

Tony standing in a face shovel which holds 60 tons per scoop

View of the Super Pit

View of the Super Pit

View of the SuperPit

View of the SuperPit

 

After that we drove back into the centre of town and visited the Information Centre to get more information about the area and to ask questions about the roads out of Kalgoorlie before we finalised our plans.  We then found a rather nice place called Monty’s where we had coffee and cake while we mulled over our next move.

Kalgoorlie is a very interesting, generally well maintained town.  There are areas with signs of affluence and some not so good areas and all have a healthy covering of red dust!  We decided to go for a long walk around town as you see so much more on foot.  There are several very impressive Bronze Statues around town – one being a statue of St Barbara, the Patron Saint of Miners.  Another historic statue, now converted to a water fountain, is of Patrick Hannan who discovered gold in Kalgoorlie in 1893.  The main street of Kalgoorlie is named after him.

Montys Cafe

Montys Cafe

Statue of St Barbara

Statue of St Barbara

Statue of Patrick Hannan

Statue of Patrick Hannan

 

We visited the Western Australian Museum of the Goldfields which was housed behind a giant Mine Head Frame or Poppet Head and we actually caught a lift up to the viewing platform about 2/3 of the way up.  It was a great view of Kalgoorlie.  There was a light and temperature controlled room which housed the original banners for the Bakers Union, the Tailors and Tailoresses Union, the Carpenters Union and the Engineers Union.  All were in very good condition given their age but impossible to photograph.

Entrance to WA Museum at Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Entrance to WA Museum at Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Ann at The Vault Which Holds Plenty of Gold

Ann at The Vault Which Holds Plenty of Gold

View from the Platform at WA Museum

View from the Platform at WA Museum

View from the platform at WA Museum

View from the platform at WA Museum

Old Lace Making Equipment at WA Museum

Old Lace Making Equipment at WA Museum

Old Sitting Room at WA Museum

Old Sitting Room at WA Museum

 

Ann found a very unusual “art quilt” entitled Remnants of Fever and Fortune.

Remnants of Fever and Fortune

Remnants of Fever and Fortune

Rusted Remnants on a Damask Tablecloth

Rusted Remnants on a Damask Tablecloth

Explanation of "Remnants of Fever and Fortune"

Explanation of “Remnants of Fever and Fortune”

 

After quite some time we decided to walk back into town to find somewhere for lunch.  Along the way we met Margaret and Nev who we met at Fraser Range Station.  They were also looking for lunch so we all walked back to Monty’s for a bowl of soup and bread in the rather comfortable dining room.  While we were talking we realised that Ann and Margaret grew up very close to each other in the same suburb in Melbourne.  It is a very small world.  Margaret and Nev now live in Perth and are on their way home after 16 months on the road!

After lunch we drove around to see more of the town and then returned to the van because while the days are very nice, the nights are freezing.

Mine in Town

Mine in Town

Mines Around Town

Mines Around Town

Interesting Way to Welcome Visitors to Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Interesting Way to Welcome Visitors to Kalgoorlie-Boulder

 

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags:

Fraser Range Station to Kalgoorlie

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.

Fraser Range Station before we Left

Fraser Range Station before we Left

Ready to Leave Fraser Range Station

Ready to Leave Fraser Range Station

 

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.

Empty Lake Bed

Empty Lake Bed

View of Dead trees due to the drought  with new growth due to recent rain

View of Dead trees due to the drought with new growth due to recent rain

 

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.

Norsemen the Gold Finding Horse

Norsemen the Gold Finding Horse

Corrugated Iron Camels in Norseman

Corrugated Iron Camels in Norseman

 

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!

Road Sign

Road Sign

Large Truck on the Road

Large Truck on the Road

Road Train

Road Train

 

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.

Mining Buckets at Entrance to Kalgoorlie

Mining Buckets at Entrance to Kalgoorlie

Inside one of the mining buckets

Inside one of the mining buckets

 

Since we left Melbourne on May 25, we have travelled 4,074  Kms.  Crossing the Nullarbor has been a real highlight.

What an Adventure!!

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: ,

Fraser Range Station

Sunday is the traditional day of rest, so after travelling some 1,200 kms in the last 3 days we decided to stay another day at Fraser Range Station.  It really is very nice and restful here.

After a bit of a lazy sleep-in, we had breakfast and then caught up with some of the housekeeping things that must get done on any trip.  While I gave the Ute and caravan a going over, checking tyre pressures, water levels, tightness of various bolts, and all that sort of thing, Ann did a couple of loads of washing.  At that stage there was only one other couple left in the caravan park so competition for the washing machines and clothes line was minimal.  The girls spent more time talking that washing.

Way to Go at Fraser Range Station

Way to Go at Fraser Range Station

Plenty of Space at Fraser Range Station

Plenty of Space at Fraser Range Station

Fire Pit for Happy Hour

Fire Pit for Happy Hour

Unfortunately our black rain cloud found us again so there was a frantic rush outside to get the rest of the things off the clothes line and onto clothes horses under cover to finish drying.  All dry and put away now.

After lunch the rain dried up and the sun came back out so we had a wander around the farm and decided that we would tackle the walk to the top of Mount Pleasant, which is part of the property.  The winding and rocky track was sign-posted, sort of, and we actually didn’t do too badly for a couple of old grey nomads.  We don’t know exactly how high the Mount is but it sure seemed pretty high to us.  It took us 45 minutes of steady climbing to get to the top and then we had to come down again.

Along the way we met some kangaroos and at the top we shared the views with a flock of sheep.  The top is marked by a rock cairn adorned with several old flags and signs.  The main feature is an old microwave which keeps the visitors book dry!  The 360 degree views from the top were absolutely spectacular.

We also found that Ann could get enough reception on her Telstra mobile to quickly phone our son in Melbourne.  Apparently he was getting a bit worried because we hadn’t updated our blog for a few days.

Curious Bystander!

Curious Bystander!

Next Week's Lamb Dinner

Next Week’s Lamb Dinner

ET Phone Home!

ET Phone Home!

Visitor Book in an Old Microwave atop Mount Pleasant

Visitor Book in an Old Microwave atop Mount Pleasant

View of the Camping Area

View of the Camping Area

Wider View from Mount Pleasant

Wider View from Mount Pleasant

Back to the caravan for a light tea and an early night after trying to prove that we are younger than perhaps we really are!

 

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags:

Moodini Bluff to Fraser Range Station

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!

Something Big is Coming Our Way

Something Big is Coming Our Way

It's REALLY Big!

It’s REALLY Big!

Signs Along the Nullarbor

Signs Along the Nullarbor

The Longest Straight Stretch of Road in Australia

The Longest Straight Stretch of Road in Australia

 

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.

Domblegabby Rest Area

Domblegabby Rest Area

Balladonia Roadhouse and Skylab Museum

Balladonia Roadhouse and Skylab Museum

 

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.

Approaching Fraser Range Station Late Afternoon

Approaching Fraser Range Station Late Afternoon

Booking in at Fraser Range Station

Booking in at Fraser Range Station

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.

 

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: ,

Nullarbor Roadhouse to Moodini Bluff Free Camp

On Friday morning we left the Nullarbor Roadhouse at about 9 am.  There had been heavy rain all night so we were happy with our decision to stop when we did on Thursday night.  It was very overcast but not raining at that stage.  From the roadhouse, the Eyre Highway runs inland along the Bunda Cliffs that we had viewed on Thursday.  Today we noticed the Royal Flying Doctor Service signs on the road advising us that at several points the highway is actually an emergency RFDS landing strip.  The road in those sections is very good and a lot wider so that we would have space to get out of the way!

Storm Clouds over Nullarbor Roadhouse

Storm Clouds over Nullarbor Roadhouse

Leaving Nullarbor Roadhouse

Leaving Nullarbor Roadhouse

Just what we needed in the rain!

Just what we needed in the rain!

Rainbow on the Nullarbor - Felt Like We Could Touch It

Rainbow on the Nullarbor – Felt Like We Could Touch It

RFDS Signs on the Highway

RFDS Signs on the Highway

 

After about 75 kms we took a leap of faith and turned down a 2 km dirt track to a lookout.  WOW! What a magnificent view! We spent a while exploring and then back to the van for a hot coffee to warm up again before continuing west again.

About 30 Kms further down the highway we turned down another dirt track to the Bunda Cliffs Scenic Lookout.  Again, spectacular views and we managed to negotiate the track and turn around without any problems.

Then 10 kms further down the highway there was yet another dirt track to Lookout #3.  This was also breathtaking scenery but totally different to the first 2 lookouts.  This time rather than spectacular rugged cliff faces, we were viewing amazing beaches and sand dunes.

Lookout #1

Lookout #1

Lookout #2

Lookout #2

Lookout #3

Lookout #3

Is this a dinosaur footprint?

Is this a dinosaur footprint?

 

As we proceeded to the South Australia / Western Australia border checkpoint we caught glimpses of the ocean from the highway.  The quarantine inspection at the border crossing is very thorough.  Inspectors take all of your details and check the tow vehicle and the van for fresh fruit and vegetables or nuts or plants or soil materials or honey.  We had an open jar of honey which we declared and they confiscated.

Rooey Giving Directions at the SA/WA Border

Rooey Giving Directions at the SA/WA Border

SA-WA Quarantine Inspection Checkpoint

SA-WA Quarantine Inspection Checkpoint

SA - WA Border

SA – WA Border

 

After that we drove a short distance to Eucla where we bought sandwiches for lunch and then drove down a 4 km dirt track to the sand dunes to explore the old Eucla Telegraph Station which is now almost totally submerged under sand.  We had seen it a number of times on TV but it is quite an experience to actually see the sand dunes taking over substantial buildings.  We walked around and climbed sand dunes before returning to the van. We were both a bit surprised that we had driven down such a steep dirt track to get to the ruins but the Mazda didn’t miss a beat hauling the rig up the 45 degree hill.  What were we thinking – perhaps we weren’t!!

Welcome Whale at Eucla

Welcome Whale at Eucla

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

Eucla Telegraph Station

On Dear! The only way is up, with the rig.

On Dear! The only way is up, with the rig.

It didn't look this steep coming down!

It didn’t look this steep coming down!

Travellers' Cross at Eucla

Travellers’ Cross at Eucla

 

We checked out a number of rest areas before we finally stopped at Moodini Bluff Rest Area for the night.  There were about 8 other travellers there and there was plenty of space for everyone and more.  It is set back off the road and nice and quiet, although we didn’t even bother checking out the toilet facilities.  This was a great spot for our first night free camping on our 2013 Big Adventure.

Trailblazer at Moodini Bluff

Trailblazer at Moodini Bluff

Moodini Bluff Rest Area Facilities

Moodini Bluff Rest Area Facilities

Very Happy Camper!

Very Happy Camper!

 

Unfortunately (?) there was no mobile or internet access so we are posting this entry retrospectively.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure, Free Camping | Tags: ,

We have Internet!

After 3 days without TV or mobile reception, or Internet access, we have arrived in Norseman.  We are still living the dream and will post updates later today.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure

Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse

This morning was bright and sunny with no wind or rain at Shelly Beach.  We hitched up and headed west along the Eyre Highway.  It appeared that 6 other vans at Shelly Beach Caravan Park also headed west – we’ll probably meet them on the road somewhere.  Because there has been so much rain, the countryside is quite green at the moment.

Our first stop was at a rest area about 15 kms west of Penong. The weather was still very good so after a quick coffee and a stretch we headed further west along the highway.  After a short while our big black rain cloud caught up with us and we found ourselves driving in heavy blinding rain.  Not fun, especially when confronted with road train trucks with wide loads.  We could not pull over so we just had to keep going and eventually we drove out of the rain and spotted a very nice rest area 21 kms west of Yalata.  We really enjoyed our lunch in the sun.

Leaving Shelley Beach Ceduna

Leaving Shelley Beach Ceduna

Clouding Over on the Road

Clouding Over on the Road

Heavy Rain - Again!

Heavy Rain – Again!

Lunch Break in the Sun

Lunch Break in the Sun

Entering the Eastern End of the Treeless Plains

Entering the Eastern End of the Treeless Plains

 

After a refreshing break, we continued on to Head of Bight.  This could only be described as an absolutely FANTASTIC experience.  We turned off the highway and drove 12 kms down a very good road to the Head of Bight Lookout.  We were very lucky today as there were 20 whales wallowing in the water near the coast.  At first we could see the whales at a distance and that was good but then we realised that some of the whales were heading our way into shore.  Three female whales with their calves moved over to the area in front of us and played and called to each other about 30 metres away!  WOW! It was amazing. After a while we realized that we were freezing cold and wet as  there was misty rain and strong wind, so we headed back to the van.  We could not believe it when we looked at the time and realised that we had been whale watching for over 2 hours!  This is something that we will never forget.

Head of Bight

Head of Bight

The Bunda Cliffs

The Bunda Cliffs

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Mother & Calf

Rainbow at Day's End

Rainbow at Day’s End

We continued west along the highway and stopped at the Nullarbor Roadhouse for fuel just before 5.30. While I was re-fuelling, the sky clouded over and looked very threatening.  Ann went in to the Roadhouse for some bread and arranged for us to stay in the area behind the Roadhouse.  There are some facilities here but we would prefer to use our own.  We have not unhitched so we will be able to get moving early in the morning.  It has been raining quite heavily since we stopped.

What a fantastic day!

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: ,

Ceduna – Day 3

We were prepared to head off this morning but the wind was relentless all night and continued all day today.  It has been raining off and on but the wind was going to make the day very unpleasant.  After checking the weather maps and a quick chat with the proprietors of the caravan park, we decided to extend our stay here another day and not risk the weather across the Nullarbor.  There are several other vans here in the caravan park that are also waiting for the weather to improve.

The bird life is amazing.  There was one little bird this morning, about the size of an Indian Minor, but it was a soft velvety grey colour, and it had the most amazing call – 3 whistles and then 1 very loud clear sound almost like a bellbird.  It had been sitting just outside the door of the van serenading us.  Ann managed to get the attached photo if anyone can identify it.  It was very shy and seemed to blend into the foliage.

Unidentified Bird with amazing call

Unidentified Bird with amazing call

We spent the morning reading and emailing and after lunch the rain had stopped so we went for a walk to the beach.  Once we reached the point of no return, our big black cloud found us again and we ran for cover to a shelter on the beach, but the rain was horizontal and still managed to soak us!

When it eased we decided to continue on but it was obvious that more rain was not far away so we returned to the van to change and dry off.  We were very happy with our decision not to hit the road today.

Hopefully we head off tomorrow!

Interesting Facts about Ceduna:

  • It is located on the Far West Coast of South Australia on the shores of Murat Bay on the Great Australian Bight.
  • It is approximately 780 kms from Adelaide and 1900 road kms from Perth.
  • Ceduna calls itself the Oyster Capital of Australia and hosts the annual Oysterfest on the SA long weekend in October.
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