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
Clouding Over on the Road
Heavy Rain – Again!
Lunch Break in the Sun
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
The Bunda Cliffs
Mother & Calf
Mother & Calf
Mother & Calf
Mother & Calf
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!
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
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.
After a beautiful sunset last night and a walk on the beach, we had just settled down to dinner and the skies opened up – our rain cloud had found us again! The drumming of the rain on the roof didn’t stop us both having a great sleep after our long day on the road.
Today has gone from bright sunshine to squally rain and back again all day. Quite unpleasant!
This morning we headed out to Thevenard to visit the fresh fish processors as Ann was dying to get some fresh fish. Both factories appeared to be closed, much to Ann’s huge disappointment. However, on our way back into Ceduna, there was a large funeral underway and we suspect there might be a connection.
Anyway, Bill’s fish and chicken shop [next door to Bill’s pizza and pasta] advertises that they cook up local fish so I placated Ann with a serve of fresh grilled fish and salad, cooked by Bill. It was delicious so we were very happy campers again.
We also visited IGA to do some shopping for the next several days as there is not likely to be a supermarket where we are heading. And yes, we finally got some milk!
Between rain storms we had a bit more of a walk around the caravan park. With the weather we’ve had we are very pleased that we were allocated such a nice large and protected site.
The amenities blocks here are quite different to what we have seen before on this trip. Each small block includes a couple of toilets, plus a family bathroom, and a couple of shower/toilet combinations. They are even netted to keep out the flies and make one’s visit a more pleasant experience. All are very clean and well maintained.
It has been nice to have a slow day and come back to our comfortable, cosy van to sit and read out of the weather. With a limited range of TV channels here, a DVD might be the go this evening.
Ceduna Day 2
We woke to a bright sunny day and packed up and left Nuttbush Retreat by 9.00 am. I finished my tablets from Broken Hill yesterday so I was feeling pretty good and we decided to take advantage of [hopefully] quieter roads on a public holiday and travel a bit further than usual.
We drove west along the Eyre Highway past Iron Knob and on through Lake Gillies Conservation Park.
Our first stop was at Kimba which is a very welcoming, clean town. Kimba has an eight metre giant Galah and signs everywhere remind travellers that they are half way across Australia. We enjoyed our coffee and shared a snack from the bakery while talking to some other travellers who had stopped next to us. We also re-fuelled in Kimba. This is the first time since Peterborough. We are glad we had the long range fuel tank installed and very happy with our fuel efficiency at this stage of our journey.
Views of Kimba
Kimba – Half Way Across Australia
Morning Tea at the Big Galah in Kimba
The day continued to warm up to 24 degrees and by lunchtime we were down to t-shirts. We stopped at Wudinna East Rest Area for a quick lunch and a stretch. Then on to Poochera Rest Area for another break and stretch and on to Puntabie East Rest area for another break and stretch before we finally arrived at Shelly Beach Caravan Park in Ceduna.
Silos and Water Pipe Along the Way
Monument to the Australian Farmer at Wudinna
Lots of Bushland Along the Way
First Glimpse of Ceduna
Sunset at Shelly Beach Caravan Park Ceduna
It has been a long day and we travelled 447 kms. This is a great spot and we wandered down to the beach to watch the sunset. It will be an early night tonight and we plan to stay a couple of days to enjoy this great find.