Thursday 30 April 2009
Departed Ceduna at about 9:30 heading west on the Eyre Highway towards the SA/WA border some 480 k’s down the track.  The actual Nullarbor Plain starts some 300 k’s from Ceduna. There is a sign post indicating the start of the eastern side of the plain. I wanted to take a snap of it, but could not find a place to do a u-turn without too much hassle. The shoulders of the road were somewhat soft after the rain and I didn’t want to take a chance of getting bogged. There were a number of places where road trains had churned the shoulders. The Nullarbor Plain is exactly what its name implies – a vast treeless plain. It’s not a desert as such, as there is plenty of greenery around, just no trees or even large bushes. I took a snap or two at one of the stops I made on the way. Most of the stops are more for whale watching than anything else. The whale season starts in June, and this being the end of April, I didn’t have too many expectations as regards seeing any whales.  I didn’t, so those expectations proved to be accurate. I also took some snaps of the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. These are quite spectacular, although being somewhat windy, I didn’t want to get too close to the edge. Other than the odd side trip to maybe see some whales or the cliffs, there is not much else to see or do

 

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 Not a tree to be seen for miles.                                 

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 Some of the warning signs at one of the viewing points.

The two pictures below show just how seriously one must take the signs above

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  The picture on the right is a close up of the centre area of the one on the left. The blue bit in the middle is the sea below. I don't think that it will stay as it is for too long!

         RIMG0674 The limestone cliffs of the Great Australian Bight.

All the snaps above were taken at a viewing site called "The Head of Bight"

 

I pulled into the Border Village servo to re-fuel. I thought that about 500 k’s was enough for the day and decided to stay the night at the caravan park. Water seems to be in short supply, as all the servo’s and cafe’s had signs saying “Water is scarce. Please do not ask to fill your tanks so as not to be offended when your request is refused.” There were no taps in the caravan park although there was power. Each shower cubicle had a meter box in it. $2-00 gave you about 7 minutes of shower time. I didn’t have to pay the two bucks as I had ensured that my tanks were full before leaving Ceduna. I have about 220 litres of water when all three tanks are full – more than enough for a few quick showers. The hot water system is only 22 litres capacity, so one does not linger in the van’s shower on a coolish morning!!
As I didn’t feel like cooking, I ambled over to the roadhouse cafe and ordered two toasted ham cheese and tomato sandwiches. They were most enjoyable. I pressed the switch for the satellite dish and a few minutes later was watching the tennis on Austar – magic!!
As there is a quarantine checkpoint at the border, I chucked the fruit & veggies (two continental cucumbers and some apples) and a half bottle of honey in the bin and proceeded through the checkpoint and into Western Australia without any hassles. They are very serious about quarantine and gave my vehicles more than a cursory glance.
There are trees along the side of the road as well as in countryside, so I am no longer in the Nullarbor, although other than the trees, the view is much the same. It’s relatively flat with long straight stretches of road including the official longest straight stretch of road in Australia.
I was going to pull into a rest area to overnight, but as the time zones changed I was able to pull into the Gateway CP in Norseman before it was dark. The total distance from Ceduna was some 1200 k’s which means I travelled some 700 k’s in one hit, not too heavy going, bearing in mind that I left the Border Village at about 8am as well as the time difference of 1h30.
Norseman’s current claim to fame is that it’s the first big(ish) town on the western side of the Nullarbor. Originally founded on some gold mining activity, there’s not much going on today. I only stayed two nights before moving on towards Kalgoorlie just under 200 k’s to the north.

      RIMG0684Self explanatory snap taken while crossing the Nullarbor.

  RIMG0685 There are a number of these dotted along the Nullarbor.They consist of a straight stretch of the road which has had the black top widened as well as much wider and better constructed shoulders.

  Nullabor sticker    One of the many stickers that can be bought at the roadhouses along the way. Note the camels along with the 'roos and wombats on the warning sign. I actually didn't see any animals (except birds) along the entire stretch of road.

 

            Tuesday 4 May 2009

 

Departed Norseman, and after a relatively easy and uneventful trip, I pulled into the Kalgoorlie Top Tourist Van Park. This is a large well laid out park that has quite a few “full time” caravanners spread around the park. These are not the usual permanent type vans with a solid annexe but a normal caravan with normal canvas annexe. There were two Coromal camper trailers parked opposite men. Speaking to some chaps in the park these “full time” caravanners are usually young couples who have moved to the West Australian mining boom. Most stay for about two years before moving on to other towns or into their own properties. Apparently the salaries paid th the workers is extremely good and if one doesn’t spend it in the pubs on booze and pokies, then you can buy your own place fairly quickly. Still very dry with little rain with a low annual figure as well. As there is little naturally occurring fresh water, all of Kalgoorlie’s’ fresh water is piped in from the west coast (Perth)

Kalgoorlie is a fairly big town/city, which is actually two different towns right  next to each other. The other town being called Boulder. Some people refer to the cities as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, whilst most simply refer to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder complex as Kalgoorlie.
Kalgoorlie owes its existence to a very rich deposit of gold which was discovered in the late 19th century. After about a hundred years of many mining companies each doing their own thing, most of the leases were bought up to form the Kalgoorlie consolidated Gold Mine (KCGM). This single company now works the area called the Super Pit. This is a huge open cast mine stretching for about 4 K’s long 1.5 K’s wide and about 600 meters deep at its deepest. The place is huge. Fly to the Kalgoorlie super pit in Google Earth and all will be revealed

I booked myself on a historical tour of Kalgoorlie which was quite interesting. I also did the Super Pit Tour, where we actually entered the pit area to see what was happening close up. We were not allowed to go to the bottom where the huge loaders were loading the 200 ton load Cat Trucks, but went through service area and the crushing plant area and some of the many observation points. Both tours were worth the bucks time spent.

All in all, a relaxing 5 days spent in Kalgoorlie.

 

Left Kalgoorlie at about 8.30 for the nearly 500 K’s trip to Hyden and the wave rock. The country side has changed from bushland and or scrubland to what appears to be vast fields of some sort of crop that has been harvested and cut very short. It was only when I pulled into Tressies  CP that I got a tourist brochure that explained it all. The brochure is headed “Pathways to Wave Rock through The Open Wheat belt”, the cropped fields are wheat fields that have been harvested and cut down. A clue would also be the vast grain silos that lie just behind the Caravan Park

 

Wednesday 13 may 2009.

 

I was intending only to spend as long as needed in Hyden in order to receive post from home. Being somewhat out in the sticks, there is no “guaranteed next business day” delivery to Hyden. The local Post Office estimated about a week for mail to arrive from Wollongong. This meant staying at least a week at Tressies, which wasn’t too bad as the park is well laid out, quiet (not too busy) and a fair distance from the main road which in any event is not all that busy or noisy. It’s a smallish CP which is new, and is run as a hobby by the owner who is a retired farmer, whose son now runs the farm. Another of his hobbies is collecting, and there is a “museum” with a whole bunch of old goodies on show. A guided tour only costs $2-00, so I’ll pay the bucks and have a look see.

 

 

I visited the local attraction, the wave rock, and did the touristy bit which included a 2.5km walk. Not too strenuous, but I need to get onto the fitness bike more often, as I’m not as fit as I should be.
An interesting rock formation, as can be seen from the snaps.

 

  Wave Rock - 12 The Wave Rock from the entrance.

 

  Wave Rock - 23The Wave Rock from the other end.

 

  Wave Rock - 6This one's called The Hippos Yawn.

 

On my way back from the rock – it’s about 30k’s from the park, I thought I detected a little bit of clutch slippage.  Tests confirmed that the clutch was indeed on its way out – bummer. Here I am in the middle of nowhere, towing a 2.5 ton caravan, with a clutch that’s on its way out. The Pootrol has a sophisticated “dual mass” flywheel as part of the clutch setup so it’s advisable to have it installed by a Nissan Dealer service garage.  It’s about 330k’s to Perth which means at least one night in Perth as it’s too long a trip to do in one day. I would have to leave the van at Tressies as I doubt if the clutch would last the 300 odd km trip. Anyway, I Googled Nissan dealers and found that there was one in Merredin, only 150k’s away. This meant I could do the round trip in one day. I phoned them and made a booking. They could only accommodate me on Tuesday 19 May – a week away. So I’ll have to extend my stay here in Hyden by a further 8 or so days until the clutch is replaced. Not to worry, as the park is relatively cheap ($20-00p/n with every 7th night free) and I have a good supply of books to read as well as good Austar reception from my fancy satellite dish, for all the footy and tennis. The weather is quite good as well. Not too hot during the day, although the nights are now getting a little cooler. Mostly cloudless sunny days. Flies are a problem but I use plenty of Aerogard to keep them at bay. If they become too much of a hassle, I just go inside the air conditioned van.

 

 Some details of the Hyden/Wave Rock area.  hayden1

 

   hayden2 

 

 

 

 

 

The "wall" in the snap on the left is actually a concrete/rock wall constructed to channel rain water runoff into a dam that supplied  Hyden wiwth its water prior to another dam being built nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 2nd June 2009

 

Well I have been in Perth since 20 May, after an uneventful trip from Hyden. Left early Tuesday morning for Merredin, arriving about 0830. Booked the Pootrol in and headed to a local Subway for a Footlong Subway Melt for brekkie. They have a railway mesuem here in Merredin so I thought I would give it a visit. It is run by local volunteers, but they must have had the day off as it was not open when I ambled over for a look-see. As the day is long and the Pootrol would only be ready at 05:00pm, I decided to book into a cheap motel for the rest of the day, as there is not much going on in Merredin. Picked the Pootrol up after paying nearly $3000 (Grrrrrr) and headed back to Hyden.

Booked into the Karrinyup Waters CP. It's a large park with lots of cabins and plenty of powered sites, most with concrete slabs. The first site allocated to me was under a large tree, and during a fairly windy thunder storm, a large(ish) branch came tumbling down. Didn't land on the van but was close - about 2 meters away. Two days later there was a big russling in the tree followed by a loud bang from the front of the van. Investigations showed a second large(ish) branch had come tumbling down. I thought "time to move to a tree free site before the whole tree comes down". Arranged with the office for a new site and moved.

I wont be doing much until the mummy joins me at the end of June. Once Val is here, we will do any touristy bits that appeal to us before moving on. (either north or south, to be decided closer to the time)

 

Indian Pacific Train Trip

 

Val decoided that she would take a trip on the “Indian Pacific”. This is a luxury train that travels between Sydney and Perth on a weekly (or in high season sometimes twice weekly) timetable. The whole trip takes 4days and 3 nights and (starting) in Sydney goes up to Broken Hill, then down to Adelaide in South Australia after which it crosses the Nullabor passing through Kalgoorlie and arriving in Perth. The whole trip costs about $AU 2000-00, and includes all meals on board.

I thought it would be a good idea to also do the trip (as I alaways wanted to try it) and so I flew from perth on the red eye flight to Sydney so that I could board the Indiam Pacific before it left at 14h55.

    IP - The Missus on Platform in Sydney                            IP - The Lounge on the Indian Pacific  

     IP - The Dining Room on the Indian pacific       

 

 

 Above left:  The Mummy on the platform in Sydney prior to departure.

Above right:  View of the lounge/bar on the Indian Pacific.

Left: The dining car of the Indian Pacific.

 

 

 

 

IP - Me in our compartmentIP - En Suite Toilet-Shower1IP - En Suite Toilet-Shower2IP - View Down the Coach           Me sitting in the compartment                      The ensuite shower (toilet seat up)             The toilet seat pulled down in the shower         Looking down the corridor of the coach

 

 

     More Snaps         

Geraldton

 

Monkey Mia

 

Carnarvon

 

 

 


 

Trip 2008/9 Pt 3