Feedback from travellers crossing the Nullabor Plain has been varied. Some say it is totally boring and they sprint from one end to the other while others love the experience, take their time and enjoy the ride. We were of the latter. The Nullabor plain is an area of flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country of southern Australia located on the Great Australian Bight. It is the world’s largest single area of limestone bedrock, approximately 200,000 sq. km.
We shared the driving across the Nullabor as we knew it was going to be long days behind the wheel. The Navigator had the privilege of driving Australia’s longest straight piece of road – 146.6km in a direct line and no hills. There is no fencing across the Nullabor so we had to keep a keen lookout for wildlife. We are both proud of the fact that we traversed the Plain without running over a single animal. They can be quite unpredictable when on the road. We had some close calls mind you but were able to watch the animals wandering on their way as we passed. We encountered kangaroo, wallaby, emu and a variety of lizards and birds but no wombats. We did however see three wombats that had tried to wrestle a road train – not a pretty sight.
As said in our last update, our park up on Saturday night, our first night on the Nullabor Plain, was a free camp at Ten Mile Rocks, 87km east of Norseman. We made a slight miscalculation in selecting our spot in that we parked reasonably close to the main highway in the belief that trucks and road trains would rest over the weekend. Big error – we spent a very noisy night on Saturday. The Eyre Highway on the Nullabor Plain in the main route between the lower east and west coasts and it is busy 24/7. Lesson learned I guess (even at this late stage!).
Our second night was spent at another free camp, Moondini Bluff, a rest area 90km west of Mundrabilla or 26km east of Madura. We did not make the same mistake twice and selected a park up spot at the back of the camp and well away from the main road. We had a great nights sleep and in fact when we awoke there was only two vans out of twelve left at the site. We are always late risers anyway and most always last to leave anywhere. We see no point in sprinting into the next day’s travels – it is always better to work with time rather than against it.
Monday was quite a long drive (around 400km). We drove from Moondini Bluff in West Australia through Mundrabilla, Eucla, across the WA/SA boarder passing the Nullarbor Roadhouse to our next free overnight stop, the Yalata West Rest Area. The rest area is 70km east of the Nullabor Roadhouse and 21km west of Yalata. With having to put our clocks forward by 2.5 hours during the course of the day, we did not arrive at our stop until after 5pm in the afternoon. Again we parked at the rear of the site and up until 7pm we were the only van there. A caravan pulled up at about 7pm but they parked about 300m away from us so it was almost like we were there on our own. It was another very peaceful nights rest.
This morning it was back onto the Eyre Highway and cruising 250km through Yalata, Nundroo and Penong to Ceduna on Murat Bay and the end of our 1240km journey across the Nullabor Plain. Our arrival in Ceduna was a grand occasion for us – it signified our circumnavigation of Australia. We toasted ourselves with a few vino’s tonight. We were last in Ceduna in May of this year just prior to our journey through the centre of Australia. We had planned to stay a couple of days in Ceduna as it is known as the ideal stopover for travellers either ending or starting their journey across the Nullabor on the eastern side. However after fuelling up, taking on water and groceries and looking at where we were going to have to stay (a cramped up caravan park), we decided to carry on a further 100km east to the little village of Wirrulla, and a park up at the old school grounds. We are the only motorhome here – lovely.
So where to from here? Tomorrow we will make our way to Port Augusta and make that our home for a couple of days. Both the motorhome and the jeep need a good clean after our last 10 days in fairly dusty conditions. Our plan from Port Augusta is to travel inland to the Broken Hill area with perhaps a day or two before that with some fellow travellers along the Murray River. Our goal of being in Adelaide by Xmas is still on track.