29th Jul 2012 - 4th Aug 2012
Ceduna - Kalgoorlie
Our crossing of the Nullabar: Ceduna - Norseman
Sun: First stop is Penong, the “town of windmills”, they are everywhere. Paul Gravelle’s (ex South African) surfboard factory is located here, but being a Sunday, it was closed. Took a drive to Point Sinclair and the surfing beach, Cactus Beach, where surfers from all over the world come to test their skills on the two left-hand breaks “Castles” and “Cactus” and one powerful right-hander “Caves”. On the way we passed Lake Macdonnell which is very high in salt concentration giving you the pink look. Then onto Fowlers Bay, a fishing village, they offer whale watching tours, a far cry from the days when it was a whaling station.
Mon: Stopped at the Nundroo Roadhouse where we had a lovely hot shower for $1 each, way easier than showering in Tripi and for a $, cheap. 51km’s from Nundroo is Yalata, an area of 458 000 hectares spanning 150km’s of the Eyre Highway, the Yalata Aboriginal Lands are owned and operated by the Yalata Aboriginal Community. Between Nundroo and Yalata a grid on the road is part of the Dog Fence, the fence mentioned in a previous blog that we saw outside Coober Pedy. A lovely sunny day for viewing the “Great Australian Bight”, the white-coloured rock near the base of the cliffs is Wilson Bluff Limestone and it was formed on the seabed between 38 and 42 million years ago. The Great Australian Bight curves for 1160km’s, the Bunda Cliffs in South Australia form part of the longest line of cliffs in the world. Looked at the cliffs from a couple of the lookouts and passed quite a few camels on the side of the road. The Nullarbor Plain stretches 720km’s from east to west, the name comes from the Latin nullus and arbor meaning “no trees”, experts believe the plain was created about 25 million years ago when it lifted out of the sea. The landscape is pretty flat with many shrubs and trees. Did not notice that many road trains, but plenty of caravans and mobile homes. At our rest area for the night, 10km’s from the SA/WA Border, I cooked up the last of the veggies as no fresh fruit and veg allowed across the border.
Tues: Arrived at the Border Village, on crossing the border the GPS switched 45 minutes back but my cellphone switched 1½ hrs back, a bit confusing? Took a drive to the Eucla Telegraph Station which was established in 1877, only the ruins remain today and the sand dunes are slowly, over time, covering the ruins. On the road is a sign warning that the Highway doubles as an emergency Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) airstrip. Then onto Mundrabilla and Madura Roadhouses, the Madura Pass Lookout offers a lovely lookout over the Roe Plains, huge open space.
Wed: We stopped at the Cocklebiddy and Caiguna Roadhouse where the time zone switched again, now the GPS was the same as the cellphone (1½hrs difference), so now all corresponded with Perth time. Travelling between Caiguna and Balladonia, the highway has no curves and bends for 145.6km’s making it Australia’s longest straight stretch of road. Just outside Caiguna is a blowhole, these collapsed sections of the limestone plain lead into underground caves and river systems. Next roadhouse stop was Balladonia where NASA’s Skylab rocket came crashing back to earth in 1979. We camped at Nelson Rocks, a large red rocky outcrop. It was a beautiful evening, full moon, roaring fire going and lamb chops on the menu.
Thur: In Norseman we went to the info centre to get our Nullarbor Crossing Certificates, following in the footsteps of John Eyre who made the first east-west crossing in 1841. We phoned our daughter, Chantelle, for her birthday, so glad we made it to a phone as there is not much mobile or internet coverage crossing the Nullarbor. Interesting story of how the town, Norseman, received its name: Laurie Sinclair had an unsuccessful gold prospecting trip to Coolgardie in 1893. When returning to Esperance via Dundas, he decided to look up his brothers, George and Jack that were prospecting out from Dundas. While tethering his horse “Norseman” up for the night, the horse had pawed up and exposed a chunk of gold reef. Laurie was grateful to his horse so the name Norseman was giving to the mining town that sprung up as a result of the find. The town has a statue of the horse, Norseman and tin camels, camel trains were a common site in and around Norseman for transportation that is why the Main Street is so wide, the width being determined by the turning circle of the camel train. We drove to the Beacon Hill Lookout for views over the mining areas, then drove 18km out of town to the Mt Thirsty rest area.
Fri: Drove through Widgiemooltha, home of the “Golden Eagle”, a gold nugget the size of 1135oz was found in 1931 by a 16 year old. We took the Kambalda route to Kalgoorlie. Originally founded in 1897 as a gold mining town, Kambalda was deserted by 1908. The township came alive again in 1960 when the world’s largest nickel sulphide deposits were discovered in the area. At the Red Hill Lookout you look over the 510km2 salt lake, Lake Lefroy, used as a salt mine. Drove on to the info centre in Kalgoorlie, gold was discovered here in 1893 by Paddy Hannan. We made contact with our friend, Narelle, who we had met in Tassie, she is helping out at her friend’s news agency in Kalgoorlie. Her friends offered for us to park up at their place, we spent a lovely evening together.
Sat: Went to the Mt Charlotte (Reservoir) lookout. Engineer, CY O’Connor was responsible for the design and construction of a pipeline which was to supply much needed water to the region. The 563km’s pipeline delivers water from Mundaring Weir in Perth to the Mount Charlotte Reservoir. Then the Super Pit Open Cut Gold mining lookout, wow, what a view, it was awesome seeing the big dump trucks operating. It is something worth seeing, the largest working gold mine in the Southern Hemisphere.
|1327 Words | This page has been read 23 times||View Printable Version|