8th October to 14th October
After we left Coorabie and Fowlers Bay, we headed west to begin our Nullarbor adventure. Our first stop was at Nundroo Roadhouse, famous for being home to 2.5million wombats, for Nik to play hole 4 of the Nullarbor Links, which at this stage he is happy with as he is 1 under. Next up we stopped for lunch at the Head of the Bight and to see if we could spot any whales. However, sadly and as expected, a sign at the turn off on the highway, said that there were no whales in the bay today, but we still decided to take the 15km drive in to see the cliffs, as well as a toilet stop and to have lunch. During the months of May to October, the Southern Right Whales head up from the freezing waters down in Antartica, to give birth to their calves. We knew we were right at the end of the calving season, but we had been holding onto hope that the whales would hang around for just a few more days, but alas it didn’t happen, they had obviously ran out of food, taken their bat and ball and headed home. The gentleman in the info centre was a bit arrogant in that he stated the obvious in saying that we were too late and the whales had gone home, perhaps we should have come earlier……..derrr. Anyway, after taking a deep breath and giving Nik a death stare to indicate that he shouldn’t say anything back we still had to pay the $14 to go and have a walk and look along the boardwalk. Even with no whales the bright sunny day made for fantastic views of the gorgeous aqua waters and rocky cliffs of the Great Australian Bight, whilst not as big we did see quite a few cute little lizards running around which made the girls and Nik happy.
Next we stopped at the Nullarbor Roadhouse for Nik to play hole 5 and spoil ourselves with ice creams. We then headed onto our next stop for the night, Koonalda Homestead, which is about 18km north of the highway, on the old dirt Eyre highway. The road in was pretty rocky and corrugated so we dropped our tyre pressures and headed in. The homestead was originally a train station during the mid 1900’s and also a fuel and food stopover for people travelling on the old Eyre Highway, back in the day before it was redirected and relocated closer to the coast. After we set up we spent the afternoon exploring around the homestead, complete with old sewing machines and old fridges, which the girls loved and an enormous amount of ‘olden day’ cars, which Nik had a great time photographing. There was also an older couple in a big 5th wheeler camped there, they had taken over the shearers quarters and were utilising the old kitchen for themselves, but we still went in and had a sticky beak though. The area is also home to a lot of caves and sinkholes which we didn’t go and explore as it seemed a little dangerous and the car was still hooked up to the van.
After we made sure we had used all our fruit and vege we packed up and headed west towards the border, only about 80kms away. Nik had another hole to play on the Links course and then we crossed the border and even though we stopped and didn’t have any fruit and vege to declare we stood chatting to the guy about what life is like working out here, it was an interesting perspective. Another 12kms down the road we stopped to play hole 7, find a geocache and get a coffee at Eucla. Our destination that night was Cocklebiddy roadhouse, but not before Nik had played holes 8, 9 and 10 of the course.
Waking up to yet another beautiful sunny day at Cocklebiddy, WA, we had absolutely no idea what time it was, as we were still adjusting to the recent change over to daylight savings time, which now that we are across the border, has been unceremoniously and devastatingly yanked away from us!!! When we left Cocklebiddy my computer said it was 9:30am, my phone said it was 7am, yet the lady at the office said it was 7:45am……………… As it turned out we had been awake since at least 5am WA time, when the sun come out and figured this was going to be a long day…….. So we left Cocklebiddy at some stage of the morning and yet again crossed another time change, this one by 45 minutes, we decided we wanted to remain clueless, at least for a few days anyway. Today’s drive involved playing 2 holes of golf and driving along the straightest road in Australia, ’90 mile straight’, a very long boring 146.6km. It was not surprisingly dull and quite straight……
Our destination that evening (or afternoon, or morning depending on what time you go by) was a farmstay/ caravan park called Fraser Range. It is currently a working sheep station located about 100km east of Norseman and was to be our home for the next 2 nights while we had a catch up with our friends, the Strickland’s, whom we had met way back when in March, in The Grampians. We were lucky to get the last powered site as it was a Saturday (as well as suffering a time deficiency we had amnesia in regards to days of the week) and there was also a wedding there that afternoon. Coincidently the Strickland’s arrived just as we had booked in, which meant unpacking was a bit slower due to all the kids immediate mutiny and desertion of all delegated responsibilities involving set up. On a positive note it meant they only wandered back to the van if they were hungry, which was a few hours!!!!
We had a great catch up with Blake and the boys, Sue and Ryan were sorely missed, however we have promised to catch up with them when we venture pass Brisvegas (about 2017 at this rate). We spent a relaxing Sunday watching Bathurst with the extensive fly population, Nik played a hole of golf and we were later treated to a brilliant thunder and lightning show that evening (at least I think it was evening as it was dark, but then again who knows….).
After we said our ‘see you laters’ (as we don’t like saying goodbye, it seems so final), we left at some stage for our drive to Kalgoorlie, but first Nik played golf at Norseman and Kambalda. We arrived in Kalgoorlie, or Kal as the locals call it, later on that day when the sun was still shining, set up and headed into town for some retail therapy, books and thongs were on the list. One thing we have been doing on this trip is spending many $$$$$’s on books for the girls to read, Bec and Zoe have been buying their books on Itunes and reading via their Ipads to save us space, however Abs and Jess have accumulated quite a library. Our time in Kal was only short, consisting of food shopping, laundry and Nik’s final 2 holes of golf of the Nullarbor Links course, which he played at the Kalgoorlie Golf Course. Nik ended up playing a few extra holes, as the course was in his words, ‘schmick’ as the WA PGA was scheduled to be played there in the next few weeks.
Of course, as expected of all visitors to Kal, we headed to the Superpit lookout at the edge of town. We’d been here before but it still amazed us as to the mammoth size of the pit, after we read some info we, well more so Nik and I (as the girls had long ago tuned out at the mere mention of ‘lets calculate’) gleaned the following facts; truck drivers work 7 days on and 7 off, then 7 nights on and 7 off, doing 12 hour shifts; each 12 hour shift involves the drivers doing 18 hauls of rock to the top; only 1 in 7 of these hauls actually contains gold, about a golf ball size weighing about half a kilo. We then further calculated, using the current price for gold, that for each shift one truck driver does, he/she hauls up about US$41,000 worth of gold. Not a bad amount, but then again I’m sure the owners of the superpit, KCGM might have a few overheads to cover, as the huge buckets on the loaders cost about $1.5 million alone…..
After our brief geology and maths lesson we then headed out of Kalgoorlie at……well lets just agree that it was a few hours after the sun had risen!!! We were ‘super’ excited, pardon the pun 😉 about our next adventure and destination on our OZLAP……..