I’ll be honest. When I looked at the map planning this trip, I wasn’t over-joyed with the prospect of crossing of the Nullarbor. The long straight stretches of nothingness, sharing the road with road trains & road kill, sleeping at dusty stops in the middle of nowhere. Wow – SA/WA tourism should be contacting me any minute.
However, I’m pleased to report that it wasn’t as bad as all that. All of those things were true enough, but I had under-estimated one key element: the Toyota split entertainment system that enabled us to listen to Richard Fidlers’ conversation hour(s) whilst the kids watched their DVDs. Heaven.
The distances are long – we averaged 400km a day. But the scenery does change. Sometimes there were bushes & trees, other times there were none. Sometimes bushes were 40cm high, other times they were almost 60cm.
The podcasts came into their own pretty early on. Day one saw us depart Streaky Bay and land at the Nullarbor Roadhouse. Local radio took us through the first few hours, then ABC were scratching the bottom of the content barrel. To recap, the following topics were covered (at length): the top 25 ways to cook yabbies, the fashion trend of ‘jeandos’ (jeans with plastic window cutouts) and a lady who had reinvented the alphabet with iconic Australians (think ‘K’ for Kath & Kim and ‘F’ for Fred Hollows). Just riveting.
All jokes aside, the views at the Head of Bight were stunning. No whales this time of year, but the majestic Bunda cliffs dropping into the southern ocean early morning were truly a memorable sight.
The road itself also presented few problems. It was in good condition (particularly from the WA boarder), we rarely followed other vehicles and whilst the trucks are massive, we found them very polite. If an oncoming rig was particularly wide (I think one was 4.7m), they would call ahead on the CB to forewarn us. Similarly, overtakes were made with constant communication between the vehicles.
We travelled between 9am-3pm which helped us avoid any close encounters with the local wildlife. Although we did see about ten magnificent Wedge Tailed Eagles. Often very close up as they cleaned up a new carcass.
The facilities along the way are pretty rustic, but the last one, Fraser Range Station was a nice surprise. It’s an active cattle property that also offers camping. The facilities were good and it was nice to pull off the road away from the trucks that move through the night. We spoke to one truckie who said he typically drives 1100km a day.
So now we are in Esperance and ready to relax by the beach for a bit.
Again, full props to the Toyota design team and Richard Fidler.
Thanks for the memories Nullarbor, but I won’t need to drive you the other direction.
Fraser Range Station and into Esperance