Day 26, 27 and 28
Sorry another long one but not much Internet wild camping across the Nullarbor!
After the delay from Graham’s smashed screen we decided to stop at Elliston so that we could explore the coastline to Streaky Bay in the morning. We called in at Venus Bay before heading to see Murphys Haystacks, huge granite rocks sticking out the ground pretty cool. We then hit gravel road to make our way to Point Labatt to see the sea lion colony. We lost sight of Graham, he had stopped to shake the dust out of his pillow and cover his bed over because of how much dust was getting in. We all watched the Australian sea lions playing in the sand and sea or just sleeping. The New Zealand fur seals were a bit further out on the rocks sleeping. Was pretty awesome to watch them but it was blowing a gale so we moved on after Andrew adjusted the rear hatch lock plate so that Graham’s door sealed better to hit the gravel road again. We drove through Sceale Bay and stopped at Surfers beach lookout before heading on to Streaky Bay. We had a big feed at the Streaky Bay Hotel and topped up supplies and Jamie replaced his fanbelt as was loose and had run out of adjustment. As we topped up our fuel Dave spotted the Powerhouse Museum, all the engines have been restored and are in working order. We pulled off the Eyre highway just passed Ceduna and travelled about 10 km’s along a gravel road before stopping in a dry waterhole for the night. It wasn’t long before the giant mosquitoes bad themselves known. A quick scavenge in bush and we had enough firewood for the night. We had a sun downer on the bank before heading back to the fire where fortunately the mosi’s had been smoked out.
Wednesday morning we woke to the hum of mosquitoes swarming the van so we decided we would shift everything without getting out, only jumping out and removing the screen covers at the last minute before shutting ourselves back in. Graham and Jamie were braving it out on the road so we said we were leaving and would meet them in Penong. At Penong we fuelled up and ordered breakfast, the others arrived whilst we were waiting so nobody fancied breakfast with the mosi’s. We made it to the Nullarbor and stopped for a photo at the Eastern end sign. We took the road off to Head of Bight to see the views of the Bight and finally on our fourth trip across we got to see whales. We had heard there where 120 – 150 whales at the Bight, they are spread out across a wide area some of the mothers and calves very close in to shore just spectacular to see. We fuelled up at the Nullarbor roadhouse and did the obligatory photos with the whale. The morning started off overcast and drizzly but cleared up and the further west we went the hotter it got. By the time we arrived at Eucla it was 29 degrees with a hot wind. We walked over the sand dunes to explore the old telegraph station at Eucla before parking up the kombi’s in the dunes for the night. It was a very warm evening even after the sun went down but there was a constant wind. It was too hot during the night so we had the door open fortunately we weren’t in mosi territory. In the early hours the wind really got up, I heard Andrew’s pop top go down then I thought I saw lightning but realised it was Jamie’s strip light coming through the front of our van where the wind had blown our screen cover down. Jamie was packing everything back in his bus so he could pack his awning away, Dave got up to give him a hand as it the wind was so strong it looked like it would take off.
Thursday morning we got up thinking it was 7.30 but discovered our phones were still on SA time so it was only 6am! We headed up to the roadhouse for breakfast before hitting the road again. Not much to see on this part of the Nullarbor so apart from a photo stop at the 90 mile straight it was just a driving day today. We made it to Fraser Range station about 100km’s out of Norseman, a great place to stay very well looked after by the owners with a lovely warm fire burning in the camp kitchen. The station was the first one settled on the Nullarbor.
Friday morning we woke to a frost very chilly morning, especially considering we were in 29 degrees Wednesday night. We decided to try and make home today so we said our goodbyes to everyone. The Norseman to Hyden road was open so Jo and Andrew will be taking that road across to Hyden then home to Mandurah. Jan, Jamie and Graham are heading to Kalgoorlie, Jamie’s clutch is slipping so he will have to nurse it and hope he makes it. We left ahead of everyone as it’s over 8 hours to get home, we were about 55km’s away when we got a call that Maid Marion had dumped her oil on the caravan park driveway. We left our oil filter in a parking area for them to collect in case they couldn’t get one at the caravan park. We carried on our way and stopped at Widgiemooltha to use the facilities, our ignition barrel wouldn’t engage the starter motor so Dave had to get underneath and put a wire directly on the starter motor to get us going again. Jamie, Jan & Graham made it to Kalgoorlie with no more issues. We have just got home and Jo and Andrew expect to be home tonight aswell.
What a great trip with great company, so many amazing experiences and definitely worth taking the three weeks to drive back. We were very lucky with the weather in so many places where we kept getting comments of how bad the weather was last week or normally is at this time of year. The rain coming in on the Blue Mountains was probably the worst we had, cold can be dealt with but rain we just had to try and escape from. Our trip certainly created lots of interest, everywhere we stopped people would come across and ask what we were doing and most had a VW story to tell. We had a few minor issues with the Kombi’s but nothing we weren’t able to fix even if only temporarily until we got home. We travelled 7695 km’s and used 1187 litres of fuel, which cost $1,740 yikes!
Valla 2018 umm sounds like another road trip is needed J
Lowered Kombis on gravel
Kombi’s at Point Labatt
Three Kombi’s travelling the Nullarbor
A road sign, a road train and 4 kombi’s
2 mothers & calves at the Head of Bight
A whale, a road train and 4 kombi’s
WA quarantine station
Eucla old telegraph station
Camping in the sand dunes
Maid Marion and the long road ahead
90 mile straight
Fraser Range Station camp kitchen
Camped at Fraser Range Station