Monday 21st December 2015 – Eyre Highway
19:49 Taylor’s Maze Campsite / Free Camp, Eyre Highway, WA
A chill wind whips around my ears at this free campsite some 100 meters off the Eyre Highway. Apart from rustling leaves and a few birds calling to each other at the end of the day, it’s peaceful. No other campers either. It’s been a long day and as I sit here, I notice the time is only 8pm, and I shouldn’t be this tired, but then realise that my body thinks it’s 10.30 at night and its almost time for bed, not dinner.
It felt very surreal at the Border Village Roadhouse today when we were transported 2.5 hours back in time for crossing a boundary the eye couldn’t see, but on a map this is where the line is drawn and South Australia becomes Western Australia just like that.
We were having a cuppa when we realised that Border Village is in its own little time zone bubble – neither South Australian nor Western Australian time. Dr Who would love it.
Travelling around Australia brings many challenges. One of the most demanding of these is getting a photo of each and every one of the “Big Something” things. There are Big Carrots, Big Bananas, Big Guitars and even a Big Prawn! At the Border Village, if lucky, you will find the “Big Kangaroo”.
We left the time bubble and fell foul of the strict quarantine controls at the Western Australia border and had to dispose of almost all of our fresh veggies and fruit. That map line meant we were down to basic foods for the next few days, with no opportunity to repurchase fresh veggies until a basic supermarket at Norseman some 720km to the east and then those were expensive, old and tired. So be warned!
On The Road
Scurvy aside, crossing the Nullarbor Plain (the largest limestone area in the world) is fascinating. Today we covered approximately 620km in the Patrol, starting from the Murrawijinie Caves.
Yep, the roads are straight, but there are glimpses of sea and cliffs. And surprisingly the landscape does change, without you being aware of it – subtle shifts in the type of trees, shrubs and vistas from closed in, to wide expansive as far as the imagination will take you.
We spied a few rabbits and a lone camel. How cool to see a camel all alone in the bush, in Australia. Apparently, there are some 1.2 million of them out there.
The sheer scale of sky and land imparts a sense of awe and the juxtaposition of land and sea makes you realise you are right on the edge of the largest continental island on the planet. Standing on the Bunda Cliffs above the Great Australian Bight you get a dramatic view as the land drops 65 metres to the ocean. These stunning cliffs stretch in an unbroken line far beyond our eyes, some 200 kilometres to the Western Australian border.
It was difficult not to stop at every enticing viewpoint along the way, there are many that look out onto the ocean or inland to the Nullarbor Conservation Parks. But ever mindful of the vast distances we need to travel, we picked what we hoped were the best ones and pushed on. Hoping to be back one day for the other must see stops.
We use the excellent mobile app Wikicamps to plan our rest stops during the day and our evening camp and also the Hema HN7 GPS in 4WD mode to show us exactly where we are at all times. The Hema has the added advantage of displaying the names of natural features that we pass and 4WD drive tracks that can offer additional side trips. It was a combination of these two invaluable touring tools that we decided to rest at this camp for the night.
So, with our own private “happy hour” consisting of a couple of cold Coopers Pale Ale, we sit back and reflect on a most enjoyable day. Dinner was from our emergency stash of Back Country Freeze dry packs where you add boiling water, but washed down with a nice South Australian Barossa Shiraz we didn’t miss our fresh veggies too much. Cheers!
Day 4 to come – Taylor’s Maze Campsite to Esperance.