Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Wednesday 22nd November 2006 to Friday 24th November 2006

Wednesday 22nd November 2006

The Magnificent Cliffs Of The Great Australian Bight
Once Again We Called In On The Magnificent Cliffs Of The Great Australian Bight

The Nullarbor Plain after a recent fire
The Nullarbor Plain after a recent fire

Our start this morning was much more leisurely that the day before, however we did get underway around 7:10a.m. driving through Ceduna and then turning west on the Eyre Highway once more.

This drive started out with a partly overcast sky but absolutely no breeze at all, quite a change from yesterdays howling headwinds. Although we had refueled in Ceduna, when we reached Penong, some 75 kilometres to the west, we called in and refueled the Patrol once more as we knew this fuel would be the cheapest we would find until we had crossed the nullarbor and driven well into the rural areas of Western Australia. As it turned out the fuel at Nundroo was also the same price but we were yet to see that.

Caravans parked at the top of the cliffs
Look hard - Caravans parked at the top of the cliffs

From Penong we continued our journey through Nundroo, Yalata and crossed the short distance over the' Treeless Nullarbor Plain' before passing the Nullarbor Road House then we headed back toward the coastline. Just as the road reaches the coast and turns to travel along it, there is the first of a number of cliff viewing areas where people can pull in to a parking area at the top of the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. We took the opportunity to pull into this first viewing area and stretched our legs whilst we enjoyed the view of the ocean from the cliff tops.

We then continued down the highway until we were 74 kilometres west of the Nullarbor Road House, or 110 kilometres east of the Western Australian border where we pulled in to our favourite spot when crossing the Nullarbor, in fact it is very high on our list of highlights from all our travels around Australia. This viewing area gives a magnificent 360 degree panorama ranging from the flat land stretching out to the north, along the huge cliffs that run off into the distance to the east and out over the beautiful blue coloured ocean stretching as far as the eye can see to the south. The first time we saw these cliffs and this area back in December 2003 we were stunned by what we saw and each time we return we find it a little different, changing with weather conditions but just as fascinating.


And dolpjins at the bottom
And dolphins at the bottom

This visit was no different to our previous visits, only this time we were privileged to observe a pod of around forty dolphins swimming gracefully around the base of the cliff right below us. It may be out in the middle of nowhere and we could have stayed longer, but after two hours enjoying this magical place, including a quick lunch, it was time to get back on the road again and make our way the next 110 kilometres to Border Village, the Western Australian border and the Fruit and vegetable quarantine check point.

On arrival at the checkpoint we declared our coconut we had been carrying since we were in Queensland and found out that although we had been allowed to carry one through from the Northern Territory to Western Australia in 2004, we should not have been given that information and we handed this one in at the quarantine station this time. All other items subject to the quarantine laws had been eaten or disposed of prior to reaching the border so we had no problems proceeding through into Western Australia. The young quarantine officer who looked after us was extremely helpful and polite and certainly made entering Western Australia a pleasure. From here it was only a short 14 kilometre drive to Eucla where we booked in to the caravan park for the night at a cost of $18. The view from the caravan park over the low plain to the old telegraph station and beyond to the ocean is very relaxing and we feel it is worth an early stop to the day just to spend the night here.

We arrived in Eucla at about 1:20p.m. and that sounds really early to stop, however that is Western Australian Central time (45 minutes earlier than Western Standard Time) and if we were using South Australian time, which we started the day with, it would have been 3:15p.m. and after our drive of almost 500 kilometres we were happy to call it a day early just to spend the night in this caravan park. The next two days will be longer drives of just over 700 kilometres each day, but the following day we will be able to sleep in as long as we like.

There's always a whale to see in Eucla
There's always a whale to see in Eucla

An early stop for the day in Eucla Caravan Park
An early stop for the day in Eucla Caravan Park

Pammy was a bit disappointed that there was not any Settler Bears in the shop in Eucla, so had to settle for a fridge magnet instead. However it was a bit of a battle to convince her that we are in Western Australia now and we should not start our Happy Hour until 5:p.m. WA time, and not start early using South Australian time as an excuse!!

Thursday 23rd November 2006

Sorry Pammy... The bottles are empty
Bottle Tree, Sorry Pammy. The bottles are empty

Around 4:20 this morning the sun was shining in the window of the caravan and there were no words spoken between 'One of Us' and the 'Other One', we just rolled out of bed and started getting ready to get on the road.

At about 5:20a.m. we were driving out of the caravan park with the sun shining down on us and the road stretched out as far as we could see. we wound up down the Eucla pass and kept the speedo sitting around the 95 to 100 kmh mark until we came to Mundrabilla where we called in to fill up with diesel at the cheapest price found across the Nullarbor, taking on 104.62 litres at 145.0 cpl.

Another 100 litres may get us a bit further
Another 100 litres may get us a bit further

Back on the road again with a slight breeze behind us we made good pace to Madura and after climbing up the Madura Pass we continued on to Cocklebiddy where we stopped briefly to stretch our legs. Then it was on to Caiguna where we turned onto the 147.6 kilometre stretch of straight road, the longest straight road in the world we believe. It was at this point that we had to move our clocks back 45 minutes, which gave us a little extra driving time.

Along this section of our drive the wind changed direction and we found ourselves heading into a head wind, but fortunately it was not too strong, although the fuel gauge did react a little to it.

After out 90 miles of straight road, we only had another 60 kilometres to go before passing Balladonia and through around 60 kilometres of road works. Fortunately most of the works had been completed so we were not delayed very much.


Horse power in Norseman's main street
Horse power in Norseman's main street

Once through the road works, we stopped to fill the Patrol up with 100 litres of diesel from the jerry cans we were carrying on the roof rack and to have some lunch that Pammy had prepared with her loving hands.

It was then on to Norseman around 1:p.m. where we refueled at the Shell Service Station which had the cheapest fuel in town, with diesel being 129.9 cpl. After stretching ourselves out a bit we decided that as it was early in the day we would carry on as far as Coolgardie before stopping for the day, it was also over 40 degrees and much cooler in the airconditioned vehicle.

After driving the additional 168 kilometres that took us past Widgiemooltha (a road house only) and on to Coolgardie where we arrived around 3 p.m., we then decided to continue on to Southern Cross as there was plenty of daylight left at this time.

This part of the drive took us through Bullabulling, Yellowdine and passed the pumping station at Ghooli before we arrived in Southern Cross at 5:04p.m. This concluded 12 hours and 30 minutes on the road since leaving Eucla and in that time we had covered 1069 kilometres, the longest distance on any day on any of our trips so far, and all this was done in temperatures up around 40 degrees. Good thing the Patrol has good air conditioning.

We booked in to the Southern Cross Caravan Park where we set up for the night and settled in for Happy hour and dinner before a well deserved (well we think so) nights sleep. Tomorrow we will make the final leg of this trip, expecting to arrive home around lunch time. As there is a lot to do when we arrive home, the final web site update may not take place until Saturday sometime

Friday 24th November 2006

The final day of our journey arrived this morning, quite early as may be expected with 'One of Us' awake around 4:30a.m. and making herself even more beautiful than ever for arrival home later in the day.

We were all packed up and on the road by around 5:37a.m. and the patrol wound up on it's way through Moorine Rock, Bodallin, Westonia, Carabbin, Walgoolan and Burracoppin before arriving in Merredin close to 7:a.m. where we pulled in to the BP Service Station and refueled the Patrol for the last time on this trip.

We were back on the road again about 20 minutes later and had a bit of a delay on the edge of the town while we waited for the traffic control at some road works to let us through. Then we wound up again and made our way through Nangeenan, Hines Hill, Doolakine (some good names here aren't there!), Kellerberrin, Tammin, Cunderdin, Meckering (Home of the earth quake), and then we skirted around Northam before continuing on through Clackline, Bakers Hill, Sawyers Valley and then we arrived in Mundaring where we turned off Great Eastern Highway and made our way toward Mundaring Weir.

Some Pioneers of Southern Cross
Some Pioneers of Southern Cross

It was then only a further 17 kilometres through the forest until we reached the village of Kalamunda where we call home. The last kilometre was through streets we know so well and then at 10:04a.m. we pulled into the driveway of our home that had not seen us for the last four months.

Unfortunately the grass hadn't cut itself whilst we were away, nor had the leaves raked themselves up and the berries from the Morton Bay Fig Tree had been having a great time building up thick layers over the ground under the tree, but it still looked pretty good to us.

Once we had parked in the yard and managed to get ourselves a little organised, out came the ride on mower, whipper snipper and the leaf blower and after two or three hours wielding them around, the place at least took on the appearance of a home that was lived in once more.

With still a lot more to do to become completely settled again, we called it a day and when Happy Hour came around we were very happy to sit back, relax and enjoy the drinks for the last time this trip after a days drive with the caravan.

We now have so much more to remember, so many photographs to sort out and preserve for future reference, hours of video footage to peruse and years of happy memories of traveling Australia to occupy our minds.

We feel we have been most fortunate to have covered most of Australia as tourists (or maybe 'Grey Nomads') and although there will be many places we have not visited yet, we do not think we will be back on the road again for at least a couple of years as it is now time to settle down and start on that long list of 'Home Improvements' that have been waiting for us over the past five years.

Thank you to any and all the people we met along the way, people we joined in Happy hours, people we swapped travel stories with and those that made our journey just that little bit more memorable. Also those who took the time to send us an e-mail or two and we hope you have enjoyed reading about out travels as much as we have enjoyed sharing them with anyone who is interested in what we were getting up to over the past four months.

We wish you all the good fortune we have been privileged to experience and encourage everyone to explore this wide brown land we call Australia.

Good luck and good bye

This is Wayne (the 'Other One') and Pam ('One of Us') Bentley signing off for now.


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