Having traversed the Madura Pass and admired the scenery as we travel from the plateau down to the coastal plain, our travels take us towards Mundrabilla and on to Eucla. In this area, some unique trees can be seen and we would have taken more photos, but where they are growing, it is too dangerous for us to park a big rig by the road.
These singularly unique trees are all from the same family and are normally leafless. The family includes the “Thong Tree” (Flip-flops), “Cup Tree”, “Undies Tree” and “Bra Tree”. A small “Shirt Tree” seems to have sprouted as well.
Continuing our trek along the 90.mile straight, we today again drove through a section of road designated for the Royal Flying Doctor Service as an emergency runway, clearly marked and with gravel sidings to get out of the way.
Lee was driving when about 60.kms before the Caiguna roadhouse, the Kamakazi Locusts started, in their thousands, all the way to Caiguna where Mike was distressed to see the front of the motorhome. What a mess – and the splattered insects cooked in the heat on to the window and paintwork, were smelly too.
Mike cleaned it up and we pressed on towards Madura, but two minutes down the road, the window was covered again and it got worse and worse, for at least another 30.kms. See video below for some of the action.
As we passed by a cyclist on a push bike, we wondered how he would fare, cycling towards nearly 100.kms of locusts. He was covered in black clothing and no illuminated colour on him. A silly thing to do at the best of times, but especially on this highway.
Time to refuel and Balladonia roadhouse is a popular place to refuel and take some time out. Playground for the kids. Museum related mainly to the story of Skylab – a USA space station launched in 1973, abandoned in 1974 and then it broke up in space and debris scattered across the area of the Nullabor and eastern goldfields in 1979. Next to the roadhouse, motel units and a caravan park. Ample space to park and rest.
Special ‘hello’ to Andrina, who passed us at the roadhouse, looked up our web site and emailed us a nice message. Happy travels Andrina and family!
We are now in the middle of the “Great Western Woodlands”, covering approx. 16.million hectares.
82.km from Norseman, an overnight rest area at Fraser Range, smaller than where we camped on 30.12.2018, but with a fairly recently built toilet and a dump point. Room for big rigs to drive in and out without difficulty.
Refueling at Norseman and Mike lined up with the Big Boys of the Road, our rig just a baby compared to these guys, especially when viewed from behind:
This is the last fuel stop (Diesel $1.56 per litre) before prices jump for diesel, to between $1.80 and $1.99 per litre across the Nullabor to Nundroo where it is back down to $1.47 – a distance of 1,049.kms.
East of Norseman, approx. 16.kms down Eyre Highway, we camped in the overnight rest area after travelling over 748.kms for our first day.
The Norseman East Rest Area consists of tracks leading from the drive-through rest area, big enough for caravans and big rigs to drive in, around and out again, and no facilities.
At the end of the day, lots of ants and flies sent us inside our RV, but a good night’s sleep was had nevertheless.
From Bakers Hill and on through the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, the roads are often not as smooth as one would wish. Today our Fit Bit watches read that we had done over 20,000 steps on the drive towards Norseman, passing familiar landmarks, and following the Kalgoorlie Pipeline. (C Y O’Connor & Pipeline: Blog 02.11.2018 – Shall we pick up a hitchhiker?)
One of our rest stops: Southern Cross, at the site of an old cemetery. What remained of headstones from the surrounding area have been preserved, laid into concrete, and panels listing the deceased from 1888-1899 show Typhoid a major problem in the last 1800’s in the area. One panel lists lives lost away from town, mainly thought to be because of thirst. Tougher times back then.
We set off early on our next long road trip: Perth – Coffin Bay (SA) & surrounds – Burra (SA), Canberra, (ACT), to Tamworth (NSW) for the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, from 17.January until 27.January 2019.
First stop: Bakers Hill Bakery, a little over an hour from home on Great Eastern Highway, where we met up with our partners in crime, Fiona & Barry, with whom we are travelling to Tamworth. The Bakers Hill Bakery sell THE BEST PIES and have lots of other delicious pastries, cakes and bread rolls. Early morning pies eaten at tables outside the bakery, and then we hit the road in convoy for the first day of our road trip.
Parking our Suzi down the Leschenault Inlet from the Parade Hotel, we went on a pleasant walk at the end of the Inlet over the George Baxter Boardwalk (named in recognition of his contribution to the development of tourism in Bunbury) and on to the 200.metre Mangrove Boardwalk. From there – and watch for the speeding cyclists as you leave the boardwalk – it is a short walk past an open picnic and BBQ area, following the path with metal walls to another meeting/play area and large car park, across the road from the Dolphin Discovery Centre currently under renovation.
The parking area at the picnic spot at Rocky Point Bunbury is currently allowing up to four self-contained vehicles to rest for up to 48.hours. There are some overflow rest areas also located along Ocean Drive. In the City near the Tourist Bureau, is a parking area for caravans and motorhomes for easy access to the bureau and shops. With these facilities, the City of Bunbury have done well to encourage more people to the area.
Rocky Point has views of the ocean and the ships visiting the Port City. Along that stretch of coastline we have walked often – clambering over the rocks formed by ancient lava flows on clear days and particularly during winter, mesmerised by the waves smashing against the rocks and surging up the ‘canals’ between the rocky outcrop.
Back in Bunbury, and we had a busy week. While Lee was working, Mike was attending to getting new tyres fitted to the motorhome (as the old tyres were the original ones and too old) and spending what time he can with his dad.
However he still found time to do a bit more beach combing with his metal detector and as a result, it is Mike’s firm opinion that the beer of choice in Bunbury is… (drumroll): Corona.
We enjoyed a “$10 special” breakfast at Henry’s Café before driving back to Perth on 15th – restaurantwebx.com/HenrysCafe/
Every night we were out to dinner on catch-ups. Enjoyed and can recommend the following:
The Bayview Bar – Upstairs restaurant overlooking Koombana Bay – www.bayviewbar.com.au
Nicola’s Ristorante – Fine Italian dining – www.nicolasristorante.com.au
Prince of Wales Hotel – Perfect evening to dine outdoors – www.princehotel.com.au/bistro
Parade Hotel – Revamped and overlooking Leschenault Inlet (pictured above) – https://www.paradehotel.com.au/