When we first started this trip I was somewhat fearing this leg. I’m not sure if it was because our kids had potential to be in the back moaning and groaning, driving me mad with ‘are we there yet?’ type questions, having to be stuck in the car for days at a time or it was the lengthy drive through what I imagined to be bare nothingness. Or was it the risk of being blown off the road by what I imagined, were road trains as long as rail trains? Or maybe it was just just running the desert gauntlet of being underprepared, first timers, broken down or out of fuel with no reception, no water and kids in tow. The reality is, all of the above, are well and truly over dramatic, overprotective and very scepital of something I’ve never experienced before. All of the above are possibly very real risks of crossing the Nullarbor but sometimes it’s best to go into these situations with low or no expectations or to fear the absolute worst, as you more than likely, come out the other end pleasantly surprised! Which is what I did.
Part of me began looking forward to the Nullarbor as the kids have adapted perfectly to lengthy drives since entering South Australia. I began to see it as the pathway to a new WA chapter which we have been really looking forward to.
The time had come, and after leaving Cactus, we were now officially “crossing the Nullarbor”( treeless plains )
I’d made sure all our fruit and veg was either cooked or frozen to enter WA as the Boarder is tight for quarantine inspections and only 100kms into a 1200km journey. I didn’t want to have wasted bags full of fresh fruit and veg like we did crossing into SA. I knew we had to be on the road for at least 3 days so everything I had was either stewed or baked into a dish that we could use and take across. Plus we had just come from remote Cactus after 3 nights so what I had brought in Ceduna needed to get us through, to prevent expensive road house food stops.
The kids are bottomless pits in the car. We could leave immediately after they’ve both eaten a big breakfast and as soon as they get into the car it’s “can I have something to eat!” Unbelievable!!
We had been talking to the kids and preparing them about the big boring days spent on the road, we tried to enlighten them with jokes such as I spy…. Something red? “Oh just dirt” eye spy? …. Something blue? …. Oh just the sky! This went on with many belly laughs as to what we minimal things we thought may encounter on the road throughout the desert!
We couldn’t have been more wrong! I don’t get why it’s the called the treeless plains. – there were trees- some seemed to be struggling but at times there were loads and some were beautiful with golden trunks and green tops!
We stopped a couple of times to see the cliffs and overlook the southern ocean from the great Australian Bight We scored the best day. Clear blue skies and warm sunshine with a light refreshing breeze. It was magical! Your chances from May onwards are high to spot whales breeching from the cliff, so it could potentially get even better!
The kids watched movies and ate food, drew pictures and ate some more food, we shouted them with lollies ($20 for a packet of minties, two curly whirlies and two bounties) from the roadhouse when filling up, and they played on the seriously outdated and run down, ‘old school’ parks. All there was dust blowing and the sound of crows in the background. Not once did they complain or misbehave. It was heaven.
Finally we reached our first over nighter. We thought we would spoil ourselves with a powered site in Eucla, just passed the quarantine station at the WA boarder. Our van and car was checked over for all the prohibited items.. The man confiscated our honey and one Avocado- I swear I’d forgotten to ditch. We reached our dust bowl caravan park that had magnificent views of the ocean and to our surprise, a beautiful pool! We all got to enjoy a refreshing swim to wash away the Cactus sand and the red dust from the days travel! Heaven! We charged up the batteries and enjoyed some hot showers after a few cold drinks.
The kids rode around the dust bowl and made dusty, dirty potions and cubby houses before calling it a day. One day down. Two more to go!
Back on the road we had cranked some ‘like a version’ MJ and Justine Clark, I watched a few surf movies and wrote out my Cactus blog. I even had a few messages back and forth. with my best mate in South America with some random reception we came across.
We spotted a big heard of wild camels gathered on the side of the road and stopped to let some loose cattle cross ( off what farm I couldn’t tell you)
We stirred up some trouble in Balladonia when asking to ‘Pay’ to use a swimming pool in an empty roadhouse/motel.
We pushed on an extra 250km to reach a 7hr car day before pulling over at a road side rest stop for the night at Fraser range. It was a dried up lake that left a vast, Barron red-soiled, playing field to camp along side. Perfect for the kids to ride bikes late into the afternoon and even better, a great desert, disco- dance floor under the exquisite starry, desert sky. It was rather amazing and topped a great Nullarbor adventure day.
After a rather early start we ventured on another 300kms towards our final destination, we felt like it would be a piece of cake but this last day in the car took its toll on us. – Esperance. We’ve been looking forward to you for a while now, so fingers crossed you live up to our expectations and rejuvenate our weary, car-seat moulded bodies.