I am assuming that everyone has their Latin intactus and is fully cognitus of the meaning of Nullabour. For those with faultious lengua skills I will illuminatius yous. It means ‘no trees’- null (nup) abour (trees); so perhaps they should’ve named it, No Tree plain, or even better, Treeless Plain or Plain Treeless. Yes they could’ve used those names …. If they wanted to lie! You see there are actually a few trees on the Nullabour (especially on the western end which contains the great western woodlands!). I am intending on blowing this whole scam wide open with an open letter to the some reputable newspaper like the courier mail and insist some investigative reporter delves even further into this, most probably sneaky, government/big business related conspiracy.
We had two overnight stops on the way across the Nullabour. On our first day we drove for about five hours from Ceduna to Eucla which is just past the West Australian border. On our second day we drove for six hours from Eucla to Fraser Range Station campground. The next day we had a three hour drive to get to Esperance via Norseman.
On the first day we stopped at a nature conservation area called Head of Bight and paid the nice lady fourteen dollars to walk along the boardwalk. Wow, this part of the coast is truly amazing with huge white sand dunes to the east and incredible sea edge cliffs to the west. It is spectacular and something that even managed to slightly astound the kids although that didn’t stop them from keeping up the whole, ‘why are you doing this to us’ façade and generally pretending to be bored and unimpressed. We had a few little rest stops and shared the driving. Near the end of the day we crossed the border and had a lovely chat with the quarantine lady who was impressed by our complete lack of honey, fruit and vegetables (except for carrots that we knew we could keep). We pulled up at the Eucla roadhouse at around 3pm and paid the $25 to park in the huge overnight area with power. There was good hot showers there for a dollar. And I got to stare up at the moonless sky at 5 that morning to check out the meteor shower caused by the debris left by Halley’s comet last time it passed through (no photos—I didn’t even try—but I saw at least 8 shooting stars in twenty minutes and the clearness of the sky and stars on the moonless night was something you don’t get to see anywhere near a built up area). We left ourselves hitched up to the car so it was easy to get an early start the next day.
We had talked to another family staying at Eucla and they mentioned they were staying at a place called Fraser Range Station as their next stop. We were thinking of maybe staying at the Balladonia roadhouse but when we looked up Fraser Range we were impressed by the comments and the fact they had a pet camel there, so that’s where we headed. At six hours behind the wheel it was our longest driving day on the trip so far. We had a few stops on the way to refill the fuel tank and take a little look at the coast again (not quite as amazing as the day before) and arrived at Fraser Range just after 3 pm. The camel did not disappoint and whole place was really well set out and the landscape was fairly amazing.
Our last day of just three hours seemed a doodle compared to the rest and there was definitely many more trees to be seen. We got to Esperance at about midday all in one piece and happy that we had defeated a very long stretch of road and we were now in our second last piece of Australia.
I would also like to mention that this is not my first time crossing the Nullabour. I travelled across it in 1982 in a 1968 Valiant with Andy Taylor and two other guys. That was a completely different trip and I remember very little of it apart from the fact that we just drove and drove and it was the first (and only) time I watched the driver of a car gently fall asleep at the wheel. I just thought I would add this bit in because, as I have mentioned before, Andy Taylor has made it clear to me in the past that he didn’t ever want me to mention him in any of my writing.
I have done a wonderful thing for my children. I have been listening to a talking book called ‘The Bloke-a-saurus.’ This book is filled with dad jokes and knock knock jokes and lightbulb jokes. Ha I should now have a treasury of ways to keep those lovely little tykes entertained and amused. Only problem is my awfully poor memory for jokes. I will just have to listen over and over again to get them locked in.