A long drive lay ahead of us. Ten hours to be exact and there was not much to see unless you count the fact that we were crossing the large treeless plain that got to be known by its Latin name nullarbor – no trees. Of course, we had stops every now and then to stretch our legs and replenish our energy but the main attraction was to catch up on sleep. There is a lot of opportunity for that in 10 hours. And then I lay on the ground near the Australian border and cars drove over me.
Leg Stretching before Hitting the Australian border
The next day it was only a 6 hour drive. On the way we stopped at a couple of road houses, one of which housed a museum on the Nullarbor, which we quickly passed through, none on the bus being too keen on museums, one of the famous golfing holes with a giant kangaroo statue and a petrol station, where one member of our Nullarbor Traveller group had worked before and was catching up with former colleagues.
But despite the seemingly endless hours spent cruising through the countryside, we still had enough time to step out and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the weather beaten coastline that in winter time is dotted by awe inspiring whale dances. We were told a lot about their background and connection to the area.
Humans and Animals Lovely Friendship – And then this happened
Did you, for instance know that killer whales used to work together with local aboriginal people in catching whales until greedy white people came along and messed with the ‘contract’. This stated that the killer whales got the jaw and tongue and the humans the rest. But of course someone had to come along and take the whole whale. The killer whales were not thrilled.
But the drive along the plain did not lead us along the coast most of the time and so we watched the trees disappear and bush lands taking shape. What we also saw was part of the formerly longest fence in the world, the dingo fence that divides North and South Australia to keep the sheep and cattle save from the wild dogs.
That in itself was not thrilling, but the twist our tour guide added to it was. We lay underneath the bridge over which the Eyre Highway ran and thus cars and trucks. Well, it wasn’t everyone. The Germans on the Nullarbor Traveller bus weren’t keen (I sense a cultural attribute here) and I only happened to be underneath the bridge at the time car drove across because I wanted to take a picture of the others lying in the dirt, anticipating the noise and first shock. It was kinda scary but not as much as I had made it out to be in my head.
Crossing Lines and the Australian border
Just before the border between South and Western Australia, we had to discard and cook our veggies and fruits – as always – so that we could pass the border inspection and not get fined. We passed and proudly stood next to border signs. They were not much to look at but they were signs. The next one was much more intriguing, being the iconic Australian animal signs and we instantly took a silly group picture.
The next stretch-your-legs part we spent wading massive sand dunes that had wandered into formerly grassland that had been decimated by an incredible rabbit plague and the telegraph station that used to stand here was left in shambles and void of any sign of possible habitation henceforth. However, it was still good enough to climb around for us and so we did that.
Last night’s camp was a “normal” campsite especially chosen for us because we were already whining about the lack of showers, flushing toilets and electricity (the last part was expressedly stressed by workaholic me) in the bush camps. If you didn’t know, bush camps are exactly that: a campsite in the bush. Basically bushland with some clearings for putting your swags on the ground. And a self decomposing bush toilet.
Well, tonight we were finally facing the inevitable: the Australian bush camping. No water, no nothing. But we had a blast making dampers (which turned out bad) and sitting by the campfire underneath the canopy of stars. With the shift in time zones due to the border crossing we made it to bed pretty early since the sun had waved us goodbye pretty soon and we got some more sleep this way. Sounds fine by me since my laptop was already out of battery and I wasn’t able to type away the night.
Don’t miss out on my other South and Western Australia adventures – read the full Nullarbor Traveller diary here: Part 1 (Flinders Ranges and Sand boarding), part 2 (tuna diving and koala spotting), part 3 (treeless plains), part 4 (THE kangaroo beach), part 5 (fleeing the bush fires) and part 6 (digeridoo lessons).
I would like to thank Nullarbor Traveller again for having me as a guest and showing me South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian border with the Nullarbor Plain. My opinion is as always my own.