I took my time on the drive from Perth to Adelaide. A very fast trip is 2 days, a regular trip is around about 3 days and I took 4.5 days. Mostly because I am out of practice at driving long distances (or at all) and partly because it was my first time and I wanted to savour it a little.
It was a lovely spot to camp and also has an interpretive trail around the rocks, walls, flumes and dam, with plenty of information about the history of the site and the travails of getting from Perth to Kal before trains. Things I failed to check before leaving, such as quantity and viability of tent pegs and sturdiness of sleeping mat all turned out fine. Luckily for me. I even remembered how to correctly use a camp-stove, woot!
I spent a lot of the second day in Kalgoorlie, checking out the mining history and Victorian buildings. I didn’t have time for a brothel tour. Perhaps another time. The evening I spent at Fraser Range, the only non-free-camping spot of the trip over. At $22/night for a tent-site, it was way more pricey than I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed using someone else’s gas, dishes, dishwashing liquid, tea towels and hot water. OK, maybe it was worth $22. I also went for my first jog in approximately 1 million years the following morning through the woodlands and largely felt great.
The next day whizzed by and I thoroughly enjoyed the driving. 90 Mile Straight, Eucla and the Bunda Cliffs all went by over the course of the day, with 2 stops for fuel. The car averaged about 15km/L which was unbelievably awesome.
I pulled over into the last rest stop before the Nullarbor roadhouse and camped out the back.
The next day actually crossed the Nullarbor Plain itself. It’s the largest karst (arid/semi-arid limestone) system in the world. It’s underlain by caves and caves and caves, including some amazing places for cave-diving. Stopped at the Caiguna blowhole and felt the cave breathing out (lower pressure above-ground)– felt like it was around 22 degrees celcius and pushing out a definite, deliciously limestone-scentred breeze.
Then through the fruit border at Ceduna. I had organised all my fresh food into a bag on the passenger seat and cheerfully gave the border control folk my orange-peel-containing rubbish bag. Stopped for a long time here and had a delicious picnic by the seaside with some rather aggressive gulls. Chugged past Smoky Bay and Streaky Bay – really liked Streaky Bay and would be very happy to spend a week or two chilling out there. Feels a lot like Dunsborough did back in the day. Then chugged through the most expensive roadhouse of all in Poothera, sussed the picnic area in Minnipa for camping, but decided to go up the hill behind the town and found a lovely camping spot. Set up for my NYE by the big granite surface and watched the light change on the Gawler Ranges as the sun went down.
Morning saw my routine interrupted by the second dingo of my trip. Probably 30m away and going about his own business, while I warmed up with roll-downs and sun-salutes. We spent some time regarding each other and then he continued on towards the hay fields. So beautiful and intelligent. (The dingo, not me.)
Zipped through to Kimba “the middle of Australia” and the big galah for an hilarity-inducing attempt by another traveller to get a photo containing both my face and all of the galah. Then on to Port Augusta. Finally had my first lot of reception since Kalgoorlie about 40km out of Port Augusta and my phone dinged pretty consistently for a couple of kilometres as all of the social-media apps reported in.
Facebook in particular had serious separation anxiety and had also emailed me daily to tell me it missed me. Assuring my mother that I was not dead, but merely that Australia is very large and doesn’t have data-coverage across most of the desert had been done by the Dowlings, I simply reported “still alive!” and continued on. 43° Celcius in Port Augusta, but bearable.Hot, but not miserable. The misery came when the ants at my chosen picnic site were irresistibly attracted to the moisture they could sense under my skin and bit me for it. A lot.
Finally into Adelaide to hang out with Mike and Karen and hopefully meet up with Boris. A lovely swim at Semaphore finished the day and the trip to Adelaide. Just now getting hydrated to head out to Norwood and see Game 2 of the ABL Roadtrip’