Monday, 12 May 2014



We reluctantly left Smoky Bay at about 9.30 with grey skies, but very little wind.  Ceduna was the first stop, only about 40 kms away, for fuel and a few groceries. Pretty uneventful day, just lots of scrubby saltbush, a couple of roadhouses and a few emus. 
The warning sign for animals on the road amused me.

Millie managed to demolish her second bed during the day.

We stopped for an overnight camp at a rest area overlooking the Great Australian Bight. 

Beautiful scenery out the bedroom window.

Not a great start to the day with a cold shower – the hot water service was not working.  We continued on across the Nullabor. Just before the WA border, we saw a dingo at the side of the road.  It was just standing looking at us, didn’t even try to run away.

At the WA border we had to get rid of all our fruit and vegetables at the quarantine station.  Fortunately we knew this would happen so we didn’t have much left.  This means a couple of days without any fresh fruit or vegetables as there is nothing much until Norseman.
We passed through Cocklebiddy and Caiguna and started on the longest straight road in Australia – 90 miles of straight road.

We decided to stop at the roadhouse at Balladonia as there was a caravan park there and we would have hot showers.  It was an interesting place, there was a Skylab Museum there.  Apparently it is where a part of Skylab landed years ago.  The piece is actually in the Museum there.  There was also a very nice bar and eating area.  We had a very acceptable dinner there.  It is strange to find these types of things in the middle of nowhere.  There were also extremely large ant holes - must have very large ants in Balladonia!

Another early start (I hope I am not developing bad habits).  I think the time differences are messing things up a bit.  We were on the road before 8 o’clock. 
Another interesting sign on the highway are the emergency air strips for the Flying Doctor.  Great dual use for the roads.

Our next stop would be Norseman, approximately 200 kms away, where we hoped to get some supplies.  Alan also hoped to find an auto electrician and get our batteries checked as they didn’t seem to be working properly.  We found an auto repair place, where the man was able to check them.  He told us there used to be an auto electrician but “the town’s buggered now”.  I guess the mining downturn is having an effect here, similar to what we saw in Kalgoorlie/Boulder last year.
We went into the “town centre” of Norseman for a look anyway – there wasn’t much to see.  There were a lot of boarded up buildings and the ones still operating had a very tired look about them.  It had obviously been a thriving small town at one time.  The main street had nice little garden areas and some sculptures.  The corrugated iron camels were very clever.

From Norseman we turned south for Esperance.  As we travelled along this road the vegetation thinned out and there were large crop growing areas.  We followed the railway line all along and there were very large grain storage facilities at regular intervals. There were also many signs pointing to Historic School Sites.  This area must have been dotted with small schools in the past.  There were also a lot of shallow lagoons with some water in them.
We got to Esperance and started looking for a park to stay for a few days until Peter and Judy Brown catch up with us.  Unfortunately, the best positioned ones (there are 6 parks in total in Esperance) are not pet friendly.  We eventually found Pink Lake Caravan Park about 2 kms from the town centre, dog friendly and quite tidy.  We had quite a large drive through site so fitting everything in was pretty easy.  It isn’t always!

After setting up we drove to the shopping area to get some much needed fruit and vegetables, and a bed for Millie to sleep on!  The town is much bigger than I expected, with lots of shops and a very large industrial area.  There is a lot of development in the harbour area.  The rail line runs to the harbour and is obviously a very important part of the town.

We will be here for about a week and Peter and Judy should get in by the weekend, so there will be lots of Esperance to show next time.  

Merrilyn xx

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