The map

Crossing the border – a huge sigh of relief – 29 April

After leaving Port Lincoln and travelling along the coastline, our first town was the fishing village of Elliston. After a brief stop, we continued on our way, visiting the cliffs whenever possible, passing through Streaky Bay and on to Ceduna, where we officially entered The Nullarbor Plain.

Squid carved in Granite at Elliston
The Long Jetty at Elliston
Just one of the many salt pan lakes we saw as we crossed the Nullarbor

The landscape had begun to change, but from here on there was a marked difference. There are two names given to this vast stretch of stark and almost featureless area of Australia – Nullarbor, which in Latin means “no trees”, that is not completely correct because in various places there is bluebush and mulga scrub as well as a variety of scrubby bushes that produce an amazing sight in Spring when they are covered in flowers.

The second name given to this land that runs from the Eyre Peninsula, 1,365 km along the length of the Eyre Highway to the Goldfields of WA is the aboriginal word “Oondiri” which means “waterless” with only an average of 203mm per year – we had more than that in February this year at Artisans on the hill!

Through more tiny townships, some of which were basically a Roadhouse and nothing else, we eventually stopped at Fowler’s Bay for the night. Right on The Bight, our cabin was opposite the most beautiful bay. A favourite place for fishermen, it has an extremely long jetty – 340 metres.

The sunset was spectacular but the sunrise was beautiful but understated!

Driving out of Fowlers Bay to Nundroo – 100 even on the dirt!

The next morning, we set out once more, fuelling the car at Nundroo, then off across the plain again.  Peter and I both thought that this Nullarbor Crossing would be a boring stretch of our journey, but it wasn’t. The variation in landscape as we drove was quite amazing. The visits out to the coast were spectacular.

The Nullarbor and the Border Crossing

But, probably the most important part of this day was reaching Border Town. Our first attempt at visiting WA was for my 70th birthday in October 2020. Caitlin interrupted that one by coming home to us, to have her beautiful little boy. I did make it to Cocos after that. But Peter has never visited Cocos so we started planning another trip, this time for my 71st birthday and for Lincoln’s 1st. The pandemic and the WA Premier interrupted those plans. We started a new plan and that is when we decided to drive over, visit Cocos and the family, then drive back. We held our breath, waiting for WA to open. It did, so we started planning, only for it to be shut down again. When it was eventually reopened, we completed the plan and started out. Before we left, we completed all the paperwork, had all our vaccinations, and set off.

The funniest thing is that the day we crossed the border, was the day that Mark McGowan relaxed the entry requirements, so when we arrived, other than a check for fruit, we drove straight through. I must admit, I still breathed a huge sigh of relief.  

Our overnight stay was at the Wedgetail Inn at Cocklebiddy – a funny quaint place with very mediocre accommodation but an enormous and tasty meal of bangers and mash! Again, we saw both the sunset and the sunrise and two planets in alignment in the early morning sky, before continuing on our journey.

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