As we all know ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’! Our plan was to head west from Clare to catch the Wallaroo to Cowell ferry… Only to find that it is suspended due to a downturn in traffic and the SA economy generally. So sad as it’s a great way to save time and money getting to the Eyre peninsula.
So Plan B saw us driving north from Clare past Port Pirie and Port Augusta to camp in Wudinna. All was forgiven during our evening walk when we found this magnificent 8 metre high granite statue built in 2009 to commemorate the ‘Australian farmer‘.
Sadly the dogs of the town had kindly scheduled a special “bark and howl” concert for the night, so none of us in the caravan park got much sleep. GRRR. So on to Ceduna to pick up oysters (you need some luxury on the Nullabor).
Fowlers Bay Eco Park was our next stop.
This little coastal town was once the main South Australian port for ferrying wool and wheat (although a mouse plague in the warehouse one year proved disastrous!) Explorer Edward Eyre also set off west from here in 1840. He was lucky to survive many trials and tribulations to get to Albany and put any silly ideas of creating an overland stock route between eastern and western Australia to bed forever. Sadly the town is gradually being consumed by a huge sand dune! Some of the old parts are now lost forever under tonnes of white sand…
We managed to experience pleasant sunny weather, gale force winds, an early morning thunderstorm and heavy rain in the space of 18 hours. Phew! We can now truly say ‘been there, done that’. It’s worth noting that reducing your car and van tyre pressures on the unsealed sections of the road gives you a much more comfortable ride.
From Fowlers Bay we headed of to our last border crossing home into Western Australia. This time we had read the very useful Domestic Quarantine website and passed with flying colours.
It’s eight months since we left Perth, so it was exciting to be back – ‘only’ 2118 kilometres to go!
An overnight stop at Madura, then more straight roads and fuel stops…
But there are always interesting places and stories along the way, e.g. Samantha the wedge-tailed eagle at Cocklebiddy. These huge birds struggle to get airborne quickly, which is disastrous when they are feasting on roadkill. Sam was rescued after being hit by a truck, flown thousands of kms to Karratha for rehab and is now back at the roadhouse building up her strength – hopefully ready for release in March 2015. We are passionate about these magnificent creatures, so much so that we chose them for our blog logo on our vehicles. A timely reminder that tooting your car horn is a good way to warn them to move off the road.
Time stands still in this area – we drove 65 kms from Cocklebiddy to Caiguna and arrived at the same time! There are time changes not only between SA and WA but Central Standard Time (SA time without daylight saving) and WA… OK, it was a perfect summer’s morning so no need to worry about time. Ian hasn’t worn a watch since 1992 and Ginny joined him on 15 February this year.
Another ‘wish list’ item was ticked off with our two nights at Fraser Range Station. Glad to have experienced this, although sadly they don’t run station or sunset tours with less than 4 people. We had been keen to get a sense of the size and history of the property.
Next stop – due south to Esperance!