7 August 2015

Road trip Australia: Esperance-Whyalla

Nullarbor
After a good two weeks in the more or less densely populated south-western corner of Western Australia, we got ready for a big adventure. Crossing the roughly 1500 kilometers of bushland and a whole lot of nothing that is called the Nullarbor. From Esperance, where we bought all our supplies for the next four days, we first drove two hours north to Norseman. Norseman is a sleepy and hot little town, but once you leave it, you will crave it's amenities.

As a Swiss person, you grow up thinking 200 kilometers is a huge distance and four hours driving is a lot for one day. Travelling in Australia you learn to adjust your perspective a bit. Upon leaving Norseman, you come across a sign telling you that Adelaide, the next big city, is more than 1800 kilometers away. This is what we enjoy about travelling: experience things we can't experience at home. And a 1800 km drive would bring us from Switzerland all the way to Minsk, Bielorussia.
Norseman camels
Lisa and I were both looking forward to crossing the Nullarbor. I have to admit, we did romanticise it's remoteness a bit. And the sparse vegetation does create amazing landscapes, not speaking of the breathtaking sunsets. But there's also a few downturns. It's dry. Really, really dry. Bringing your own water for drinking, washing and everything else is mandatory. We had about 30 liters between the two of us, so plenty for 3-4 days. We didn't know how desperate for water flies can be. As soon as you exit your car, they are all over you. And more, as they will try to enter every orifice on their search for a precious little humidity.

Sunset in the Nullarbor
The second downturn is heat. While driving, the AC of our van kept the temperature at more or less nice levels. But as soon as we stopped, it got hot. No problem in general for us, but sleeping got quite difficult at 32 degrees celsius even past midnight. The first night, we finally left the windows open as we simply couldn't sleep in our o-van. We learned the next morning that this was not the best idea. About ten minutes after leaving, Lisa opened the sun visor, as it was still early in the day. A huge and hairy spider almost dropped on her. We stopped and tried to chase the spider out of the car, but carefully, as we knew that not all Australian spiders are harmless. In the end, the spider hid somewhere below the front seats. To this day, we don't know if or where it left us, but at least we never saw it again.

Kangaroo capital
The rest of our drive through the Nullarbor is quickly told: a whole lot of nothing. A couple of kangaroos, a couple of bushes, very little traffic and even less human settlements. Most of the houses there are are petrol stations. Three days after leaving Lucky Bay, we arrived in Ceduna, the South Australian town at the other end of the Nullarbor. After a quick visit to the supermarket we headed to Smoky Bay, about 20km south for fresh water and finally to a beautiful community campground right on the beach in Streaky Bay. As it offered all we wanted, we immediately decided to stay for two nights.

Erye Peninsula
The Erye Peninsula between Ceduna and Whyalla is dry and remote, but has some of the most scenic national parks of Australia and some beautiful beaches too. After recharging our batteries in Streaky Bay, we spent the next five days driving along the coast all the way down the western coast of the peninsula to the Coffin Bay National Park, across to Port Lincoln for some shopping and internet and up the eastern coast to Whyalla. All in all, we spent ten days between Esperance and Whyalla, driving a good 2500 kilometers. And Melbourne was still a good 1200km away.

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