After two weeks of house sitting we hopped on a plane and flew half way across Australia to Adelaide in South Australia.
Joseph and his niece Joanna made plans to drive his four-wheel vehicle from Adelaide to Perth and they invited us to join them. We jumped at the opportunity to see the Nullarbor, a remote area that is not heavily travelled and sparsely populated. Nullarbor comes from the Latin word meaning “no trees” and this area is indeed a vast treeless plain.
On this more than 1500 km journey across the desert there were small road houses scattered across the two lane Eyre Highway. Joseph’s white four-wheel drive is equipped with a “roo” bar, extra water, spare tires and an air compressor. It’s also important to note the large selection of “retro” CD’s that we enjoyed along the journey. Joseph’s collection includes classics like Patty Page, Bobby Vinton and Roy Orbison. The one riding shotgun is deemed the DJ and responsible for changing the music.
Each day was an adventure. One day we found lodging and dinner at Fraser Range station. This was originally a sheep station established in the 1800’s. We didn’t see many sheep but did encounter a calf and camel playing together as well as emus grazing in the field.
Although we travelled along a desert plain sometimes the road skirted the Southern ocean. Joseph was anxious for us to see the ocean and at one point he drove down a dirt track in hopes of reaching the beach. We started crossing the dunes but the sand was too soft and alas we got stuck. Joanna, Stephen and I hopped out of the vehicle, and started pushing while Joseph gunned the accelerator. Sand went flying but with some heavy pushing we were quickly back on the road.
Fish and Chips was one of our staple meals. Sometimes we ate on the roof of a small shack or on a picnic table while visiting with other Aussies.
Australia is the driest continent on earth and I noticed that everyone has large water storage tanks in their yard. The water is collected from the roof and drained into tanks for use throughout the year. I saw several signs across the Nullarbor where public toilets were closed because the water storage tanks had run dry.
After two long days of driving through the Nullarbor we passed from a dry arid land to hardwood forests of beautiful Gum trees. We’ve still got miles to drive and I’ll elaborate in my next post.