Westward Ho!

Keep movin’, movin’, movin’

Though they’re disapproving

Keep them dogies movin’ rawhide

by Ned Washington and Dmitir Tiomkin – Theme from Rawhide

Moving west. Just like my favourite westerner Clint Eastwood in his many different guises as a cowpoke. We have been to Carmel, Ca. where Clint was the mayor. The story goes he couldn’t buy an icecream on Carmel beach because of a bylaw so got elected mayor to change that. Like all tall stories there may or may not be a small amount of truth there. Well California is in lockdown over Covid19 and we are reassessing plans. Meantime we forge on westwards.

After a beautiful sunrise at Nullarbor Roadhouse we moved on to Cocklebiddy – our next roadhouse stop for the night. But not before stopping at the spectacular Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean. See pic above. The Bunda cliffs stretch from western South Australia along the Nullarbor for 100 kms and are the longest uninterrupted line of sea cliffs in the world. And at up to 120m high quite breathtaking “on the edge”. There is a free camp in the space alongside the cliffs and we met Julian and Jane from Melbourne who had spent the night there in their caravan. We later had a meal with them at Cocklebiddy’s Wedgetail Inn and discovered that Julian is a founder of the Male Bag Foundation – a prostate cancer charity. He had done this trip before – from Adelaide to Perth on a postie bike as a fundraiser.

The Eyre Highway has a series of roadhouses to service truckies and travellers. Set 300-400 kms apart they are of varying quality but always a welcome sight for thirsty travellers or those starting to worry about fuel. We passed some lovely country but it is mostly flat, scrubby and straight. To relieve the boredom and promote the region the Eyre Highway Operators Assn. set up the world’s longest golf course – the Nullarbor Links. It is an 18 hole, par 72, 1,365 km course with one hole in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre from Ceduna to Kalgoorlie. Julian, Jane and I played the 125m par 3 Brumby’s Run at Madura. I put my 8 iron the perfect distance but slightly left of the artificial green. Chipping off the rocks (8 iron but no excuses) I misjudged the pace of the green (extremely fast) and pushed past the hole. Putting back (8 iron but no excuses) I ran past again to putt back for a creditible one over 4. J and J came back in from snake country for a couple more.

We had a night at the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse about halfway across the Nullarbor after crossing the border into Western Australia at the aptly named Border Town. Every vehicle passing into W.A. is searched for fruit and veges (and as of today by the Police for quarantine. S.A.s borders are closed). We declared our bag of onions in the misguided conception that they were acceptable. Well they were – but only peeled. So as I waited just across the border in the van MTC peeled a dozen onions. Or at least four. The very nice Border Security lady peeled the other eight.

Bruce – Cocklebiddy’s resident Wedgetailed Eagle. He was hit by a car, suffered a broken wing and cannot fly. Don’t worry, he has a mate Samantha who is blind in one eye. Wedgies mate for life.

Our final night on the Nullarbor was spent at Fraser Range Station. In 1872 Fraser Range was the first sheep station to be settled on the Nullarbor. Stocking rates are 8-10 per square kilometre. The station is 5,000 square kms so work it out. Uniquely wool bales were transported by cart pulled by a 16 camel team to be loaded on a ship at Port Malcolm and transported to Adelaide. The descendants of those camels can be seen at the station today. The caravan and camp sites are set under pink salmon gums and surrounded by the stations dusty red hills, sheep yards and woolshed. It was an experience to sit under the stars with beer or glass of wine in hand. That is until six o,clock when a 50kmph wind suddenly arrived and drove everyone inside. Tomorrow we leave the Nullarbor for the south west coast, Esperance and some of the whitest sand beaches in the world.

Pics clockwise – Fraser Range campground, Cocklebiddy sign, camped at Fraser Range, Fraser Range livestock and Cocklebiddy Roadhouse.

2 thoughts on “Westward Ho!

  1. Great reading and so informative, we are enjoying every word especially the golf game. Looking forward to the next one. Our flight back to Sydney today has been rescheduled for the 10.25am tomorrow just in time for the border close at midnight tomorrow. Travel safely. With our love. Thea and Andrew.

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Hi Thea and Andrew
      Yes safe travels indeed. We are looking for somewhere to hunker down for a month or so. Could be worse than here i suppose.
      All the best and we will keep in touch


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