sharing recipes from one generation to the next
There are no route options traversing the breadth of southern Australia from west to east. The only route is across the Nullabor Plain, a distance of 1394 kilometres along a mainly straight, mainly flat ribbon of bitumen which traces the Great Australian Bight from Kalgoorlie to Ceduna
Every 200 kilometres or so across the Eyre Highway there’s a roadhouse selling fuel and fast food as well as offering one star motel-style accommodation, overnight caravan parking and camping. Free roadside camp spots, well away from the highway, appear frequently.
From a lifetime of listening to drivers complain of the boredom experienced while driving this stretch of road, I had built up an image of dry, sandy desert totally devoid of vegetation. Despite what the name “Null-arbor” implies, there is a broad range of plant diversity. The landscape from Kalgoorlie to the South Australian border is quite heavily treed, then from Eucla where the road hugs the coastline growth height is limited by the salty prevailing winds from the south west, a mix of low growing bushes is every shade of green imaginable. Then the scrub gives way to the grassy Nullabor Plain, green thanks to good recent rain.
This is a typical Aussie outback landscape, the perfect habitat for big red kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and emus. Warning roadside signs are a constant reminder of the danger of encountering wildlife on the road. We have “shoo-roos” attached to our front bumpers, moulded plastic whistles which emit a high pitched sound beyond our hearing capability which sends the kangaroos bounding into the bush.
Road modifications provide a safe emergency landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. They’re marked by thick parallel painted lines on the road. The verges are cleared to approximately 8 metre width, there are no roadside posts and the vegetation is kept under check. They are a grim reminder of the perils of driving this landscape. Emergency telephones are another regular feature and tanks of drinking water reinforce the danger of the very hot and dry summers. Stranded motorists seeking assistance on foot have perished in the harsh conditions.
Then there is the annoyance of being pestered by clouds of small bush flies each time we stop. Open your car door or window at your own peril!
After two long days in the car keeping ourselves alert with frequent breaks, coffee, low GI snacks and loud music from our youth we were back in cultivated farmland, the Nullabor behind us and Melbourne just 3 days away.
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