12 December 2012
The track back to the highway is so much fun and so beautiful. When we were back on the sealed roads we were all so pleased we’d taken the time to get off the highway as the countryside is really quite different just 3km off the highway.
We stopped at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse to fuel up and I took a photo of the motel there for Dad as he was amazed there was a motel there now (when he crossed the Nullarbor in his Valiant in around 69 there was nothing at Cocklebiddy). Caiguna Roadhouse was another uninspiring roadhouse where we stopped for lunch and then hit the longest stretch of straight road in Australia – I think it’s around 150km. We managed to stop a few times along it because the kids can’t time their wee breaks!
By mid afternoon we’d taken a few snaps of the old Balladonia Telegraph Station that is privately owned and they will prosecute trespassers – so we stood behind the barbed wire fence.
A good 20km on is the Balladonia Roadhouse and there’s some fairly distant sized trees there – what a surprise. It was actually quite beautiful and the best roadhouse we’d seen/been into. The playground was bizarrely placed smack bang in the middle of all the traffic (between two lots of bowsers) but they had a little museum there that had a part of Skylab in it (it fell from the skies in 1969 and spread bits of space debris from Balladonia to Esperance), had a nice story from a worker at the Roadhouse who is Indigenous and grew up in Balladonia when the roads were dirt and there was hardly any water. It was a bit exciting to see the Balladonia Road heading south from the highway, we had contemplated taking this track to Esperance but decided because it was summer and we had small kids we could leave that adventure for another time. As it turns out we could’ve done it as the track was in pretty good condition and it was mild, overcast weather.
We were originally just aiming for Fraser Range Station about 100km east of Norseman but after a vote, we all decided to push on so we could reach Cape Le Grand (the beach) a day earlier than planned. It started raining and a big storm was about to hit Fraser Range as we drove past it so we were pleased not to have to set up in the rain. Mind you it looked really beautiful with hills and tall trees and part of us wished we were staying.
At Norseman we were surprised with how big and nice the town was, and had a great meal at one of the servos. We pulled up for camp at Bromus Lake as the sun was going down and got it set up just before it started to rain. We collapsed into bed and were pleased that we had crossed the Nullarbor! The next day was an easy 170km to Esperance on the coast.