We started from our bush camp amongst the salmon gums and drove to Newman Rock, which we had also visited coming across from the eastern states. There was more surface water this time.
We proceeded to Balladonia roadhouse where we had a hole of golf to play. The green and fairway were okay but the fairway was pure saltbush. Even though it was only par 3, the green was so difficult to locate that a red target was required to show us where to aim.
The roadhouse museum, included remains of Skylab, NASA’s space research laboratory, that re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded around Balladonia.
Beneath the Nullarbor are many caves and near Caiguna is a ‘blowhole’. It seems that caves ‘breathe’, with air exiting through holes as temperatures increase. We visited it, but it was underwhelming. The blue bush plains after rain, however, provide attractive reflections, views of complex skies and clouds and are a pleasant place to spend an evening.
Kalgoorlie is a gold mining city. It used to have a Golden Mile of individual small poppet heads over mine shafts. Then in the 1980s entrepreneur Alan Bond bought up and consolidated the small mines. Today it is a huge open cut mine owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine, known as the Super Pit. We viewed the trucks removing overburden and a digger working from the lookout at the Boulder side of the city.
We also played two more holes of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course at the impressive Kalgoorlie Golf Course. It was quite a contrast to the saltbush fairways out on the Nullarbor.
Kalgoorlie has some magnificent buildings from the period of its earlier boom around 1900.
On Saturday night we watched the sun set as the galahs gathered in the treetops in the Ceduna shopping centre.
This morning, after we checked out of the campground, we called into the visitor centre and registered for the World’s Longest Golf Course. this18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres across the Nullabor Plain in the south of Australia. The first two holes were at the Ceduna Golf Course and the next at the town of Penong, seventy-odd kilometres away.
We proceeded here to Fowlers Bay and clambered over vast sand dunes as the sun lowered and a fisherman with his son returned on his quad bike. Our footprints were shared with the wave-like patterns carved by the wind. The township clustered at the bottom of the dunes.
The caravan park lit a campfire and a family toasted marshmallows.
“Awesome – that’s it,” encouraged the coach as the young woman squatted and hauled herself upwards, her weight taken by her arms and fingers clutching at tiny bumps in the apparently sheer rock face. Below another climber anchored her with a rope and pulley: “Keep your right arm down” reminded the trainer.
Mt Arapiles is a climber’s Mecca, with its steep piles of rock. We watched in silence, sipping our coffee but not wanting to distract the apprentice climber from her task. She looked confused when we clapped her abseiled descent – she had clearly forgotten that she had an audience.
The mountain rises abruptly from the Wimmera plain. Banksias, wattles and grass trees cluster at the base, while behind us cattle grazed, oblivious to the climber’s adrenaline rush.
Today we went tree-surfing at The Enchanted Maze, Arthurs Seat, Australia.
The older children and my daughter did the adult course, while the younger ones and I did the Nippers version. First we were harnessed up, then started on the aerial obstacle course. It was an adrenalin rush for us all, with careful stepping at heights. Seven-year-old Lily completed the third, most difficult level alone, as it was children only.
As well as tree-surfing, there was a tyre slide, traditional mazes, a 3D maze and an intriguing mirror maze. We had a picnic lunch on the grass before exploring these other features. It was a great day and we were ready for a cooling swim afterwards.
The 5.5km walk/clamber up and around the rim of Kings Canyon is like a mini world trip. There was a group of US uni students on an Australian Geographic tour, a bus load of Germans doing the walk barefoot to feel the warmth of the rock, a French couple, a family from Sydney. Yesterday’s walk included some of a family of five children including a three month baby from Dandenong taking a year off to do the “Big Loop” and a bus load of Chinese speakers.
The walk itself is well marked and includes staircases and footbridges and a sidewalk to the heavenly Garden of Eden permanent waterhole. Just the right degree of difficulty.