As the waves crash and spray on the rocky outcrops, the receding tide throws up treasures from the ocean: kelp, plastic trash broken and distorted, bottles encrusted with cockles, feathers, driftwood.
The Coorong is a system of lakes behind the dunes in the southeast of South Australia. It includes samphire swampland and melaleuca. This morning, we pulled into the Coorong National Park at Chinamen’s Well, which we had visited six weeks ago coming over from Victoria. Suddenly the rain stopped and we leapt outside to tackle a nearby walk: the Nakun Kangun, which runs for 27km along the Coorong.
We continued to Kingston SE, which has a cool historic lighthouse.
After a cheery roadside coffee break opposite a fertile field of some vegetable north of Adelaide, we took turns driving with me steering the ‘rig’ south to just outside Adelaide and David taking over for the tricky urban section through the suburbs of a capital city.
Using the useful app Wikicamps, we located an old alignment and driving through high winds and rain, finally nestled in behind a large sand dune. It provides shelter from the traffic noise but the dune is in the leeward side, so we still are buffeted by wind.
Mt Remarkable National Park, just south of Port Augusta in South Australia, is well named. Although it is on the Goyder line and turned out to be unproductive for grazing, it supports huge river red gums. Apparently, the secret is Mambray Creek, which only flows in wetter periods, has underground counterparts which the deep-rooted gums are able to access and siphon upwards.
We did three walks and the first was among the gums, which continue to thrive even after they are hollowed out by fire and termites. Can you see David, cleverly concealed inside this one?
However, a historic shepherd’s hut proved a pleasant lunch stop.
In the late afternoon we tackled a short walk to the ruins of the original homestead, where generations of lessees had struggled to make a living grazing sheep. The cemetery provided a moving reminder of how harsh life was for families, with several graves of children.
Threatening clouds and the lure of King Island Blue Ash cheese with a pre-dinner drink called a halt to play and we returned to the caravan, but not before I had uploaded yesterday’s blog near the park entrance, which had 3G connection.
Departing late from our bush camp, (due to the time change), we returned to Border Village to fill a gas cylinder. While there we met a couple who had ridden a motorbike with trailer from Devonport in Tasmania.
Further down the Eyre Highway, while pulling into a lookout to check out the Merdayerrah Sandpatch at the start of the Bunda Cliffs, we met them again. The trailer opens out to a double bed. They carry a small icebox for perishable food and the bike is equipped with a GPS. When they got wet, they checked into a cabin for the night to dry off. They weren’t enjoying the windy morning, but overall were having a great trip.
The next lookout was over the Bunda Cliffs, which come abruptly out of the sea and stretch as far as the eye could see.
The word Nullarbor is Latin for ‘no trees’, but the Nullarbor Plain only lives up to its name on the Eyre Highway for a few, monotonous kilometres. The rest is scrubland and mallee (multiple trunked eucalyptus).
Once again, we visited Head of Bight, where hundreds of Southern Right Whales come annually to give birth and nurse their calves. I took some more photos, but it’s hard to zoom in and snap them at the moment they do something interesting. Most of the time they just lie flat in the sea, but occasionally they blow water or stretch a fin.
This evening we have found a lovely camp in Mallee bushland. The coastal dunes are visible on the horizon, but here it is sheltered with blue bush and little flowers. Once again we had a beautiful sunset.
First challenge of the day was the Nullarbor Links hole at Caiguna. Called ’90 Mile Straight’, it is a par 4 course traversing saltbush, with trees in the fairway and the green out of sight around a bend. Usually, we are the only players, but this time another couple were ahead of us and they’d already played two holes at other roadhouses.
We then had to turn our clocks forward three-quarters of an hour to a special Nullarbor time zone that only applies to a few roadhouses in the east of Western Australia.
The caravan park at Eucla was booked out by 120 vehicles of the Variety Club, who were doing their annual ‘Bash’ from Sydney to Bundaberg using creatively decorated vehicles. One was a refurbished hearse. There was also a large support vehicle with group equipment and supplies.
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.