Trip 20, part 16 – The Last Leg

Broken Hill to home.  2800kms to drive in six, reasonably leisurely days of travelling.  It went a lot like this….

Sunday the 30th of September.  The first stint was Broken Hill to Catninga Station, which is about 30kms east of Port Augusta.  A nice little bush camp, next to the dry Catninga Creek, with a very traditional long drop dunny.  We shared the site with the local cows and about a billion flies.  It was also very windy, but to make it even more annoying the wind was sporadic, dying down to a gentle breeze for a bit, before whipping up to a cyclonic gale for an hour or so.  The wind and the flies are not Catninga’s fault so at another time this’d be a very nice camping location, but for us it was good to do a Willie Nelson and get “On the road again”.

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – The sun rising over our campsite at Catninga Station >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Some of our neighbours >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Another neighbour >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Not the prettiest or smartest animal, but Australia has a lot to thank the humble sheep for.  Make sure ewe appreciate your next sheep >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – An old shed >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Abstract of an old water tank and shed >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A small bird of prey just floating in the breeze >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Looking back up into the ranges behind Catninga.  These are part of the southern end of the Flinders Ranges >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – One of the windmills >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A matching set of windmills>>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Old fence post and barbed wire.  The boundary of the outback >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Looking back out the 15km driveway of the Catninga Station towards the Spencer Gulf >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Splashes of pink, pigface flowers looking stunning against the range >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Rod tiptoeing through the tulips >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A quick star trail with the camera pointing south >>

 

 

From Catninga we drove across the top of the Eyre Peninsula, pulling up stumps for the night at Murphy’s Haystacks.  Jules and I had visited Murphy’s Haystacks a couple of years ago and were looking forward to coming back.  On our previous visit it was bitterly cold, raining and blowing a gale, but this time we had a nice warm afternoon, with enough cloud to make the sunset spectacular.  Murphy’s Haystacks are Inselbergs, which are rocks that pop out of the landscape and have been worn down by millennia of weathering.  They sit in the middle of Dennis’s farm paddock who opened the site up to the public in the 1980’s.  We got talking to Dennis, who’s a real character with a wicked sense of humour and he said that when he put a people counter on the gate about 10years ago, he counted over 30,000 visitors in that year!   However, both times we’ve visited you feel like you have the place pretty much to yourself and there’s no graffiti or rubbish, which is a problem at other locations we’ve visited.  Another favourite of ours at Murphy’s is the local honey that Dennis makes from the bees on his 19,000 acres of land.  We had to buy a small tub and try to eat it in two days as we can’t take any remaining honey back into WA.

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Looking down at our campsite at Murphy’s Haystacks >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Jules soaking in the spirituality of Murphy’s Haystacks >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – The three wise monkeys at Murphy’s with the silliest monkey behind the lens >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – One view of Murphy’s Haystacks >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A loan Murphy’s Haystack >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A weather twisted Murphy’s Haystack >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The stacks and a view to die for >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The setting sun provided some beautiful light for pics >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The setting sun provided some beautiful light for pics >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – As the sun set further, the sky got darker >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The dramatic and beautiful setting sunlight over the wheat field against a cloud laden sky>>

 

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Murphy’s from Rod’s drone in the afternoon sun >>

 

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Murphy’s from Rod’s drone in the afternoon sun >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The sun throws its last rays of the day over the wheat >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – The sun throws its last rays of the day over the wheat >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Gone but not forgotten, the sun illuminates the clouds over Murphy’s Haystacks from below the horizon >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Rod and I tried some more star and rock pics. This shot isn’t the best but it’s blog worthy >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – A little gecko, which had lost its tail, that was hiding under Rod’s swag >>

 

Tuesday, 2nd Oct.  This is where we leave BJ as we head back across the Nullarbor.  BJ is heading south to Pt Lincoln for a few days, before making his way back to Victoria for an AOR Caravan catch-up in a few weeks.  So Rod, Jules and I headed west, pulling up for the night at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.  En-route we dropped into the Head Of The Bight whale watching centre for a quick look.  Being late in the whale season, most whales have already headed south, however, we watched at least two, possibly three, whale mums and their calves swimming around, including a mum with a white calf which is pretty cool.

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A mother whale and her calf >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – There she blows >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Looking west along the Bunda Cliffs of the Great Australian Bight >>

 

Wednesday, 3rd Oct and from the Nullarbor Roadhouse we pushed on towards WA, realising en-route that we gain 1.5hrs today as we change into the AWST timezone.  Given this, we decided to drive a bit further than the scheduled stop at Cocklebiddy, driving a total distance of around 750kms and free camping at Newman Rocks.  Nice spot which we essentially had to ourselves, with one other van in the main camp area nearer to the road.  Some late afternoon pics and a campfire finished a good days drive.

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – One of the Bunda Cliff access paths >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The Bunda Cliffs from the 1st viewing point with our cars far left >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The Bunda Cliffs from the 2nd viewing point >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Rod the bug man found some snails to photograph on the Nullarbor >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The Nullarbor vegetation >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – Driving the Nullarbor >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – Welcome to WA, goodbye SA >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Some faded and creepy kids play equipment at Cocklebiddy which I had to process with a grungy look >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Some faded and creepy kids play equipment at Cocklebiddy which I had to process with a grungy look >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Some faded and creepy kids play equipment at Cocklebiddy which I had to process with a grungy look >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – We found one big kid enjoying the play equipment though >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Our Newman Rocks campsite from Rod’s drone >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Our Newman Rocks campsite from Rod’s drone >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony –  Gary our Prado, with Goldy our van looking mighty fine in the afternoon sun >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – A quick iPhone pano >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – A quick iPhone pano >>

 

<< Photo credit: Jules – Our campfire >>

 

Ok, we’re getting close now.  Thursday, 4th Oct saw us push on through to Cave Hill which is basically in the bush between Widgiemooltha and Coolgardie.  The sky was grey and leaden as we pulled in and we had a few showers go through.  The main reason we chose this campsite is that a few years ago we’d found Thorny Devil Lizards on a 4wd track not far from camp, however, despite driving 80kms, 40km return, we couldn’t find one of the cute little buggers today.  We also popped out to take a look at the ‘cave and the wave’ in the Cave Hill Rock.  I was very disappointed to see that some losers had scratched their names in the rock in the cave section.  I have no idea why anyone would want to do this, it’s graffiti’ing nature and I hope bad karma falls from the sky on these arseholes.  Despite that, there were plenty of pics to be taken, later retiring to the van as the rain set in for the evening.

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Our Cave Hill campsite from Rod’s drone >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – The ‘cave’ section of Cave Hill.  Anyone see the cat’s eyes? >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The woodland around Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – The beautiful smooth texture and colours of the gum trees in the woodland around Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A wildflower from Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A wildflower from Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – A wildflower from Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – A wildflower from Cave Hill >>

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – A TwentyEight Parrot at Cave Hill having a munch on something >>

 

As mentioned above, it rained Thursday evening, quite a lot actually.  Luckily we had a couple of breaks in the rain on Friday morning so we managed to get the van packed ok, however, the campground was wet, with large puddles everywhere, and we had about 80kms of gravel road to do before we hit the bitumen again in Coolgardie.  So with some trepidation, we put Rod in front as our spotter and we pushed through the track, crossing some very large puddles and slipping and skidding through some boggy sections.  Due to our superior cars and driving skill, combined with some good luck, we managed to make it to Coolgardie ok and luckily we had a lot more rain on the trip home which washed a lot of the mud off.  Whilst refueling at Southern Cross, we had one of those “it’s a small world” experiences, running into people who camp at Augusta at Christmas and who’d we’d got to know the daughter and their very cute dog, Boonie.  A quick chat and cuddle with Boonie and we were off on the last push back home, arriving safely around 2:30pm.  I’ll post one more blog in a few days with all the stats from our trip so stay tuned for the last exciting installment.

 

<< Photo credit: Rod – Gary and Goldy (our Prado and van) pushing through one of the large puddles that had developed overnight >>

 

<< Photo credit: Tony – Rod pushing through one of the large puddles that had developed overnight >>

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.