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Reisverslag Last Days
12 december 2016
We drove from Hyden to Balladonia.
This was a 500 Km drive of which 230 Km was on dirt. Every good Australian road trip needs to include a descent stretch of dirt. A wide red dirt road that stretches over the horizon. We met 3 other cars going in the opposite direction. Initially there were still some wheat fields the size of Luxemburg, but they decreased in number and low scrub with quite a lot of salt lakes became the dominant country side. Saw 2 goanna’s crossing the road and many wedge tail eagles, one was sitting next to the road on a post, it was the size of a turkey, it was a beautiful regal animal.
We stopped and looked at a large salt lake, Lake Johnstone, it still had water in it. The colour combination of blue sky, red earth, white salt and green/grey of trees was just fantastic.
We also stopped at McDermit rock, a granite rock very similar to Wave Rock, a bit lower in height and longer in length and there were no other visitors. We made a walk there along the wave and did some surfing and walked over the top.
After midday we arrived in Norseman, where we had lunch on the civic green and got fuel for the car. From there I rang the road house at Baladonia and booked a room for the night. I was keen to get a good night’s sleep as we had to cross the Nullarbor again the next day and I was stuffed from lack of sleep at Hyden camping ground.
Along the way I saw the carcass of a dead camel on the side of the road. Although there are thousands of camels roaming the bush we never saw one alive.
The hotel room was $140.00. It was expensive for what it was, but one does get an idea of how difficult it must be to run such a place in such an isolated environment. There has been a drought there for some time and the hotel/roadhouse had to cart water from Norseman (200Km to the west). The water in the toilet was brown (after flushing) so they were using recycled waste water (?). The towels we used were stained, also possibly due to washing them in recycled water.
The power went off for half an hour. They were using a generator either permanently or to fill the gap of the power outage.
Talking about getting a good night sleep, at 4.30 am car doors started to slam again and engines were revved up. Everyone wanted to get going early and get across the Nullarbor before the evening and in the easterly direction we had to put the clock 1.5 hours forward as well. So no sleeping in till 7.00am. We were on the road by 5.50 am.
Met a Dutch couple who were going in the same direction as us. I picked the accent straight away and started talking Dutch to them. They were for 6 weeks in Australia, had landed in Perth, stayed with a brother, driven to Broom and back (well over 4000Km) and were now driving to Geelong to visit a sister. Their breakfast was a cigarette and a can of beer, we started without and stopped at Caiguna road house for coffee and egg and bacon sandwich.
So it was Tuesday 6 December that we drove from Balladonia to Ceduna, back across the Nullarbor.
Had to test our brakes again as a young kangaroo did not obey road rules and cross at the zebra crossing. Just missed his tail and we saw it clearly as our eyes were touching the windscreen.
Crossing the Nullarbor is an idea like crossing a desert, a sea, a continent, no stopping between A and B, whereas one can stop everywhere of course and all the roadhouses (approximately every 200Km) provide in the basic needs, although not to a high degree of sophistication. And we too drove in one go from A to B. Another 100 Km behind us, another 600 Km to go and the wheels kept rolling. The countryside changes sometimes significantly and almost abruptly and it is always impressive, always contemplative. Changing drivers every 200 Km we drove continually and got to Ceduna at 7.30 pm.
The Dutch couple had got there 1.5 hours earlier and we exchanged again some travel notes.
We planned and did get to sleep in the next morning. Our plan was vague, but it involved traveling to Port Lincoln and some beautiful sleepy seaside villages on the Eyre Peninsula.
We travelled down the Flinders Highway to Port Lincoln. We stopped at Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay and stayed the night at Venus Bay. Then we travelled to Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln. All fantastic places.
The Eyre Peninsula is a fantastic area and we will certainly return at some stage to enjoy its beaches and countryside
We stayed 3 nights in Coffin Bay Holiday Units. Old 2 bedroom cabin units on the foreshore of Coffin Bay in dire need of renovation, but comfortable enough.
Tonight our second night, just after a dinner of fresh oysters and a beautiful steak I noticed the sun set and I said to Jan that we should go out and see it. So we walked to the beach with our glasses of wine, all of 20 meters. There we sat on a bench watching paradise getting lost in the last rays of a fast sinking hot burning sun and increasing shadows of the approaching night. The sun left a hundred echoes on the water, a pelican landed a mere 10 meters from us and kept an eye on us, a sea lion surfaced a few times in the distance, seagulls circled soundlessly overhead. All was silent except for the constant mumbling of the flat incoming tide. Sheet over sheet, water slowly rising on the beach. The sun going down, leaving a tangerine horizon and some tangerine tethered cottonwool clouds drifting slowly east. Tangerine turned to soft greys identifying a number of islands in the bay. The approaching dark, the increasing chill, but above all the empty glasses drove us back to our abode.
Coffin Bay, after experiencing such a wonder I expect that one would be at peace in a coffin, but now I am convinced that we will come back before we go subterranean boating.
We arrived back home today 12 December at 6.30pm.
Estelle and Astrid cooked dinner. It was great to see them again and be back home.
Tomorrow it is going to be a busy day washing clothes and mowing lawns.
Thanks to all who enjoyed reading this blog and showed an interest. It was fun to do.
Foto's bij verslag (7)
12 december 2016 18:20 | Door: Paul Lendfers
Welcome home sweet home,
Mooie reis, hebben alles goed kunnen volgen, prachtige foto's.
Gelukkig weer veilig thuis lekker uitrusten en genieten van de Kerstmis met de familie.
heel veel groeten uit Nieuwstadt.
Paul & Truus.
28 december 2016 14:49 | Door: Patrick Ranft
How are you? I hope you can still remember me, I'm Patrick Ranft. I'm Dieter Ranft's and Marij Lambermon's their son. I've been living now in Bangkok, Thailand for more than 17 years because of you!
I remember the day that you left Susteren and Cheval D'or, even though I was just only 6 years old. It impressed me so much that someone could just leave his town and settle somewhere else in the world. My feelings became stronger when I visited my dad on holidays anywhere in the world. I've always wanted to visit you and I still haven't!
Last year,my grandmom passed away, and I visited Susteren again. I met your brother Jan. He gave me your email address, but I still haven't...
Today I found some old photos from Cheval with your photos. I'd love to invite you to my Cheval facebook site, which I started last year, but you don't have facebook.
I hope to finally hear something from you after all these years... :)