5th August, 2011
6th August, 2011

Friday 5th August, 2011

Drop Cap t was a grey overcast morning which cleared to a mainly sunny blue afternoon. As we left Esperance we headed up the Norseman-Coolgardie Road, lots of three trailer road trains and lots of actual ore trains, incredibly long, heading for the port at Esperance.

Scadden photograph

Scadden Pioneer Memorial Precinct

Drop Cap e made a morning tea stop at a flyspot called Scadden, stopping at their surprisingly interesting Pioneer Memorial Park. This had murals (covering the toilet buildings!) historical plaques, photos and totem poles and pages of history.

Scadden Cats photograph

Scadden Cats

Drop Cap t also had, in an adjoining yard, two cats who condescended to come and say hello to Mac. So far the only cats we have seen were two rather wild ones in the back yard at Albany and these two.

Town Site photograph

Dundas Town Site (remains)

Drop Cap oving right along we seemed to be eating up the kilometres very quickly so when we saw a tourist sign to Dundas Rocks and Dundas Town Site we turned off along the gravel road to see what was there.

Bush at Dundas photograph

Bush at Dundas Town Site

Drop Cap he Dundas Town Site consisted of street signs and historical plaques but no ruins or anything. Not even a ghost town, it was more of a live map. There was a sign to a picnic area which we followed to find the substantial remains of a stone built dam used by the town.

Dundas Rocks photograph

Dundas Rocks

Drop Cap hen we found the Dundas Rocks, huge granite boulders, (heavily graffitied) on one side of a large, probably salt lake. All in all, an interesting byway stop.

Beacon Hill View photograph

View from Beacon Hill

Drop Cap hen it was on into Norseman, labelled "Gateway to WA". It could also be called "arse end of WA"! Most of the shops in the main street were either closed or heavily boarded up (or both) one can only speculate that the local yobs can get a bit frisky! We got some lunch at a roadhouse then went off to see the tourist sites. We went past the major Gold mine up Beacon Hill, where the view is really panoramic. There was a walking trail around the top of the hill with marked points of interest and it wended its way through a wildflower garden (natural, not planted). It is a bit early for flowers but a good number of them were out and were very pretty, especially a blue one. I wish I knew the names of any of them.

Norseman photograph

Geoff and Norseman

Drop Cap e came back down and visited the statue of "Norseman" , a horse belonging to the first gold prospector around. Apparently the horse was tied up to a tree overnight and in the morning it was lame. On investigation his owner found a lump of gold bearing quartz in his foot, so registered the claim in the horse's name.

Camels photograph

Corrugated Camels at Norseman

Drop Cap e then photographed the statues in the main roundabout - corrugated iron camels - to commemorate the camels and camel drivers who opened up the country.

Motel photograph

Norseman Great Western Motor Village

Drop Cap e found our motel, the Great Western Norseman Motel and checked in. She couldn't find our booking but we had copies of our emails. No problem - they are far from full. We have a huge family apartment (the Esperance unit would fit in it twice, I reckon) and it looks very spacious and comfortable. However, since they are not very full it seems very unlikely that their restaurant will be open tonight so we will probably go back to the roadhouse next door. Oh, well.

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Saturday 6th August, 2011

Highway photograph

Eastward on the Nullarbor

Drop Cap e got away from Norseman at 8 a.m heading east towards the Nullarbor. We decided to take photos every hundred kms like the guy on the Internet whose blog of the trip Mac read, and started at 50km. The road is good, straight, well maintained and empty. Well, comparatively, there were lots of cars, caravans, trucks, and enormous triple trailered road trains. But with huge gaps between so passing was easy and we seemed to be able to maintain an average of about 110kph. Which is amazing!

Sign photograph

The Long Straight Begins

Drop Cap ur first stop was Balladonia, which is a roadhouse with all the obvious amenities - fuel, food, toilets and showers. They also had a small museum containing local memorabilia including more Skylab stuff, much of which fell near Balladonia (not Esperance - they seemed quite pissed off that Esperance had the bulk of the artifacts, to say nothing of fame). We had morning tea here, although Mac had designated it for lunch, and bought some takeaway sangers for lunch on the road.

Picnic Spot photograph

Picnic at Caiguna

Drop Cap e noticed that the scenery changed by gradual degrees as we went along, slowly growing more scrubby and less treed. Some points of interest included an emergency landing strip for the Flying Doctor (on the road, marked out with the verges much wider to accommodate the wings).

Drop Cap oon after Balladonia we came on the road sign for the "Long Straight" , a ninety mile completely straight section of the Eyre Highway. We stopped at Caiguna, little more than a roadside picnic/camping place for lunch before moving on through progressively more open country.

Blowhole photograph

Amazing Caiguna Blowhole

Drop Cap e saw a tourist sign for "Caiguna Blowhole" just off the road so went for a looksee. This was quite fascinating. It was a blowhole from an underground cave - no water involved. The most amazing thing about it was that the cave was "breathing". According to the info board this is quite common, with the wind from some cave mouths on the Nullarbor reaching as high as 72kph! Mac could feel it coming out and little foliages around the mouth were fluttering although it was really still outside.

Cocklebiddy photograph

Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

Drop Cap oday has been mostly sunny, just a passing shower outside Cocklebiddy where we are staying tonight. However the sun is now shining again.
Cocklebiddy is another roadhouse with a Motel and we have a very basic motel room, three singles, a bathroom, a fridge, a jug and a TV. No cooking facs so breakfast will have to be basic too. They have a licensed restaurant but I don't hold out hopes of a gourmet meal. See what happens.

Sunset photograph

Cocklebiddy Sunset

Drop Cap here was an amazing sunset before a lingering twilight.

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