Can it really be true, have we finally crossed a border into another state? Despite my mum’s predictions that we may only end up travelling around Western Australia we have finally made it across the Nullabour and into South Australia.

I had our day so beautifully planned in my head – van packed up the night before, an early morning wakeup call with breakfast up at the mess (no dishes to slow us down) and pull out around 7.30am…..why do I even bother! I think we actually dragged ourselves out of the mess at about 7.45, then B just had to check the tyre pressures, then we really should just pop into Woolies for a couple of last minute specials…..so, actually on the road at 11, yep, just as I planned.

B works with a guy (coffee club member) who’s mum lived in this tiny town called Widgiemooltha and B had promised him a couple of photos so we all piled out (after about a whole 40 minutes of driving) and wandered around the bush looking for a coloured stone garden border – which we couldn’t find. We did however find a couple of interesting old irons, horseshoes, bottles etc and a concrete dam area that used to be the town pool.

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Boys wandering through the old Widgie town area

Can I just say that I had already formed pictures in my mind of this leg of the trip, based on conversations with fellow caravanners and reading forum posts, and they involved track like roads, big road trains blowing us off the road as they went past and large quantities of desolate nothingness……needless to say, I was a little worried.

So finally, here we are at Norseman, the official start of the Eyre Hwy. We’ve had lunch, we’re fuelled up and ready to tackle the N Beast.

My first thoughts, this road is not that bad, maybe it gets a lot worse along the way. The scenery doesn’t appear that much different from what we were looking at on the road between Albany and Esperance. Keep on driving and hit the first of the roadhouses, everyone taking bets on how much the fuel will be, from memory I think it was about $1.87 – we had been warned about the super expensive fuel across the Nullabour – clearly by people who have never filled up their car at Nanutarra Roadhouse in the NW of WA!

I should have kept up with my blog posts while everything was fresh in my mind because I can’t even remember which free camp we stayed in the first night – but I bet the people around us did – kids very keen to have a fire, despite the fact we have arrived after sundown, with no firewood and the camp is stripped clean of any dead branches. I think I am starting to overcome my fear of speaking plainly to my children with others so close by.

Up and at it early but not for long. We had been keeping an eye on our transmission temp whilst driving and as long as we sat on about 85-90km we were ok but over that we were heating up and when we stopped we could see an oil drip coming from the left front wheel arch which smelt suspiciously like transmission fluid. Because of all that has come before we have some trust issues with our tow vehicle and this is our worst fear – breaking down in the middle of bloody nowhere! No choice but to have a look under panel A and see where the oil is coming from. What we find are some breathers that must have been disconnected when our snorkel was fitted, ok not a gasket leak or a ruptured hose so we soldier onwards – there is a running joke now that by the time we finish this trip our car will be minus most of it’s panels – we just keep stacking them up in the boot until we get excited enough to put them back on.

A quick phone call from the next roadhouse to the transmission workshop and we are given the ok to keep going – breather hose not necessary but get one when you can.

Our second stop was a rest stop just outside Eucla which we had all to ourselves and we could actually get mobile reception. We, mistakenly, thought that this was our last chance to eat all our fruit and veg so a delicious meal of cauliflower was enjoyed by all.

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We remembered firewood this time. Kids made a cool bike racing track as we had the whole place to ourselves. Note the missing trim from front wheel arch.

The next morning with a feeling of high excitement we pulled out to drive our last 30km on the WA side of the border. I had pictured us taking a photo as we came to the sign, I mean we would have to stop for the quarantine, so of course we would get a picture. In reality, we got to the checkpoint and no-one was asking us to stop, no signs telling us to pull over and put our fruit in this bin, so we sailed through to South Australia mildly confused and with poor old Big a little deflated.

Nothing for it but to keep on driving.

You can’t cross the Nullabour without stopping at the Head of the Bight. I had wrongly assumed that because we were out of migration season that we wouldn’t actually see any whales but we did in fact see several frolicking in the water much to my delight. There was also a sighting, by the kids, of a white whale – boys laughed but Sista not happy!

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Obligatory pic of happy family at the Head of the Bight lookout – Little upset that he is not big enough to look through the viewing telescopes.

We had met a man at Kambalda who told us that he always looked forward to reaching Ceduna and getting the best feed of fish and chips there so we talked with the kids and decided that we would aim to make Ceduna for dinner time and get our hands on this famous  delicacy.

By the time we got there we were buggered, we felt very grubby from a couple of days with no shower and long days in the car. We walked in, placed our order and sat down at the table. A funny thing about SA fish and chip shops – they don’t give you a number or write down your name, they just call out your order. In my defence, I thought that we were the only people to order a chico roll that night, it seemed that way at the time, and so we jumped up and grabbed our feed – but why have we got potato scallops, I didn’t order potato scallops? We spent the next 10 minutes eating the wrong order, whilst under the watchful eye of the correct orderee…….it tasted like sawdust and I felt like a clown – a tired, dirty, guilty clown.

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