West Coast to East -Part 3

The final episode

We left the last blog pulling into the Nullarbor Roadhouse just after dark and after the longest days drive we have done on this trip.Over 10 hours on the road and 800 Kilometres.

Day 7 – Nullarbor Roadhouse

A very welcome road sign

15 seconds after checking in we were in the the famous Roadhouse bar.

The famous Nullarbor Roadhouse mural in the bar
Can you name them all?

We had a few drinks, something to eat and fell fast asleep. We were up early to get another early start. I did a quick run around the roadhouse to grab some more pictures of this iconic place.

The Big Blue Whale
Not that long ago this roadhouse was the only stop available on the road,
The original roadhouse and fuel pump
You are here, not even half way.
The story of the Nallarbor

We packed and got on our way. Next stop Kimba and the hotel with the coldest bar in Australia only 600 kilometres drive today. Only 7 hours driving. Easy!

Day 8 – Kimba

The drive to Kimba was short in comparison to the previous day, we’re unfortunately getting used to 5 and 6 hour drives. We stopped for fuel but otherwise just kept driving and driving and as we covered this drive in the previous blog, in reverse order, there’s not much we stopped at this time.

On the road again

Before we left Kimba we took a look at the impressively named, White’s Knob and the statues sat thereupon.

Edward John Eyre and his Indigenous Tracker Whylie

The statues are of Edward John Eyre and Whylie who trekked from Streaky Bay to Albany. The Eyre Highway is named after him. The statues are very impressive.

Idea of scale
Hey guys!

Very expressive detail.

The Galahs were following us

Port Augusta

Part way to Broken hill, at Port Augusta, we stopped for lunch at the cafe in the Australia Arid Lands Botanic Gardens.

The famous Sturt Pea
Arid Desert plant display
Jenni and Jim and the Sundial
Stuffed budgie display in the cafe

Lunch was excellent and the gardens really interesting. We didn’t have time to look around properly as we had to get to Broken Hill before dark so on we drove.

While passing through the excellently named Orroroo we saw a sign for the “Giant Red Gum” tree. Never one to pass a gum tree giant enough to warrant a sign we did a detour.

The Giant Red Gum of Orroroo
It was pretty big.

Farther along the road we saw goats and lorry loads of tanks and some pretty beautiful scenery. On my frequent suggestions a very patient Jenni took these pictures out of the window of the car as we drove. Thanks Jenni, love you!!

Goats, lots of goats.
About a dozen lorry’s carrying tanks
Beautiful countryside. Not a phone pic out the window.

It didn’t seem very long before we crossed into New South Wales.

Remember the stone carving on this sign, you’ll be seeing it again later. A lot.

Day 9 & 10 – Broken Hill

We checked into the Broken Hill Outback Resort which was to be our place of rest for the next 2 nights. They had free wifi, cold beer and a warm fire. Almost perfect.

Broken Hill Outback Resort

Broken Hill was one of the two night stops which gave us one full day of working opportunity. However, because of Jim Ramsey, a friend who said we had to, we took an hour off just before sunset to visit The Living Desert and Sculptures.

On top of a hill outside Broken Hill there are a dozen or more sandstone sculptures

It is a beautiful place. It was the brainchild of an artist called Lawrence Beck. In 1993 he rounded up a dozen or so sculptors and persuaded them to spend 3-4 months on top of a mountain. The endeavour caught the imagination of the locals. A firm rocked up (geddit!) and moved the 12 rocks weighing 53 tonnes up to the top of the mountain for free. Local townsfolk raised $7,000 to keep the artists fed and watered while they were there. The result is something pretty special. Thank Jim, a great suggestion and well worth the trip.

It was here we spotted the rock on the sign for New South Wales.

Oh look, there’s that rock again.

Here are a few of the pictures I took.

The sculpture on the right is called “The Sun and the Moon” so I took an arty pic of it with the moon in the background. The thing sticking out of the middle of the top part is one of the tools that broke off as they were being carved. The artist left it there, you know, because art.
This sculpture is of a deity eating the sun. See what I did there?
That rock looks familiar?
Final sunset pic

Day 11 Cobar

We drove from Broken Hill to Cobar. We stopped, we slept, we got up at sparrow fart again and we drove to Coonabarabran. Cobar looks like a great little town though. A mining town, seemingly prosperous enough but not too showy. Living well just under the radar.

Sign at the entrance to the town. Tribute to it’s mining heritage.

I did not take either of these pictures. We had no time to stop and explore. It was either not show you all what it was like or borrow a couple of pics off the internet to show off the place. It deserves a pic or two. It is a nice place.

I did not take this picture of the sculptures in Cobar. Next time I’ll give it a go.

Days 12 and 13 Coonabarabran

Were getting tired now. Work was hectic, 14 hour days and lots of driving were taking their toll. It was the reason we stopped in Coonabarabran for two nights. Coonabarabran is the Astronomy capital of Australia due to it having the clearest skies. There are 5 or 6 observatories in the town. It also boasts a “Dark Park” where the light pollution is controlled to be a low as it can get.

I was looking forward to getting out and about and exploring this interesting place. In fact it was the one of the highlights of the trip when we booked all the stopping points several weeks ago. However working commitments and such meant we didn’t get any chance to explore at all.

The skies were really clear and I did try and get a Milky Way picture one night but we were there on a night which had a brilliant bright full moon. It looked like daylight so no starry pics this time. I will definitely be back. Its a must do location now. This is the picture I am aiming for. For clarification this is not mine either, but what I was hoping for when we booked the place originally. Next time.

Day 14 – The final day, Kingcliff on the East Coast

We made, to the East Coast the next day. It was a really short drive to Kingscliff from Coonabarabran. We were there in time for a celebration walk on the beach and a drink in the bar.

Coast to Coast. The end of our epic journey.

It was an amazing trip west coast to east coast. Not sure I want to drive it again in such a short time period, we drove through so many places we’d have loved to have spent more time. We have considered this a reconnaissance visit, a scouting trip, to collect places we want to go back and explore.

We are in Queensland (mostly) for the next few months. Plenty more adventures to come.

Till next time here’s a picture of me sunbathing on the beach at Kingscliff.

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