A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9: Friday 6th January

Esperance - Albany

semi-overcast 29 °C

We woke to clear blue skies and it was pleasantly warm. We did the Ocean Road Tourist Drive – a 40km circuit around the bays and bluffs around Esperance. We saw Twilight Beach, where the water was a beautiful blue colour, Pink Lake(not very pink at the moment!) and the wind farm on the bluff as we rode the great winding road.

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Twilight Beach

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The Pink Lake

As we left Esperance and headed for Ravensthorpe it was rather blustery, giving our neck muscles a good workout.
The scenery looked rather like Tassie’s midlands only greener. There were swarms of insects around the shrubs and a smell of honey. There were wildflowers growing beside the road. We also encountered swarms of grasshoppers (I lost count of how many times we had to clean our visors!)
We pulled in at Munglinup to stretch our legs. There we met a German guy riding a Piaggio Vespa 300cc scooter. It had been shipped over from Germany and he was riding it across Australia. His Vespa was inscribed with its nickname: “My Little Coffee Bean” so named because of its colour.

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Munglinup

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The German rider with his little coffee bean!

After lunch in Ravensthorpe we stopped at the meridian line which forms the baseline for correct Western standard time (Perth time is actually 16.6 minutes behind this.)

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Marker on the Meridian line

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Inscription on the meridian marker

Riding in the wind was quite hard work. Strong gusts threw us around constantly. We were exhausted by the time we reached Albany. We booked into a lovely campsite in Emu Beach for 2 nights. We stocked up on food and had a BBQ for dinner, then retreated to the tent as it started to rain.

Today’s distance: 523km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 21:16 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Day 8: Thursday 5th January

Norseman - Esperance

storm 26 °C

Nothing was open for breakfast in Norseman (not a happening place!) so we rode to Salmon Gums. We had to stop half way to suit up as the storm clouds had been getting closer and rain looked imminent. It was well timed as it rained shortly after.

We got to Esperance and began to ride the tourist loop around the peninsula.

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Esperance from the lookout

But it began to rain quite heavily so we retreated to a café and had lunch and waited it out. There was an impressive display of lightning and thunder all afternoon which continued well into the night.

Today was our anniversary so we treated ourselves by staying in a motel and we had a yummy dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.

Today’s distance: 214km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 21:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 7: Wednesday 4th January

Eucla - Norseman

all seasons in one day 29 °C

The time difference meant that we woke very early (like 4:00am!) so we were on the road early. Then as we continued along the Nullarbor road inexplicably in the middle of nowhere we saw a tree.

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Tree!

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A closer look...

Then about 10km further on another tree.

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This one held bras!

We stopped at Madura for breakfast. Mice have been a problem since Streaky Bay, where traps were set in the motel rooms. Here thay were running across the yard and even up the walls inside. We stopped at the lookout at Madura Pass where you could see the expansive Nullarbor plain disappearing into the distance.

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The Nullarbor plain from Madura Pass

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Our bikes with the Nullarbor Plain in the background

By the time we reached Cocklebiddy we were both feeling quite sleepy so stopped for a while.

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At the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

We had planned to check out the road to Cocklebiddy Caves and see if it was ‘rideable’. We knew it wasn’t a sealed road, but when the guy at the roadhouse described it as a dust track it was slightly disconcerting… Anyway we missed the turnoff and perhaps it wasn’t well signed because neither of us saw it. When we finally pulled over to consult the map it was too far to go back. Now we plan to have a look on the way back.

We had a brief stop to refuel at Caiguna and a photo stop at the start of the 90 mile straight.

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The start of 90 Mile Straight

We maintained a pretty good speed (Mum, you might want to skip this bit!) completing the 146.6km in an hour and 5 minutes! Dead straight road though undulating quite a bit.

We had lunch at Balladonia which was to have been our destination for tonight but as it was only 2pm we decided to continue on to Norseman. Again we managed to ride around the rain storms we could see ahead of us. Perth and most areas around it have been inundated over the last couple of days but we’ve been lucky.

We arrived in Norseman and set up at the caravan park, then went to the pub for pizza. Lightning and thunder started so we hurried back to camp. We listened to the thunder as we laid in the tent but only had a few splatters of rain on the tent.

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Clouds at Norseman

Today’s distance: 720km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 20:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 6: Tuesday 3rd January

Streaky Bay - Eucla

semi-overcast 35 °C

We had a great night’s sleep!! Today will be a long day that will take us over the border into Western Australia. After breakfast, and stocking up on a few groceries, we got away about 8:30am. We stopped at Ceduna for coffee in a very pleasant 23 degrees. We fuelled up and had lunch in Nundroo. When we left I took my wired earplugs out of my jacket pocket but forgot to zip it up. I realized about 15km later but by then it was empty. The keys for my panniers and various locks, and my molded earplugs were gone… I turned around and retraced my route back to Nundroo and then back to where I’d stopped in the vain hope that I would find them, but no.. Bugger! It could be worse – I have a spare set of keys somewhere in my luggage and at least I still have my wired earplugs.

Approaching the turnoff to the Head of Bight lookout there was a dramatic drop in the temperature from 35 down to 27 degrees within only five minutes. Low clouds were starting to roll over. There had been quite a strong headwind but now it got much stronger.

We visited the Head of Bight where in the right season whales can be watched, and walked down to admire the view. There are massive sand dunes to the east that shift inland by about 11 metres each year. The water was an amazing blue colour.

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Glenn at the Head of the Great Australian Bight

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Beautiful blue water

Back onto the main road we were at the start of the Nullarbor plain.

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Start of the Nullarbor Plain

As far as you could see there were no trees, only low shrubs. We refueled at the Nullarbor Roadhouse. Two caravans were travelling together on the same route and at various times we overtook them, and then we would stop for a while and end up overtaking them again. They had also stopped at the Nullarbor Roadhouse and commented to Glenn about it. Apparently every time we overtook them I was in front and they had decided I must have been clearing the bugs for Glenn to come through!

We had been riding under heavy gray cloud for most of the afternoon and we could see rain in the distance. Luckily it seemed to go around us. Then it got lighter ahead and soon we were riding in sun again – for a while anyway. Then the next front came over and we were cold!

We made the Western Australia border and suddenly we gained 2½ hours!

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At the Western Australian border

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At the WA border

We stayed at Eucla. Glenn suggested we “get a room” since it looked like it would rain and thankfully we did because it did rain (Glenn told me to include this.) Then we enjoyed 2 beers, 2 glasses of wine and a very small packet of cashews for thirty six dollars!! We didn’t eat in the restaurant.

Today’s distance: 660km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 19:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 5: Monday 2nd January

Port Germein - Streaky Bay

sunny 39 °C

We both slept poorly, it was just too hot. I doubt it went below 30 degrees overnight. Glenn even went and had a cold shower at 2 o’clock in the morning.

We packed everything up and left about 7:30am. We refueled at Port Augusta, then as we were riding out we saw a guy pushing his motorcycle back towards the town. We wanted to help but couldn’t offer anything more than moral support. Everything became much more sparse as we headed west. This is new territory for both of us and it felt rather like heading into the unknown. We had been told we should visit Iron Knob, an open cut mine where most of the hill has been cut away, but when we got there at 9:30am it was deserted. We wanted to have a look at the open cut mine but the only access was up a rough track and we didn’t want to risk taking the loaded bikes up it. As we rode out of the thriving metropolis of Iron Knob there was another guy leaving – on a push bike!!

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Iron Knob from the highway

We stopped at Kimba for lunch. Kimba boasts being in the middle of Australia, about 1500km from both the east and west coasts.

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Kimba

We tended to travel for about an hour and then stop for half an hour to cool off. The heat is quite intense but I’ve found that I can cope with it if I accept it rather than fight it. It’s hot and I’m uncomfortable but if I drink lots (I’ve never had so much water) and pace myself it is bearable. My gear is good. My trousers unzip from foot to hip so I can get them off in seconds when we stop. We both wear shorts under our riding pants. Our next stop was Wudinna. At 39 degrees it was too hot to look around so after a short break and an ice cream we kept going. After Wudinna it cooled down. Over the next 100kms it dropped by 10 degrees. We got to Streaky Bay and booked into the hotel. We were hanging out for air conditioning and a proper bed for the night.

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The view from the pub in Streaky Bay!

Today’s distance: 467km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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