The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


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Hot! Damn hot! And flies! Damn flies – Crossing the Nullabor

I wonder if it’s like what they say about child birth – once it’s over you forget the pain…..

The heat and the flies made my journey across the Nullabor painful. I have been shut up in my little campervan before because of wind and rain and now I can add to that – FLIES! They drove me insane! So looking my glamorous best I bought a fly net and took a ‘selfie’ to share with you. It was impossible to be outside without it – the flies got in your eyes, ears and nose, and mouth if you opened it at the wrong time!
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So here’s my trip across the Nullabor.

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I was so lucky that Grahame & Judy travelled about the same pace as me so even though we hadn’t planned it we spent most nights at the same camping spot. I left Koonibba on March 31 and stopped at Nundroo that night and then the 10km Peg camp just before the WA border. Like everyone else there we were cooking up our vegetables so we didn’t have to declare them at the border.
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I did some of the ‘must see’ things and gladly paid my $7 to use the walkways at the Head of the Bight.

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It was so hot this day that I had rivers of perspiration running down my face – and every other part of my body – and used my air-con for about the 3rd time since I had owned Brutus. About an hour later though there was a cooler change and it made travelling a lot more pleasant.
I also drove out to the Bunda Cliffs – blowing a gale off the sea but at least it blew the flies away!
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This is the view from Madura Pass and is a perfect illustration of the Nullabor being a ‘vast, treeless plain’.
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On April 2, I finally crossed the border into Western Australia and camped the night near Cocklebiddy. Grahame and Judy were going to stay on at the 10km peg camp for another couple of days so we bid a fond farewell. Their company had been so appreciated on this trip.

Here’s a couple more pics of sights along the way.
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I felt like I had finally ‘arrived’ when I got to Norseman on April 3, yet I know there is still a long way to go before I reach Secret Harbour at the end of April – and I want to see as much as I can of the South-East corner of WA while I am here.

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Welcome to Norseman

 


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From East to West – Crossing the Nullabor

I can’t believe how lucky I am to be asked to house sit for people who are going travelling. Last year it took me to Mt Isa and now I am on my way to Secret Harbour, south of Perth in Western Australia. That’s a pretty good reason to head west!

After a couple of days rest and recovery following the Solos Rally in Balranald I set off on my next adventure.

I left the Nyah Recreation Grounds on March 26, waving a fond farewell to Rosanna, who I had met just out of Boulia in Western Queensland last year and caught up with again at the Solos Rally. Also sharing our camp were two West Australians, Glenys Mitchell and Glenyce Mills. I had spent some time in Tasmania travelling with Glenyce and now here I am heading off to her home State of WA!

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Happy Hour at Nyah Free Camp

I camped the night at Psyche Pump, just out of Mildura. (free camp, lots of different spots along the river)

 

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View from Psyche Pump Free Camp

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Psyche Pump Free Camp

It turned out to be not such a great choice as there was an amazing thunderstorm in the evening and I woke to mud, mud, mud! The next morning it was a slippery drive out to the road and I couldn’t wait to get to a high pressure car wash and get rid of the mud I had collected under the van, in the van, and all over me!

Mildura to Cadell

Once I had Brutus – and me – sparkling clean I headed towards Cadell Recreation Ground for the night.
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I didn’t realise, but the way I had chosen to go meant that I had to cross over the Murray River by ferry to get to the campground. It was a free trip and goes on demand, and it was a bit of a buzz travelling this way.
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Michael and Margaret, the caretakers at Cadell welcomed me warmly and set me up on a nice clean level spot. The amenities here are first class and beautifully clean and well cared for. It was $12 a night for an unpowered site but I didn’t object as the facilities were so good – and the caretakers so friendly. The sunset was amazing, too!

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Sunset at Cadell Recreation Ground Camp

Before I left the next day Margaret gave me some of her home made tomato sauce that she had just finished cooking and Michael gave me a mud map of an interesting way to go to my next stop which they recommended to me.

Cadell to Melrose
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Once again I camped at the Recreation Grounds, which weren’t as nice as the previous night at Cadell but it was only $8 for an unpowered site and once again, great hot showers. I could get used to this luxury!

On the way there was a huge wind farm near Hallett. It seemed to go on forever and although this photo doesn’t show the extent of it I just loved the sky in this one!

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Wind Farm at Hallett

Melrose to Minnipa

I made a wrong call today and probably should have stayed in Kimba, which is the home of the Big Galah. Felt a bit of a galah myself for not stopping when I should have but the upside was the lovely people I met at my next stop.

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The Big Galah, Kimba

Kimba has a big sign declaring it is half way across Australia. I drove down to the Recreation Grounds which was the camping area in town but it looked like it had just been graded and a large area was closed off. I stopped long enough to have one of the best coffees I’ve ever had at The Cafe – yes, that’s what it’s called – in the main street, a pretty little place with lace curtains in the window and the coffee was soooo good. Fuelled with caffeine I decided to keep driving and eventually found a camp spot at the Apex Park in Minnipa.

Another couple, Judy and Grahame, pulled in with their caravan so I wasn’t camping alone – and I was sick of driving so the thought of having to go any further wasn’t at all appealing. I must say the toilet block had me a bit worried about the locals though! The next morning Judy was saying how noisy it was with other vans and trucks pulling in and out all night but I slept through it all!

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Minnipa Free Camp

This was the route I travelled today.
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You’ll see I went through Iron Knob, which I drove into but there was absolutely nothing there – or if there was I couldn’t find it!

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Looking towards Iron Knob

Minnipa to Koonibba

I was really looking forward to today as I was going into Streaky Bay, a place I had picked out on the map before I started this journey. I think I built it up too much because when I got there it was crowded and there was no free camp – but I had another beautiful coffee at Mocean, right on the waterfront.
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Grahame & Judy had been told that Smoky Bay was even better so I headed off there but it was jam packed – the caravan park looked like a supermarket car park – and once again, no free camps that I could find. This was my fifth day of travel to cross from the East of Australia to West Australia. My next stop was Koonibba for the night – I’m on my way to WA!
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