The road stretched into the distance as far as the eye could see. It was arrow straight with only low scrub on either side. It was empty and desolate and we were miles from anywhere. We were on 90 mile straight in the Nullarbor desert, the longest straight road in Australia.
The Nullarbor desert stretches across the bottom of Western and South Australia. It is over 1200kms between towns and even then the towns at either end are not that big. Norseman, where we started is less than 1000 people but it made for a handy place to stock up.
Even thought the road is straight and pretty featureless you need to still pay attention. Massive road trains ply this route, up 36 metres in length. They are a lot bigger than us and they also go quite a bit faster so you need to give them plenty of room.
On the long drive it takes some ingenuity to fill the time. One is to enjoy the colourful road signs along the way. Whilst we did not see much live wildlife we did see a lot of roadkill along the side of the road. A good reason not to drive at night.
Every so often there is a roadhouse that provide weary travellers with food, accommodation and expensive fuel. Fortunately we did not need any of these but the kids enjoyed a welcome ice cream break whilst we looked at the slightly strange museums each of them seemed to have. One of them had a piece of Skylab from when it fell to earth nearby and another was at the site of a now ruined former telegraph station. Not exactly major sightseeing sights but there was not much around.
All along the way were rest points where you could camp for the night. If you followed the tracks back from the road you could get well away from it. On our first night, the girls enjoyed some scooter exercise wearing the now essential fly hats we had purchased back in Norseman.
By the end of the second day the road was travelling along the Great Australian Bight and close to the cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean. So we followed a track away from the road and camped near to the cliff edge from where we got a great view of the ocean crashing below. We had also just crossed the border from Western Australia to South Australia. There is a ban on bringing fruit between the two states but showing how remote we were the nearest quarantine station was still another 500kms away.
As we came to the end of our third day the desert started to give way to wheat fields and we navigated our way away from the main road down a dirt track to camp in the sand dunes by the sea. The drive down was spectacular with lagoons coloured pink from bacteria with towering sand dunes behind them. The beach we were heading to, Cactus beach, is a famed surfers beach and whilst it is miles from anywhere there were still a dedicated group of surfers camping out. Mind you it was pretty cold when we were there so none of them were in the water. We were still able though to enjoy a lovely sunset.
Finally we arrived in the town at the end of the Nullarbor, Ceduna. This was a real metropolis of more than 3,000 people. More importantly it is famous for its oyster beds just near town so we treated ourselves to some wonderful fish and chips and the most gorgeous fresh oysters.
From Ceduna we headed south down the Eyre Peninsula. We found a beach where we were allowed to park right on the beach for the night. Again it was still quite cold from the wind but when the tide went out the girls could not resist going into the shallow pools to play.
We continued south to the bottom of the peninsular to camp and rest for a few days in Coffin Bay National Park. Here we met a lovely Australian family who had been travelling for a few months. The girls enjoyed having some friends to play with and it was nice not to drive for a change. Instead we enjoyed a lovely walk and a chance to relax. One of the highlights of the park was the local kangaroos. They were not afraid of us and would come really close to us in the evening. If you sat still they would come within a couple of metres of you.