Followers on Instagram and Facebook will notice that we’ve been lurching our way across the country – starting in Western Australia and finishing in Batemans Bay, New South Wales, a trip of nearly 5,000 kilometres. I thought I would choose a few highlights for a
quick pretty long post.
We stopped in Coolgardie, which is a town built for the gold mining boom. It’s now fairly sleepy but has some wonderful old buildings. This one was the subject of some controversy as it was commissioned from “the coast” (Perth) and the locals felt that it was a folly and the local stone used would erode quickly. It has in places, but the structure looks strong. The inside is poorly designed though and is now only used as a museum and tourist information centre.
I thought you might like this badly wrought sculpture of the camel and its driver – he’s not deliberately leaning over, he’s falling off as his right hip and leg have vanished. We won’t discuss the shape of that camel, it reminds me of a fat Daschund for some reason! (no offence to Daschunds).
The other thing about old country towns is that they have a hotel on every corner and Coolgardie is no exception. They aren’t small either. The one on the left is called the “Denver City Hotel” which intrigued me. Perhaps the original owner was from Texas?
Our next stop was the Nullarbor, but I have no photos worth publishing. I will take some on the way home. “Nullarbor” is derived from two Latin words meaning no trees, and it is rather barren.
We left Western Australia and passed the South Australian border. Quarantine is strict in both states with no plants, fruit or vegetables being allowed across the border. We did think WA is stricter than SA though!
Australia has a frightening number of enormous statues of weird things (think bananas, pineapples, etc) and the South Australian border is no exception. I have no idea what happened to “Rooey I”, but here is Rooey II in all his splendour holding a giant stubby holder, I note. For non-Australian followers a stubby holder is made from foam or neoprene and is designed to keep your bottle or can (usually beer) cold.
Our next stop was Ceduna, and the only photos I got were for a previous post, but here is a reminder – me on the quite long jetty and it’s quite windy!.
On the journey we passed through many, many towns. Some were so small that they fell into the category of “blink and you’ll miss them” and others were surprisingly large. We also noted the difference in prosperity, some towns are sadly dying because they rely solely on natural resources such as agriculture or mining, whilst most of the ones who are more reliant on tourism are doing pretty well.
We called through the gorgeously named Pichi Richi which used to be part of the route of the Old Ghan railway and the Pichi Richi Railway still runs to Port Augusta, but I didn’t get an opportunity to take any photos – so annoying!
We then headed to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges outside of Adelaide. This is a marvellous place, owned and operated by the local Aboriginal people and we stayed in a safari tent, which we were all very taken with, especially Archie who immediately did some chin ups on the structure!
Mark did his usual cooking thing and made us some large pikelets – delicious!
and Archie did one of his stunning starlit photos of the tent (we don’t know what the green dot in the sky is – suspect Martians!!)
Wilpena Pound is a natural amphitheatre created by mountains and the terrain is starkly beautiful. We didn’t get into the pound itself (the dip in the middle), but here is a shot of it from the outside.
and the sunset was pretty spectacular too!
as was the general landscape – look at these colours!
Our next stop was Mildura – which was most notable for all the modified Holden Commodores rolling around with throaty sounding exhausts.
We then hit the Victorian High Country, which is glorious. We visited Bright, which is a really lovely small town, and we got caught in a massive rain storm, soaking us completely. I had a spray jacket on but it didn’t do much good. Waterfalls began cascading into the river, there was so much water.
We then made for the delightful hamlet of Dargo, taking the four-wheel drive route, which was both terrifying (think long drops to the bottom of the valley) and exhilarating (think long drops to the bottom of the valley!). However, it did give good opportunities for photos. The white dusting the sides of the mountain in this photo is not snow, but dead trees (snow would have been so much better). The trees were all killed in a really savage bush fire in 2003 and have not regenerated.
and so to Dargo, which is basically an iconic Australian style hotel and a general store.
However, quite surprisingly, there is also an opera house!
Inside the opera house is a stage with a single chair on it, a large fireplace and bar and lots of tables and chairs. I would kill to go to a performance there!
We stayed in one of the cabins behind the pub. I think we were the only guests.
Mark took to the accommodation like a duck to water, and I found him chilling out on the front veranda, wine in hand!
We spent a happy afternoon doing a four-wheel drive track called Billy Goat Bluff, and the views were glorious and well worth the rather “interesting” driving. This photo gives a good representation of the track, which goes right to the top of this mountain.
Meanwhile the wheels of the bus went up…
…and down – see the track?
but check out the view!
and us embedded in the landscape
We then wended our way through the mountains to Thredbo, and when I say “wended”, I really mean corkscrewed! We navigated hairpin bends, including the tightest one we’ve ever seen which we had to crawl round,
and many more heart stopping drops, single lane bridges, single lane roads, and glorious, wonderful, scenery.
We took the ski lift to the top of Thredbo and hiked to the lookout. Here is Mark perfecting his dorky tourist look.
The vistas were beautiful.
We missed the chairlift back down the mountain so walked. The track was basically a 4km staircase where every stair was a different height and depth. We abandoned it and slid and slipped our way back down to the village.
Finally, after a week on the road, we reached our destination – Batemans Bay, New South Wales.