Nullarbor and Eyre Peninsula Free Camping experiences - July 2009

Saturday, Aug 08, 2009 at 15:27

Member-Heather MG NSW

Wednesday 15th July 2009
Harms Lake.

An early start from Kalgoorlie this morning then south to Norseman via Kambalda. We bought Diesel in Norseman from the roadhouse on the highway (not the cheapest but it was convenient), toileted and turned towards the East. I was hopeful that John would stop 5 kms from the town so we could re do the walk to the top of the Mountain where I had taken a fall back in April but there was no such luck..... once turned toward home there is no slowing him down!
We drove through heavily timbered country - gimlet and salmon gums -- for a couple of hours, and hilly roads past Mt Fraser and the station stay which has re opened since we were last here then lunched in a rest area on pea and ham soup (cooked up yesterday in Kalgoorlie) and bread - great comfort food for a cold winters day.
From there we continued through to the rest area about 25 kms west of Balladonia - Harms Lake (NO 23 WA Camps 5) where we found lots of small open flat spaces amongst the low trees, set well back off the road.
One other vehicle, a camper trailer arrived before dark. We had an early campfire and then retired to the van and warmth to cook dinner and enjoy some comfort. Used the gas heater for around half an hour in the evening and again when we woke early in the morning.

Thursday 16th July.
Moonera Tank
Today we drove a shorter distance and stayed at Moonera Tank 43 km east of Cocklebiddy (47 km west of Madura) (WA 13 Camps 5) as we were driving into a strong head wind. I had a short turn at driving but soon gave up as I thought I was using too much fuel! Once John reclaimed the wheel he realised that it wasnt me but a change of road direction which was the cause.
This camp area is very large and many tracks meander off the highway for a considerable distance so we had no difficulty finding a level site and were camped a good distance from the few others who arrived during the afternoon. Once again the trees provided privacy from others and the Highway and we slept remarkably well so not sure whether there were road trains during the night or not. No facilities exept rubbish bins.

Friday 17th July
Enjoyed the drive down into Madura pass then along through to Mundrabilla roadhouse and into Eucla. Stopped to talk to a man pushing a trolley across the Nullarbor - walking from Freemantle to Melbourne I think - to raise funds for Osteoarthritis - Mike Pauly. Gave him a $50 cash donation (the only note I could find in my wallet) for his expenses and some fresh fruit. I had listened to a conversation with Macca on ABC radio's 'Australia All Over' some time ago and hoped we would see him. It made my day!!!! He was very friendly and happy that we had pulled up. What an amazing feat for a man who has this condition (osterarthritis). He has lost somewhere in the vicinity of 34 kgs since starting out, and eats only raw food as he cant carry or store either the food items or the equipment to cook it.
We also drove the few kms to the coast from Eucla township and visited the remains of the Old Telegraph station which are partially submerged in the sand drifts. We lunched in Eucla and I used the opportunity to check my emails, not realising that when we pulled up for the night I would have a 3G signal - using my high gain antennae.
Stayed overnight around 30 kms west of Nullarbor roadhouse and was able to phone the family which was a bonus! It was another very quiet night- only one or two other occupants and a very big area with trees for privacy. We stayed towards the rear of it. No facilities apart from rubbish bins.

Saturday. 18th July
Old Perlubie school site (east of Ceduna)
Marked in the Camps 5 book, however not clearly signposted on the road side so we were lucky to find it.
Used heater for a while tonight and in morning too
Not too far from the highway which was very busy all night with roadtrains and much noise. I had a wakeful night for the first time in ages and felt that we were to close to the road - not sure why! We were the only occupants here - no facilities except bins but we were at least out of view of passing traffic. We could have had a fire but it was very wind and unpleasant outdoors. I did some hand washing and managed to get it dry enough to drape around the van so it looked like a chinese laundry but dried due to the heater being on. The morning was very dewey and damp.

Sunday 19th July
Pildappa Rock, NO 643 SA Camps 5

15kms off the highway on dirt road. This camp place is well worth travelling off the highway to as it is scenic and has walking opportunities which are always welcome after hours of sitting in the car!
A lovely place to stay overnight - there was a clean pit toilet, a walk up and over and around the rock and even picnic tables undercover, gas bbq, garbage bins.... and we were alone. Very quiet, but very windy night so again no fire. We didnt use the bbq's but they would be useful for tent campers.
We wandered up and all over the rock for great views over amazingly green pastures all around. While listening to the radio we heard that the Eyre Peninsula has never looked so good and I can well believe it as we saw only brown, dry and dusty landscape on our trip around here - south around the coast - in late march and early April. There were pools of water of varying size on top of the rock as well as small clumps of green vegetation. Also evidence of a previous time when attempts have been made to dam the water on top.

Monday 20th July
East Kimba rest area No 625 SA Camps 5)
52 kms west of Iron Knob.
Bought fruit and veg in Kimba, fuel and 40 litres of water. There is a rest area in town, opposite the IGA Supermarket with toilets but there were big trees overhanging it as the day was windy so we werent keen to stay under the branches of gums. Also it was only early in the day, around lunch time so we we continued.
The rest area we found is on the highway but being a big, flat and wooded area we were able to find a site well off the road and had a quiet night here, despite traffic. No facilities except rubbish bins but there were plenty of small (mulga??) trees so it was private and we were hidden from the road.
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir
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