Ok I am back on my laptop using an internet dongle thing so hopfully I'll be able to post this post successsfully and with less hassle and faff than the last one. Erika borrowed my laptop on Monday night and reszized a load of the images so fingers crossed............
Let's see if these images work......... Here's some of us packing/getting ready before we left for the Nullarbor on the morning of the 19th.
HOORAY SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!! Various boxes with food in. Note also the fridge/freezer (called Engels) at the back.
Packing in the Monster Truck, the quad bike is strapped in at the front, more of that in a later post!
So, as I said we headed out of Perth on the morning of 19th September. Geoff and I were in the Monster Truck and Alex, Kath and Erika in the Prado. Monster Truck led the way as it is speed limited to 103 km/h. We got out of town and went on the Great Eastern Highway and after leaving the suburbs of Perth we were out in the countryside. The road runs east towards Kalgoorlie and often is flanked by the Trans Australian Railway and the Golden Pipeline. We stopped at Baker’s Hill for a fantastic pie (they are famous for their pies and they are DELICIOUS!) and then continued on to Coolgardie. Coolgardie is a mining town and is located where the first major gold strike occurred in what is now called the Eastern Goldfields (an area which is still producing a large amount of gold today). Alex and Geoff have given us quite a history of the gold mining in WA and told us that there were strikes prior to the Coolgardie strike but these were short-lived. We turned off the Great Eastern Highway at Coolgardie and headed down the Norseman-Esperance Road. After a long 8 hour drive for Geoff we decided to stop at the five-star resort of Widgimooltha.
One of the 'amenities' at the Widgiemoooltha resort..............
Alex booked us some rooms – Erika, Kath and I had the luxury of an en-suite room but Alex and Geoff shared a room without a bathroom, this sort of accommodation is apparently called donga and according to Geoff ~90% of accommodation in WA is like this! Many are in fact made of old shipping containers but these ones were purpose-built accommodation.
From left - Dr Geoff Deacon, Prof Alex Bevan, Kath Bermingham and me sitting on our terrace at the fabulous and glamorous Widgiemooltha roadhouse resort
After a fairly good night’s sleep, only interrupted by the occasional road train hurtling past, we set off for another day of driving to our final destination – the field camp!
This is the typical sort of scenery in the Eastern Goldfields, driving down to Norseman from Widgiemooltha.
Now this is more like the Nullarbor - note the distinct lack of trees. However, since I was here last in 2006 it is MUCH GREENER as there has been some significant rainfall over the winter. This is great for the farmers who have cattle and sheep stations in the region but not so great for meteorite hunters. I commented to Geoff that when I visited first I felt that the stark and barren landscape of the Nullarbor was really quite foreboding but now with the amount of greenery around it actually looked quite appealing.
After about another 5/6 hours of driving we left the Eyre Highway and started on the dirt roads leading north and into the wilds of the Nullarbor. This was tricky driving for Geoff especially in the truck and also as it was beginning to get dark. I was helping to navigate using a combination of GPS and also maps etc from previous Nullarbor adventures. Luckily I did an adequate job and we only took a wrong turning once, which I realised almost as soon as we had so we didn't get lost or lose anytime having to backtrack.
We arrived at our chosen campsite at about 9pm and it was really quite dark which is not ideal for setting up a camp but we had planned for such an eventuality with our packing and all our essential kit was easily accessible in the Prado and Truck. The first thing we did was Kath and I helped Alex dig a firepit, this is vital as the fire provides warmth for cooking, hot water etc (obviously)! It was getting very cold so we were very grateful that we got the fire going so quickly and also that Geoff had cut some logs at a stop we had made earlier in the day! Clever Geoff!!
As we were so busy setting up a basic camp so we could all sleep comfortably after the long journey we don'y have any photos of us setting up the camp but we took a lot whilst we were there so I will share those with you in later posts.
See you soon and I'll post another blog tomorrow or Friday...........