Across the Nullarbor, Australia, November 1999

by Trevor McGavin.

Here's a selection of photos taken on a holiday to Aussie with my brother (Peter) in November 1999. It included a long drive from Perth to Adelaide, across the Nullarbor Plain. We allowed just under 2 weeks to get from Perth to Adelaide with the plan being to stick near the coast most of the way. By the time we returned the rental car (a trusty Toyota Camry) to "Hertz" in Adelaide we had covered around 5400km!

All photos were taken with my trusty old Pentax ME-Super 35mm reflex with 35-80mm lens. A polarizing filter was used to enhance any cloud/sky scenes. The negatives were scanned into digital format using an Epson Filmscan 200.

I took about 5 hours of Hi8 video on the trip as well - managed one or two reasonable lightning shots, and some good sound effects with Aussie flies landing on the microphone! One day I might digitise the best bits (need lots of time for that though).

Click the images to see higher resolution versions.

Some pretty clouds (towering cumulus) in the Tasman Sea, taken from the Wellington-Sydney flight.

Made it to Perth - the easy way; flew from Sydney, a four and a half hour flight. Clear skies and 32C!

Near the western-most point of the holiday - Yallingup, about 300km south-southwest of Perth. Interestingly a large number of localities in WA seemed to have names ending in the syllable "up" (eg. Nannup, Beedelup, Normalup, etc.)

An unusual "petrified" waterwheel at Cape Leeuwin (Australia's most "south-western" point - near Augusta, WA). The waterwheel was used to generate power for the lighthouse at the Cape in the 1800's.

A railway museum in the forestry town of Pemberton (between Augusta and Albany, WA). Sadly, the steam trains weren't running at this time of year (because of the fire danger) but we did get a pleasant bush-tram ride.

Sunset near Albany, in Torndirrup National Park, WA. Some interesting blowholes and coastal rock formations here.

Wind generators near Esperance, WA. There were 9 of this size, each capable of generating 225 kW, and altogether supply up to 14% of Esperance's power. It was very windy that day too, so they seemed most appropriate!

A surfing beach near Esperance, WA.

More nice coastal scenery near Esperance, WA.

Inland now to Kalgoorlie. This is the "Superpit", the largest operating open-cast goldmine in Australia - 4km long and up to 2km wide in places, the size of a small town! A daily event around 5pm each day is a dynamite blast which tourists can watch - we were lucky enough to see this by chance when we arrived - but without knowing it was going to happen, so didn't have cameras ready in time! We visited a "tourist" underground goldmine near Kalgoorlie as well (taken 120 feet down below in a small elevator shaft) but sadly came back empty-handed (in terms of gold)!

Onto the Nullarbor now. This shows the beginning (western end) of Australia's longest straight section of road, 90 miles (or 146.6km), shortly after passing through the small locality of Balladonia. The road is good all the way; just prior to this we were able to pass two "wide-load" trucks (one carrying a house) travelling in the same direction as us (at about 80km/hr). Every so often we came across designated sections of road marked as emergency aircraft landing strips. These had what looked like pedestrian crossings on them - maybe for kangaroos to use?!

In the Nullarbor every 1 or 2 hundred kilometres or so we saw these solar powered stations off to the side of the main road (apparently owned by Telecom).

It's a myth - the Nullarbor Plain isn't flat! We were surprised when we arrived at the Madura Pass where the road drops a few hundred feet down an escarpment cut be sea-waves a long time ago.

Here are the remains of Eucla's Telegraph station in the Nullarbor, near the Western Australia - South Australia border. Today Eucla is located at the top of the escarpment, in the background of this picture.

Into South Australia now and the beginning of the most scenic part of the Nullarbor. The road goes near the sea for about 150km between Border Village and Nullarbor Roadhouse, and there are a number of nice viewing points along the way. There were some interesting cumuliform showers around that day too.

Each viewing point is marked by a "P" on the main road, the same symbol used in Aussie cities to mark parking, where they are just about all "Wilsons Parking". We wondered if Mr Wilson also owned parking on the Nullarbor! (at least parking was free here).

Another coastal view on the Nullarbor. Interesting shower cloud in background.

Where the Nullarbor meets the sea - very spectacular cliffs! There are warning signs at the stopping points about the dangers of killing yourself - you can walk right to the edge without any fences!

We happened to follow an unstable weather system across the Nullarbor (as you may have noticed from earlier pictures) which made the clouds impressive as well. Another viewing point on the coastal part of the Nullarbor.

By the Nullarbor cliffs.

More Nullarbor cliffs - they looked like they went on to infinity (and beyond) at this point.

This is the "Head of Bight" (northern most point of the Australian Bight), coastal scenery just east of Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Storm activity near Penong in South Australia. Starting to get back into civilisation again as we head east into the wheat-belt. There are numerous agricultural-type windmills in this scene but they're hard to see.

Rain streaks at Back Beach, a popular surfing beach near Streaky Bay, SA. Well past the Nullarbor now and travelling around the western side of Eyre Peninsula.

Rainbow at Streaky Bay, SA. This was the view from our top-class "apartment" at the Streaky Bay Foreshore Tourist Park - right on the beach!

Another view of Streaky Bay beach, SA, from Tourist Park. Note the Pelicans being fed (or wanting to be fed), and the storm activity in the background.

Lightning from Streaky Bay beach, SA. This was a 5 minute exposure.

Murphys Haystacks - unusual rock formations between Streaky Bay and Port Lincoln, on the western side of Eyre Peninsula, SA.

Sea cliffs near Lake Hamilton (the Lake's visible at the right of picture), again between Streaky Bay and Port Lincoln, on the western side of Eyre Peninsula, SA.

A pleasant beach (Taylors Landing) in Lincoln National Park, near the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula, SA. We saw our first live snake in the wild near here - almost squashed it - car wheels either side!

Back to city life - Flinders Street Railway Station in Melbourne. After returning the rental car in Adelaide we got the train to Melbourne - a 10 hour day trip on "The Ghan".

I splashed-out in Melbourne and bought myself a new digital camera - and this is it!