Friday, 29 January 2016

Great Australian Bight

The Great Australian Bight is a large oceanic bight, or open bay, off the central and western portions of the southern coastline of mainland Australia.
The Great Australian Bight was first encountered by European explorers in 1627 when a Dutch navigator François Thijssen sailed along its western margins. The coast was later first accurately charted by the English navigator Matthew Flinders in 1802, during his circumnavigation of the Australian continent. A later land-based survey was accomplished by the English explorer Edward John Eyre.

The coastline of the Great Australian Bight is characterised by cliff faces (up to 60 metres (200 ft) high), surfing beaches and rock platforms, ideal for whale-watching. This is a popular activity during the southern hemisphere winter, when increasing numbers of southern right whales migrate to the region from their summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic. The whales come to the Bight region, especially to the Head of Bight, to calve and breed, and do not feed until they return to the Antarctic. Their numbers were severely depleted by whaling, particularly during the 19th Century, but have since recovered to some extent.

The Nullarbor Plain, which borders much of the length of the Bight's coastline, is a former seabed, uplifted during the Miocene. Consisting of limestone, it is very flat, and has an arid or semi-arid climate with very little rainfall, and high summer temperatures and high evaporation rates. It has no surface drainage, but has a karst drainage system through cave formation in the underlying limestone. North of the Nullarbor lies the Great Victoria Desert, which has an internal drainage system terminating in numerous small salt lakes.

There's a few lookouts across the Nullarbor which many people call into.
The photos below show what it's like.  It wasn't a clear morning as you can see...looking towards the Great Southern Ocean.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Nullarbor - Eyre Highway

Today is Australia Day, a Public Holiday which means many things to different people.

Happy Australia Day

As I said in my last post - Between Balladonia and Caiguna is a 146.6 kilometre (91.1 mi) stretch of the highway which is one of the longest straight stretches of road in the world.
The highway is called the Eyre Highway, it's approximately 1,675km (1,040 mile) long and takes about two days to cross.

A few interesting facts regarding the Nullarbor.

The name Nullarbor originated from the Latin terminology nullus arbor meaning ‘no trees’ because quite literally you are lucky to see any surviving tress along this desert plain.

The Nullarbor Plain is home to the earth’s largest piece of limestone.

Another form of transport to cross the Nullarbor is by the Indian Pacific Train. This train runs twice weekly from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide and takes 3 nights to cover the 4352km (2,704 mile) journey.

Even though the Nullarbor has very harsh weather conditions it is home to a surprising amount of animals. Kangaroos, emu’s, wombats and even camels all call the Nullarbor Plain home.

The Nullarbor has up to 100,000 wild camels which were abandoned there after their use in building rail roads.
Some of the scenery along the way.
No camels, kangaroo's or any creature did we see.

Cocklebiddy is a small roadhouse community located on the Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It is the third stop after Norseman on the long journey east across the Nullarbor Plain. The area is noted for its underground caves and lakes.
So there is more to this tiny place 'than meets the eye'.

Cleaning the windscreen, the road back onto the highway.

Small town of Madura Western Australia.
Madura was settled in 1876 as a place to breed quality cavalry horses for the British Indian Army for use in the Northwest Frontier region of India (now part of Pakistan). The horses were shipped from the coast at Eucla. (Cervantes, north of Perth, was also used for breeding.) The site was chosen as it was one of the few with free flowing bore water in the area.
The surrounding area is part of Madura Station currently a sheep station, but was previously used to graze cattle, horses and camels.

Madura Pass lookout, the above 3 photos.

After leaving Balladonia we headed towards Eucla WA. We got about 30 kms out we decided to look for a 'free park' to sleep the night, found a good one with a few others already parked there for the night.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

To Balladonia, Western Australia

Back to the holiday.
Balladonia is a small roadhouse community located on the Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It is the first stop east of Norseman on the long journey east across the Nullarbor Plain. Between Balladonia and Caiguna is a 146.6 kilometre (91.1 mi) stretch of the highway which is one of the longest straight stretches of road in the world.


Lake Cowen in the dry season between Kalgoorlie and Norsman WA.

 Norseman, WA
It's here we bought our lunch and made sure we had provisions for the long trip across the Nullarbor.

Balladonia, WA  All that is there is the Roadhouse.

The caravan park.  There is no water only power.
There is a shower provided if you pay for the water.

The bush at Balladonia and our caravan parked for the night.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Off to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Before we continue the photos of our holiday last year a couple of photos taken last evening by Peter Sayers near Devonport, Tasmania.
Photos with the smoke haze at sunset.

They are wonderful.

The largest fire is spread across 7,000 hectares in a remote area of what is known as the Great Western Tiers in the north of this island.

To continue the Holiday 2015
Off to visit our niece in Kalgoolie, Western Australia.
Remembering that this area is known for mining.  Previous post on Kalgoorlie is [ here ]
From Merridin to Kalgoorlie we went through a town called Southern Cross, then Coolgardie, Western Australia.

The Hotel at Southern Cross, no doubt is was really something in it's day.

Southern Cross the town.

The RSL Coolgardie.  (Return Serviceman's League)

Kalgoorlie, a view.

The town of Kalgoorlie.

A brothel that is still used but it's a museum these days.

Hooking onto the caravan on our way east.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

At home

A change from the holiday so a post from home.
We had a wonderful time with 3 of the grandchildren who lived on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for 6 years, returning to Launceston in 2014 mid winter and the 5 of them lived with us for several months until they were able to get their own home.
On Sunday they all came for a barbecue dinner but the children arrived at 1.30pm and their parents went for a long walk up the Gorge, not far from the city.
Being a hot day we turned the sprinkler on for the children, before that the helicopter and bucket took off near home to help fight the fires.
I grabbed my old DSLR Canon Camera and put the appropriate lens on to shoot this shot.

Photo taken January 19 from a street near by.  All of Launceston and surrounding areas for miles/km is like this as the smoke from some 30 fires burning on the north of the Island.

The weekend.
The weeds had been sprayed two days prior.
Miss 9, and Mister 3 - soon to be 4.  He's the grandson I delivered on the side of a busy Highway on the Sunshine Coast.

Miss 8.  The lawn is now dry as most are at this time of year.

All children like to have a bit of fun - so Poppy ended up with Miss 9's sunglasses.

Plumbago in the front garden in full bloom.

Monday, 18 January 2016

In and around Merredin, Western Australia

We left Moora at 9.30am and went through New Norcia (previous post), arrived in Merredin at 3.30pm.  We bought some diesel before looking for a Caravan Park or a place to park the Caravan for the night.
The place we chose is [ here ] and is what I posted about that time.
Merredin is small town in the Central Wheatbelt of Western Australia, about halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
The first European explorer into the area was the Surveyor General J. S. Roe, who travelled through the region in 1836 but was not impressed by its dryness and the low rainfall.
The town became first known as a stopover on the way to the Goldfields of Kalgoorlie.

Australian Gumnuts which we saw along the way.

It was about this area where we began to see water pipes which carry water from Perth to Kalgoorlie.

The Merredin District Hall.

Parrots at sunset. Might have to enlarge the photo.

Spent the night here at a Free Park, and caught the sun as it was setting on the gumtrees.

The scenery was the same as the photo all the way to Kalgoorlie.

Merredin on the right of the map.