Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 28 October 2013

Part 3 - South Australia trip - Crossing Australia - The Eyre Highway and the Nullabor

Welcome back. A couple of weeks ago I gave you a brief overview of our recent trip to South Australia. Last week I brought you the first part – the Hyden to Norseman Road in Western Australia. 
If you missed it, and the AMAZING wildflowers, please click here – Across the Woodlines - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia

Today I bring you part 2 – Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor.  The journey from Norseman in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia (which is classed as being the 'Nullarbor' experience) is approximately 1,200 kilometres. Are you ready? - please fill up your water bottles, pack your tent, fasten your seat belts, and make sure you have your camera ready. 

 Being far from bare as the word “Nullarbor” or this collage might imply, there is plenty to explore. Oh my goodness, there is a push-bike rider on the Eyre Highway!

As we drove across the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor we thought about the first Europeans to cross here – it certainly wasn’t as easy as it is today.  

Aboriginal people, belonging to a number of different language groups, have lived in this vast area of southern Australia for over 35,000 years. There are signs of their heritage in 60 known archaeological sites. 

The crossing by Edward John Eyre and his aboriginal companion Wylie in 1840-41 is one of the most remarkable feats of endurance in Australian exploration history.  You can see various monuments throughout this part of Australia, including this sculpture dedicated to Eyre and Wylie at Kimba at the top of the Eyre Peninsular....

 It was another 30 years before anyone attempted the journey again.  An overland telegraph line between Perth and Adelaide (2,425 kilometres and 19,470 poles) was built in 1877 and the first track followed this line. In 1942 a graded road was constructed and the final bituminisation was completed in 1976.

Here is a map showing the Eyre Highway and this part of our trip - the dark blue thick line...

The lack of water was always a problem, and large corrugated iron roofs were erected along the highway to collect run off into tanks. You can still see some of these today - but don't rely on them for water! bring your own! 
The ruins of the Eucla Telegraph Station on the border of Western Australia and Adelaide is today being engulfed by shifting sand. Only the ruins of the station master’s residence remain. It is a fascinating place to visit. ……

It takes a few days to cross the Eyre Highway, especially if you are going to stop and look at the sights.  There are no towns, but road houses with motels and caravan parks will make the trip easier. There are also a number of free over night rest areas. You can find out about them by going to the Western Australian Main Roads site, click here -  Mainroads WA Rest Areas or by purchasing one of the Australian camping guide books. 

From the west coast it took us three and a half days and three nights bush camping to reach Streaky Bay in South Australia.
Below you can see them......Newman Rocks, Yalata (don't forget the flyspray and the insect repellent!), Moonera (our camp on our way back), and Jilah Rockhole. The bottom two pics show a typical roadside rest area, and our billy on the boil for that hot chocolate!

One of the best things about bush camping is the sunsets and sunrises that light up the sky….

Along the road there are trucks and other "big things" (a big kangaroo??). Take care when overtaking - the trucks I mean....  You will be amazed at what you might see….the bottom RH pic is of a burnt out truck that came to an unfortunate end in a truck bay. Hopefully the driver was unhurt. 

Signs to make sure you know where you are ….. like this one warning to be on the lookout for camels, wombats, and kangaroos. Wombats! We never saw any but you certainly wouldn’t want to run into one. The camels are feral herds which have been increasing to huge numbers since the days of the Afghan cameleers trains carting goods across outback Australia. Also be sure to don’t leave anything laying about your camp, particularly food, or you might find a dingo wanders in – and certainly don’t feed them. 

And even Royal Flying Doctor landing strips….yes, there are several of them along the highway - they actually use the highway as their airstrip.….well it is a straight piece of road!…..It is a quick way to assist people in medical trouble out here.

There is the longest stretch of straight road in Australia…… and the vastness of the southern Nullarbor Plain - and a sign to tell you when you get there….. 

 The Nullarbor Plain is the world’s largest limestone karst landscape covering an area of 270,000 square km, extending 2000 km between Norseman and Ceduna. Two thirds of the Nullarbor is within Western Australia and one third is in South Australia.The spectacular Bunda Cliffs and the Great Australian Bight border the area to the south and the northern border is the Great Victoria Desert.

In 1866 E. Alfred Delisser surveyed the Nullarbor Plain and noted a marked absence of trees. Contrary to some popular opinions the word Nullarbor is not of Aboriginal origins. In fact the local Mirning people referred to the area as "Oondiri" which is said to mean "the waterless". Delisser derived the term Nullarbor from the Latin "nulla" for no, and "arbor" for tree. Hence the term "Nullarbor" meaning “no trees”. 

However the plain is covered with bluebush and saltbush plants, hardy shrubs that are drought-resistant and salt-tolerant, with Myall acacia woodlands at the other edges. 

There are no towns between Norseman and Eucla, but there are Road Houses to fuel up your vehicle and you….however expect to pay high prices for fuel and food. You can also buy a shower.  Make sure your vehicle is reliable before crossing the Nullarbor as mechanical repairs will be expensive and time consuming - especially if parts have to be freighted in.

 There are cliffs and whales…….The Great Australian Bight Marine Park is a significant breeding and calving area at the Head of the Bight for the Southern Right Whale, and for sea lion colonies along the Bunda Cliffs. Whale watching at the Head of the Bight between June and October is a must for Nullarbor travellers. The access to the Head of the Bight lookout is 11km east of Nullarbor Roadhouse (please note you have to pay to go out on the Head of the Bight lookout).  Between Eucla and the Head of the Bight the Eyre Highway runs quite close to the cliff edge and there are various lookouts (don't climb over the railings). This is the Southern Ocean - next stop is Antarctica.

  At Border Village (on the border of WA & SA) you go through the Quaratine Station (if travelling east to west)……don’t carry any fresh fruit or vegetables (travelling west to east the quarantine station is at Ceduna). Please check the website and know what you can and can’t carry, it is easier that way….click on the link for an easy chart.... Australian domestic quarantine

There is even the Nullarbor Golf Links. This unique 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. A single hole can be played in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway, each featuring a green, a tee and a fairway of rugged outback natural terrain. ……make sure you allow more time for your trip if you intend playing all the holes, and collect your certificate when you sign up and complete the 18 holes. My son played the Links when he travelled across here a couple of years ago……click on the link to read more - Nullarbor Links
Oh and look out for giant "kangaroos" at the Border Village Link. LOL 

At Penong, on the western edge of the South Australian wheatbelt, you will see a cluster of community windmills in a paddock on the edge of the Eyre Highway. Known as "Windmill Flat" the 26 windmills are each privately owned supplying water for domestic and stock use. Being on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain it is not surprising that water is an issue for Penong. Wells were first sunk between 1868 and 1884 and windmill bores were later sunk to pump water from the Anjutabie Water Basin.  Penong still relies on rainfall as their main water source, with additional water carted by tankers from the Todd River pipeline, plus water pumped by the windmills. 

We thought is was an unusual sight so I took some pics - and just as well - as my story about Penong's windmills appeared in "Curious Australis" in the February 2014 edition of On The Road Magazine Australia.

At Fowlers Bay you can learn more about Matthew Flinders who named Fowlers Bay in 1802, and Edward John Eyre and his expedition which left here for the crossing of the Nullarbor on 25 February 1841. In the collage below you can see the jetty, a memorial to Flinders, a new hotel, the old telegraph station (now a private residence), and sandhills and salt lake at the edge of town. ….. I really like the way they have converted the old rail cart into a table and seats.

And at the end of it all you will reach Ceduna and the start of the next part of our journey. If you are travelling from west to east the Quarantine Station is here…..

I hope you have enjoyed Part 3 of our tour. I will be back next week when we go across the top of the Eyre Peninsula, through the Gawler Ranges where we see the amazing “Organ Pipes” rocks, and a stay in Port Augusta before turning north up the Stuart Highway and through outback South Australia. 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like - 
On the road through South Australia
Across the woodlines - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia
Dehydrating food for camping

Monday 21 October 2013

Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia

Welcome back. Last week I told you briefly about our recent trip to South Australia (please click here if you missed it - On the Road through South Australia   

and as promised today I am bringing you the first part of our trip - the Granite and Woodlines Discovery Trail which stretches 300 kilometres between Hyden and Norseman in Western Australia.   We travelled on this road twice in the last couple of months - on our first day of our trip to South Australia on 1st September, and then again on our return on 7-8 October.  The wildflowers were just starting to bloom in September.

248km of the Hyden to Norseman Road is a good gravel road, although as we experienced on our return trip in early October, the middle section, which has more of a clay base, can be muddy, boggy and slippery in the wet (in some places we were down to 40km per hour), so it is important to drive for the conditions and take notice of “road closure” signs.  There are several mines in this area, so please be aware that large haul trucks use this road.  You can see the road in the dry and in the wet here -we got covered in a "bit" of mud!

  However in good weather the trail is a very interesting short cut across to Norseman and the start of the Eyre Highway to South Australia.  There are a couple of good campsites along the road, so I recommend that those who have a little more time should consider camping out and stopping at the 16 interpretive sites along the way to learn more about the ecology and history of the area and experience all that the trail has to offer. There is a great little guide booklet available from the Shire of Dundas - you can click here to get the brief pdf - or email them for the full brochure - Granite & Woodlands Trail

This is part of the Great Western Woodlands, which covers sixteen million hectares of southern Western Australia, and is the is the largest and healthiest remaining Mediterranean climate woodland left on earth.  
You can see our approximate route along the Hyden to Norseman Road shown in blue here -

There are three designated campsites – the Breakaways, McDermid Rock and Lake Johnson. McDermid is our favourite – we have camped here twice. There is something comforting about going back to a favourite campsite and finding it the same as the last time you were there.   Below, clockwise from top left, you can see McDermid Rock camp, Breakaways camp, Disappointment Rock and Lake Johnson.

The campsites at McDermid Rock are attractively located amongst the trees, and the 1150 metre rock trail features 18 interpretive panels.  The first part of the trail goes up to the highest point of the rock. I love seeing the rock dwelling plants, and the 360 degree views.

The Breakaways is also a good  place to camp as it is away from the road, protected from the wind and there is plenty of room, whereas Lake Johnson, part of a series of salt pans that run through this area, has a great view of the lake but is more exposed and close to the road.  Disappointment Rock also has an interpretive walk but you cannot camp here.

In the pictures below you can see some of McDermid Rock, rock gardens, and a remarkable rugged survivor. 

During a good spring season the wildflowers can be magnificent as they were when we travelled across in early October.   The sandplain kwongan heathlands supports a remarkable diversity of species. Although deficient in trace elements and unsuitable for farming, the wild species thrive on it.   This image really doesn't come close to showing you what we saw....

If you stop the car along here you will be amazed by the variety of wildflowers you will see. Botanists have suggested that in any given 1000 square metres there could be close to a hundred different species.   Here is the Flame Grevillea, Grevillea excelsior, a tall spindly but showy plant which thrives along here, particularly in the disturbed road verges.

The wildflowers were certainly out in full bloom when in travelled along here in mid October - actually the best I have ever seen them. Disappointingly though the heavy rain and conditions did not make for good photography, but I managed to snap a few.

 And the delicious Native Peach - the Quandong - I'll be back to tell you more about the Quandong in another post....

  Not far from Wave Rock, east of Hyden, you cross the Holland Track, forged by John Holland and his party in 1893 as a route to the goldfields between Broomehill to Coolgardie, and the 1,837 kilometres long State Vermin Proof Barrier Fence, which marks the eastern edge of the wheatbelt, and initially constructed to keep the rabbits from invading Western Australia from the east. 


You can read about our trip along the Holland Track last April - by clicking here -  Holland Track

 I hope you have enjoyed the first part of our South Australia trip. Next week we start to travel across the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor into South Australia.  

Have a great week, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Road is a good quality gravel road suitable for all vehicles, including those towing a caravan or camper, however please take note of “road closure” signs and drive for conditions when wet.
Watch out for wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk.
There are no facilities or towns between Hyden and Norseman. so carry adequate fuel, provisions and water. 

Location:  Perth to Hyden - 340km, Hyden to McDermid Rock - 192km, Hyden to Norseman - 300km.
Ideal time to travel: April and October when the weather is cooler (generally 20-25C) Night temperatures can be very cold- so be prepared with warm clothing. Temperatures in summer months vary between 30 and 40C
Facilities:  Picnic tables, fire rings, long drop bush toilets at some sites.  Be aware of camp fire bans, and use a gas stove.  Take your rubbish out with you.

A Guide to the Granite and Woodlands Discover Trail booklet – Shire of Dundas
Shire of Dundas - www.dundas.wa.gov.au – Tel: 08 9039 1205
Main Roads WA for road conditions – Tel: 1800 013 314

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been
You might also like - 
Cave Hill, Burra Rock and Woodlines 
 Western Australian wildflowers

Monday 14 October 2013

On the road through South Australia

 Welcome back to Life Images by Jill. I have been away for the last few weeks travelling with my family around South Australia. We had a fantastic trip, but it it was lovely to return home and to catch up with our family and friends, and sleep in my own bed, and stand under my own shower! 
I have missed catching up with all my lovely readers and your blogs, but now I am back and ready to share some more of my amazing country and travels with you. 

Australia is a big and diverse country -  and 10,318 kms and 5 weeks 4 days later..... we are back in Western Australia after our South Australian trip. We certainly covered some ground, saw some amazing scenery, met some lovely people and had some great experiences. Here is a small sample of what I hope to show you more of over the next few weeks.

First we had to cross the Nullarbor Plain on the Eyre Highway - watch out for the trucks, Royal Flying Doctor airstrip on the highway, and kangaroos, camels and wombats (we did see emus and kangaroos, not not camels and wombats - you wouldn't want to hit one). 

It will take us 3 and a half days to get from our home on the west coast of Western Australia to Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, so we will be bush camping.

We will also see fantastic cliff top views, complete with whales, at the Bunda Cliffs along the Great Australian Bight, and stunning sunsets.

We will travel more than half way across Australia, see amazing unique wildflowers, lizards sunning themselves, and astounding rock formations which seem to be pushing themselves out of the earth (these were at the Organ Pipes in the Gawler National Park - you can see some of them in the bottom right image).

There will be amazing landscapes, deserts to cross, outback tracks, heritage ruins, an old railway line, tiny towns, and sunsets that fill the sky

  There will be salt lakes - and we will fly over Lake Eyre - the fifth largest (9,690 square kilometres) terminal lake in the world although it usually contains little or no water.

 There will be gorges and mountain ranges to hike through

There will be cities to explore, culture to absorb, wineries to visit, and rivers to cross

There will be amazing coastal vistas, beaches to walk along, sealion colonies to visit and you will see where the pelicans build their nests.

and yes there will be kangaroos and emus

and most definitely there will be sunset drinks.

So I hope you will join me. 
Thankyou for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this small snapshot of what I hope to bring you in more detail over the coming weeks.  

You can catch up by clicking on the links below -

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like............

Cave Hill, Burra Rock and Woodlines, Western Australia
Dehydrating food for camping saves space and weight