Across the Nullarbor

I’m in Ceduna, South Australia.

Since the last update I have crossed the Nullarbor Plain and am now back in a town again (after 1200km of pretty much nothing).

As I mentioned last week, there is very little on the road between Norseman and Ceduna. There is only one village of any size (which occurs after 1100km). Other than that, all you get are roadhouses, which can be as far as 200km apart.

I tried to finish at a roadhouse each day, as it meant that I had to carry less food and water, since I could stock up in the evening. But this also meant some long days, especially if the wind wasn’t being helpful.  It was probably one of the hardest sections of the whole trip so far.

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Stocking up for the journey
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These guys worked for a mineral exploration company in Norseman. I got chatting to one of them outside the supermarket and they invited me to stay at theirs overnight

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The first roadhouse where I stayed. Not much here other than a service station, motel and some ground to camp on.
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This is the sign at the first roadhouse. Not what I wanted to see when the next roadhouse was 120 miles away. It turns out they did have water – I think the sign is just to deter people from asking (since they have to ship the water in by lorry)

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Some of the roads double up as emergency runways for flying doctors. In the middle of this section you’d be 6 hours drive from the nearest hospital

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These had been in my bag since London. Slightly congealed, but otherwise still good.

Carrying enough water was tricky. On the second day after leaving Norseman, I set off with 7 litres of water in my panniers, but it still wasn’t enough. As I reached the end of the day I had to ration the supply. Together with the water I drank before setting off and at the end of the day, I must have consumed close to 10 litres of water that day. The worrying thing was, it wasn’t even that hot by Australian standards: maybe low thirties centigrade. The temperatures can reach into the forties here which I really wouldn’t want to be cycling in.

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Sign for water: unfortunately when I got there the tank was empty

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Roadhouse number 2

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Roadhouse number 3

The winds have also been really strong here. On day 3 I was cycling all day into a headwind of about 25 mph (according to the local weather station). It was a real slog and it took me all day to do 100 miles (which normally would be much faster). But the following day the direction had flipped and so I had a massive help as it pushed me along the road. That day I managed to cycle over 150 miles, the most I have cycled in one day on the whole of this trip.

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Some bumpy roads made the riding a bit harder
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There are lots of kangaroos here, but 99% of the ones I see are dead at the side of the road

 

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Entering South Australia
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Snakes on a Plain. This snake was sunning himself on the middle of Highway 1. I thought he was dead, but it turns out he was very much still alive!

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Some bush camping
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The navigation rig. My phone is charged from the dynamo hub, so I can still use it even if I don’t have a mains supply
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The Promised Land: Ceduna. Finally a supermarket after 1200km of nothing but service stations.

The mileages were pretty big across this region:  121, 115, 99, 152, 120, 109 miles.  But I think doing larger miles actually makes the crossing easier (many people split the journey into more sections but I think that actually makes the journey harder as you need to carry more water).

I met quite a few people at the service stations on the route (in fact that was pretty much the only place I met people, other than the few people who stopped to offer me food or water).  There are always some interesting characters at the service stations if you hang around long enough.  One lady clearly thought I was mad to be cycling across Australia in the summer and advised me to keep on taking my medication.  She also insisted on referring to Christmas as “Chrissy”, telling everyone there to have a great “Chrissy”.

I’m now heading towards Port Augusta and then down to Adelaide.

 

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5 thoughts on “Across the Nullarbor

  1. Hi Angus – great to meet you today just 40km west of Iron Knob. Maree and I hope you made it through the hot, headwind day. Looking forward to keeping up with your journey. Maybe catch up if you are heading though Adelaide? All the best – Mark

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  2. Merry Chrissy, Gusta. Will you have kangaroo for Christmas lunch? How do you fit one of those in the oven?!
    I’m surprised the Haribo made it so far.

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