Not Nullar-boring

The next time someone tells you they hate crossing the Nullarbor because it’s ‘Nullarboring‘ ask them a very simple question: Did you travel along the Old Eyre Highway?

Most likely they’ll say no.

The Old Eyre Highway is a surprisingly well kept secret, despite the fact it runs parallel to the bitumen main Eyre Highway and that it was once the only way to cross the bottom of the continent from South Australia to Western Australia. This track was build in the 1940’s and for thirty-five years intrepid travellers in their 2WD-non-airconditioned cars braved rough roads, many blown tyres and searing desert heat to make it across the country. In 1976 a new bitumen road was opened and the old highway fell into obscurity.

Piles of vintage car wrecks on the Old Eyre Highway

Piles of vintage car wrecks on the Old Eyre Highway

Nowadays the road is totally unmaintained and very rough and rocky but its a fascinating trip through spectacular landscapes and a true slice of Aussie history. There’s heaps of vintage car wrecks, abandoned roadhouses (Koonalda and Ivy Tanks) and an old homestead and shearing shed (Koonalda). There are also many, now world-famous, cavernous limestone caves (Disappointment Cave, Knowles Cave, Koonalda Cave). And the best part is you can even see the grey-nomad white caravans in the far off distance yawning their way across the tar blissfully unaware of these gems a little further off-road.

The vast open spaces of the Nullarbor Plain. The word Nullarbor means 'no trees' in Latin.

The vast open spaces of the Nullarbor Plain. The word Nullarbor means ‘no trees’ in Latin.

One of the few trees!

One of the few trees!

Ivy Tanks was a fuel stop, cafe and rudimentary motel. The reviews of it I found online indicated you didnt stop here unless you really had to.

Ivy Tanks was a fuel stop, cafe and rudimentary motel. The reviews of it I found online indicated you didnt stop here unless you really had to.

Ivy Tanks in about 1960. We camped by the tree on the right which is still there.

Ivy Tanks in about 1960. We camped by the tree on the right which is still there. The chimney has a very elaborate shell arrangement on the fireplace.

The track is littered with vintage car wrecks…a photographers dream!

DSC_0999 DSC_3121 DSC_3124 DSC_3134 DSC_3120 DSC_0975 DSC_0966 DSC_0925 DSC_0917 DSC_0934

Koonalda Homestead was a sheep station and petrol station stop on the highway. The buildings have been restored and the pile of old car wrecks out the back is fascinating.

Koonalda Homestead was a sheep station and petrol station stop on the highway. The buildings have been restored and the pile of old car wrecks out the back is fascinating.

DSC_1025

You can camp next to the shearer’s quarters in relative comfort!

DSC_1027

Koonalda shearing shed

Knowles Cave - the Nullarbor is recognised as the world's largest single exposure of limestone bedrock.

Knowles Cave – the Nullarbor is recognised as the world’s largest single exposure of limestone bedrock.

A blowhole. Despite being 50kms inland there are a number of blowholes where the sea has pushed in through the limestone caverns.

A blowhole. Despite being 50kms inland there are a number of blowholes where the sea has pushed in through the limestone caverns.

And you might see some of these critters

And you might see some of these critters

 

Leave a Reply