23 December 2005

The Nullabor Thing

"Doing the Nullabor thing" means crossing the Nullabor Plain on the Eyre Highway along the southern coast of Australia following the Great Australian Bight. The feat is not as big as it was in the 50's or 60's before the road was sealed, but it's still one of those thing you can brag about. There is not a lot to see and it's almost unbelievable flat, in fact those two things are what it's all about.
One of the days, while "doing the Nullabor thing", we were not overtaken once nor did we overtake anyone else for the eight hours we drove that day. I didn't count cars coming in the opposite direction, but they could probably be counted on two hands.
There is no towns to be found at all, only a roadhouse about every 350 Km. There is very few tourist attractions, as I write this I can only remember one and that is the whale watching spot at the head of the Bight (I'll do another post on this another day).
Trees are so few and scarce that you forget about them the minute you have passed them. This have given rise to the myth that there are no trees at all on the Nullabor. Maybe the myth comes from people who have never done the crossing themselves? Or maybe some very stupid people has done the crossing in the past: "Duh, so that's what a tree look like, I always thought they where called rocks", "eh... so what does a rock look like then?"

Roadkills are the main feature along the Nullabor, mostly kangaroos. I'm not talking about seeing ten or twenty dead animals during a day of driving, you can count them in hundreds. Driving after darkness has fallen can be very dangerous, because this is the time when the kangaroos are most active. Most of them are killed by the roadtrains, not many normal cars ventures into the night even when fitted with roobars.

Second feature on the Nullabor must be the garbage. The roadside is littered with bottles, cans and chips bags something like fifty meters into the bush. I can't understand the mindset of people who throw garbage out the car window, but if this is an indicator of the average human intelligence then we are indeed in deep trouble.
We passed a dead tree that had been decorated by sticking empty bottles and cans on all the branches, a fitting monument of protest against the pigs in our midst (I have no idea why I didn't stop to take a few photos of this tree).
Once we crossed the border into South Australia the roadside suddenly cleared up. No more dead marsupials and used beverage containers. It seemed to me that they had more fences in place along the road, preventing animals from straying onto the road. The state must also have a cleaning program in place to clear up the trash. I can't believe that people stop their polluting ways just because they cross a state border.

The only photo I took of the road itself. Must be in South Australia judging by the lack of roadkills and litter.

Want to know more?
Nullabor Plain
Eyre Highway
Road Train


Darren said...

Thats coz us South Auzzies are a clean bunch, not like those filthy Westerners?

Thomas Siefert said...

Nah, I just think you "Mexicans" (I used to be a Territorian) are so poor that you can't afford snacks and beers. All the 'roos have been shot and eaten.

But I'm only guessing of course :-)