Home to Corindi Day 9 – Tamworth-Corindi Beach

Today is New Year’s Eve and it was our final day on the road. We had a short drive, just over 4 hours through some beautiful country. The green pastures gave way to the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. Everywhere from Tamworth to the coast has had plenty of rain. There had been some flooding across roads in the previous days, but we only saw a little water on the side of the road in a couple of places.

Our journey took us through picturesque rolling hills and then down the stunning Waterfall Way where, after all the rain, the falls were flowing. We were surprised at the number of cars head in the opposite direction to us. There was almost a constant stream.

After a quick pit stop in very busy Bellingen we headed on through Coffs Harbour. We made a quick stop to say hello to mum (and to pick up our nbn hardware that was sent to her address) then called in to Woolgoolga to pick up the key to our house.

Ten minutes later we pulled into our new driveway and introduced the doggos to their new back yard. We did our pre-occupancy inspection of the house and were very disappointed to find it filthy. Not exactly what you want at the end of 8 days driving across the country. The strong smell of cat urine on the lounge room carpet was a particularly unpleasant surprise. It’s a good thing that we plan to pull up the carpets in a couple of weeks.

I’ve never moved into a house that’s been left so filthy, but there was nothing for it other than to start cleaning. It was all made much better by the three minute walk to the beach. The dogs are in heaven. And despite the required cleaning, we love the house.

And just to note; we travelled approximately 4300km across the country and didn’t see a live kangaroo the whole way. Or a single Wedge Tailed eagle.

Home to Corindi Day 8 – Cobar-Tamworth

Our accommodation in Cobar was a 2 bedroom house with a fenced backyard. And a washing machine! Whoever thought it would be so good to do a load of washing? The only problem with the yard was the number of burrs. Every time the dogs went out, Anzac would bring in several. We’d have to pull them out of his paws and coat, and we’d be picking them up off the floor. But apart from that, it was a very comfortable place to stay.

Our drive today was just over six hours; our longest for several days. The scenery changed quite a bit through the day. There had obviously been recent rain, so things were much greener. There were more trees, and the soil colour changed from the dark red we’ve been driving through for the past few days. We drove through the Warrambungle Mountain Range, a series of huge jagged outcrops surrounded by hilly bush and woodland forest. The land was being used for grazing and crops, including cotton.

Once again we saw signs warning of kangaroos but didn’t see any. We also saw signs warning of koalas, but didn’t see any of those either. Our wildlife for today were a few small flocks of budgies just outside Cobar.

We’ve seen lots of silos along the way, but today we saw our only silo art at Gunnedah, commemorating Dorothea McKellar and her poem, My Country.

Tonight we’re staying in a pet friendly motel in Tamworth. It is well set up for dogs, with a big fenced yard for them to play in.

Home to Corindi Day 7 – Broken Hill-Cobar

Today we had another fairly short drive – under five hours. The dogs were great while we loaded the car. They’ve really settled into the routine. We were able to leave the cabin door open while we loaded the car. Anzac laid down to wait just inside the door and Jet watched from the doorway.

We left just after 8am and stopped at a local dog park so the doggos could have a sniff and a run before we hit the road.

The landscape changed quite a bit along the way. It was dry and scrubby and then we started to see some scrubby trees, and even some mid-sized eucalypts.

Yesterday and today we saw lots of signs warning of kangaroos on the road.  We still haven’t seen any live roos but today we saw lots of dead wallabies along the roadsides. We did, however, see a small mob of about a dozen emu (emus? What is the plural of emu?). And we were surprised to see lots of feral goats grazing along the roadsides both inside and outside the fenceline. A Google search tells us feral goats have been considered a pest and a boon for farmers in the area for years.

At one rest area along the way we stopped to let the dogs stretch and have a drink. They were having a sniff around when we put the water bowl down beside the car. Anzac walked up to the bowl, spotted the car door open and jumped straight back into the car. Jet was in soon after. Neither of them were interested in getting back out or having a drink. They don’t show much interest in drinking while we’re travelling, but drink heaps when we’re settled into our accommodation.

Home to Corindi Day 6 – Whyalla-Broken Hill

The wind continued to blow a gale all night last night. Jet was very restless and had trouble sleeping. She was up and down on the bed all night – which was a bit of a struggle for her with the height of the bed. We were all glad to be on our wayand feel sorry for the people who had come to the park to spend their holidays at the beach.

To the north of Whyalla there’s a wind farm. There’s also one just outside Broken Hill as well as a big solar farm. These photos are of the Whyalla wind farm.

Our drive today was just over five hours of wide open spaces. The land here is nowhere near as flat as the Nullarbor, so you don’t get the views that disappear into the distance. There’s also not as much variety in the vegetation, probably because a lot of this land has been used for grazing, mostly sheep. But you do get to see the southern end of the Flinders Ranges which is pretty special after having spent the past few days travelling through very flat land.

It was another pretty quiet day on the road without many people travelling between the Eyre Peninsula/Adelaide areas and Broken Hill.

We crossed the border into New South Wales early in the afternoon then arrived at our cabin in Broken Hill at about 2pm.

The dogs are really travelling well. They are happy to jump into the car whenever we ask them to and they are in such a good routine when we arrive at our accommodation that they immediately sniff their way around and then settle down.

Home to Corindi Day 5 – Ceduna-Whyalla

We woke this morning to a windy cool change. A good night’s sleep was had by all. Our drive today was even shorter than yesterday so we didn’t rush to get away; it was probably close to 8:30 when we headed off. Today’s warning sign was for emus, but again we didn’t see any.

The day was overcast and started off cool enough that I was wishing I’d worn a slightly heavier t-shirt. But the temperature climbed into the mid-30s as we drove through the wheat fields of the Eyre Peninsula to Whyalla. We stopped for an early lunch of pies from the bakery at the Big Galah in the small town of Kimba.

Then our journey took us through Iron Knob and past the Iron Knob mine. Today was the busiest traffic day since we left Perth. There were lots of caravans and cars with their camping gear on top. But most going the opposite direction to us. South Australians getting away for their Christmas holidays.

Not long after 1pm we arrived in Whyalla where the temp had dropped a bit and it was blowing a gale. Once again we’re in a cabin in a caravan park on the foreshore, but once again it’s not so pleasant on the beach. This time because of the wind rather than the heat.

After settling in to the cabin we braved the wind and went for a walk along the beach. We didn’t want the dogs to get wet and sandy so we just let them have a run, a sniff, and a play, then put them back on their leads and walked until we’d had enough of the wind, which wasn’t long.

Home to Corindi Day 4 – Border Village Roadhouse-Ceduna

Our drive today was a shorter one, just on five hours, so we had a later start. We began the day with a full breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon in the restaurant. It was delicious, but way too much food. We could have shared a meal and still probably wouldn’t have eaten it all.

Today we continued on our drive across the Nullarbor Plain, completing the eastern, South Australian, half. Much of this section truly is a treeless plain with more of the spectacular scenery. Once again there were animal warning signs, this time with wombats added. But, unfortunately, again the only wildlife we saw were a small number of roadkill. We didn’t expect to see wombats as they are nocturnal, but were saddened to see a few dead on the roadsides.

Our first stop for the day was just 13km down the road to get our first look at the Great Australian Bight. It was a quick stop as the morning was already heating up and was a bit too warm for the doggos.

We didn’t end up stopping as planned at the Bunda Cliffs overlook a bit further down the road. The temperature outside was already 36°C and climbing and the dogs were both fast asleep. We didn’t want to disturb them for what would necessarily be a quick stop. We did head down to Head of the Bight and the whale centre there but the road into it was closed over the Christmas period.

By the time we reached Ceduna the temperature was once again in the 40s. The caravan park we are staying in is on the beach. The cabin is roomy, with a secure courtyard between the cabin itself and the separate bathroom. Both the short walk over the dunes to the beach, and the courtyard would have been great if not for the heat. We did go for a walk to the lookout just as the sun was starting to set but it was still too hot to stay for the full sunset view.

Home to Corindi Day 3 – Norseman-Border Village Roadhouse

I really don’t know why anyone would live in a place like Norseman. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying they enjoyed living there.

We made an even earlier start today, we were on the road at 6am. I didn’t sleep well, it was too warm and Jet was pretty restless. She couldn’t find a comfortable place to sleep. And it’s definitely better to make an early start when the days are so hot.

Today is Christmas day and we celebrated by crossing the Western Australian section of the Nullarbor Plain. The scenery was incredibly beautiful. The section of the Eyre Highway between Balladonia and Caiguna includes the longest straight stretch of road in Australia and one of the longest in the world. The straight road (146km long) is signposted and commonly known as the “90 Mile Straight”.

We saw lots of signs warning us of stray animals such as cattle, roos, and emu, but the only wildlife we saw was a monitor about 40cm long. There was hardly even any road kill. There were also a few signs indicating that we were approaching a section of road that was used as an emergency airstrip by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Unfortunately (and unexpectedly), due to it being Christmas Day, none of the kitchens were open in the roadhouses along the way after Balladonia. And it was still way too early to eat lunch when we stopped there (and we didn’t know none of the others would be open) , so we only had the nibbles that we had with us for Christmas lunch. We could have at least bought some sandwiches if we’d realised.

Once again we only made the necessary couple of stops for the dogs. Temperatures we up in the high 30s, and there were warning signs in a lot of places about widespread use of 1080 baits. The dogs were happy in the car, so there was no point getting them out more than they needed.

We had expected to have to present our South Australia Cross-border travellers registrations at the border but we didn’t even have to stop. The Border Village Roadhouse is our home for tonight. It’s right beside the border checkpoint. Our cabin here is really nice. Much more spacious and comfortable than last night’s. The roadhouse’s restaurant is closed, but the managers were happy to make toasties and they had a yummy, freshly made, quiche in the fridge, so while we didn’t have (or want, after the long drive) a Christmas dinner, we did get something freshly made to eat.

Once again the caravan park is very quiet, which is great for the dogs. There’s plenty of room here and they’ve been able to have a few good stretch-and-sniffs. They even got to sniff Rooey II, the big kangaroo.

Home to Corindi Day 2 – York-Norseman

Today our journey ended at Norseman. We made an early start and headed off for what was to be six and a half hours of driving. We managed to stop at grassy parks for both of our stops for the doggos along the way.

We had planned to stop every couple of hours for them, but they were travelling so well, sleeping most of the time, that we decided to give them a bit longer as long as they were happy. It was certainly much more comfortable in the car than outside in the approx 40°C heat.

The drive from Coolgardie was very pretty with the sun shining on the trunks of the gums along the way.The road was quiet, there wasn’t much traffic at all, particularly heading east, as we are.

We arrived in Norseman at about 2:30, earlier than we expected, and checked into a very quiet caravan park. There ended up being only three cabins occupied (including ours), and two caravans. Covid is definitely having a huge effect on businesses along the way.

Accommodation tonight is very basic and very small. The cabin has no ensuite; ensuite cabins apparently aren’t suitable for pets, so we have to use the communal ablutions blocks. I guess we’re lucky things are as quiet as they are.

Home to Corindi Day 1 – Home – York

The morning was a long one. Loading the truck took several hours.  We spent the first few sitting outside in the heat, then as soon as the front of the house was empty we moved inside where it was much cooler. It was still a couple more hours before the truck left with our 70 sq metres of belongings squeezed in. The driver had said at the start of the day that it would be a tight fit (he even asked us whether there was anything we’d leave if it wouldn’t all fit) but in the end they got it all in. These guys were pretty experienced at fitting furniture puzzles together. As were the packing crew yesterday. 

Once the truck had gone we just had to fit everything we were taking with us into the car, then we were on our way.

Our first night was spent just an hour and a half away in the town of York. We stayed in a little old stone cottage that was quiet and peaceful, which was exactly what we needed after 2 very stressful days for all of us. The doggos thought the yard was wonderful, with all of the new and unfamiliar smells. They burned up lots of pent up energy in preparation for their longest ever car ride tomorrow.