Left Ceduna this morning, all resupplied and with expectations of driving out onto the Nullarbor Plain proper.
But first the town of Penong provided a short detour as we checked out this really neat historical windmill museum. Included in the collection was ‘Bruce’ a Comet Windmill built in 1932. The fan of this windmill spans 35 feet and was capable of drawing 1 million litres of water a day!
Despite seeing lots of pictures and reading about it before we left, the actual experience of the Plain was totally unexpected.
It is an immense flat tabletop. The tallest shrubs are no more than 30 cm or so high. Shades of blue and green and brown. Very occasionally an exception, a twisted stunted eucalyptus tree stands out like a bonsai against the horizon.
We pulled over a couple of times to look at this and that. Stepping out of Ripley there was a fresh wind that sloughed the sweaty heat of the day from our skins. And each time the wind dropped, a totality of silence descended like a curtain that multiplied the space and enormity of the landscape tenfold.
Quite awe inspiring, and it definitely put me in my place.
Down the road a ways we pulled into the ‘Head of Bight’ one of the more spectacular whale watching locations in the world. It hosts the largest congregation of Southern Right whales in Australia. There are boardwalks that run along the cliff tops with viewing platforms scattered along their length. Unfortunately for us the whale viewing season does not begin until June.
I little ways along the road suddenly widened out and transformed into an emergency landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Ripley’s first time on a runway.
Then we spotted a understated turnoff to a lookout (‘Lookout No. 1’) which, after a short bumpy sojourn up a dirt track, rewarded us with absolutely jaw dropping views back along the bight (picture at the top of this post).