Day 16 – Wednesday – From Ceduna to Nundroo (153.32 km)

Ceduna (A) to Nundroo (B)

Ceduna (A) to Nundroo (B)

This was the day that we started to traverse the Nullabor Plains. Ceduna seems to be the accepted start of this epic crossing, with the other end being at Norseman, some 1200 km to the east. I left Ceduna a few minutes later than usual on a very cold and windless morning, the sky a cloudless canopy of startling blue.

The Nullabor Plains play an important role in the mythology of the aboriginal people who inhabited these parts. The very origins of life itself, we are told, are to be found below the limestone that now bakes beneath the relentless Australian sun.

The Nullarbor Plain is said to constitute the world’s biggest continuous chunk of limestone, covering more than 250,000 square kilometres. If you were a dab hand at jigsaw puzzles you could fit England, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland onto the Nullabor and have a little room left over.

We had several pre-conceived notions about the Nullabor before we reached Ceduna, most of which were dispelled during the week that it took us to reach the eastern end at Norseman.  Firstly, we thought that the Nullabor was treeless. A fair assumption with the name “Nullabor” after all. Nullarbor is not an aboriginal name as many of the places are in this part of the world, but is derived from the Latin phrase “Nullus Arbor” or “no trees”. But this is a myth. On the route that we followed we crossed a short stretch of about 40km near the Nullarbor Roadhouse where there are no trees, but for most of the way the plains are quite generously populated with trees.

Secondly, we thought that the Nullabor would be flat. Once again, I would have thought this a fair assumption as it is called a “Plain” after all. But this too is a myth. There are flat stretches, but for the most part it is quite undulating. Thirdly, we thought that the Nullabor was a virtual desert. This too is wrong. Plenty of trees, scrub and grass. There is wildlife in the form of kangaroos, dingoes, foxes, wombats, camels and a splendid variety of birds.

As usual the day heated up quickly once the sun put in its appearance, and a wind from the east joined joyously with the heat and the hills to make the day a little more miserable. I found that I was particularly tired today and although the first fifty kilometres passed very quickly, the balance of the day was something of a battle. I went through Penong after seventy-five kilometres and up to this point the vegetation hadn’t changed much, with some wheat fields still adjacent to the road

The next habitation that we reached was Nundroo, which we had selected as our overnight stop. We booked into the caravan park adjacent to the motel and I had a shower and a short rest before doing some maintenance work on my bike. It was necessary to replace the front tyre, which had been on the bike since the start of the trip, and I fitted a thorn resistant tubes at the same time. It was also necessary to adjust the gears, which had been sticking badly during the second half of the day’s ride. I assume that this is due to the fact that the cable has stretched a little over the last few days.

Bookabie, marked on one of our maps as a town and on another as a ruin, passed by unnoticed. I’m not saying there isn’t a Bookabie, but I didn’t notice it. Perhaps I blinked or had my head down at the crucial moment. Or maybe I saw it and didn’t know that it was Bookabie.

The next habitation that we reached was Nundroo, which we had selected as our overnight stop. We booked into the caravan park adjacent to the motel and I had a shower and a short rest before doing some maintenance work on my bike. It was necessary to replace the front tyre, which had been on the bike since the start of the trip, and I fitted a thorn resistant tubes at the same time. It was also necessary to adjust the gears, which had been sticking badly during the second half of the day’s ride. I assume that this is due to the fact that the cable has stretched a little over the last few days.

Nundroo postcard

Nundroo postcard

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