I finished work at 16:00 and headed home. I spent about a hour desperately digging, trying to get the last soak-well finished. I got all the digging done, but the sun went down (come back daylight saving) and forced me to leave the cutting of the pipes for another day. While packing, Makan came around to keep me company before Tracy's arrival from work.
I left for my parents' place at 23:00. Mom gave me a lift to the airport, and we arrived there a little before 12:00. I managed to fall asleep briefly for about 15min before boarding at 01:40 and slept a further 30 minutes on the short flight itself, arriving at 6:25 (5:00 Perth time).
Preacher and Matty picked me up from the airport. I realised that I'd left my luggage keys at my parents place, and thus we spent some time looking for a hardware store to buy a hacksaw. By this time (around 08:30) I felt pretty damn out of it... the picture below makes this pretty clear.
Me, rather happy to have found a hacksaw... and Matty - happy to be photographed at Jacob's Creek Winery :-)
On the way north to the Flinders Ranges, we stopped over at the Jacob's Creek and Annie's Lane wineries. The latter is possibly my favourite winery in Australia. Its a shame its not a WA winery, or it would get even more points :-) I bought a muscato for Tracy, assuming she'd like the sweet flavour it harboured... and she certainly did.
About 440km after leaving the airport, We found our way to a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilpena_Pound">Wilpena Pound, which is a natural amphitheatre of modest mountains, which almost resembles a meteor crater. We set up tend and enjoyed a fine meal at the local restaurant. Later in the evening, I enjoyed the sights and sounds of Matty's reaction to a well placed plastic spider. I had no idea that Matty has some manner of phobia of spiders, and I felt slightly guilty. But only slightly :-) It took him close to a hour to calm himself down. The plastic spider was borrowed from work, where it is frequently used to scare unsuspecting public servants. It was great to take its crazy form on a road-trip, and even greater to see the it perform its magic in the wild.
The following morning Preacher and I took a walk to the top of the nearest peak, and enjoyed the views it provided.
After the walk, the endurance driving began. We drove through to the Nullarbor Roadhouse - basically the start of the Nullarbor Plain. It was a 940km drive, made pleasant by good helpings of good music, and a great pizza picked up from Ceduna. Ceduna is basically the last town of mentionable size hundreds of kilometres. It had a nice jetty. Witness it below.
The Roadhouse made for an interesting stop. during the night I was continuously nuzzled by dingoes, whenever a part of my body touched the side of my small tent. It does not seem scary now, but it was pretty unnerving at the time. They are wild animals after all. The following morning we woke of news that one of the fellow campers (travelling with his wife and two children) had his shoes and car-keys taken by the animals. Needless to say, they were pretty unhappy :-)
The Nullarbor Roadhouse in the morning || One of the wild beasts. Needless to say, they seemed scarier at night :-) I promise.
We drove from the Roadhouse to Cape Le Grand National Park (1180KM) with only a couple of stops. It was a long day of driving. And contained the only few hours were Matty and Preacher were getting on my nerves. They are childish idiots at times, but that's what provides them their charm.
This drive almost killed Matty. By the time we got to the national park, he was ready to die, and without 100m to go decided to stop the car and swap drivers. Upon entering the park, we repeatedly ignored signs that all the camping grounds were full... and they certainly were full :-) Nonetheless, we managed to find a spot to pitch our tends, and then walked down to Lucky Bay to enjoy its moon-lit glory. We drank a little, and ate a little... and only got a little bit of sleep that night. It was fantastic though.
The following day we walked almost the full length of the bay. It was fantastic, and provided for a lot of photo opportunities and fun. chief of the adventures was our journey onto a semi-submerged rock-groin, battling the waves and the oversized seagulls.
Of course, a journey to Esperance is never complete without a climb of Nipple Mountain, and a drive past the wind-farms and the Pink Lake (once again, not so pink). The tourist drive along the coast to those sites is just fantastic.
470km later, we pulled up at Hyden for our last night. We gazed upon the wondrous Wave Rock the following morning, before the final 380km drive back to Perth.
It was a fantastic road-trip, which has wet my apatite for further similar drives. Trace and I will probably head up to Shark-Bay next month, which should be awesome :-) Yes. Awesome.