Day 7 – I have Subaru and I’m not afraid to use it…


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After booking accommodation for the Stirling Range Retreat and at Albany, we set off for a brief drive around Esperance city centre, via breakfast, supermarket and a camera shop (polarizer for one Stephen’s lens).

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This exploring first lead us up Wireless Hill to the Rotary lookout viewing platform shaped like the Rotary symbol (a cog?). The view was not too bad but the port area and some of the town was partly obscured by a neighbouring hill.

IMG_0148Looking out over Twilight Beach

We took the scenic Great Ocean Drive (Twilight Beach Road) around the costal area, taking in the beautiful white sand beaches and multiple shades of blue waters. Stunning.

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This drive also lead us past the towns wind turbines and past Pink Lake which was not particularly pink. (I believe it only appears that way when it has water in it)

We drove along the South Coast Highway for about 100km before detouring south towards the coast and national parks again. (and once again stopping to drop the tyre pressure)

After popping in and out of a few coastal roads and tracks, we finally found the Munglinup Beach Road down to Munglinup beach. Not that much to see there so we moved on. On the way back to the main road, I decided to take a side track which looped back around to the main road and it’s here where we came a little unstuck.

The track became sandy which is not a big problem for the Outback as it has a low range gearbox. Where it does become a problem is when the sand tracks get deep. The car starts to bottom out and eventually just won’t move.
We got about 200 meters into the track and saw the tracks and felt the car becoming sluggish. I stopped and started reversing back up the track to a section with a harder surface I knew I could turn around in but just didn’t make it. I first thought I’d just lost traction so I dug the wheels clear but the car still would budge. I then realised the car had bottomed out and well enough that the front left suspension was drooping like it wasn’t taking much weight. A look under the car confirmed it firmly sitting on the sand.

Still digging away the sand

After about 30 minutes of digging, Stephen set off (with his UHF radio in hand) back to the Munglinup Beach camping ground where we knew a few people with 4WDs to be. I continued digging.
I jacked the front of the vehicle up and got some timber under the front left wheel and started digging sand front under the vehicle. I’m sure I could have cleared it out in a few hours.

Stephen and the friendly camper arrived shortly thereafter and we used a snatch strap to pull the car free. I’ve previously though of buying a hand winch and I think this now justifies the need. Although there were no trees to winch off, I believe you can use a winch pegged in the the ground or with a dead weight such as a buried spare wheel. Long handled shovel would also be better that the short one I currently have along with a set of sand tracks.

Finally free, I consumed almost a litre of water and we headed on to Hopetoun for lunch. Our plans to head west through Fitzgerald National Park and back to the main road were dashed by the closure of that road for works.

After what seemed like endless straight roads, we’re now at the Stirling Range Holiday Retreat park for the night.

Day 6–The Bra and Knickers run


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Day 6 was originally from Eucla to Balladonia, which is approximately 465kms. Still adjusting to a new timezone, we left Eucla at around 8am local time. As there was basically nothing to see from Eucla to Balladonia we decided we’d push on to Esperance and be a day ahead of schedule. This would make it almost a 900km day but I was confident this would still be a comfortable drive.

Day 6 is called the Bra and Knickers run in honour of all those people that travel commando across the Nullarbor. We saw at least two or three trees covered in underwear, one setup with an old TV & TV antenna and (my favourite) a tree covered in CDs creating an awesome multi-coloured mirror ball effect as you drove past.

We stopped at the Cocklebiddy roadhouse for fuel just as an oversized load of CAT Mining trucks also pulled in to refuel. We’ve now seen and pulled over for at least 6 oversized loads on our journey, from CAT trucks to excavators and huge farm machinery.

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Having made excellent time to Balladonia, we grabbed a bite to eat and refuelled again, before heading off down the Balladonia Road. This road is marked with large signs saying its a 4×4 road and unsuitable for caravans. We’d done our research and already knew we’d be fine. (I was looking for anything more exciting than the exceptionally boring 146.6km straight we’d just been across)

The road had about 5 or 6 difference surface types, starting off extremely rough (probably mud in the wet season) to ending some 177km later with a graded and then sealed surface. I dropped the tyre pressure by 10 psi to give a more comfortable ride on the exceptionally corrugated sections. There was one particular section that was relatively smooth but like going over small waves. I’m certain the esky may have got airborne a few times.

Along the way we stopped at a Telstra Fibre repeater station to checkout the big solar panel arrays, another abandoned homestead and also did some rock and track driving to circumnavigated a big rock (Breeborinia Rock)

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Of course there were a few more gates covered in underwear too.

From the end of this annoyingly straight road, we headed down to Cape Le Grand National Park to look at the beautiful beaches and catch the sunset.

Lucky Bay

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Accommodation booked in town on the way into town (Esperance)