Crossing the Nullabor, Fraser Range Station to Madura

The next day our journey was about 400kms. Along the way today we were going to stop at quite a few little roadhouse stops. We would also drive along a 146.6 km straight road stretch. This sounds like it could be boring but in actual fact, even though it was straight, it had quite a few hilly sections. 

After setting off at a leisurely time we began our drive. Vegetation was mostly low lying scrub but occasionally we had stands of Eucalyptus along the road edge.From time to time we saw other vehicles, many of them trucks.At one point we came to the inevitable section of roadworks which involved waiting for a while until traffic from the other direction had a turn on the one lane of road before we had our turn.This almost created a traffic jam by Nullabor standards but the vehicles in front soon moved away from us as they were travelling quicker.We drove just over a hundred kilometres before making our first stop at Balladonia. The owner of the roadhouse there was one of the instigators of the idea of the Nullabor Links as a way of encouraging travellers to stop at each of the roadhouses along the way. Even if travellers didn’t buy fuel there would at least be a chance they would buy food or drinks. We stopped for fuel and after parking our rig I completed the next hole of the Nullabor Links. It was named Skylab after the NASA space lab that had hurtled back to earth here in 1979 spreading space junk around for a radius of 15okms. Here’s the information signboard.There was also further information on the signboard at the start of the golf hole.The hole was a par 3 of 175 metres but as you can see a stand of Eucalyptus stood before the tee and the hole.I did manage to avoid most of the trees with my first shot but had to play my next shot from in the scrub.That shot finished just short of a very large fake grass green.Fortunately I only took one putt to score a bogey. Back near our car we stopped to read another signboard detailing the history of Balladonia as a sheep station back in 1879, followed many years later in 1941 as a hotel on the then newly made road, before becoming a hotel/motel and roadhouse in 1974. 

(Side note – As a 16 year old I remember passing through here on a road trip with my parents and brothers back in the summer of 1971-2.)

Readers from other countries would find these roadsigns somewhat different. As it turned out we didn’t see any camels, emus or kangaroos.

Between Balladonia and Caiguna we drove along what is known as the 90 Mile Straight. The 90 mile straight stretch is Australia’s longest straight road. It doesn’t have any bends but isn’t flat, having quite a few hills along the way. 

We stopped at Caiguna for lunch followed by the next hole of the Nullabor Links. Needless to say it was named after the 90 mile straight stretch of road we had just driven on.My tee shot was quite good but my second shot landed me in a bad spot with trees between me and the hole so I had to play around them before finishing on a double bogey 6. On the walk back to the car we did spot this lovely flowering Eucalyptus tree.

Cocklebiddy was our next stop, only about an hour further along the Eyre Highway. Apart from the roadhouse/motel and the one golf hole there’s not much there as this sign sums up succinctly.

This sign at the start of the adjoining golf hole makes things pretty clear too. This golf hole is apparently a hole to excel on if the name is any indication.Sadly I didn’t eagle it. Even with very little vegetation I still managed to take far too many shots. I hate to think what my score would have been if you weren’t allowed to tee up on all the shots until the putting green, which in this instance was a very large, tricky, fake grass green.We continued our drive for about another hour before reaching Madura roadhouse. After setting up our caravan I decided to play the golf hole there in fading light.My tee shot was a really good one, landing on the green.My excuse for not scoring a birdie was that the gravelly sand slowed up my first putt. It’s a good thing the next one went in, so finally I had made a par on this very demanding golf course. That night we ate in the roadhouse restaurant as it was the only place available apart from takeaway.

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