Cliffs along the Great Australian Bight, spanning the border between Western Australia and South Australia.

The Bight is some 1160km long with cliffs reaching up to 60m tall. To the north of the cliffs lies nothing but the strange and desolate desert plain of the Nullarbor (latin for ‘no trees’) and the world’s longest piece of straight road- part of the Eyre Highway, between Balladonia and Ciaguna (pronounced Kai-a-gew-na), a 146km piece of tarmac without the slightest hint of deviation.
To the south- another desert, albeit underwater. With little rainfall running of the desert, few nutrients are deposited into the sea to stimulate bottom-of-the-food-chain growth. Without the little things, big things do not grow. Still, whales and tuna regularly migrate through the area, as well as the Great White Sharks southern WA and SA waters are known and feared for.

If you stand with the desert at your back there is absolutely nothing but fresh air between you and Antarctica, a fact memorably brought home to me as a teenager. At the border, the Eucla Roadhouse has an old dial-type thermometer bolted to its outer wall. Feeling a sudden chill in the warm desert heat we watched stunned as the afternoon sea breeze, blowing all the way from Antarctica, caused the dial to drop 20-odd degrees in a matter of minutes. Watching the dial hand sink so rapidly before our eyes was quite alarming and alien, but the roadhouse owners assured us it was quite normal (and no doubt longed for in those climates!).

 

Advertisements