A hidden oasis ...

Trip Start Apr 13, 2011
1
8
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Trip End Jul 13, 2011


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, April 25, 2011

Ah, a short day to follow yesterday's marathon of more than 500km – what bliss! It was unintentional, really. We woke up rested in our bush camp, and were headed for Norseman, where we planned to do the "whole appliance recharge & shower" routine again before heading for Esperance in the hope that we will see all the Easter tourists pouring out of the area as we pour in. It was not to be, though. A simple fuel stop in Balladonia changed the course of our history. We bumped into someone we had seen somewhere before (although neither of us has a clue where), and he mentioned in passing that the "Ranger’s Station" was worth a look. We thought nothing of it, but some time later, toodling down the longest straight road in Australia, making wisecracks about all the bends (there were only two, even in the “winding” section after the official 90-mile Straight), we saw a sign for Fraser Range Sheep Station. That was close enough, we reckoned, and out here there are not so many signs you can really have two venues with the same name, so we turned off. Another sign further down the dirt track beckoned with the promise of an oasis and “good road”, so on we went, only to stumble into what really was an oasis of the very best kind. An ancient sheep station, hand-built of stone in its day, nestled in amongst clouds of different-coloured bougainvillea, has been lovingly restored to accommodate weary travellers like ourselves. 

We took one look and Plan B was born, even though we had only driven at most 100km. After a chat with “Pi” from Denmark, who came for a day and stayed forever, we were doubly sold. Paid up for the night, and also for a sunset tour of the station on the big OKA bus, where the only OHS question they ask is “beer or wine with your sunset?”- we are indeed happy campers. There’s no phone or internet reception, but plenty of restful shady corners in which to read and make notes. 

One small blip on the horizon – ah, it’s a small world, ain’t it? – “Ivan” has just showed up again. We outran him yesterday, as we have two drivers, but stopping after only 100km gave him the advantage again. Hopefully, he is creeping out some of the other caravan-dwellers, as we are tucked down the back behind a peppercorn tree, and have been careful not to make eye contact yet.

Just in case, we lay low until it was time to onto the sunset tour bus at 3.30pm and disappear into a cloud of dust down the driveway, sans "Ivan", who was skulking around in the caravan section, hopefully befriending others for the remainder of his trip. He is very distinctive, as he hasn't changed his outfit since we first saw him about three days ago. It's weird, we are normally very social people, but we have both taken exception to this character. 
 
The sunset tour was a real highlight, not that there was much of a sunset on this particular occasion, but someone upstairs had decided to stage a very dramatic lightning show on both sides of the horizon, and from our vantage point on top of a barren hill with a beer in hand and piles of bickies and cheese to get through before Bob would drive us home, we were set for a few hours of stunning entertainment. He told us some interesting tales about life on a sheep station. It was astounding to learn the real cost of what looks to the untrained eye like a few rabbits running around. They eat all the grass - I worked that out for myself - but they also eat the roots of the trees in their search for moisture, so the trees eventually fall down, Then the white ants move in and before you know it, you have a useless piece of dust bowl that just erodes and self-destructs. They haven't found a way to control the rabbits out here, and the whole area is just literally collapsing into the dust. 

The wild dogs are another problem, and if I printed here what they do to the livestock, those of you with faint stomachs wouldn't eat for a week. Bob and his two partners have big plans for this station, and we had such a lovely time in our short stay, that we hope they manage to achieve all their goals. It's an oasis now, but it will be twice as good if they get their way. 


 



 

 
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Comments

stones_luce
stones_luce on

Awesome. So jealous of these random outback spots! I'm going to start a fan-club for Ivan though - what a guy!!

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