Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Smashing the Nullarbor Links

The Nullarbor Plains, it's a drive on a lot of Aussie hitlists, some people absolutely love it, others hate it. One thing is for certain though, if you plan on travelling between South Australia and Western Australia by land you don't have too many options! This was to be our first crossing of the Nullarbor and we weren't too sure of what to expect. We decided to try our hand at the Nullarbor Links, at 1365 k's long it is the worlds longest golf course! The golf course opened in October 2009 as a way to break up the trip across the Nullarbor and minimise crashes and fatalities while also enhancing tourism through the area.

The last time I played golf I believe it was in Kindergarten, so as you could imagine, my skills were not quite on par. Rocky, our troopy only has so much space for storage, so we ended up bringing along a single 2 wood and 4 balls, turns out this was enough for a bit of a laugh! The course begins in Ceduna and ends in Kalgoorlie (flip that if you are travelling east) and you can register at the Information Centre in either of these locations. Our first hole was a bit of a shocker involving a lot of swings with minimal dings. 15 and a 20 on a par 5 or something, great way to warm up! 

As we continued through the Nullarbor, I began to question the name of this stretch of road. It is the world's largest single exposure of limestone bedrock and because of that I had it in my head it would be all rock and dirt, I was wrong! Whilst there was no towering gums providing plentiful shade, little salt bushes were scattered all across the plain. The occaisonal small trees and little groves could be found from time to time but in essence the country was very flat, this gave us some spectacular lengthy sunsets!

 The Nullarbor follows the Great Australian Bight and often from the road you can see the land drop off and the ocean stretch out forever. There are a few places to pull over and appreciate the sheer cliffs that follow the bight. These amazing views also offer popular camping spots for people travelling through. Every hundred to two hundred k's you will also come across a roadhouse. The roadhouses offer all the ameneties and food you may require and also offer camping and rooms for accomodation. One other thing these roadhouses had out the back was another hole to complete along the links!

About half way across the Nullarbor you get the joy of crossing through another quarantine check point as you travel interstate. Not sure exactly what they are trying to protect, but we had to give up our potatoes, woe was I. It is a while before you will find good fresh produce for sale, however the lady at the checkpoint did inform me that cooked vegies are alowed through this checkpoint. The roadhouses along the way all offer decent enough food to get you through or you can continue the journey on canned/processed food.

While your actually playing these holes keep a lookout for lost balls. Buying new balls along the way will cost you around $5 each. We went in with 4 and, without looking too hard, came out with about 20! Adventuring across some of these holes can be quite interesting, trying to find your ball among saltbushes, climbing over wombat warrens, hitting through gums, hell at one point we were playing across a runway!

Once across the plains and you've completed the holes at Norsemen it will be time to head north to Kalgoorlie. At first I didn't like the fact the golf course sends you away from Esperence and the coast, shifting you further inland, but Kalgoorlie turned out to be an interesting town. A big mining place with lots of really old buildings on the edge of a large mine known as the Super Pit. The final 2 holes here are on a prestigious course that feels quite a bit fancy after playing through saltbush and dirt. Luckily we arrived late in the arvo and got to have the course almost to ourselves as we watched a storm dance it's way across the sunset.