Old Eyre Highway - Nullabor to Yalata

Submitted: Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 01:34
ThreadID: 141344 Views:3868 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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A few years ago, returning from a Maralinga gig, I traveled back to WA using the Old Eyre Hwy from Nullabor to Border Village. It was a great track (it's now an EO treknote) and brought back (painful - was in a suspension challenged Landy) memories of trips across to the ES in the 70's. I am now intending to travel to The Tip via Ceduna, Alice and Isa in June and am wondering whether to proceed via the continuation of the OEH from Nullabor to Yalata. Has anyone traveled this option recently (last few years) pls; any info will be much appreciated.
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Reply By: pmk03 - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 08:28

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 08:28
Hi John
Not sure if this is much help but we travelled the section from Nullarbor to Ivy Tanks & then out to the bitumen again a couple of years back. There's a little on it in our video below. The OEH part starts at 5.29
We have also travelled the section past Koonalda & on to the border as well on a previous trip but I don't have anything recent on that part.
Hope this helps
Thanks Paul

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 12:49

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 12:49
Hi Paul, We have travelled parts of the Old Eyre Hwy and nice to visit again via your video.
It was no trouble in our Troopy of course but you could consider the trip my parents plus, another couple, did along this route from Adelaide to Perth and return in 1949 in a brand new Vauxhall Velox! No trailer, just a roof rack.
I cannot imagine how they managed the fuel or even the track itself. Only problem they had was the roof rack falling off. But they just put it back on and continued. Some people achieve great things simply because they are unaware of the risk.

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 13:43

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 13:43
I did it as far as a few km west of the WA border (and back) in the back of a truck in 1954 :)
The Holden was brand new, but it was rare to get a seat in that. There were 19 people in the party.

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Follow Up By: pmk03 - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 19:39

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 19:39
Hi Allen & Peter,
Great to hear about you trips on the OEH. It would have really been an adventure back then. My first Nullabor crossing was in 1980 so a few years after the bitumen went through. Thats why I was interested in seeing places like Koonalda & Ivy Tanks. With their car graveyards at both those sites you can see many vehicles didn't make it......
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 19:51

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 19:51
Nullarbor Station in 1954.
The homestead is gone, but most of the other buildings are still there, about 500m north of the roadhouse. Cyril Gurney treated us well and his son Trevor was 9 years old, the same age as me. I met again him for the first time since then just a couple of years ago.

The famous Koonalda homestead built from sleepers had not even been built yet in 1954.
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Follow Up By: pmk03 - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 20:37

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 20:37
Thanks Peter,
Great Pictures, I love seeing these old places in photos....... The only way to now.
On my next crossing I will check out the back of Nullabor Roadhouse, thanks for the information.
1954 is a bit before my time (born in 1960) & didn't even start travelling until 1980. I am happy to say I have seen a few of the older & no longer used road houses & stations. I enjoy that sort of thing. Usually go looking for them on most of our trips. Just study the maps for interesting things to see & explore.
I have been lucky enough to have seen a few that have completely gone now, like Frewena & Barry Caves in the NT.
Ivy Tanks was on my list to see for a while before I actually got out there. Koonalda too, but I sort just stumbled on to that one.
Thanks for the stories too, It's great to hear from someone who's really been there.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 09:39

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 09:39
In September 2018 we came south from Watson to Disappointment Cave then followed the OEH east (to the north of Yalata) until it met the new highway.

At that time the Land Management contact at Yalata was Alessandro Madonna, email lanman.yalata (at) bigpond.com, phone 0407832297. We got permission from him.
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Reply By: lindsay - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 10:18

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 10:18
We travelled along there 2 years ago. Emailed Yalata several times and got no reply. So then when we got there given the runaround until we got to the admin building and a woman there really didn’t care. She said go to the police so we eventually found him and he said “nothing to do with me so why ask me” so off we went a few tracks around yalata to get lost on but we found it and we went all the way to W.A. We asked for permission to go through Mundrabilla and came out at the roadhouse. I suppose we only got permission because we or farmers and had common objectives. Good drive and as we were there in 1972 things have changed.
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Reply By: equinox - Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 13:22

Monday, Apr 05, 2021 at 13:22
Hi John,

I drove it in 2017.
My track file shows we did not go back onto the OEH until north ofWhite Wells Cave which is about 10 km east of Nullarbor. Don't remember why this was.

Track eventually comes out about 12 km east of Yalata - all standard tracks of the area; no problems should be had.


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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 08:14

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 08:14
For those who have not had a walk around the Nullabor Roadhouse lately, I note that they have shifted the old Nullabor fuel station/workshop/shop building down to just beside the entrance to the camping area entrance.
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Reply By: David I1 - Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 11:48

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 11:48
In 2019 we did the Old Eyre Highway from Yalata to the Warbla Tank turn off, then picked up the Old Coach Road and finished it at the Forrest /Mundrabilla Rd. Towing a New Age Mantra Ray "off road" van. Applied for permission to enter Yalata which was granted as long as we took no pictures or stopped anywhere on the reserve". Did not know nor even sought permission at the other end. No one stopped us, and the tracks/roads etc are well defined. Did contemplate driving onto Blowhole cave and onwards to Madura, but our map indicated this was a private road so we turned left to pick up the Highway. Easy trip no issues even though it had been raining a few days before we got there.
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