Recently I travelled the length of Western Australia, from Broome to Perth and so far I have shared some highlights of Broome, Ningaloo Reef, Monkey Mia, Telegraph Point, Shell Beach, the rugged coastline, Kalbarri National Park and The Pinnacles. If you have missed these posts, use the magnifying glass at the top of any post and search for Western Australia.
Join me today, as I showcase the magnificence of the West Australian Outback and the Outback in general.
My journey from Broome to Perth over 2 weeks was a distance of over 2,000 kms as the crow flies, however the coach captain told us he'd driven over 3,000 kms to cover all the towns and highlights we visited.
In case you didn't realise by now Western Australia is a large state - to give you some idea, the UK fits into WA ten times!
It is the 2nd largest sub division of land in the world and has 20,000 kms of uninterrupted coastline, which is considered to be in the top 4% of intact shorelines in the world - comparable with Antarctica and the Arctic, while the tropical woodlands are part of the most extensive and least spoilt tropical savannah in the world.
Defining "The Outback" I read that for the whole country :
The Australian Outback comprises 5.6 million square kilometres, or 73% of the Australian land mass. It comprises the Red Centre, but also the monsoonal north and west as well as the semi-arid fringes.
It includes less than 5% of the Australian population, but a relatively high proportion (more than a quarter) of that population is Indigenous. Many of these geographical, climatic, demographic and environmental factors are richly interconnected.1
No wonder we did not pass a vehicle or see a building for many driving hours!
I came across this informative article and short 4 min video published by Encyclopedia Britannica which provides an overview of Outback Australia.
Other than the widely spaced towns, often the only places to stop in the outback are roadhouses, which normally include a petrol station, toilets and a general store, selling anything from take away food to souvenirs - these days a few even boast a cappuccino machine! Camp grounds and a motel may also be available.
Some display sign boards, reminding just how far away other towns or cities are, in Australia or abroad.
Each roadhouse has its own appeal. Sandfire Roadhouse has a collection of old road signs with caps nailed to the ceiling from all parts of the world - one can waste some time over a coffee counting them!
Living in the outback can be harsh though, during the 2023 cyclone season the Pardoo Roadhouse was destroyed.
They can also be too far apart and if you are desperate for a comfort stop, sometimes it's necessary to pullup at very basic one - a long drop toilet.
A long-drop toilet usually consists of four simple elements:
• A deep hole in the ground
• A wood or concrete floor with a small hole, sometimes connected to a toilet seat
• A lid to cover the long-drop toilet seat
• A structure built around it for privacy and shelter 1
The standard advice is:
When it comes to using a long drop toilet, whenever possible, use it early in the day. This is especially the case in warmer climates. The hotter the day the more ‘nasally challenging’, it becomes. You can double the ‘challenge’ if there is insufficient breeze and ventilation to keep the air circulating. 2
Bushfires are a threat, however for the native plants, essential for the germination of seed pods.
At one of our comfort stops, we had time to study the landscape. From the photos above:
We decided a bushfire had been through this area which we deduced from the burnt branches of the bushes (left) and seed pods bursting (right).
Then a flood inundated the area, flattening the land (middle); thus enabling new growth on the burnt bushes (left) new plants to germinate (middle).
Getting back to the landscapes that are graced by big skies, below are just some of the photos I took travelling from Broome to Perth.
I hope you have enjoyed travelling with me from Broome to Perth - tomorrow a final highlight.