Peter Nelson’s travels – South Australia – Kingoonya and the Nullarbor

The soldier dropped us off at Kingoonya the next day.  A quiet little burg pretty much in the middle of nowehere, but it is a major crossroads.  It’s where the TransPacific Railroad crosses the Stuart Highway, and considering our luck hitching lately, we’re thinking to hop on the train.  We’re headed west now, young man.  Want to see the Big Country — Western Australia.

Beautiful downtown Kingoonya
Beautiful downtown Kingoonya

Kingoonya has a gas station, a small grocery shop, a cafe, a hotel and maybe four houses.  As you can see by the photo, the roads are just dirt tracks.  There’s very little traffic, either cars or pedestrians.  It’s too hot out in the sun, so everybody’s inside somewhere or lazing about half-asleep on their verandas.  Feels like we have the town to ourselves.  The cafe owner tells us the next train going west is due in 2 days, and she sells us tickets to Kalgoorlie.  That gets us across the Nullarbor, to where we can start hitching again.

We put our tent up at the edge of town.  Everywhere is Crown Land, so nobody cares what you do out there.  We eat at the cafe, so the owner let us use the washrooms all day.  Not a great deal to do here.  We try to nap in the tent, but under that blazing sun, no one could sleep.  Head into the hotel for a cold drink.  Then walk out of town again.

Enormous sense of space here.  The town is a tiny outpost of civilization in the middle of this great parched desert.  Where there’s no wind to stir up the dust, the air is crystal clear.  At the end of the day, the sun goes down in a real hurry, like a giant ball of gold.  Never realized this before, but having a twilight is dependent on the sky having some clouds or haze.  Without any haze in the air, the night comes down super fast, as if somebody just inverted a large bowl filled with stars right over your head.  When Kingoonya’s few street lights come on, the light doesn’t reach our tent.  Pretty quiet out here.

The Nullarbor
The Nullarbor

We’ve travelled through lots of nowheres in central Australia already, but the Nullarbor is a BIG nowhere.  Look at the photo.  Makes you thirsty just to look at it, doesn’t it?  Hitching across it is not recommended.  No towns, no food, no water.  I guess they wanted to give it a fancier name, so they used a Latin phrase.  Beats calling it No Trees, I suppose.