Next morning we awaken to red sand and outback scrub. This is the same vegetation as through Northern Territory and the Ghan trip. It is not until late morning that the terrain changes dramatically to the Nullarbor Plain. This is my first time here and it is as the name says. The 360 degrees of horizons are uniformly flat and seem to stretch on ad infinitum. Flat earth theorists would certainly have pointed to this landscape to support their view of the world. The soil is yellow brown and the vegetation consists of grey green squat bushes covering the land rising only a few inches out of the ground. Agriculturally this is a barren useless land and I wonder how the few small kangaroos I see out of the window exist here. These days all that happens here is the highway and the railway and the few people that live along this 1000 km stretch are all employed to service either of these.
We stop at the railway town of Cook. It is the spot where, in 1917, the train line from the east was finally joined to the line from the west. At its peak it had 200 people and even supported a small hospital. Now it has 4 permanent residents.
The final night sees us dining under the stars at Rawlinna in the heart of the Nullarbor with music and dancing in the Australian bush. Awakening early on the last day we are already through the Nullarbor and stands of eucalypts dot the farming landscape. The temperature outside is 44C and the pastures are again straw yellow as the drought has not spared the west either.
Our all too short trip terminates with a flight back tomorrow on the occasion of our wedding anniversary which is the reason for our luxury escape. How long have we been married I hear you ask? My cryptic answer is based on what a number of my patients have said when the topic has come up. “That’s the equivalent of 2 jail sentences for murder doc!” If that doesn’t answer the question perhaps it is worth noting the new ruby ring on my life partner. Happy anniversary darling!