Basically, if you are heading west, these are the last two towns of consequential size in South Australia before hitting the long stretch across the Nullarbor.
Streaky Bay was a lovely little town right on the water. The main road goes right past a park of rolling grass hills that run right down to the edge of the water. The bay is quite shallow for fifty yards out, so at low tide one can walk out into the squishy sand. The shallows are full of razorfish, which are a funny looking sort of clam, and despite their name, they did not seem to me to be dangerous to the barefoot.
We did not do much exploring, but the town has a supermarket, Laundromat, shops, and a lovely little hotel and pub. Most everything looked well maintained and the town looked like it was quite prosperous. It being right on the main east/west highway, I would bet that during the warmer months when the travel season is in full swing, the town is quite busy.
One place we did spend quite a bit of time was the library. One of the things we quickly figured out is that un like America, Australia is not inundated by the internet. Once you get out of the major cities, finding a place with free wifi can be a major challenge. Libraries have been the only places we have found that consistently have useable free wifi. In the smaller towns, it is often the only place with free wifi, and since Courtney and I both have blogs, we have become frequent guests to of the Australia Libraries.
Like many of the smaller towns in SA, the library is attached to the school, which I think is a wonderful use of limited resources. The place was clean, spacious, and inviting, and had some very comfortable chairs. The wifi was not the best, which is standard, but it was good enough to get some posting done and to get a jump on our search for jobs around Perth. We were there on a Thursday, and the library was open until 6:30, which is abnormally late. It is also right across the street from the caravan park.
The caravan park is also right on the water. During the peak season, I would be willing to be it sells out, but since its winter, getting a spot was no problem. The tent sites were wonderful, as they looked out over the water, and the amenities were great. There are multiple cooking areas, both out door and indoor, a couple large bathrooms with no time limit on the hot water, fish cleaning stations for those who like to fish, and a little restaurant that served food all day long. It was well worth the $23 for the night. The washer and dryer cost us $6 total, and we had plenty of time for a lovely moon light stroll along the coast. The moon was nearly full, and we found multiple paths winding through the coastal scrub leading away from the park that eventually met up with an asphalt path that looked as if it continued for a long way. It was a wonderful night.
If you happen to be traveling through SA, I highly recommend a night in Streaky Bay.
Ceduna is a bit farther west, and is essentially the start of the Nullarbor. The town itself was rather nice. It had multiple caravan parks, shops of all kinds, resteraunts, supermarket, and a well manned info center. Ceduna, Like Streaky Bay, is right on the coast of the bight, so the town looks out over the water. There is a nice little grass park next to the jetty where we sat and had lunch in the sun and watched the small boats move about. The library here was nice as well, but since we were there on a Saturday morning, it was only open from 9am-11am.
The info center in Ceduna was tops. The couple that manned the desk were extremely knowlageable and gave us multiple tips on things to do break up the long drive. They were also very helpful in getting us ready for the Nullarbor links, wich starts or ends in Ceduna. They pointed us to a second hand store where we were able to get some cheap golf clubs and some old balls. They had some left handed clubs lying around which they sold to me for $5 a piece, which was a great help because the second hand store did not have any. Once we had all our gear together, they gave us a map and showed us how to get to the first two holes, which we played twice.
Ceduna appeared to have a large aboriginal population. We passed quite a few of them and even had the chance to speak briefly with a couple different groups. They were all very friendly. We have not had much contact with aboriginals and their culture outside of the cultural centers we have come across, which are mainly museums and art galleries. Had we been there longer then a day, I would have liked to talk to them a bit more, assuming I could have brought myself to bother them. I don’t know what it is, but I find them a bit intimidating, especially when they are in large groups. Part of it is that I find any group of people I don’t know to be somewhat intimidating, but there is something about people who appear different from me, and speak a different language, that intimidates me more. It is a quality about myself I am not proud of, but it is there nonetheless.
Ceduna is essentially the last town before you hit the Nullarbor, so here is the place to do any shopping you may need to prepare for the trip. Before food shopping, make sure you take a look at the state to state quarantine rules though. Most fresh fruit and vegetables you buy in SA cant be taken into WA. They will take any produce, including potatoes, along with bee products like honey. Canned goods are, sadly, the way to go. The town itself is not terribly exciting, but it wouldn’t be a bad place to stay for a night. The bush camping around there is terrible, so if one was to stay there, I would recommend staying at one of the caravan parks.