Spacewoman in West Australia
After a fun game of tennis in the rain, I said goodbye to my hosts in Perth and continued towards Lake Ballard. It made me wonder why none of the locals I’ve talked to have never heard of the lake which is located 800km from Perth. Is it really THAT deserted? Is there going to be any traffic at all? I was not too confident, but the lake sure looked good in the photos.
The lake is known for Antony Gormley’s art sculptures. This artist made 51 sculptures of residents of a small town called Menzies and spreaded them across Lake Ballard. The whole installation looks pretty cool, especially at sunrise and sunset.
I got really lucky with my 2nd ride that day that took me almost 600km all the way to Kalgoorlie. As if that was already not enough, the couple who picked me up offered me to stay in their house before traveling any further. AS IF THAT WAS ALREADY NOT ENOUGH, they made me delicious vegan dinner and took me sightseeing around Kalgoorlie and Boulder. The town has this pretty cool cowboy look about it and it seems to be very well looked after.
Kalgoorlie is well known for gold and nickel mining, so visiting “a superpit” is an absolute must there. It’s HUGE and my photo doesn’t do it any justice. The future plan for it is to get about 4 times bigger.
Next morning I got dropped off by the same lovely couple in the direction of Menzies and soon caught a ride with 2 workers on their way to the mining station. It was another lucky ride, because we were the only car on the road and they dropped me off at the very entrance of Lake Ballard.
They dropped me off in the middle of efing nowhere with no one around. The closest town was Menzis 51km west and Sandstone 232 km east. That was a strange feeling.
After 2,5 hours of waiting on the road with 0 traffic, finally an older couple in a campervan pulled over to tell me that I’m standing on the wrong side of the road if I want to go to Gwalia. They laughed at my poor sense of orientation and my space suit, but offered to show me Gwalia and Kookynie. Both towns are known as ghost towns since the gold rush was over.
Kookynie was a bit of a disappointment, because all what’s left of it is the Grand Hotel from 1902 that’s still open and nothing else. On the other side, Gwalia ghost town was pretty awesome, because an old setting is still there. Here are few pics…
Cool thing: You can walk into Hoover’s house in Gwalia that was named after former US President Herbert Hoover who used to be ex-mine manager there and lived there.
After Gwalia, I got picked up by Jamie – a mining truck driver who was transporting nickel from the mine to the storage area. He was just starting with his night shift. As I got stuck on the road in a dark, he offered me to stay warm and safe in his truck and drive with him until the morning. It was pretty awesome because we drove up and down the road from Leonora to Leinster 3 times throughout the night and he smuggled me into the mine behind the curtain in the truck! :))
Jamie finished his work at 4 a.m., drove me to his house to have another 2 hours of sleep before the sunrise and then he woke up at 6 a.m. to take me to the spot where he arranged with his truck driving friend to take me to Mount Magnet.
In Mount Magnet I had the 1st encounter with Australian police while hitchhiking on the road and they were really nice to me. They came to check if I was safe and gave me some options where to stay in case I get stuck on the road after the sunset.
Just as they left, I got picked up by a very cool truck driver called Bill who was going back to Perth. He had some awesome traveling stories, so we had lots to talk about. His truck has the bunk beds (as many Australian trucks do), so I was sorted with the accommodation for the night, because Bill was sleeping on the lower bed and I took the top one.
The plan for the next days was to move up along the West Coast and enjoy some sun, because south was still pretty cold in August especially when you sleep outside.
To be continued… (part II)