Thursday, 15 November 2007


The Nullarbor.... well, it was always going to happen and as I said in yesterday's posting, it will challenge me to find something new to say on a daily basis for the next 10 days! It is probably a good idea to start with an overview - from space! Here is the Nullarbor, courtesy of NASA. The true Nullarbor plain is the lighter tan coloured area adjacent to the south coast in this image and so Mark has just ventured into the western end of it today. The images below were gleaned from Flickr and are taken along the stretch of the Eyre Highway which Mark has cycled today. As you can see,
it is not quite 'treeless' yet! Interestingly, the Aboriginal name for the Nullarbor translates as 'waterless' rather than treeless and given that the world's largest outcrop of limestone (a highly permeable rock) underlies the Nullarbor, this is probably a better name. As we will see, there are only very small stretches of the Nullarbor which are totally devoid of trees and virtually no areas at all where vegetation is absent. The plants which survive have to be extremely drought tolerant, however, as this climate graph for the Nullarbor shows. I'm afraid it is from a German website but it shows precipitation as bars using the left scale and temperature as a line using the right scale with months along the bottom. NB the months run from July to June to produce a graph which is more easily compared with northern hemisphere equivalents. The dominant tree species across the region is a type of eucalyptus referred to as mallee.

The last fix on the GPS tracker shows Mark just short of a road station called Newman's Rocks which appears to have a few buildings, a water tank and an airstrip - real outback country!

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