We hung out there for a couple of days. Somewhat sheltered on the back side of the cliffs. You can really hear the power of the waves from your tent at night. I can see why it appeals to surfers, three massive breaks onto three seperate beaches, unusual for this coastline as you are more likely to find rocks or cliffs. Still looks pretty foreboding to me though.
I noticed the carvings on the windbreak around our nearest fire pit had engravings dating back to the 90’s, maybe even before that.
So this has obviously been a thing for a while, and it kind of instilled a slightly offbeat classic surfer character to the place. I couldn’t help but think of another somewhat more well known Australian surf beach, one that we just had to visit when we came here originally in 1999. So we did that vibe justice with a 90’s classic for ‘movie night’ that night.
I saw some lads with a Troopy, with their surfboards on the roof. Never saw them in the surf though. I could imagine getting here and then finding ‘hmmm, this is a bit more serious than the break we surf back home, coupled with the numerous rocks, sharks, long way from help…
Got some reading done. Cooked lamb shanks in the Dutch oven. Wandered on the beach, took dodgy selfies, collected shells, had a run. Just chilled out really.
Also took a short drive down to the sheltered bay at the end of the peninsula.
Shark net (raised) visible in this shot.
It was properly warm when the sun was out, and still not cold when the clouds came across. The weather changed almost continuously, but never by very much.
I did some more research on Cactus Beach when I got back home.
It was one of the places you think you’ve ‘discovered’, then when you mention it to someone after that they all seem to say ‘oh yeah, we used to go there in the 70’s/80’s/90’s’. Ok, not everyone knew it but more people than I was expecting.
Well, the time came to leave Cactus Beach. With some more settled weather and less wind, I could have stayed here a week, but to be it was not. So load up the Cruiser, see if those coastal tracks west of here I can see on the Hema work out.
On the drive out we could see the road actually got quite close to the striking dunes we could see from our ‘private’ beach lookout behind our campsite. After a bit of meandering down the maze of tracks we popped out onto a lake with a pink tinge (and an odd mineral taste, not quite fresh water, not quite salt water either. I didn’t die either, although I do have a nasty rash…) with the dune rising gloriously behind it.
Photo opportunities abounded.
The beauty of having a relatively open-ended trip like this is you can explore every sniff of opportunity that comes across your path. I know on shorter trips I regularly pass these up, as all too often they end in a NO ENTRY sign, a locked gate, a track that just meanders endlessly into the bush, or maybe just peters out. However, occasionally you strike gold, as we did here. If you don’t go investigate, you never know. It should be noted that in all the Google searching I did about Cactus Beach when we got home, this spot was never mentioned…
It was time to press on with the day’s drive.
A bit of nav, and the coast track turned out to be a thing. We were actually well off the Hema mapping at times, with the amount of tracks on the ground being considerably more plentiful than the relatively simple mapping. The weather closed in, as had been its wont for the last few days. Still who wouldn’t take this trail?
Where are we?
Edge of the world.
The weather, not for the last time on this trip was starting to make everything feel a little too British…
I love these coastal cliff top tracks.
All good things must come to an end.
We looped around and headed out.
Stopping at Penong for the first meal we hadn’t cooked for ourselves in quite a while, it was magnificent.
This little place is the last stop of any reasonable services for quite some time for those heading out across the Nullarbor, or conversely the first you’ve seen in quite a while coming the other way. We had a great chat with the owner while we waited for our burgers, his parents came out as ‘Ten Pound Poms’ (as in it cost ten pounds Stirling for the boat ride to Australia) and he eventually settled out here in this little village and seemed quite content. We talked about some of the places we had been and where we were going, and he gave us some recommendations. Although some he hadn’t been to himself (despite his proximity), as ‘he has never had the time’. Which as you look around at where you are seemed a bit odd, but there you have it. He said in the busy times his little cafe would be absolutely full with a queue out the door, despite the fact he will have five people serving. I might have doubted this too if we hadn’t seen the turnover at Ceduna caravan park. Food was simple but hard to fault.
So we hit the bitumen for an easy drive back to Ceduna, keeping an eye out for the Nullarbor Nymph.
If anyone has made it this far, that’s all for now. Please schedule time in your diary for Part 4, upcoming. Cheers.