Blowholes "breathe" in and out
is located 182 kilometres east of Balladonia and 64 kilometres
west of Cocklebiddy.
is said to be derived from an aboriginal word meaning "spear track"
. The traditional landowners of the Caiguna area and other western
nullarbor lands are the Ngadju and Mirning peoples.
European contact with the area began in 1841 when Edward John
Eyre and his expedition passed within 20 kilometres of present
day Caiguna. On 29 April 1841 tragedy struck when John Baxter
was brutally murdered by 2 fellow members of Edward John Eyre's
expedition. At the time, Eyre felt Baxter's untimely death was
all the more ignominious given that he couldn't even be given
the dignity of a proper christian burial. According to Eyre's
journal the whole area was overlain with solid sheets of limestone
bedrock, and apparently under the circumstances the best that
could be done was to wrap his friend's body in a shroud, leaving
it exposed to the elements. Nearly forty years later, a resident
of Eyre's Sandpatch named William Graham organised a search party
to discover Baxter's remains. Under the leadership of John Healy
the search party did in fact discover Baxter's remains - minus
the skull however. Near the site were also found a number of other
relics, including the lock mechanism of a gun. By all accounts
Baxter's bones were then packed into a calico bag and despatched
to the Colonial Secretary's Office in Perth. In a peculiar twist
of fate the final resting place of Baxter's bones still remains
something of a mystery, even until today. Apparently all records
relating to the disposal of Baxter's remains have been lost. In
1930 the Western Australian Historical Society erected a memorial
John Baxter and this can be viewed 20 kilometres south of Caiguna.
Roadhouse is one of three Nullarbor Roadhouses that provide a
24 hour seven days a week service - Norseman and Border Village are the other 2. Staff at Caiguna Roadhouse
are helpful, friendly and can provide travellers with a range
of takeaway foods and snacks. EFTPOS, Public Telephone and pay
shower facilities are also available. If you are heading to the
west Caiguna might well be a good rest and refuelling stop - especially
given that the next Roadhouse is 182 kilometres away at Balladonia.
Travelers should note that Caiguna sells LPG Gas for cars and
Premium petrol. Super Grades of petrol are not sold but fuel additives
can be bought. For those of you
with an aircraft, a landing strip can also be found along side
to Caiguna's Roadhouse is the John Eyre Motel which has 10 self
contained Motel Units and a caravan park with camping facilities.
Nullarbor Net suggests that it might well pay travellers to make
advance bookings given the number of rooms available. This advice
particularly applies during peak travel periods when many Motels
on the Nullarbor can be booked out. For further information and
bookings please telephone (08) 9039 3459.
John Eyre Motel Accomodation Rates:
Single rooms $95-00
Twin Share Rooms $110-00
Budget Single Rooms $65-00
Double Rooms $75-00
Caravan Park Rates:
Powered sites $25-00 for 2 people
sites $15-00 for 2 people
Extra people $5-00 per night
Prices valid as at 14 September 2009
Caiguna Blowhole is located 5 kilometres
west of Caiguna and 10 metres on the Eyre Highway, access to the
site is and well signposted. A visit to Caiguna Blowhole will
provide you with an interesting short road side stop. On the Nullarbor,
blowholes are formed by chemical and physical weathering processes
that erode the limestone bedrock common in this part of Australia.
The name blow hole refers to the fact that these natural features
breathe air in and out as high and low pressure weather systems
pass accross the Nullarbor. The periodic reversal of air flows
is a result of pressure equalisation between the underground caverns
and the above ground air pressure.
When travelling between Caiguna and
Balladonia travellers have to drive along Australia's longest
stretch of straight road. Despite using metric measurement for
the past 30 years this area is still referred to as "The 90 Mile
Straight." In metric terms that translates into 146.6 kilometres
without a bend.
To the south of Caiguna, in four wheel drive territory only, lies
the Nuytsland Nature Reserve. Within the area are a number of
sites that may be of interest to the traveller. If you have a
strong interest in the history of Australian exploration, twenty
kilometres to the south of Caiguna you will find Baxter's Memorial.
Beyond this, on the Great Australian Bight, are the spectacular
Baxter's Cliffs. Within the Nuytsland Nature Reserve are a number
of small caves and collapsed caverns known as dolines. Local Caiguna
people occasionally visit these features when they are not working
at the Roadhouse. One such feature has been called "Dead Dog Cave."
This small cave is apparently about 6 or 7 metres deep and is
the site where the mummified remains of a marsupial dog were found.
Scientifically it has been classified as a thylacine but the rest
of us would know it as a Tasmanian Tiger. Yes, Tasmanian Tigers
did actually live on mainland Australia several thousands of years
ago. To access any of the above areas in Nuytsland Nature Reserve
travellers will need to possess 4 wheel drive vehicles, ask for
directions and local advice from the staff at the Caiguna Roadhouse,
and be prepared for overnight camping.
Net Travel Tips
On the Western Australian end of the Nullarbor
you will see plenty of signs indicating road hazards such as kangaroos,
emus and the odd camel. These signs are NOT just for show. We recommend
that great care be taken when driving, particularly around sunset
and at night. If ever you leave the main highway, remember that
this area is VERY isolated and you need a four wheel drive, plenty
of water and be prepared rely entirely on your own resources to
deal with emergencies.