Brendon takes us off-road on an Aussie bite adventure … yes the ride is bumpy, yes it's camping, and yes it's the experience of a lifetime.
Aussie Bight Expedition owners Frank and Mary Hawkey operate three-day trips to the Bilbunya Dunes in the Great Australian Bight, one of Western Australia's most remote places. Their custom-built off-road OKA seats 13 passengers and has been designed to suit the rough terrain.
The first four hours involves a fairly bumpy ride from Esperance, through the Cape Arid National Park to the isolated settlement of Israelite Bay.
In 1877, a repeater station on the Intercolonial Telegraph Line opened there and this was extremely important to the original Swan River Colony, providing rapid communication. It also gave international communication via the famous Overland Telegraph Line between Port Augusta and Darwin, then to the submarine cable to Java and on to the developed world.
Ruins of the old telegraph station can be seen along with a few graves, an old cottage and a fishing shack which was built in more recent times.
Just past Israelite Bay is where guests spend the first night. Camping equipment and food are provided swags or tents are the order of the day. There are no showers or toilets.
Day two sees an early start to coincide with low tides. It's an exciting day as you travel along the 90km of beach which hugs the Great Australian Bight. After two hours you will see the amazing Bilbunya Dunes in the Nuytsland Nature Reserve. The dunes reach 90m and they rise suddenly in front of you as if from nowhere. The dunes are a mass of shifting sand and their shapes and patterns are constantly changing. They are almost blindingly white and reflections at sunrise and sunset are spectacular.
Nuytsland stretches 625,000ha and is named after Dutch explorer Pieter Nuyts who visited the region in 1627. You will also see the start of the 100m high Baxter Cliffs which have an uninterrupted 200km run along the Bight. On day three you head back to Esperance.
Aussie Bight Expeditions also have half and full day tours to Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks, as well as inland tours to Mt Ridley. During winter they head to central and northern Western Australia.