The Journey Towards Western Australia

The Journey Towards Western Australia

Driving to Western Australia from Darwin, we breezed through Katherine to stock up on shopping before heading west along the Victoria highway. We passed huge cattle stations and sandstone outcrops as the landscape and climate changed from tropical to semiarid desert. In this transitional zone lies the often overlooked Judbarra (Gregory) national park, a tranquil place, crammed full of natural features crying out to be explored.

Gregory river NT

During our hike we scampered over escarpments to enjoy unspoilt views of the plains below. We imagined ourselves as Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the film Australia, driving herds of cattle through the red and dusty land. As we continued our journey west we began to see bulging boab trees, the iconic swollen landmarks which signalled our proximity to the Western Australia border.

drive northern territory

We spent the night camped in a bargain national park camp ground not far from the border with Western Australia. Chatting to other campers, we soon became aware of the strict rules about transporting food across the border. To prevent the spread of crop disease it is forbidden to take any fresh fruit or vegetables into WA. Having just stocked up in Katherine we realised we had a whole lot of fruit to eat before we reached the border. We were obviously not the only ones as the pit toilets at the camp ground were particularly fragrant. But in typical outback spirit, a free trade area had been set up and everyone was glowing with vitamin C. It was all quite jovial, although one lady was desperately trying to trade melons for tinned goods with anyone heading east. As the day ended under a sunset of glorious hues of pink, we hung out with a fishing cowboy down by the river, who was no doubt using parsnips as bait.

Cowboy fishing NT

We spent the next 24 hours eating our way through a sack full of oranges at a free camp just before the border. When we were sure we had cleared the van of all fresh produce we headed to the inspection area. As we waited in line we saw the driver of the vehicle in front hand over two cucumbers and a radish in some sort of salad amnesty. Despite having no fresh produce we nervously approached the vehicle inspection area. Thoughts of incarceration for accidentally trafficking potatoes brought on a bad case of the sweats. Eventually the guard climbed aboard our van and questioned us about the contents of our fridge. He rummaged through our cupboards and rifled through our drawers looking for any illegally migrating mushrooms or stowaway strawberries. Finally the inspection was over, we were deemed free of fruit and veg and allowed to continue our journey into the state of Western Australia.

Boab tree

18 Responses

  1. […] gig and found that not only is she a talented artist she is also really funny. She hails from the salad smuggling state of Western Australia, which made us love her even more. We were a bit drunk, but we think Toby […]

  2. […] that’s where the comedy element comes in. Like when we got searched for carrying salad at an Australian border crossing and the time we struggled to find wine when we really needed a drink. We also blog general comedy […]

  3. I love this…here they would be looking for guns and drugs. LOL I live in Chicago.

  4. Love your blog! We made a similar mistake stocking up just before crossing back into the US from Canada and had some feasting that was more reminiscent of a competitive contest. Gorgeous photo of the cowboy fisherman.

    • Wandering Wives

      Thank you for your kind words, I didn’t realise there would be restrictions between the US and Canada. That seems as absurd as the rules between WA and the border states.

  5. So glad you were warned. I wasn’t and had just stocked up on fruit snacks for the long journey to Kunuarra. I blame the customs man for my expanding waistline on that trip!

  6. “No doubt using parsnips as bait” That made me laugh out loud!

  7. […] participating in a salad amnesty crossing the border into Western Australia from the Northern Territory, the first town we arrived […]

  8. I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Don’t feel obliged to participate; I only wanted to let you know that I think your blog is spectacular!

  9. One of my favourite parts of Australia – nice post and beautiful photos Ladies.

  10. Gorgeous photos, we’ve never actually made it West yet.

  11. I like the idea of a free trading area. Also, I loved your description of being searched by the inspection agent – I would be really nervous too!

  12. Such beautiful pictures…. I hope to travel to Australia someday.

  13. Interesting stuff! I’ve never been to Australia but hope to go there in the near future!

    • Wandering Wives

      It is such an interesting country to visit, especially if you explore more than just the east coast. Hope you get there some time!

  14. Haha brilliant! Yes We had a very similar experience crossing over from SA to the Nullabor!!
    Lovely account – makes me feel very nostalgic 🙂

    • Wandering Wives

      Thank you, we hope you continue to enjoy our posts 🙂
      We didn’t get a chance to travel the Nullarbor, Perth around to Adelaide is the one section we didn’t have time for! The country is too big, even a year wasn’t long enough to travel it all.

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