IP Day 20 – Kimba to Nuttbush Retreat

Sunday 10th April, 2022

117.58km    +414m

Moving 5:17 Elapsed 6:50
Avg  22.2km/h Max 50.1km/h

Although the ‘civilisation’ milestone of Port Augusta would have looked to others as being within reach today, we had opted to stop about 40km short. We had been keeping our eyes on an accommodation option – Nuttbush Retreat. It had been closed during Covid, but conveniently reopened just a few days ago and we were able to book one of their refurbished shearer’s quarters rooms. Our plan was to ride the reputedly horrible 7km stretch of the Eyre Highway (after the intersection with the Lincoln Highway at Lincoln Gap) to the turnoff (famously missed by some of the other riders!) the next morning before dawn – before the traffic increased. Beating the heat was the other good reason to set out at just after 5am.

Theoretically, after Kimba, we were over the hump of our traverse across the top of the Eyre Peninsula. Still ‘lumpy’, but with a downhill trend, making for a better average speed.

Sunrise didn’t disappoint, an hour into it:

(Think our reflective gear was doing its job.)

There wasn’t a lot going on with rest areas in this section, so we made do at times.

We were still shaking our heads at the rubbish, even though there was less than across the Nullarbor. From dirty disposable nappies to tyres… it’s just really sad.

It was only another 10km from this ‘rest stop’ to Iron Knob, but we decided not to do any extra metres detouring in and out to what remains of the mining town. At risk of becoming a ghost town when mining ceased between the mid-90s and 2013, there’s apparently not much going on there. On our rider WhatsApp chat, one rider warned another who had gone in there to get water to ‘Get out of there or it will steal your soul!’

It was 30km to Nuttbush. We had enough water. It was only about 10.30am, but the day was warming up… Let’s just get there. Besides, we’d rather keep hold of our souls for now.

The turnoff to the mine itself (a couple of kilometres before the turn-off to the township. And (second photo) a view back to Iron Knob from a rest stop 10k further on.

The mining-scarred outcrop is reportedly 150m lower than it used to be before mining of its iron ore began in 1900, but it still really dominates the landscape. As we continued, the scenery was more stark and treeless than the Nullarbor. (It is in fact classified as ‘semi-desert’.)

With the temperature climbing over 30 degrees, we were relieved to turn into Nuttbush Retreat at midday. Happily were able to get into our room early, have a shower, then get our washing done and hung out. Unfortunately, while the full-of-water swimming pool beckoned, we were unable to have a dip. Having just reopened they had to wait to get it chemical-tested before allowing use.

Jobs done, we were resting with the aircon in our room, and, around 3pm, we heard a noise right outside our door – like clapping, but with those blow-up hands used at sports events. I got up, opened the door a bit, and peered out. Marc tells me that I actually said -in a questioning, but somewhat indignant, tone – “Excuse me?”…. Well, that was embarrassing. It was in fact a couple of ‘dotwatchers’ – Silvia and Bob – who had come looking for us.

We hadn’t actually announced on the Facebook group that we were going to pull up for the day at Nuttbush. So poor Silvia and Bob, who had driven up from WHYALLA – 60km away! – had been waiting for us at the Eyre Highway/Lincoln Highway intersection. After some time when we didn’t appear, and our dot was showing as stopped, they came looking for us. (And not having clocked that there was in fact a Sheep Station/Accommodation/Caravan Park ‘Retreat’ here, it possibly went through their minds that we may have been lying by the side of the road or something!) The receptionist actually told them where we were, and apparently even said that we would have had a decent rest by now. Lol.

Silvia – who was quite a character – set up a smorgasbord of snacks and cold drinks that she had brought along -just for us. Check the wooden folding ironing board ‘table’! She was prepared! So we sat outside our room, having a chat, with a cold drink, eating bananas and strawberries…

Steak for dinner, pre-ordered from their dining room menu.

And then another early night so we could get up and do the planned pre-dawn assault on that infamous highway section leading into Port Augusta.

5 thoughts on “IP Day 20 – Kimba to Nuttbush Retreat

  1. Julie

    Continuing to enjoy the reads and being impressed with your daily achievements. I keep getting little gems from your posts for my planned ride next August/September. Not tough enough to battle the weather gods as you have done. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to know our write-up is helpful! It’s one of the reasons to do the blog, as we’ve picked up stuff ourselves from other cycle touring blogs. Let me know the sort of things that are useful info – I might think of other things I haven’t thought to include. What are your trip plans?!


      1. julie

        It is good to read a “recent” realistic account of crossing the Nullarbour. There are some useful posts from other cyclists but dated in many cases. Good reminder of how tough it can be. Accommodation & route choices, made me revisit my planned daily distances, uhf radio, buying water from a machine, even need for coins. I know IPWR doesn’t allow food drops but if you had the chance would have done any? I am only touring and have the chance to do one in Norseman, border and Ceduna.


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