Of Eucla, frogs and Triumphs

Eucla has much to recommend it. For a start, it is not Caiguna. The Eucla roadhouse is spacious, clean, nicely appointed and sits up on the high ridge overlooking the distant dunes and the Southern Ocean.

Though the meals cost much the same (not much change from $10 for a vegie-burger) you at least get a few slices of beetroot along with the tomato and lettuce as a salad with the burger. There is also nice sit-down restuarant for the more well heeled traveller ($28 for “Seasonal char-grilled vegetables in a tomato sauce, with penne pasta).

Behind the bar/restaurant/take-away is a beautiful garden decked out with nice outdoor table and chair settings. Even better from the point of view of dinner, there is a gas BBQ and a few wood burning BBQs available for free use. The wood fires are not able to be used this time of year due to the blanket ban on the lighting of fires outdoors. The gas BBQ on the other hand needed just a clean up and we were ready to roll. Ask at the bar for a damp cloth to wipe down the tables, some paper napkins to wipe down the BBQ plate, crank on the BBQ to get the plate nice and hot, and then sacrifice half a bottle of your beer and wipe it all off with the paper napkins and “Bob’s ya uncle – looks just like a bought one.” Behind the BBQ pit is a pool, though we failed to notice that until it was too late for a swim anyway.

As Eucla was our last stop before hitting the quarantine zone, the BBQ was a handy resource indeed. We fried up the last of our potatoes, onion and garlic, which made a nice side dish to our burgers. Canny travellers i.e. those that have visited Eucla before, will take full advantage of these BBQs as you’d be able to cook yourself a great meal without spending a small fortune in the restaurant. Note that no BBQ tools are provided, but the bar will happily loan you cutlery and plates.

From the point of view of the kids, the best aspect of the garden surrounding the BBQ pit was the frog pools. The gardens include half a dozen landscaped ponds, heavy with lush water plants and home to a trillion, million, zillion frogs. Brown frogs, green frogs, spotty frogs, big frogs, little frogs and ones that might be a Prince in disguise. They hopped across our feet and sang us a lovely froggy chorus as we ate.

An entirely unexpected sight as we climbed back over the sand dunes from the beach, below the Eucla roadhouse was half a dozen lovely old Triumph cars. Stags, TR6s, TR8s and GTs. As it turned out, the Triumph car club was having a huge rally in Perth, and these drivers were on their way across the same route we had just travelled, on their way West. I hope they made it safely, Triumph Stags in particular are infamous for overheating.