With a population of less than 100 and located halfway between Adelaide and Perth (11km on the western side of the border), Eucla is not a big place, or easy to get to, but it is almost a mandatory stop for those travelling across the Nullarbor Plain.
However, not many take the short excursion out on the dirt road to the Old Eucla Telegraph Station, semi-buried under sand and a pleasant walk from the coast.
This 14 kilometre loop is not a particularly difficult ride in itself, but the location, summer heat and the short but steep climb back up the escarpment will combine to test your endurance.
Riding down the hill from Eucla, you quickly encounter a wide, loose gravel road that leads you out to the ruins located in a harsh landscape where they are constantly under threat of being buried under the encroaching white sand dunes.
Now there is little more than a few old stone walls protruding above the moving dunes but the starkness of the ruins surrounded but white dunes creates a spectacular image. One that has not changed greatly since I first saw them in 1974.
Originally built in 1877 as a manual repeater station for the overland telegraph, the remainder of the original town is now completely buried by the sand, after a plague of rabbits ate most of the dune vegetation allowing large sand drifts to encroach on the town site.
The terrain or distance itself is not so much a challenge, but the summer heat will test you, so make sure you have at least 5 litres of water for the return journey.
You will be sharing the more direct Eucla to ‘ruins’ road with tourists who will probably be able to offer help if needed, but you will be alone for the 6 kilometre section between the ruins and the main highway where you will have to share the road again.
- Name: Old Eucla Telegraph Station Loop
- Region: WA/SA Border, Western Australia
- Start: Eucla Roadhouse
- Finish: Eucla Roadhouse
- Length: 14km
- Time: 2 Hours
- Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Suitable for: Off road or touring bike
- Terrain: Mostly flat but the Eucla escarpment is steep
- Surface: Gravel and compacted earth, rough and rutted in places
- Hazards: Heat and highway traffic
- Facilities: There are no facilities, take plenty of water and food for the return journey plus spare. Make sure you also have a puncture repair kit and basic bike tools.
- Best Times: All year but the summer heat may be an issue