Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Joe and Carol Antao's 8000 km golf safari across Australia

THE ROAD MAP: Port Kennedy WA, Southern Cross WA, Cocklebiddy Caves, Madura Wa, Nullarbor Roadhouse, Ceduna SA, Kyancutta SA, Port Augusta SA, Burra SA, Midura Vic, Devonport Tasmania (Cradle Mountain  Strahan, Gordon River Cruise Strahan, Coles –WnieGals Bay, Launceston, Devonport, Melbourne Vic, Lakes Entrance Vic. Return journey: Ballarat Vic, Mr Gambier SA, Naracoorte SA, Adelaide SA, Indian Pacific (Australian National Railways) to home.

Driving through the Nullarbor Plain, all 1650 kilometres of perhaps the loneliest road in the world with hundreds and hundreds of kilometres between human habitation and fuel, food and rest stops, is always a daunting challenge and one not to be taken lightly. You can’t just hop into your car and drive from Perth in Western Australian, hit the Plain, cross into South Australia and Victoria and in this case the end of thousands of kilometres. Fatigue is perhaps the biggest killer of all. You have to be vigilant and alert at all times. The other hazards are trucks and the long, long road trains and you will need plenty of patience if you are stuck behind several of these monster transporters.

You have to identify the risks and ensure you can mitigate every eventuality. You will need to do the simple things first: make sure the car is serviced and made ready for the challenge; don’t drive at night, rest is just as important; pack lots and lots of water; make sure you call one or two people every day to report your progress and the fact that you are alive and well; draw up an emergency response plan for along the way in case of an emergency (easier if you are a seasoned traveller like the Antaos); watch out for the wildlife; most of your fellow travellers are usually a friendly lot.

The Nullarbor Links Golf Course is unique. The 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres with one hole in most of the participating town or roadhouses along the Eyre Highway, two holes in Kalgoorlie, Norseman and Ceduna.

The Nullarbor Links Golf Course is unique. The 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres with one hole in most of the participating town or roadhouses along the Eyre Highway, two holes in Kalgoorlie, Norseman and Ceduna.

On March 7, Western Australia’s Joe* and Carol Antao will leave their Port Kennedy home at the start of an epic golfing safari which will be taking them eastwards across famous the Nullarbor Desert (one of the longest roads in the world if not the longest), South Australia, Tasmania and finish in Lakes Entrance in Victoria. The purpose of this ultimate journey is to play golf, teeing off on the longest Golf Course in the World [ ] and in terrain that is often akin to a moonscape. Along the way they will also take in some historic sites, local entertainment and catch up on things they covered in previous trips across Australia.. The eastwards journey will take in some 5000 kilometres and the whole trip will last around 8,000 kilometres, 30 days, including part of the journey back home on the Indian Pacific.

What did you do in the Royal Australia Navy before you retired? Job - Combat Systems Maintainer. Trips HiLite – Mombasa Kenya 1982 on the HMAS Hobart, Guided Missile Destroyer.

Carol and you will be sharing the driving. We share the driving on all our road trips.
What kind of accommodation will you be staying in along the way? Mostly motels, hotels and just one Airbnb.

Why are you and Carol doing this? We love Adventure Holidays, this our third trip across Australia. Previous trips also driving in the Northern Territory, including two trips on the Ghan train: Darwin to Adelaide & Alice Springs to Adelaide.
What are you most looking forward to?    Tasmania.

You have done some similar trips before, where did you go? Port Kennedy to Exmouth and Coral Bay  WA, two trips. 2017 & 2018.
In 1993 did Sydney – Rockhampton – Longreach – ( Saw where they shot Crocodile Dundee at Mckinlay QLD) Mt Isa – 3 Way Junction – Alice Springs – Ghan Rail – Port Augusta -Perth.

Have you driven across the Nullarbor before? If Yes, what was that experience like? Done the Nullarbor twice before.  The first trip was when I was serving in the Navy.   Driving a Toyota  Corona 2000,  with two kids in the back. Not many stop off places those days in the ’80s.  Drove west via Kalgoorlie.
It is very remote with long, long stretches of the lonely road, with only huge road trains for company. It is the longest straight road in Australia.

So what exactly will happen? Apart from being stopped by Interstate Quarantine in each State, avoiding a kangaroo or two otherwise no problems.

Are other people involved? Just the two of us in planning and executing the trip. We’ll be meeting family and friends this 2019 trip though. Carol will meet a classmate of her’s in Melbourne after 50 + years. We will also in Melbourne meet a couple from Huston Texas, who was on our China 2016 Viking River Cruise. They arrive and depart Melbourne same days as us. How coincidental !!!
First Tee Off was on Monday 25 February, just played a 9-hole round.

What happens after you tee off, is there a green? Or a substitute green of padded down earth, how long is the first hole. What about the other holes? Describe each hole and what is involved.
There are single hole Tee-off at various points along the Nullarbor but in some destinations, we will play a full game. Single Tee Off shown in green in the map below

Joe Antao is the brother of the later Kenyan Goan double Commonwealth Games sprint gold medallist Seraphino Antao.

One of the many dunes of the Nullarbor

Joe Antao is the Mombasa born younger brother of the later Kenyan Goan double Commonwealth Games sprints gold medallist Seraphino Antao.

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