From Perth to Lotus 2017 and Back Again

Images by Robyn & John Edmondson

Follow along Robyn & John Edmondson’s road trip to Lotus 2017 and back again in this epic tale of the pair’s trip to the bi-annual Lotus celebration.

Thanks to Robyn & John Edmondson. Images by Robyn & John Edmondson.

Life is a Highway

Leaving Perth – Tuesday April 18th, Day 1

Too excited to sleep, we were up before there was light – hitting the road at a fresh 0525.

The Lotus Elise S (2015) got a good warm up along Great Eastern Highway, before we chased the rising sun through York to Tammin.

John had the wheel until a few kms before Coolgardie, then Robyn took over in the driver’s seat. We stopped in Kalgoorlie for lunch and an excursion to an abandoned mining town from the 1800’s to meet with an old friend who was prospecting. A small swarm of locusts seemed to think the Lotus was named after them and came for a ride on the bonnet.

After a quick visit to the Super Pit at Boulder and a re-fuel, we headed onto Norseman for the night.

Distance: 854km

Fuel: 64.3 liters (13.8km per liter or 37.4mpg)

Accom: $125.50

Thunder Road

Norseman to Ceduna – Wednesday April 19th, Day 2

We left Norseman at a dark and foggy 0530.

Cruise control came in handy as we reached the 90 mile straight, stopping at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse for a re-fuel, a pre-packed picnic at Madura Lookout (the Nullabor is not totally flat!!!), and another fuel top-up at Border Village Roadhouse.

Robyn was in the pilot’s seat when a large storm hit. Torrential rain, lightning and thunder chased us across the Bite. The wiper blade became useless when the metal rods started to slide out, and we had to navigate around large puddles with limited vision.  We were grateful when the storm finally cleared as we hit the Nullabor Roadhouse.

The sun was setting as we arrived in Ceduna. Making it through quarantine and another fuel stop, we finished the day with a great meal at the Foreshore Hotel.

Distance: 1210km

Fuel: $171

96.45 liters (average 12.65km per liter or 35.7mpg)

Accom: $79/night

Breakin the Law

Ceduna to Berri – Thursday April 20th, Day 3

Start: 0750. Destination: Berri

We were making good progress until 30km from Kimba, where a passing Police car put on a light show just for us. John was clocked at 13km/hr over the 110 limit and was gifted with a rather hefty $423 fine. (The friendly officer also informed us that maximum speeding fine in SA is $1050 for 45k/hr+ over the limit). We proceeded with lighter feet.

The wiper was completely useless, which was becoming an issue with water spray-off from oncoming vehicles. After a re-fuel in Port Augusta we stopped at Auto One for a new wiper blade, which they also fitted for us. It was good timing as the weather only got worse.

John took the wheel as we carried on to the Port Pirie turnoff and then towards Burra, where we finally hit a Lotus friendly road. We remarked that this stretch of terrain looks very much like the Nullabor Plain, but Robyn must have thought it was more Nullabor-ing as she fell asleep.

After a re-fuel, our next stop was the Berri Hotel on the banks of the Murray River. Berri is a beautiful little town and we both agreed we would love to return here Berri soon.

Distance: 878km

Fuel: $99

Accom: $89/night

Speeding Fine: $423

Wiper Blades: $19

Fast Car

Crossing the border – Friday April 21st, Day 4

The Lotus was all packed and on the tarmac by 0730.

We followed some interesting roads with very low fog for the first couple of hours, before a fuel stop at Balranald.

Cruise control helped us stick to the speed limit, and we made up time by eating our lunch of bacon and egg slice on-the-go.

We crossed the border into Victoria, then again into NSW, then back into Victoria. John was excited to reach some more Lotus-friendly roads just before Beechworth, but Robyn was a little miffed she didn’t get a turn to drive.

Distance: 747.5km (Total distance since start of trip – 3710km)

Fuel: 51.19 litres (average 14.6km per litre or 41.25mpg)

Accom: $182.25/night (4 nights $729)

Kickstart My Heart

Lotus 2017 – Saturday April 22nd, Day 5

A relaxed 10am start today, as we drove past the Winton Race Track and along some fun roads to a small town called Ruffy as suggested by Eddie.

Eddie, Vicky, Les and Marilyn joined us at 2pm for a meal and a chat, and we returned to Beechworth via some awesome roads through Mansfield, Whitfield, arriving in time to register for Lotus 2017. The fun begins!

Drag City

Lotus 2017 – Sunday April 23rd, Day 6 

Parked the car on the cricket oval at 0820 ready for the car show at 0900.

After some show-and-tell we had lunch, and Robyn had a close-call after a reaction to some surprise salmon in her sandwich. Fortunately a friend had some antihistamines handy and they did the trick.

That afternoon Eddie and Vicky led us down some exciting and twisty roads that reminded John of some of the roads back in his hometown of New Zealand. We stopped in Bright for a couple of drinks then carried on back to Beechworth to get ready for our dinner at Lindenwarrah, Milawa.

Passenger Side

Lotus 2017 – Monday April 24th, Day 7

We kicked off the third day of Lotus 2017 day with a pie and sausage roll at Beechworth Bakery which we highly recommend.

Robyn was the passenger as we followed 60km of windy roads to the top of Mount Hotham. We took it a little slower on the way back as she was feeling a bit green.

After a fuel-stop and seat-swap in Bright, we drove back through Beechworth to Rutherglen to meet with the crew at Pickled Sisters Cafe and Winery.

Back at Beechworth the Lotus got a much needed clean, and we cleaned ourselves up too for the Lotus 2017 presentation dinner and wind-up. The bus picked us up and took us to All Saints Winery for a great evening at a great venue.

We have now driven 4688km since the start of our trip.

On the Road Again

On our way home – Tuesday April 25th, Day 8

We woke up to rain and thick fog. John’s head was also a bit foggy after getting just four hours sleep.

The Lotus was packed and on the wet road by 0730 on our way to Berri, with rain continuing for the first two hours.

After a brief stop for a fuel top-up and a pie for Robyn, we continued on to Mildura via Swan Hill. We hopped into NSW and back into SA on our way to Mildura via Swan Hill.

We had another lovely meal at the Berri Hotel restaurant, then retired to our room overlooking the river, and right above where we parked for our night here.

Déjà vu

Berri To Ceduna – Wednesday April 26th, Day 9

It was Robyn’s turn to miss out on sleep this time. Another big storm kept her awake during the night with heavy rain and strong gusty winds. John slept through the lot.

In the morning we were greeted with sunshine and blue sky. Robyn drove the first couple of hours until the lack of sleep caught up with her, and less than five minutes after John took the wheel the heavy rain started again.

We stopped at Port Augusta for fuel and lunch at an awesome bakery called JM Deli – just 100 meters from the main road and a must-stop for anyone travelling through.

The rain continued on and off until a couple of hours after we left. We had a few seat swaps before we reached Ceduna for the night, and enjoyed dinner at the Foreshore Hotel while watching the sun set. This is the life!

Distance: 878.5km

Fuel: $92

62.41 liters (average 14.08km per liter or 39.76mpg)

Accom: $79/night

Fast Cars and Freedom

The long trip from Ceduna to Norseman – Thursday April 27th, Day 10

We were up, packed, and on our way by 0650 after a quick re-fuel.

John drove the first two hours until we had to pull over for an extra wide load, so stopped for a break and driver swap.

Just a few kilometers with Robyn at the wheel and the cloud cover we had since Ceduna finally cleared. Seems like the bad weather had taken a fancy to John.

We stopped for photos at the new Nullabor Plain sign, then drove past the spot we took storm photos on the way over – but this time we had blue sky. From there, on our way to the Bite, we had to slow down for a dingo crossing the road. (Why? He must have eaten the chicken).

We took some photos by the Bite, then John jumped back in the driver’s seat as we headed on through quarantine to Eucla for fuel (we were 501km from the Ceduna BP). While we were there we bumped into Robyn’s cousin from Albany, who was on his way into the desert for a few nights. Small world!

There were a couple more driver swaps at Madura and just before Cocklebiddy, before Robyn started to feel very uncomfortable. Turns out a whole day driving isn’t a great idea when you have bursitis in your hips. Unfortunately we still had 700km’s of driving today, so we pulled into Caiguna Roadhouse for a stretch and a fuel top up.

Halfway along the 140km straight Robyn had had enough of driving so pulled over for a short walk and stretch. There was still 3 hours to go until we got to Norseman. This could be more painful for Robyn than having to sit through the Titanic movie again.

Smeared bugs on the windscreen, the setting sun, and an empty washer bottle meant poor visibility, so we had to make another stop just passed Balledonia to clean them off.

Further on, we had to slow down for a large cow that decided to cross the road in front of us. (Why? He must have eaten the dingo).

We finally made it to Norseman at 1735hrs – 12 hours and 15 minutes since leaving Ceduna.

Distance: 1220km (travelled 7540km since leaving home on the 18th)

Fuel: $154.05

89.13 liters (average 13.72km per liter or 38.76mpg)

Accom: $125.50

Who’s Going to Drive You Home

The last stretch – Friday April 28th, Day 11

We started the last day of our trip with a quick breakfast at the BP, then we were on the road at 0840.

Robyn drove the first stint, stopping at Coolgardie for some water and a seat change. The next stop was at Southern Cross BP for fuel and a driver change.

Robyn drove to Kellerberrin then John drove the rest of the way to Perth.

Distance: 762km

Fuel: (average 14.61km per liter or 41.24mpg)

Accom: Free – in our own bed again!

Total Kilometers Travelled: 8299km

Total Fuel Used: 608.75lt

Fuel Cost:  $906.05

KM’s per liter (avg) 14.29km (Miles per gallon – 40.37)

Accommodation:  $1315.00

Unplanned Expenses: $442.00

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