And finally, at the end of this stage, it’s goodbye to Western Australia and hello to South Australia. Make sure you’re not carrying any virtual contraband at the border: stuff like plants and fruit for starters.
Somewhat ironically for a stage that’s converging with the coast, this stage carries a payload of climbing: almost three times as much ascent as there is descent. The reason for that is because the Eyre Highway crosses the ridge that’s been your buddy for the past few stages ever since you crossed it on a grand descent at Madura on stage 323.
However in order to get your legs moving, there’s a downhill rollout from the Middle of Nowhere: for a mile anyway, after which the climb kicks in, steeply at first before gradually petering out into an annoying slog that goes on for eight miles to Eucla Airport at ten miles where there’s respite in the form of a short descent. But the relief is short lived because the highway recrosses the ridge at Moopina, just short of Eucla itself, and that makes for a thirteen mile climb all the way to the finish. The worst of the climb is undoubtedly at the start just after Eucla, but this is a climb that will leave your legs feeling wrecked if you have any inclination to push a good pace.
The South Australian border is at twenty miles, and there’s a sign straight after it that says Adelaide 1253km: that really puts into perspective the scale of this leg across Australia, because the border’s probably only a quarter of the way to Brisbane, where Around The World departs for New Zealand.
The stage finishes on a three mile straight into the Nullarbor Wilderness Protected Area, north of the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park ten miles south of the highway down on the coast.
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 597 feet / 182 metres
RGT Magic Road: IFoj9zjM25Al
Max elevation: 382 ft
Min elevation: -57 ft
Total climbing: 596 ft
Total descent: -224 ft
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