A guide to crossing the Nullarbor

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The Nullarbor Plain road, formally known as the Eyre Highway, stretches for 1256km, following the coastline that connects Ceduna in South Australia with Norseman in Western Australia. It is the flattest and longest road in the country and hugs the longest coastline of unbroken cliffs in the world.

In Latin, Nullarbor means ‘no trees’ and, while this arid and semi-arid landscape is vastly devoid of large flora, it is far from desolate. At the Eyre Peninsula you can whale watch and swim with dolphins and seals. In this region you’re also likely to come across emus, kangaroos, koalas, and even dingoes. The region is also home to an abundance of wild camels, originally imported to help build the roads and infrastructure.

The Nullarbor Plain road takes around five days to drive, but if you want to slow down and explore all that the landscape has to offer, you can spend up to two weeks making the journey. The Eyre Highway takes you through some of the most remote regions of Australia, so it’s recommended that you carry extra food, water and petrol. Skyscanner also recommends driving a 4WD.

The region is sprinkled with local museums, galleries, national parks, walks and lookouts. These are just some of the most popular activities and pitstops you can take along the Nullarbor. 

Play a game on the world’s longest golf course
The Nullarbor Links is an 18-hole par 72 golf course spanning 1365km, crossing state borders and time zones, with one hole at each participating roadhouse or town along the Eyre Highway.

Drive the 90-mile straight
This 146.6km strip running between Balladonia and Caiguna is Australia’s longest straight road, making it the perfect time to click on cruise control and belt out your lung to some road trip classics.

Enjoy the view at Nuytsland Nature Reserve
This region in south-eastern Western Australia boasts 500km of coastline stretching between Cape Pasley and Red Rocks Point. If you enjoy dramatic coastal lookouts and sweeping clifftop views, you’ll love this region.

Twitch
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, you have likely already heard of the Eyre Bird Observatory, which allows you to spot honeyeaters, cockatoos and falcons in the wild.

Eucla National Park
Located 1238km east of Perth, this expansive national park features the Delisser Sandhills and Wilson Bluff. You can climb enormous white sand dunes and see the Old Telegraph Station disappearing below them.

Treat yourself to seafood
The Eyre Peninsula is one of the best places in Australia for seafood. If you love fresh fish, crab and oysters, you’re in for a treat.

Whale watch at the Bunda Cliffs and Head of the Bight
If you’re travelling in spring, you’ll likely spot Southern right whales, on their annual breeding migration, from one of the most popular lookouts on the Nullarbor.

Experienced surfers only
Venus Bay and Cactus Beach are known as some of Australia’s best surf breaks for skilled surfers. If you’re confident on a board, bring it down for a paddle.

Admire Arts Ceduna
Located at the Ceduna Arts and Culture Centre (CAACC), Arts Ceduna is the premier Aboriginal arts centre on the Eyre Peninsula. It sells work of behalf of more than 136 Aboriginal artists, and is the perfect stop of any art enthusiasts.

Remember that the Nullarbor Plain crosses state lines, so it’s important to check state government guidelines before booking your trip.

Have you driven across the Nullarbor? What advice would you give to someone planning their own trip across the great plain?

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Written by livga

4 Comments

Total Comments: 4
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    Yep, have done it a few times including once Albany WA to Tassie with five horses on board. We drove 8 hours a day and stopped every night to get the horses off. Slept in the horse truck and car which hubby drove. He would go ahead to set up camp and I would follow behind in the slower truck. Worst bit was on the ferry Melbourne to Tassie which took ten hours and we weren’t allowed to get horses off or even visit them.
    We have to do it early next year with a trailer of household effects and a farting dog. Bundaberg to Perth. we are only hoping WA stays open as we have to go through rural NSW/SA unless we go the very long way round via Katherine NT! If anyone has a better idea than that (no 4WD so we need sealed roads) please tell me!

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    We have done a couple of trips across the Nullarbor and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Main tip is not to be in a hurry. Travelling east to west the points of interest begin before Ceduna. Probably a good time to mention that after Ceduna, the roadhouses/caravan parks do not have fresh water for travellers so stock up on drinking water. Between Port Augusta and Ceduna a stop at Kimba (145km) is a must to have look at the Big Galah and the fabulous silo art. Next stop is Wudinna (105km) where you will find a huge statue made out of red granite, dedicated to the farmers of the region. From there it is a 230km run to Ceduna where you can find a number of caravan parks and motels. We quite liked the Big 4 caravan park. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood.
    75km west of Ceduna is Penong, famous for its fantastic Windmill Museum. Who would have thought there could be so many different styles of windmills? 75km after Penong is Nundroo and that is where we found the last of the reasonably priced fuel. Further on into the Nullarbor fuel gets a lot more expensive. the next stop is Head of the Bight, from May to October this location is great for whale watching so have the camera ready. This the first of three sites along the Bight which provide excellent views of Australia’s southern coastline. Next stop was the Nullarbor Roadhouse which has motel style accommodation as well as the caravan park. **** Time to consider the time difference between S.A and W.A and depending on when you’re travelling, with daylight saving the time difference is two and a half hours.**** So, when travelling west from Nullarbor Roadhouse the 90km you travel will see you at the checkpoint at Border Village arriving an hour and a half before you left so it can make for a long day. Make sure you geta photo of Big Red, the kangaroo at the Roadhouse. We had planned on stopping at Eucla for the return journey but in hindsight this would have been an ideal stop heading west. The caravan park at Eucla offers great views from the top of the escarpment back over the coastal plains to the west and south toward the old Telegraph Station. There is also an excellent little museum included in the Eucla Motel complex next to the caravan park. Not taking into account the time difference threw my travel plans into disarray and my original idea of overnighting at Caiguna went out the window because there was nothing there I wanted to see (I should have researched the location more as I have found out since there are things to do there – check it out). Not far west of Caiguna is the sign indicating the beginning of the 90 Mile Straight. Our next overnight was an unplanned one at Balladonia – check out the museum in the roadhouse, some very interesting items on display.
    Norseman also has an interesting history so worthwhile calling into the Visitor Information Centre to get a tour map of the town so non of the locations of interest are missed.

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    We’ve done this crossing many times, most recently on Thursday.
    Sorry, Bundabergian, WA border is now closed if you go into NSW. You’ll have to go via NT and then you won’t need to worry about quarantine in WA either, unless COVID turns up in QLD or NT. We’re now in quarantine because we went through SA, but at least we’re home.
    Thanks Gra for the list of things to see. Some corrections Liv. It only takes one long day to drive from Ceduna to Norseman, not five days, but a slower pace allows you to experience the outback. If you’re driving west from Ceduna, you have an extra 3 hours during daylight saving as we don’t have daylight saving in the west. So you can get a long day in, (almost all the way is 110Km/hr with very straight flat road), and still arrive at a reasonable time in Norseman. (We were not towing anything.)
    Also, there are no koalas living on the Nullarbor. All the other fauna mentioned are possible to see, especially if there’s been no rain for a while. Kangaroos are inevitable if you’re driving early or on sunset or later, and a good reason not to drive then. If you have a collision with a big one, you might end up stuck where you are or worse.
    I love just stopping and listening to the silence. After a while you hear the gentle bush sounds like the breeze moving the leaves.

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    I’ve done the Nullabor crossing six times, each time to or from Hobart. The first was before the road was sealed (1963). I wish I could add some photos; these include enormous potholes and an elephant! true!! . My introduction started at Norseman when I used the toilets and emerged to find my toilet bag taken. Not amusing!!
    I stuck to my own rule of never driving after sunset, as I didn’t wish to hit any wildlife. We dossed down under a tree and woke to find frost on the sleeping bags. Not expected!.
    Potholes were numerous as heavy transport used the road while it was dry and some of the holes were a couple of metres across.
    These were thoughtfully marked out with tree branches or shrubs, so drivers had some warning.
    Most cars had been sealed off, and it was usual to see drivers emerging through the windows. This might have been effective for keeping out the Nullabor dust, known to locals as ‘bulldust”.
    As the VW petrol cap was under the bonnet, sealing was not possible and dust got in everywhere. It was months before the last of it was vacuumed out.
    Being a 1962 model VW, it did not have flashing indicator lights, but little arms which popped out right or left. Adelaide drivers did not like these, and I was tooted at often.
    On arrival at my Uncle’s place in Adelaide, I commented on the drivers waving to their family or whatever when they were slowing down or turning left, and it transpired that S.A. still used hand signals, not indicators.
    A few years later, I drove back to Perth from Hobart, this time with my wife on board, and the road was sealed. Oh Joy!!


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