The Great Australian Road Trip – Crossing the Nullarbor Plain

Driving the straight roads across the vast arid expanses of the Nullarbor Plain is a rite of passage that most Aussies dream of doing at least once in their lifetime – Drew and I included.

Be inspired by our experience of ticking ‘the Nullarbor’ off our bucket list and check out our top tips to enjoy one of Australia’s best drives.

Trip Snapshot

Start: Streaky Bay, SA.
Finish:
Norseman, WA.
Number Of Days: Three.
Distance: 1,250km.
Month We Travelled: March.
Where We Camped: Eyre’s Water Hole, 5km SE Streaky Bay, free rest area; Eucla Caravan Park, Eyre Highway, $25 powered site; Ten Mile Rocks, 79km east of Norseman, free rest area.
Maximum Temperature: 37 degrees.
Average Diesel Price: $1.58.
Road Conditions: Clear signposting and sealed roads, some 2WD accessible dirt roads to beaches and national parks.

Driving along the Eyre Highway we knew we’d been fooled by the lacklustre descriptions we’d previously heard about the Nullarbor. In the flesh, the landscape is like nothing we’d ever seen. Stretches of roads seemingly go on forever, sidelined by rugged cliffs and rocky coastline shaping the Great Australian Bight. The smashing surf and intriguing outback roadhouses made us want to jump out of the car to explore. Here are the sights we believe are worth stopping for.

Our Favourite Places To Stop

  • Ceduna: Learn about the traditions of the local Indigenous people at the Ceduna Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre.
  • The Nullarbor Roadhouse: Here we were reminded of the Nullarbor’s isolation. Drew paid six bucks for a cup of instant coffee and diesel was close to $1.90 per litre. We had a good laugh at the quirky souvenirs available and were pleasantly surprised by the immaculate loos and free showers.
  • Head Of The Bight Interpretive Centre: If you’re travelling between May and October you could be in with a chance of spotting Southern right whales from the scenic lookout. Here we stretched our legs and marvelled at the impressive coastline.
  • Old Telegraph Station: Atmospherically set amid sand dunes, the station was established in 1877, linking Western Australia with the rest of the world. It’s hard to believe that Eucla, now only a popular overnighter for motorists, was once a bustling little town.
Eucla Telegraph Station ruins

Eucla Telegraph Station ruins.

  • Eucla Motor Hotel: We camped and enjoyed a meal at the roadhouse. Here I freaked at the assortment of specimen jars on the bar – each containing venomous snakes and spiders found in the local area. I slept with one eye open that night!
Outback specimens on display at Eucla Roadhouse

Outback specimens on display at the Eucla Roadhouse.

Tips to enjoy the isolation and adventure of ‘The Nullarbor’

  • Plan your journey: Know where you will camp and ensure you have enough fuel to get there as some service stations close at dusk. Driving at night can be hazardous. Make regular stops to see the sights.
  • Keep entertained: Play ‘spotto’ games of things you see along the way. This could be wildlife, road signs or even burnt-out cars (we saw plenty).
  • Have a passenger take photographs: We took a photo through the windscreen every 30 minutes. The changing forms and colours of the landscape surprised us.
  • Collect an ‘I’ve Crossed The Nullarbor’ certificate: You can get this either from Norseman or Ceduna (depending on the direction you drive) to commemorate the trip.
  • Be aware of quarantine stations: Quarantine into Western Australia is very strict; an official searched every nook and cranny of our car and caravan.

Head of the Australian Bight

I originally produced this article as a Freelance Contributor for Without a Hitch

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