When you hear a place described as ‘a hideous anomaly, a blot on the face of nature’, you might wonder why it is one of our favourite travel spots. However, in 1841, that’s how explorer Edward John Eyre, the first person to cross the Nullarbor Plain, described it.
In contrast to the hardships faced by Eyre and his indigenous colleague Wylie, today you can do the Nullarbor Plain Drive on a sealed road in air-conditioned comfort listening to our favourite playlist (so long as you downloaded it earlier).
While driving the Nullarbor Plain is a long road trip, it is anything but hideous. There are a lot of things to do on the Nullarbor. Along the way you can play golf, go whale watching, take in the views of the Great Australian Bight and just appreciate the grandeur of the landscape.
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- Things to do on the Nullarbor Plain
- Driving the Nullarbor FAQ’s
- Nullarbor Tours
- Nullarbor Accommodation
Things to do on the Nullarbor Plain
Whether you’re driving the Nullarbor Plain from South Australia or Western Australia, a stop at Penong is a must. Located at the eastern end of the drive the town has put together a spectacular windmill museum. The outdoor art display pays tribute to a vital part of the town’s history. Their height and shape also make an impressive visual impact against the blue sky and flat landscape.
If you feel like a longer stop before driving across from South Australia, don’t miss Fowlers Bay. It’s situated on the eastern edge of the drive and just off the main road. If fishing, 4WDing or whale watching are your thing this is the place for you. There’s a great little caravan park that has a super friendly atmosphere.
Old Telegraph Station – Eucla
Everyone doing the Nullarbor road trip will stop at Eucla to refuel or stretch their legs. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the nearby old telegraph station. Even today, it’s not hard to feel a sense of isolation on the Nullarbor. So, as you take a few minutes to look at the ruins of the old building being swallowed up by sand, imagine how the telegraph operators must have felt in the late 1800’s. There’s a beautiful beach just a 20m minute walk or short 4WD away too.
Yes, there’s fuel, food and a range of accommodation but the roadhouse is also a great base for exploring nearby attractions and getting more detailed information about the area. You can see a scaled replica of the original roadhouse and murals depicting the history of the region. The roadhouse is also home to Hole 5 – Dingos Den – of the Nullarbor Links golf course. You can hire golf equipment from the roadhouse.
Play golf on the Nullarbor Links
The Nullarbor Links is the world longest golf course stretching over 1300 kilometres between Ceduna and Kalgoorlie. There are holes at the roadhouses – including the Nullarbor and Mundrabilla roadhouse – and other towns along the way. Even if, like us, you are terrible at golf, you should play at least one hole. Not only is it a chance to stretch your legs, but every hole speaks to the history of the location. One thing is for sure. You’re ready for a cool drink by the time you reach the 18th hole!
Whale Watching at the Head of the Bight
If you are making the crossing between June and September, you can’t go past the head of Head of the Bight Whale Watching Centre. Yes, you pay to get in, but the view can be priceless. Dozens of southern right whales and humpback whales come to the protected bays and beaches to calf and nurse their young. As if the whales aren’t enough, there are also great views of the towering Bunda cliffs and giant sand dunes.
Read More : See the Whale Nursery at the Head of the Bight
The stunning vertical drop of the Bunda Cliffs can be seen from several lookouts between the border village and the Head of the Bight. The Great Australian Bight is one of the most recognisable features of the map. Don’t miss the chance to stand on the edge of the Bight, marvel at the Bunda Cliffs and take in the views of the Southern Ocean – next stop Antarctica!
Blow Holes & Caves
The Nullarbor Plain sits on top of an enormous slab of limestone so, not surprisingly, it is riddled with caves. Many of them are off the Main road. The best know are the Cocklebiddy and Murrawijinie Caves. If you are not straying off the Eyre highway you can still checkout the blowhole at Caiguna. You won’t see water spouts but you might hear it ‘breathe’ as air pressure equalizes between the cave and surface.
Nullarbor Iconic Roadsigns
A road that becomes a runway, the 90 MileStraight, giant road trains and wildlife warnings. No trip across the Nullarbor is complete without a selfie or family shot next to these iconic signs.
Sunsets & Stars
One of the best things about the Nullarbor is its size. Wherever you stop, it’s impossible not to blown away by the scale of the space. Rarely can you see so much sky and such a vast horizon. Not only does it make for some amazing sunsets and sunrises, you’ll see night skies like you have never seen before. The longer you stare at the night sky the more stars you’ll see. It’s a light show like no other!
Read More : Enjoy the rugged coastline around Streaky Bay
Driving the Nullarbor FAQ’s
How long does it take to drive the Nullarbor?
How long it takes to cross the Nullarbor depends on how long you like to stay behind the wheel and how much sightseeing you do. The Nullarbor Plain is 1200km across between Ceduna in the east and Norseman in the west so most people can cross the Nullarbor in 2 days. Eucla is the stop closest to the halfway point of the drive. If you want to go across in a more relaxed way, play a bit of golf, and take in the sites and history allow 3 or 4 days.
Do you need a 4WD to cross the Nullarbor?
The road across the Nullarbor Plain is sealed so you do not need a 4WD. Amazingly it was only in 1976 that the Eyre Highway was sealed all the way across. For some of us, that will feel like not that long a go!
The road to the Head of the Bight Whale Watching site is also sealed. There are a few caves off the Eyre Highway, like the Murrawijinie Caves, and you will need a 4WD to access these. You should check the road conditions at the Nullarbor Roadhouse before visiting these sites.
Where can I get fuel on the Nullarbor?
Fuel is available at regular intervals across the Nullarbor including Penong, Nundroo, Yalata, the Nullarbor Roadhouse, the Border Village Roadhouse, Eucla, Cocklebiddy and Caiguna Roadhouses and the Balladonia Truck stop.
The longest stretches without fuel stops are at the western end so it pays to stay topped up between Norseman and Cocklebiddy.
It is a good rule of thumb to start with a full tank at Ceduna or Norseman. This isn’t really a drive where you can shop around for cheap fuel, much better to top up as you go and turn a blind eye to the price!
Where does the Nullarbor start and finish?
The Nullarbor Plain stretches for 1200kms between Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia. If you are worried about coping with the tedium of the drive, the good news is you will get some conditioning in before reaching either end of the Nullarbor.
Ceduna is an 8.5 hour, 770km drive from Adelaide and Norseman is an 8 hour, 720km drive from Perth. So, while the Nullarbor is 1200kms across, you can add another 1500km if you are aiming to get to the capital cities in each of the states the Nullarbor spans.
What is the best time of year to drive cross the Nullarbor?
If you have the freedom to choose when you cross the Nullarbor Plain, anytime other than summer is the time to do it. The problem with summer is the heat, it can be scorching. The flies are also horrendous.
Although the nights can get cold in winter, this is when the whales come to the head of the bight, peak whale watching time is from June to September. Anytime outside of the height of summer is a better time to take on the Nullarbor golf course or explore the caves, blowholes and historic sites like Eucla on your Nullarbor road trip.
Late winter and into spring is also a good time to spot wildflowers as you drive along and if you are heading east to west, you’ll be driving into one of the great wildflowers areas in the world in southwest Western Australia.
Is there phone reception on the Nullarbor?
There is Telstra phone coverage, but it is patchy and likely going to be 3G so don’t expect to be downloading any videos! If you are with a carrier other than Telstra, your phone might struggle.
- The world’s longest line of sea cliffs.
- The longest, straightest, flattest road in Australia
- The longest golf course in the world 1,365km
- Distance: 1,256 km
- Nullarbor means “no trees” in Latin, but the Nullarbor is covered with bluebush & scrub
- Take a 10 day Perth to Adelaide Camping Road Trip sleeping in a swag under the stars
- 5 Day Whale Watching Tour from Adelaide – Fly to Ceduna & visit Fowlers Bay, Lake MacDonnell + Head of the Bight
Especially if you are driving across the Nullarbor on your own, you will want to rest if you get tired. Yes, there are plenty of things to do on the drive across the Nullarbor Plain, but the long stretches of straight bitumen and repetitive landscape can wear you down.
Just as there are a surprising number of fuel stops along the Nullarbor, there are also plenty of places to pull over for the night to freshen up.
- Nullarbor Roadhouse with a choice of motel rooms or campsite
- Eucla Border Village Roadhouse – Choose from a cabin or motel room, some pet friendly
- Fraser Range Station – Choose from powered or unpowered sites or 1, 2, 3 br cottages
- Acclaim Gateway Tourist Park – Norseman – Self contained cabins surrounded by gardens
You will also find some accommodation at Fowlers Bay Caravan Park, Nundroo Roadhouse, Cocklebiddy Motel, Madura Hotel and Mundrabilla Roadhouse.
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