classic road trip

Your Ultimate Guide To The Nullarbor

by Meri Gasem

Driving the southern edge of Australia is a classic road trip to some and a great new adventure to all Big Lappers. The Nullarbor is the longest straight stretch of road in the world that you can even see from space! To get the idea of where you’ll be driving through, Nullarbor means no tree in Latin. Despite the outlook and unpopular reputation, the Nullabor is an experience you can’t afford to miss. There are so many gems, just a slight detour of the main path. This road connects the goldfields of Western Australia and the Eyre Peninsula, going through magnificent limestone creations, oceanside cliffs, and a surprisingly vibrant community. Golf fans have probably heard of the largest golf course, the Nullarbor Links that stretches through the whole Nullarbor Plains. Need a heads up of what you shouldn’t miss? You got your own ultimate road trip guide down below!

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Important Travel Tips

  • Basic Road Info: The Nullarbor route is driven on the Eyre Highway which is a sealed, flat and straight 1,256-kilometre long road. It starts at Norseman in Western Australia and ends at Ceduna in South Australia. You can manage it with a 2WD, but some detours might require a 4WD. Don’t let the straight, flat road fool you; the speed limit is 110km/h on the open road and 60 to 80km/h when passing through towns and settlements.
  • Best Travel Time: While it’s a tradition for many Australians to cross the Nullarbor in summer, you should avoid peak summer. You’ll spend the majority of the trip in your vehicle, so you don’t want to depend on the A/C to survive the heat. On the other hand, winter can bring some heavy winds, and in the plains, there’s no sheltered road; they’ll come right at you. Battling the winds requires more power ending in high fuel consumption. If you want to catch a glimpse of the whales, go from May to October.
  • Estimated Travel Time: You can drive the Nullarbor in ten days or less, depending on how much exploration you’ll be doing in the region. There are so many places worth stopping by, and you are restricted to drive only during the day. There’s plenty of wildlife crossing the road at night, at dusk, and at dawn, so avoid driving during these hours.
  • What To Bring: The road might seem deserted, but a few roadhouses along the route provide fuel, gas, tire change, and repair services. They do charge more, so fill up at Ceduna or Norseman if you can. Stock up on drinking water, bring some extra fuel, a spare tyre, and sunscreen. There are good food stops on the road but be sure to pack a few days’ worth of groceries. Oh, and bring a kangaroo whistle to avoid hitting a roo!

Norseman To Fraser Range

Norseman is an 8-hour drive from Perth and the gateway to Nullarbor Road for those starting from West Australia. Once in town, hit up the Norseman Visitors Centre for all the must-sees, like the Bromus Dam or Dundas Rocks and Lone Grave areas. The Dundas area was the starting point on the quest for gold and the longest operating gold mine in West Australia. To seal it all in, take a walk to the Beacon Hill lookout for a splendid panoramic view. Norseman is the last major town in Western Australia, with a population of merely 600 people. A one hour drive from here will take you to Fraser Range.

Places To Stay

Paid: Fraser Range Station.

Free: Ten Mile Rocks or Mt Pleasant Rest Stop.





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Fraser Range To Balladonia

Vast granite hills encircle Fraser, with Mt Pleasant being the highest one at 579 metres. Here you’ll find the world’s largest Eucalyptus Hardwood Forest made out of blackbutt, salmon gum, and gimlet trees, rising 20 to 30 metres upwards. They’re home to incredible birdlife. The historic Fraser Range Station was the first station settled on the Nullarbor Road and is located right among the hills. The station’s grounds once served as a shearing centre for shepherds. For the adventurous, there are plenty of 4WD tracks and bush walks. If you’re keen on new flavours, try the Damara sheep meat! Get back on the road, and in just 115km, you’ll reach Balladonia.

Places To Stay

Paid: Ballaldonia Roadhouse & Museum.

Free: Woorba Homestead or Taylor’s Maze.





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Balladonia To Caiguna

Balladonia in Aboriginal means “big rock by itself”, and it’s an accurate description of the area. It’s a small roadhouse community settled next to the Balladonia Rocks. Take a 14km detour and visit the Afghan Rock, the place with freshwater dams that served as refreshment for the early Afghan camel drivers. Balladonia hit the first pages worldwide in 1979 when the Skylab space station passed over it and left traces of debris. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the leftovers and newspaper articles at the free Balladonia Cultural Heritage Museum. This is also the beginning of the longest straight road in the world, the 90 miles straight. Get a picture with the sign and get back on the road to Caiguna.

Places To Stay

Paid: Caiguna Roadhouse.

Free: Caiguna Blow Hole or Bush Camp Rest Area.





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Caiguna To Cocklebiddy

If you got on the road with a 4WD, Caiguna would be your favourite part. Stop by the Caiguna Blowhole to feel the cool air blowing out of it in the middle of the driest parts of Australia. Take a detour to Nuytsland Nature Reserve; the region’s prime attraction that encompasses both the pristine beaches and the high Baxter Cliffs. Some parts require beach driving, so dare only if you’re an experienced 4WD driver. Take another detour off the main road to Australia’s first bird observatory, the Eyre Bird Observatory, established in 1977. You’ll see honeyeaters, silvereyes, brown falcons, cockatoos and even western pygmy possums. In less than 65km you’ll arrive at Cocklebiddy for a much-deserved rest.

Related: 19 Unusual Animal Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss On Your Big Lap

Places To Stay

Paid: Cocklebiddy Wedgetail Inn & Roadhouse.

Free: Nuytsland Nature Reserve or Cocklebiddy Caves Road.





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Cocklebiddy To Madura

Just 10km north of Eyre Highway, you’ll find the Cockabiddy Caves or famous as Nullarbor Caves. The world’s most extended cave diving penetration happened at the Cocklebiddy Cave in 1983. If you’re an experienced diver, you get the unique chance to dive under the Nullarbor Plains. Go 26km south, and you’ll reach Twilight Cove, the location of three major shipwrecks in the past due to the king waves typical for the region. Get on Eyre Highway for another 90km to Madura.

Places To Stay

Paid: Mundrabilla Roadhouse & Motel.

Free: Madura Pass Lookout or On Top Of The Ridge.





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Madura To Eucla

Madura was once picked as a location for breeding cavalry horses for the British Indian Army due to the free-flowing bore water. It’s surrounded by the Madura Shelf, 265,600 square kilometres of sedimentary rock containing geothermal gradients. Today, Madura and the surrounding area are part of Madura Station, used for grazing sheep. A short detour west of Madura takes you to the scenic lookout overviewing the Madura Pass across the Roe Plains. You may also find natural blowholes nearby. The area is still actively used for pastoral purposes.

Your next stop is almost 200km down the road at Eucla. Make a quick stop at Mundrabilla Roadhouse to see where Australia’s largest meteorite was found.

Places To Stay

Paid: Eucla Motel & Caravan Park.

Free: Seaweeds Camp or Old Telegraph Station Campground.





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Eucla To Border Village

Before crossing to Border Village, stop at Eucla, a must-see spot on the Nullarbor Road. Witness how the Old Telegraph Station slowly gets consumed by the colossal dunes at the top of the Hampton Tableland. The Eucla National Park might seem dry, but it hides amazing wildflowers, the Wilson Bluff with spectacular views and the Delisser sandhills. You can find rare species of plants that exist only among the limestone cliff.
Walk to the abandoned pier, once used to ship supplies to pioneers, and spend a few moments relaxing on the beach. Border Village is on the other side of the border in South Australia.

Places To Stay

Paid: Border Village Roadhouse.

Free: Border Village 10 km Beach View Campground.





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Border Village To Nullarbor National Park

Nullarbor National Park is not more than 50km away from Border Village off the Eyre Highway. This fascinating national park offers you the option to watch the Southern Right and Humpbacks whales from May to October. You can encounter wild camel herds, kangaroos, dingos and wombats. The views of the Bunda Cliffs are unspoken; it feels like you’ve reached the edge of the world. Be careful; the limestone crumbles easily, so don’t go too close to the edge. After you’ve taken in the views, settle down at some of the phenomenal campsites along the road.

Places To Stay

Paid: Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Free: Best Of The Bight or Bunda Cliffs Camp.





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Nullarbor National Park To Ceduna

The Nullarbor Road ends at Ceduna, 450km from the Nullarbor National Park. Along the last stretch of the road, you’ll traverse through the Yalata Aboriginal Land and need permission if you plan on making detours off the highway. It’s worth stopping at Fowlers Bay for whale watching, spotting the sea lion colony or fishing off the jetty. Another stop is Penong, where you can surf or relax on Cactus Beach and see the centuries-old windmills. Ceduna is a small port town settled on the shores of Murat Bay. In Aboriginal language, ‘Ceduna’ means ‘a place to sit down and rest’, which you’ll probably need after finishing the Nullarbor Road.

Places To Stay

Paid: Ceduna Foreshore Caravan Park or Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park.

Free: Davenport Creek or Thick Trees Campground.




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