The Nullarbor Plain stretches over 1000km across Southern and Western Australia. Occupying a total area of about 200, 000 square kilometres this expansive desert is the world’s largest single piece of limestone. The Latin translation mean the treeless plain and for the most part the land is flat and arid. It was deemed uninhabitable by European settlers after it took a team nearly five months to cross it on horse back.
Although we had read mixed reviews of the week long Nullarbor drive we were keen to visit Western Australia and with only two major routes across the country we opted for the shortest and headed for Ceduna and the gateway to the Plain.
For many Australians crossing the Nullarbor is known as the quintessential Aussie Outback experience and with the chance to camp out under the stars, cook damper on the camp fire and see some of the countries wildlife we stocked up on supplies and began our adventure.
Ceduna to Norseman
It is worth noting at this point that the journey should not be attempted without some forethought. Once you leave the relative metropolitan that is Ceduna you will not see recognisable civilisation for over 1100km.
There are a number of roadhouses along the highway providing fuel, accommodation and basic supplies but be prepared to pay for the privilege of acquiring them in the outback. Fuel prices are at least 25% more expensive than the populated areas of the country and fresh fruit and vegetables are like gold dust.
Water is available but will most likely be from a bore so it is advisable to take enough with you to cover the entire journey.
When provisioning for the trip we allowed seven days. Note that we were in a motor home that prefers to travel at 85km/hour and were not rushing to make the crossing in record time. We would recommend that you buy two or three days extra food and water supply than you anticipate needing. If you breakdown on the road there is little chance of finding spare parts close by so consider what vehicle spares you can take with you.
We bought spare belts and a few more specialised parts we knew we would have a hard time finding in Adelaide before we made the crossing. The initial outlay may eat into your budget but you can always sell them once you have successfully made the trip. Invest in a jerry can if you don’t already a have one, that extra twenty litres may be the difference between getting to the roadhouse and spending the evening hitching a lift to find fuel.
The Great Australian Bight
The highway itself follows the south coast along the Great Australian Bight where in season you can catch a glimpse of Humpback Whales making their way north to warmer waters. The road then heads inland through the outback and across to the town of Norseman at the western edge.
During the trip we saw Emus, Kangaroos and Wombats and were treated to a spectacular view of the milky way each night. Sat by the light of the camp fire with a blanket of stars over your head it is easy to feel lost within the world. With very little traffic other than road trains and fellow nomads you can quite forget which century you are travelling through.
Image: An Emu on the Nullarbor Plain
Top Tips For Nullarbor Travel
Our top tips for Nullarbor travel are to ensure you stock up on supplies for both yourselves and your vehicle and to invest some time in putting together some driving play lists and audio books to keep your mind active for the long drive.
Don’t be put off by those who say it was boring, they are the ones who are content without adventure. Strange landscapes and even stranger roadhouse inhabitants make the journey unforgettable.
What are your top tips for remote travel? Woudl you like to explore the remote wilderness of the Nullarbor Plain? Share your comments with us below.