A Guide to Driving Across the Nullarbor

Updated: Jan 6


I have been across the Nullarbor 3 times and each time we find something new to see. The first time we just wanted nothing more to get across and did it in two days and only slept at one roadhouse. The Nullarbor Plains is one of the longest drives around Australia spanning 1,256 kilometres. Fun fact Nullarbor is Latin for “no trees” although there is other fauna across the plane 

There is more to the Nullarbor then we first thought, from outback style roadhouses, iconic road signs and epic views. Even little wacky towns that will amuse you along your way across. 

We have put together a little guide to help you on your travels and I’ve also dug up a few old photos from our last trips.

But first, there are a few things to keep in mind before heading on your travels. 

Don’t drive at night! I understand we all want to get in those extra kilometres. Although just like the rest of Australia there is an abundance of wildlife that come out at dusk, most of our native friends are nocturnal and I’ve seen way too many on the side of the road from wombats to wallabies. By avoiding the night drives you will save a life and the front of your car. 

Download the fuel app. This has been a great asset to our trip. you can find the cheapest petrol stations across Australia and also log your petrol costs on your trip. The Nullarbor has plenty of places to fill up but can also be kilometres apart, so check the app and keep filling up where you can, no one wants to run empty. We also kept a 10L drum in out boot for emergencies 

Water and Food Stock up. There is no clean water access across the Nullarbor. Ceduna is the best place to stock up and fill up. 

Keep it cleaner than you found it. The amount of drink bottles I saw as we dove along and toilet paper or even worse wet wipes stuck in bushes at rest stops was ridiculous. Don’t be those types of people. Keep places cleaner than you found it, pick up rubbish if you see it. We are very lucky to have such a beautiful country to visit for the planet and your neighbours don’t be gross.

Ceduna

Ceduna is the coastal gateway to the Nullarbor and is a great place to stock up before you set off as its the last major town. It’s still counted as part of the Eyre Peninsular and is a get spot to get your bearings. We spent a few days getting out van ready for our journey, luckily as a heatwave was coming through, we kept our cool in the pet-friendly cottages at Shelly Beach Caravan Park for a couple of days. You can also check out the crystal waters of Shelly beach at the back of the caravan park.

Ceduna is a stone throw away from some pretty epic beaches you can check out Denial Bay 13 minutes west, Smokey bay is 30 minutes south on the EP and Cactus is 1 hours drive from Ceduna. 

If you are just coming off the Nullarbor you will need to declare your fruit, vegetables and plants at the check point.


Cactus Beach/ Lake MacDonnell

To get to Lake MacDonnell and Cactus Beach is a turn off from the town Penong (famous for its windmills) if you want to make a quick stop they are behind the petrol station they call it the windmill museum. 

Make your way down Point St Clair Road to reach the famous lake, it is a completely remote spot where there isn’t any reception. So If you are spending the day down there, download any music you want to listen to while at Penong.

Lake MacDonnell has become a insta spot due to its bubblegum pink salt lake on one side and blue ocean on the other. You will have to be patient if you want to get yourself an epic shot as people park in the middle of the road. Be aware it isn’t pink all the time. We were very fortunate it rained the day before, during the dry season you will find most pink lakes are a white salty surface. 

If you travel a little further you will find yourself at cactus beach. It’s marked as a National Surfing heritage beach. With three breaks cactus, castles and caves. When the waves are right it’s a surfers dream. 

It’s a special spot to locals and they like to keep it pristine.  

If you drive all the way to the end of Point St Clair Road you will yourself at Point LeHante another untouched beauty with rugged cliffs and a jetty. This is a perfect spot for fishing or jump in the crystal clear waters to cool off. These places are pretty isolated and that’s the way the locals like it, so make sure you respect the land. 


Fowlers Bay

Fowlers Bay is probably the smallest town on the Eyre Peninsula with the only store being the caravan park reception, it is also the last town before the Nullarbor. This charming little town is a great spot if you are looking for somewhere to rest for the night. Sand dunes surround the little town and have a great little spot to sit near the jetty and have lunch. We drove in on Australia Day and the locals were so welcoming and asked us to join the festivities. Fowlers Bay was once a popular spot in the 1960s due to its active port, now its a fisherman’s delight. During winter you can whale watch and is known to be home to sea lions and southern right whales during May- October.

If you aren’t a fan of corrugated roads you probably will find it better to miss this little town as we didn’t enjoy the road heading into town (our van Sunni doesn’t do well on these roads) it shook the van to the point I thought she was going to fall apart. 


Nullarbor Roadhouse

Our next stop was the iconic Nullarbor Roadhouse. It’s a perfect spot to get your bearings, fill up on petrol, stretch your legs and take a few photos of the original roadhouse from the 1950s. 

A little bit of fun history, back in 1956 a farmer wanted to have a little bit of extra cash and opened a little petrol station for locals and visitors that passed by. It was hand-pumped into drums. And his wife would make bakery goods and rabbit stew.  And it’s amazing that this little shed is still standing. Although in the late ’70s the Nullarbor roadhouse was built to what you see today a motel, pub and petrol station, an Iconic stop for visitors.


Bunda Cliffs

Part of the Eucla Basin, stretching from the western corner of South Australia to the eastern part of Western Australian, The Bunda cliffs are the longest uninterrupted line of sea cliffs in the world. We were blown away by the vast cliff faces, feeling overwhelmed with excitement that we were on the edge of Australia (even though stepping on the beach is also the edge) this was on a greater scale. We camped for the night 150km east of the border, it was spectacularly isolated and watching the sunset on the cliffs and watching them change colour was like nothing else. 

There are no signs to say your there but as you get closer to the border you see little dirt tracks or as we saw next day when we were driving there are also blue P signs that have proper dirt roads for caravans where you can park up for a night.


Border Village

WA is pretty strict on organic quarantine. Fruits, vegetables and if you keep plants they all need to be thrown away before heading into the state (say goodbye to your plant babies, I cried a little). We sat here awhile eating our fruits and making meals to take over with us. If you have loads of fresh produce, I advise making a large vegetable meal to put in the fridge as you can take cook or frozen meals over the border. Plus there aren’t any grocery stores for another 721km so having pre-made meals will be helpful for the next night or two till you reach Norseman.

There are a few iconic photo opportunities with the large Kangaroo holding Vegemite at the petrol station and once you cross the quarantine station on your left is the famous red WA/SA border sign.


Eucla

A perfect spot to get petrol as its the cheapest (so they say) and enjoy the little towns historic spots

Take a drive to the old telegraph station, this old sandstone building and is slowly being taken over by dunes. There is no roof so you can climb the wall and take in the view. Further down the road is the bay where you will find the old jetty which was used to ship supplies for the pioneers, spend the afternoon watching the sunset on the sandy beach and you might see kangaroo or two. We have stayed here on past trips and the Motel is clean and comfortable. There isn’t too much too see past this point so soak in the adventure before the long drive.


Balladonia

As the sun going down and we had been driving for 5 hours, It was time to have some dinner. We pulled into Balladonia roadhouse for some petrol. Reheated meals that we made before the border crossing. We actually have camped here on our previous trips in a tent but since we didn’t need the facilities this time we decided to head a little further down the road to a free roadside camp spot which was free. We got up early and headed off to Norseman 


Norseman 

After driving two and a half hours we pulled in to Norseman the last town on the Nullarbor. We relaxed in a little park near the public swimming pool and enjoyed a coffee and some banana bread. 

This little historic gold mining town is the Western gateway to the Nullarbor, Norseman has great facilities to reset and get ready for your next adventure, a large petrol station, IGA to stock up on fresh produce and a dump point if you need one. From here you can either head down to Esperance and the east- south coastline or head up north to Kalgoorlie. 

It took us 4 days to cross from Ceduna to Norseman and we enjoyed the isolation and beautiful landscapes there is nowhere like it in the world. If you haven’t done it before, take your time, its a long drive with plenty to see.

See you on the road,



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