Crossing the Nullarbor – the longest stretch of road in the world sure is a unique adventure. With 1675 kilometres of very straight flat road, the Nullarbor road trip is often referred to as ‘Nullar-boring’, but if you ask us, it’s far from it. There are however, a few things to consider in preparation for your Nullarbor trip, to ensure your journey goes as smoothly as possible. Before you hit the ‘Frog and Toad’ – read our tips below to ensure you’re ready to tackle this famous stretch of Australia.
Plan of attack
The unofficial beginning and end of the Nullarbor crossing is at Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia. If you’re in a rush, the Nullarbor can be crossed in as little as two days. To really experience the crossing and see all there is to see, we suggest planning for at least four days which will allow for a few detours to visit the Great Australian Bight, Bunda Cliffs, cave systems and experience some of the funky roadhouses along the way. We used the Wiki Camps app on our phone as our major planning tool which allowed us to view all the camping options, road house stops (including fuel) and points of interest.
We spent 8 glorious days on our crossing and enjoyed every moment of it as we hunted for sink holes and cave systems on remote properties (after seeking permission to enter). We discovered all kinds of wonderful things.
Before setting off make sure you do a full vehicle check of your oil and coolant levels, check your tyres are in good condition, and make sure you have spares on board. It’s also a good idea to work out how much mileage you get from a tank of fuel, as roadhouses are a fair way apart as you can see below:
- Ceduna to Nundroo: 153km
- Nundroo to Nullarbor Roadhouse: 145km
- Nullarbor Roadhouse to WA/SA Border Village: 185km
- WA/SA Border Village to Madura: 194km
- Madura to Cockle Biddy: 91.2km
- Cockle Biddy to Caiguna: 64.9km
- Caiguna to Balladonia: 182km
- Balladonia to Norseman: 192km
It’s best to carry a spare jerry can of fuel so you don’t get caught out and if you’re towing a caravan or trailer – be sure to accommodate and budget for this too. As a rule, we made sure we always topped up the tank at each stop, or at least we did not let the tank go under half way.
Food and Water
Besides your fuel- food and water will be your biggest considerations. If you’re travelling from the East, Ceduna is the last town for you to stock up at, and Norseman in the West. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase goods at the road houses along the way but your options will be very limited, not very healthy and you’ll pay a premium for them too.
Water – you will definitely need to carry your own water supply on your journey. You can purchase large bottled water containers from the supermarkets at Ceduna and Norseman. Make sure you cater for your drinking water as well as cooking/washing up water if you are camping along the way. Most road houses have showers that you can use for a small fee and depending on supplies, they may also sell water to fill up your van. We filled our caravan water tanks at the Cocklebiddy Road House for 10c per litre.
Food – Pack lots of canned and dry foods. We recommend keeping your fresh fruits and veg to a minimum, as you will cross a quarantine checkpoint at the SA/WA border where most, if not all of your fresh produce, will be confiscated to prevent any insects or diseased foods from entering each state.
During our crossing we enjoyed a combination of free camping and staying in the caravan parks attached to the Mundrabilla road house, Cocklebiddy road house and Frasers Range. We also bought dinner at each of these places which was a great experience, especially Frasers Range station.
Easy travel friendly Nullarbor food tips:
- Breakfast: Toast / Cereal / Tinned fruit / Yoghurt
- Lunch: Sandwich/wraps – Tuna & Mayo / Peanut butter / Vegemite & Cheese / Beans and Eggs on toast
- Dinner: Pre-made frozen meals that you can re-heat are great like Spaghetti Bolognese or Tuna Pasta Bake. Our famous Mexican Mince served with rice is a winner as is the good old Bacon & Egg Roll. Keep it simple.
Things to do and see
Head of the Bight Centre: This is the perfect viewing platform to see Southern Right Whales as they migrate to the area between June to September. You can also marvel at the famous Bunda Cliffs and take in one of Australia’s most awe-inspiring coastlines.
Nullarbor links: If you like golf you can check out the ‘Nullarbor links’ course which is the world’s longest golf course with 18 holes spread over 1,300kms.
Visit the ‘Big Things’: In Ceduna you’ll find the Big Oyster, and the Big Kangaroo at the Border Village on the Nullarbor. The Big Wombat can be found in Scotdesco (near Ceduna).
Caves: Explore the Koonalda and Murrawijinie Caves near the Nullarbor Roadhouse to see the world’s longest cave system.
Space Junk: The Balladonia Roadhouse has a museum attached to it. Inside you’ll find debris from NASA’s Skylab that landed nearby, historical documents from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a collection of seashells that dates back millions of years and history of the local Aboriginal people.
Mundrabilla Road house: Here you will find the walls of the restaurant covered in old newspaper clippings featuring stories of UFO sightings and Alien close encounters.
Animals: Keep your eyes peeled for Wedge-tailed Eagles, Dingos, Kanagroos, Emus, Camels and a variety of reptile species, the Nullarbor is abundant with Aussie wildlife. If you stay at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse you will see their pet/rescued Wedge-tailed Eagles which are super impressive up close.
Much like touring other remote parts of Australia, you’ll have to deal with Road Trains along your Nullarbor journey. However, the highway is a sealed, dual-way road, so you won’t have to pull over onto the dirt to let them pass. But, it’s still a good idea to slow down if they are passing you, as the turbulence from these huge trucks will rock your vehicle and van. (and not in a good way!).
Crossing three time zones
Yes, you read correctly, you have to cross 3 time zones along this famous stretch of Aus and if you are travelling with young kids like us, get ready for some early morning wake ups (if travelling east to west). We had the kids waking up at 3am ready to start their day and it was pitch black outside so we had a few movies on hand to keep them quiet and inside our van until the sun came up!!!
What an adventure hey!! The Nullarbor means ‘no trees’ in Latin, but in reality, the Nullarbor is covered with Bluebush and Mulga scrub, and even wildflowers after rain. It is safe to say it’s far from ‘Boring’. Enjoy your travels and if we have missed any key points please share them in the comments below.
Happy Travels and enjoy the magic of the Nullarbor.
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