As far as drives go, it’s simple: from Norseman in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia, there’s a reasonably straight road, with few turnoffs, making it extremely difficult to get lost.
That road crosses the Nullarbor (“no trees”) Plain – a flat, featureless expanse with, obviously, little by way of overhead foliage to form a distraction for the driver. All you’ll find is a 1200km stretch of bitumen called the Eyre Highway. Oh, and space. Heaps of space. So much space, in fact, that it’s difficult to comprehend.
“This was my first assignment for Getaway, and it remains one of my favourites. The underground caves at Cocklebiddy on the WA side of the Nullarbor are magnificent.”
– Catriona Rowntree
Along the way there are beaches and caves to explore, and fabulous views of the Great Australian Bight, one of the world’s most arid shores, with the highway running at times only a few hundred metres from the shore. One of the great iconic drives in Australia – once in your life – just do it. (See Toni Dore’s remarkable Nullarbor Portfolio for more.)
Did you know?
It wasn’t until 1912 that the first car crossed the Nullarbor. The highway is named after John Eyre, who first crossed the Nullarbor in 1841. His companion, John Baxter, unfortunately did not survive the journey.
The longest distance between petrol stations is about 200km, so make sure you always have enough fuel to make that distance. Take water (5 litres per adult per day) in case your car breaks down.
Book ahead for accommodation along the route if you’re planning to stay overnight.
How to get there
The Nullarbor runs between Norseman in WA and Ceduna in SA.
Rex has daily flights from Adelaide to Ceduna.
Best time to go
NRMA website with info on crossing the Nullarbor
An independent website with info on driving across the Nullarbor Desert
Info about Norseman
Info about Ceduna
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.