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A guide to crossing Nullarbor Plain road

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

Ever wanted to cruise down the Nullarbor Plain road but are a little hazy on what it involves? Well, we decided to write a guide on it and wax lyrical over how awesome this part of the world is. Read on to find the answers to all your burning questions about this epic road trip.

What is the Nullarbor Plain?

Nullarbor Plain cliffs

The Nullarbor Plain starts in Norseman, Western Australia and ends in Ceduna, South Australia, stretching in length over 1000km.

Nullarbor may mean ‘no trees’ in Latin, but it’s far from a featureless desert. This swathe of land incorporates a massive chunk of Australia’s southern coast, and a huge slice of Outback. As such, there are some breathtaking natural attractions to be found here, from towering cliffs, gorgeous bays, lofty ranges, and ancient gorges.

It’s also home to the Eyre Highway, which has long been considered one of the best road trip journeys in Australia. The Indian Pacific train also runs right through the plain over the transcontinental railway line.

What is the Nullarbor Plain road?

Kangaroo road sign on Nullarbor Plain Road

The Nullarbor Plain road’s official name is actually the Eyre Highway. This route hugs the coastline, right down through South Australia’s pristine Eyre Peninsula. It then travels along the Southern Bight, and eventually turns inland into WA’s bushland.

It is also the longest, flattest, and straightest road in Australia. So if you love clicking cruise control and blasting a road trip playlist you’ve been working on for a full year, this is the ultimate road trip for you.

Where to start a road trip down the Nullabor Plain?

It’s really up to you! You can link up to the Eyre Highway either by flying into Perth and going west to east, or flying into Adelaide and going east to west.

What do you need for a trip along the Nullarbor Plain Road?

Even though this is a paved road that is flatter than a pancake, there are sections where the Eyre Highway takes you through some really remote areas.

Generally, it’s recommended to drive a 4WD for a road trip like this. If you’re hiring a car, you can find 4WDs by setting up specific filters to show you only those options. It’s also recommended that you carry extra petrol, water, and food for emergencies.

What is there to see in the Nullarbor Plain?

Sea lions swimming

One of the biggest draws of the Nullarbor Plain is that it offers up a slice of wild Australia, in fact, this is a fantastic route if you want to see some native (and imported) fauna.

Whale watching is big on the Eyre Peninsula, as is swimming with wild dolphins and sea lions. You’ll also find that kangaroos, dingoes, and emus abound in this region, and sleepy koalas decorate the gum trees. It’s a great location for ethical animal interactions.

In terms of natural attractions, the Nullarbor Plain features the longest coastline of unbroken cliffs in the world. It also happens to look out onto Australia’s precious Southern Bight. If you love sea views, this place won’t disappoint.

You’ll discover true-blue goldrush towns along this road too. Many of which have museums and galleries that chronicle life in the Outback. And there’s plenty of quirk. At the Balladonia roadhouse you can learn all about the Skylab space station which crashed to earth in 1979. This tiny town became world famous and found itself at the centre of a media circus. It also drew punters hoping to pick up a piece of space ship to take home with them.

What is there to do along the Nullarbor Plain?

crowd heading off to surf

If you’re into the Great Outdoors there are few places that offer up such an impressive list of activities to sink your teeth into. We’ve listed some of our faves (in west to east order, so just swap ‘em if you’re going the other way).

  • Visit the 18-hole Nullarbor Links in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The links are so long they cross state lines and time zones.
  • Hike the granite peaks of the Fraser Range.
  • Stop by the Balladonia Cultural Heritage Museum. This museum has exhibits on Aboriginal heritage, the Colonial settlements, and the construction of the Eyre Highway.
  • Drive the 90 Mile Straight (147km/91 miles). Aside being treated to quintessential never-ending road views, this is where you’ll spot the iconic animal crossing sign (watch for camels, wombats and kangaroos!)
  • Stop off at the Nuytsland Nature Reserve. This protected region is home to the longest unbroken cliff chain in the world. Expect some stellar outlooks.
  • Bird watchers may already have this on their itinerary, but the Eyre Bird Observatory offers visitors the chance to spot wild cockatoos, falcons and honeyeaters.
  • Visit the eerie and beautiful Eucla sand dunes at Eucla National Park. Here you can climb these enormous towers of white sand, and spy the Old Telegraph Station which is slowly disappearing beneath them.
  • Explore the Bunda Cliffs and Head of the Bight. Perhaps one of the most popular spots along this trail – not only for humans who love coastal views, but for whales too! Visit in spring to see the Southern Right Whales annual breeding migration.
  • Go on a seafood tour. Did you know the Eyre Peninsula is one of the best places in Australia for seafood? Gorge yourself on oysters, snapper, tuna, and crab.
  • Fishers should detour to the spectacular Fowlers Bay, Scott Bay or Mexican Hat.
  • Love surfing? Venus Bay and Cactus Beach offer some serious breaks for skilled surfers.
  • In Ceduna, you’ll find the fantastic Aboriginal Arts Centre, where you can buy arts and crafts from local artists.

Find adventure with Skyscanner

If you’re staying closer to home this year, the Nullarbor Plain can offer some real adventure. Before you book, be sure to check your local government guidelines. This road trip crosses state lines, so you’ll also need to adhere to any statewide restrictions in place.

How long does it take to drive the Nullarbor Plain road?

The Nullarbor Plain road spans some 1256 km and takes around five days to drive if you’re driving at an average speed. If you’d prefer a more leisurely journey, we’d recommend allowing yourself around 10-14 days.

Where does the Nullarbor Plain road start and end?

The Nullarbor Plain road, or the Eyre Highway, begins in Norseman in Western Australia and comes to an end in Ceduna in South Australia.

What are the closest major cities to the Nullarbor Plain Road?

Adelaide is the closest major city on the eastern side of the highway. Perth is the closest city on the western side.

Can you only travel the Nullarbor Plain by road?

No, you can take the Indian Pacific Train which usually runs twice a week from Perth to Sydney, stopping by Adelaide. The whole journey is a staggering 4352 km and takes three full nights.

Currently services are suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, but this is subject to change.

Is it true the Nullarbor Plain is home to wild camels?

Yes! There are around 100,000 of them! They were originally used to build the railroads across the region and were abandoned. Since then, they’ve flourished in the Australian Outback.

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