The Nullarbor is generally referred to as the great expanse of country between Norseman in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia a total distance of just over 1200km. If you just get in your car and pretty much drive non stop then the trip could perhaps be considered boring. But if you take your time and explore along the way it is one of the great drives in Australia.
In previous times I have just done the boring drive so this time I was looking forward to doing a bit of exploring along the way. I have on my bucket list to spend 2 weeks along the Nullarbor so I will do that on the return leg.
After leaving Norseman it is a 180km stretch to Balladonia. Each of the “towns” along the way, apart from Penong, are not really towns but merely roadhouses with sometimes accomodation attached. In between there are literally hundreds of places you can pull up and camp overnight. Some are designated rest stops while others are just a clearing or a bush track leading off the highway. I have never felt unsafe camping along and the Nullarbor was no exception. The further away from other humans the better.
Whilst it is true that traffic, especially trucks, travel day and night along this route the noise from the highway is not constant and does not interfere with my sleeping. Like living near a train line or under a flight path, you get used to it and it actually becomes quite soothing. Just like the roar of the wind or the crash of the ocean waves.
I ended up having 7 nights along the Nullarbor. A roadside stop near Balladonia, 2 nights at the lookout at Madura Pass, a night at the Head of the Bight, a night near Nundroo and 2 nights at Penong Caravan Park. I stopped at all the lookouts along the way. The scenery from the cliff tops around Bunda Cliffs is of course spectacular but the wind is so unrelenting. I was 2 weeks too late for the whale watching season. I visited the whale centre at the Head of the Bight. Off season is half price ($8) but still worth it as the boardwalk and lookout walk is stunning as you can get so much closer to the water from these advantage points than you can from the free lookouts.
Penong Caravan Park is a little gem and very clean. It was 39degrees the day I was here and blowing a gale. Because of the wind I didn’t venture down to Cactus Beach but will definitely call there on the way back to WA. The fuel prices along the way were Norseman $182.2, Balladonia $207.2, Caiguna $226, Cocklebiddy $207, Eucla $198, Border Village $222, Nullarbor $220, Penong $166.9 and Ceduna $163. I made the mistake of filling up at Border Village instead of Eucla and paid over 20 cents a litre more than I needed have. Oh well, at least I am helping the economy. Although I have a second long range fuel tank I have never used it. The cost of carrying the extra weight I feel negates any savings and although some people complain about the high cost of fuel, the reality is that if we don’t support all these places they will eventually close and then we really would have to carry our own extra fuel.
I have never been bored travelling and no road I would consider boring. The word Nullarbor means “treeless plain” but that doesn’t mean there is nothing there. I am always astounded at how the vegetation and scenery constantly changes along any road and the Eyre Highway is no different. It is constantly changing and can take your breath away. I don’t think you can say you have seen Australia until you have done the road trip across the Nullarbor.