Tales of road trains and wind tunnels can make the idea of crossing this flat, desert landscape daunting. But trust us – with the right preparation, a spectacular and otherworldly adventure awaits. This vast and remote stretch of land can be navigated by taking a straightforwardly rather flat and famously straight, bitumen highway. But there’s more to it than that.
When to go
Nullarbor novices would do best to cross the plain in the winter. Not only are the days significantly cooler, but it is also when you can watch the southern right whales that breed and birth here from the top of the Great Australian Bight. But while you might shudder at the idea of crossing in the heat, there are perks. Swims at secluded beaches to cool off for one, and undertaking one of Australia’s most iconic road trips with a banging summer playlist coming out the stereo for another.
Towns & fuel
The drive between the South Australian town of Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula and Norseman in Western Australia is around 13 hours and 1,200 kilometres, so you can bet you’ll need to factor in a few fuel stops on the way. There are around 12 roadhouses where you can fill up including Penong, Nurdoo, Nullarbor (which has a famous Roadhouse rest stop), Mundrabilla, Cocklebiddy and Balladonia. There are also other roadhouses where you can pick up fuel.
Tips & rules
The first step to tackling the Nullabor, you’ll want to get your car checked out before you leave. To cross, you’ll also want to make sure you’re prepped with supplies, including at least 10 litres of water per person, coolant, engine oil, a spare tyre … and that’s just the start. Once you hit the road, travellers recommend that despite the temptation to make up hours, don’t drive at night. The limit is 110 kilometres an hour, and coming across a big kangaroo or even a camel at those speeds is a disaster waiting to happen. Give way to road trains and oversize trucks.
If you really don’t like the idea of driving, there’s a pretty stunning alternative. A ride on the Indian Pacific will take you straight across by train.