Driving the Nullarbor Plain – Australia’s most iconic road trip

Last Updated: 09 May 2024
Sofia Paul

Crossing the Nullarbor from the Goldfields in Western Australia to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia is probably the most iconic of all the road trips in Australia.

It rarely disappoints as it runs along the desert regions of the south coast, featuring incredible landscape, dramatic cliffs, famous caves and wildlife, making this an experience of a lifetime. It’s also the longest, flattest, and straightest road in Australia and at 1,200 km is the second longest straight road in the world, beaten only by Highway 85 in Saudi Arabia.

The first to cross the Nullarbor Plain was English explorer Edward John Eyre, after whom the Eyre Highway was named. But it was surveyor E. Alfred Delisser who in 1866, due to the lack of trees in the area named the region the “Nullarbor”, which means Latin for “no trees”. The description is misleading as barring a few baron areas, there are many different species of trees spread across the Plain.

The Nullarbor stretches for 1,200 km, but there are plenty of interesting destinations to explore in both SA, WA and beyond. It’s scorching hot in summer so the best time to go is between May and October. If you drive straight through you can do the whole trip in a full day, but if you have the time, we recommend taking a couple of days or even a week to explore some of the extraordinary sites. Working from West to East, here are some must-see stopovers.

Bunda Cliffs. Credit: Head of Bight

Things to see on the Nullarbor

Credit: @Nullarbor Links on Facebook


To reach the Nullarbor you must first travel to Norseman and before then, you can either travel south from Kalgoorlie or north from Esperance. When you arrive in Norseman, give a round of golf a go on what is the world’s longest golf course, the Nullarbor Links, spanning 1,365 kilometres from Kalgoorlie to Ceduna. Pick up a score card and a map at the Visitor Centre, bring your own club and balls, or hire out golfing equipment at each hole.

Norseman to Caiguna

Just 2 hours away in Balladonia you can stop in at the Balladonia Hotel Motel,which includes a restaurant, bar and pool. On the way, take a detour to Cocklebiddy Cave, a famous diving cave which, although closed to the public for diving, is worth seeing. A 4WD is recommended for the rocky track. A short distance away near Caiguna, the Caiguna blowhole is just an hour and a half drive away. Due to the coastal swells the wind blows through the at 72km per hour, faster than any other cave in Australia.

Credit: @ Eyre Bird Observatory on Facebook


The Madura Roadhouse (Madura Pass Oasis) is the next stopover on your trip, and in the nearby Nuytsland Nature Reserve you can find the Eyre Bird Observatory. Known as Australia’s first bird observatory, the Observatory offers overnight stays for which you’ll need tobook ahead, and day visits.  Other attractions include the Madura Pass Lookout.


Eucla is the largest settlement on the Nullarbor Plain and part of the biggest limestone karst landscape on Earth, covering an area of 270,000 square kilometres. You can take a break at the Border Village Roadhouse or pay a visit to Eucla National Park, and see the Old Telegraph Station.

Credit: @Nullarbor Roadhouse on Facebook      

The Nullarbor Roadhouse

The Nullarbor Roadhouse is an iconic landmark and great spot to stop off for coffee, food and WIFI, and you can stay overnight at the motel or in the nearby campground. If you make the crossing between June and September, keep an eye out for whales from the spectacular Bunda Cliffs, or from the Head of Bight Whale Watching Centre which is just 20 minutes away.

Head of Bight Whale Watching Centre

If whale-watching is on your radar, the amazing Bunda Cliffs and Visitor Centre are a must-visit, with boardwalks that offer an amazing view of the coast. It’s also a great chance for whale watching. The Bunda Cliffs extend roughly 100km along the Great Australian Bight from Border Village to the east of Head of Bight. The elusive Southern Right Whales take up ‘residence’ below the Bunda Cliffs for an entire five-month period between June and October and generally remain within a 15km long section of coast.

Credit: @Head of Bight on Facebook

Ceduna and beyond

Ceduna marks the end of Nullarbor, and from there your journey into South Australia begins! Gear up and explore Adelaide, indulge and savour in local wine regions like the Barossa Valley, visit the iconic Kangaroo Island and explore the scenic Great Ocean Road .  

Explore more in our guide.

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