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Nullarbor Plain / Nullarbor

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The Nullarbor - Cities, Towns and Localities
To travel across the “Nullarbor” is a journey into a timeless and unforgettable land. It is one of those iconic Australian road trips. A route that may be mostly a straight drive, but one where you can experience the sheer vastness of Australia.

There are only three ways to cross it, via air, rail or road. The Eyre Highway is a popular way of travelling across the Nullarbor Plain and is one of Australia’s great road trips. The highway is named after the explorer, Edward John Eyre, who was the first to barely survived the East-West crossing of the continent in 1841. Unlike then, today, the journey can be made entirely across the bitumen highway, with the route being well signposted, advising travellers of the distance between towns for petrol and other services.

Your trip can begin from Port Augusta, 330 km north-east of Adelaide at the head of Spencer Gulf. Passing through the townships of Iron Knob, Kimba, Kyancutta, Pygery, Minnipa, Poochera, and Wirrulla, the Eyre Highway meets the sea at Ceduna, a small town on the picturesque Murat Bay. On the outskirts of Ceduna is a warning sign about the last reliable water and this marks the beginning of the desert-like, almost treeless landscape that sweeps towards the Nullarbor Plain. 

The name “Nullarbor” is derived from the Latin “nulla arbor” meaning “no tree”. The highway journeys close to the coast, with a little scrub and other vegetation on the “plains” and the sand dunes that lie between the highway and the ocean. The Eyre Highway actually only crosses a small section of true “treeless plain”.

From Ceduna, you keep heading west to Penong, a town of 100 windmills. As you keep going, there is Bookabie and Nundroo. From here is is worth a detour south to the abandoned settlement of Fowlers Bay, once an exploration depot for Edward John Eyre and now a ghost town that offers great fishing.

Heading west once more, you pass through Yalata Aboriginal Land, with a stop-off at Yalata Roadhouse and Nullarbor Roadhouse. The stretch of road between Nullarbor Roadhouse and Border Village offer five of the most spectacular coastal lookouts anywhere on the Australian coastline, where you can see giant ocean swells pounding the towering limestone cliffs that make this part of the Great Australian Bight. If you are travelling from June to October, you may get the chance of spotting the Southern Right Whale on their annual migration along the southern part of our continent.

Border Village is the start of your Western Australian leg along the Eyre Highway. Here is a much photographed signpost pointing the direction to the South Pole, Paris and many other international destinations.

Heading west you pass the townships of Eucla, Mundrabilla, Madura, Cocklebiddy, Caiguna, Balladonia, Noondoonia, and finally ending at Norseman.

When planning such an epic journey you need to ensure you have sufficient water, provision and fuel. There is very little fresh water supplies between Ceduna and Norseman. If you are thinking about a return journey, you may like to consider placing the car on the train for the return, as this is also a great way to travel across this great region.

There are also quarantine checkpoints at Ceduna for east-bound travellers and Norseman for west-bound travellers. There are restrictions on certain items including  fruit, potatoes, onions, walnuts, grain, honey, fodder, livestock, birds, rabbits, animal skins and wool, bird seed, other seed, plants, soil, used fruit containers, used potato sacks, and native fauna.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre icon

Ceduna Visitor Information Centre

Whyalla Tourist Centre

 

MSN Map of Nullarbor National Park, South Australia
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Nullarbor Plain / Nullarbor Attractions

The Head of BightWhale Watching
One of two perfect whale watching spots on the Australian mainland, the other being Point Ann in the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia. The facilities at Head of Bight include toilets, sheltered information gazebo, walkways and a large viewing platform. Seated and shaded area is located within the information gazebo.

May - October/November
Whales visit the Head of Bight from May to October. This annual migration see the Southern Right whales coming to breed and give birth to calves turning the waters into a marine nursery. It is estimated that at least one third of the Southern Right Whales were born in the sandy bays of the Great Australian Bight.

As you are entering Aboriginal Land, you are required to purchase a visitors’ permit. Funds collected aid the Land Management activities in the area, as well as providing rangers to ensure the lands are protected and the health and safety of visitors is overseen. Permits can be purchased at White Weel Ranger Station on Head of Bight Road. The Rangers can also provide local tourist information or advice on nearby services if required.
The LandsYalata Indigenous Protected AreaYalata Land Management
The Lands contain spectacular coastal scenery with large dunes, fringing reefs and few obvious signs of human presence. Check out the Yalata Land Management for more information.
Bunda Cliffs
Stretching some 200 km west of the Head of the Bight to Wilson Bluff and rising 40 to 70 metres above sea level, are the majestic Bunda Cliffs. These ancient cliffs extending for 200km to Wilson Bluff, range in height from 40-70 metres above sea level. Millions of years ago the combination of changing sea levels and the geological uplift of the Nullarbor Plain culminated in the creation of these cliffs. The cliff front also stretches to the east of the Bight but this now lies deep under the sand of the present dune system.
Koonalda Cave
Lies on the western edge of South Australia, about 50 km from the ocean. The cave is about 60m below the surface of the Nullarbor Plain, and stretches about 250m horizontally, investigations to date have stopped at a deep underground lake. Archaeological digs in the 1950s by Alexander Gallus, indicate that the Koonalda Cave was used by the Aboriginal people, with the it’s primary use as a flint mine, many nodules having been removed from the walls from the length of its passage. In some places the cave walls have been decorated with finger-markings, dating to more than 20,000 years ago.

Local Aboriginal lore talk about the evil spirits that inhabit the caves in the western part of the Nullarbor Plain, and who can be heard roaring in the rushing water of the subterranean lakes.


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Nullarbor Plain / Nullarbor Events

South Australia Events
Chasing the Sun Golf Festival - Nullarbor Links
• From Sat 29th September 2012 to Sat 6th October 2012
A week of fun, golf, culture - Davric Australia's "Chasing the Sun Golf Festival 2012". Commencing in Ceduna on Sunday 30th September and concluding in Kalgoorlie Saturday 6th October.
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Nullarbor Plain / Nullarbor Other links Caves, Karst, Speleology
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