9 Not Nullarbor-ing Things To Do
Trip Start Jan 13, 2011
31Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Various Roadhouses and Rest Areas
Desolate. Daunting. Mind Numbing. Nullarbor-ing. That's what we were told.
The Eyre Highway stretches all the way from Port Augusta in South Australia and draws you west with its hypnotic straightness until it finally spits you out at Norseman in Western Australia 1,668km (1036miles) later. Crossing the Nullarbor Plain you will drive the longest straightest stretch of road in Australia, a whopping 145.6km (90 miles) without a twist or turn. That’s the length of 320 Empire State Buildings laid end to end across the dusty arid land, surrounded by kangaroos.
Driving the Nullarbor is a rewarding experience for any traveller, but contrary to popular belief, it has plenty to offer to keep you occupied along the way
1. Look Out for The Nullarbor Nymph!
Legend has it there is a semi-naked, attractive young blonde who runs wild with the kangaroos across the plains. Well that made sure we were driving with our eyes peeled! (Because we like kangaroos, no other reason.) Keep your eyes peeled too in the hope you catch a glimpse of the wild child…or alternatively purchase the film to watch on your laptop and learn all about the incredible hoax invented by some drunk guys in a pub in Eucla. Shame the legend isn’t true but the lengths the guys went to are possibly even more entertaining.
2. Wildlife Spotting
Emus, kangaroos, camels, wombats, cows, sheep, eagles, crows, feral cats…you will see all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures as you drive. We even saw a wild dog feasting on a kangaroo! Shouting "EMU!" or “COW!” is a very effective way of preventing the driver and passengers from drifting off during long drives. This activity is not only for your enjoyment but also for your safety
3. Roadkill Spotting
Sorry, I forget to mention that most of the kangaroos, one camel, a couple of cows, the only 3 wombats and several eagles we saw were infact dead. The majority of the wildlife you see will be spread across the road, undignified, surrounded by splatters of bird poo from where eagles and crows have feasted on the flesh and had to defecate to make more room for dinner. One particular stretch of road from the WA border heading west to Caiguna has something dead every 100metres or so. Some of it you can’t even tell what it is which makes a lovely topic once you’ve exhausted discussions about the weather or how many trees you have/haven’t seen. (Nullarbor means tree-less)
4. Truck Tactics
You will encounter numerous trucks, road trains and other slow moving vehicles on your journey so overtaking is a good pastime activity
5. Watch Whales at The Head of The Bight
Whales?! On the Nullarbor?! That’s what I thought. But a lot of the Nullarbor actually runs along cliff edges over-looking the Australian Bight/Southern Ocean and between June and November the Southern Right whales come to nurse their young. About 80km west of Yalata in South Australia you can take a detour down to the Head of The Bight Centre where there is a boardwalk and viewing platforms. We saw about 10 mothers and their babies, including a couple of them only about 50 metres away from us. Such an incredible sight! It will set you back about $12 and you can even pick up a jam and cream scone to scoff while you gawp at these great creatures
6. Stopping at the Roadhouses
Each roadhouse along the way has its quirks and a unique character. You don’t need to stop at every one (unless you have a fuel leak or ride a lawnmower); they’re pretty regularly placed along the highway. You can stuff your face with greasy food, eye up generally overpriced souvenirs, drink coffee, read newspaper articles from way-back-when and see black and white photographs of the dirt track road the Nullarbor once was. Roadhouses give you the opportunity to catch up with that truckie you flashed your tits at too.
7. Wondering about the Middle-of-Nowhere Communities
In the middle of nowhere you’ll see a house. Just one. Nothing else but a couple of barns and a wrecked out tractor. How do people live out here on their own? How do they get their post? Do they have the internet? How do they get to the hospital in a rush? How the hell do you meet a partner!? How do their kids get to school? The questions are endless…and you have no phone signal so you can’t just Google it.
8. Tee off on the Nullarbor Links Golf Course
Tee off in Kalgoorlie and work your way to the 18th hole in Ceduna 1,365km away. The Worlds’ Longest Golf Course is a must do for any golf-nut. You can forget your super lush greens though and become acquainted with the more rugged outback of Australia. Each hole is linked with a town or roadhouse so you get to do a bit of exploring too! Check out www.nullarborlinks.com for more info.
9. Get Snap Happy!
It would be rude not to pose like an idiot next to the famous wildlife warning signs…Camels! Wombats! Kangaroos! Don’t forget the 90 Mile Straight sign too. Keep the photo’s forever as memories of your epic journey and you can look back on how it wasn’t desolate, daunting or Nullarbor-ing after all.