Nullabor in late February

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 16:27
ThreadID: 137215 Views:3968 Replies:12 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

Just wondering has anyone travelled the Nullabor in late February and what was your experience with the weather, temperature wise etc. We are required for a wedding in Perth early March so we are thinking of making a bit of a trip out of it,leaving from Toowoomba. Plan is to get over there reasonably quickly (but safely) with a couple of big days driving and then take our time coming back, picking up Margaret river, Esperance etc on the way home and if enough time the Great Ocean Road. Will most likely spend a few days in Perth its self.Time allowed will be approx 6 weeks. Doable? We are reasonably experienced outback travellers but this will be our first Nullabor trip. We have a good reliable vehicle towing a small offroad van. Your thoughts would be appreciated and thank you in advance.

Cheers Gazza
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 16:31

Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 16:31
The Nullabor crossing is a well maintained major highway so I doubt you'll have any issues
AnswerID: 621092

Reply By: Ozi M - Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 16:37

Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 16:37
Obviously very hot but if you are using the main road then all should be OK with a reliable car.
Take plenty of water just in case you or someone else has a problem.
I would try to leave as early as possible in the morning, the road surface baking in 45c around midday is going to be tough on tyres but the trucks are crossing it all the time
AnswerID: 621094

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 17:56

Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 17:56
We did it one year from Toowoomba to Perth in Feb. There was a heat wave in SA but was quite a bit cooler on the Nullabor. The weather can be variable so it's the luck of the draw with heat and winds. Overall it was a good trip with no problems. The Eyre Highway is better than the roads through Hay and Broken Hill.
AnswerID: 621096

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 23:50

Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 23:50
On the 15t of Feb, way back in 2012 we left Nullarbor around 0830 (DST.) We drove until 1500 SA DST which was around our normal camping time. However with the change of time zones it was only 1230 WA time. It was so hot that we just had afternoon tea and jumped back in the air conditioning and kept driving. We had another two long tea breaks and kept going as it felt better to keep driving rather than set up camp in the heat. We arrived at Balladonia Roadhouse a bit before sundown and the temperature dropped so we camped there. After driving 715 km I felt better being in the air conditioning than I thought I would have been if I had stopped so early and suffered the heat.
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AnswerID: 621103

Reply By: new boy - Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 10:48

Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 10:48
Gazza I,ve in the past 4 years done the Nullabor 8 times Late January ,Middle Feb and middle March never had a hot trip. This year had one day of 37degs fine in the car camped at Nullabor road house had power so air con on all good also had been inside by 6.30 as it,s to cold outside . The wind can make for hard driving and extra fuel but you have a time frame so it,s got to be done and it,s the luck of the draw. .Plenty of people doing the same thing and it,s a great drive so enjoy it.
AnswerID: 621108

Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 13:35

Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 13:35
Indeed luck of the draw. Might even get some rain from tail end of a cyclone. Eucla had 77mm one day in February this year.

I reckon it is more likely to be hotter travelling through outback NSW.

But it’s a great journey. Good that you plan to take it easier on the way home and see the sights.


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Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 11:26

Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 11:26
Four years ago, I was part of a team involved in a series of conferences across Australia. It was in February, and we had to get from Pt Lincoln SA to Carnarvon WA and set up in 2 days. This was after packing up from the conference at Pt Lincoln. Not easy. It involved 3 of us and some night driving. We did it safely, but the outside temperatures at Balladonia were 52 Deg C. It was so hot that I could not hold the LPG nozzle when I was filling up. Fortunately the car had rear air conditioning as well as front. The return trip was about 20 Deg C, so it was quite comfortable. Conditions will change from day to day, but be prepared for some extreme heat.
AnswerID: 621109

Reply By: splits - Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 21:16

Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 21:16
You can do that trip in 6 weeks but you will be doing a lot of driving each day.

What do you mean by a "couple of big days" driving? My first trip over there was from Sydney to RAAF Pearce just north of Perth in April 1972. It took me exactly three days but there was around 500 ks of unsealed road in SA. I slowed right down on that section. I stopped every time I felt tired and slept in the car no matter where I was then drove on when I woke up. Even with the road now sealed, it is going to take a long time to get there from Toowoomba when towing a van.

The temperature on that trip was scorching hot even though it was April and the car was not air conditioned. I kept my hands in the same position on the wheel because it was so hot I could not hold it firmly if I moved them.

Take note of the wind out on the Nullarbor. I had made two return trips in my car and one single from west to east in another car by Christmas '74 and on all of them there was a wind blowing from west to east all the way. If you experience the same thing, you could have engine overheating problems while towing if your speed is too high. If that happens you won't be the first.

When you drive up from Esperance to Norseman, turn off to the right about twenty ks from Norseman and drive along the 26 k Dundas Coach Road. TRAIL It is a very nice historic trail. We camped at the Lady Mary mining area after turning up the short steep track to the right to the top of the hill. There were about a million wildflowers up there and a good distant view to the east.
AnswerID: 621123

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 22:48

Sunday, Sep 09, 2018 at 22:48
We have been across in January and in February. It was cooler than places not so close to the coast. On very hot days, we drive through the heat of the day and enjoy an air conditioned car, and we found Nullarbor nights mild to cool.

Six weeks is not long. Play it 'by ear' and fit in what you can on the way back.

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AnswerID: 621124

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 09:39

Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 09:39
Hi Gazza70, You don't say, but assuming you are travelling the Eyre Highway both ways. Prevailing wind direction will have a great bearing on fuel economy. Fuel, water & food are pretty easy to come by with the various roadhouses along the way. In February the prevailing wind direction is S.E. Click on the link below for a chart.


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Follow Up By: Gazza70 - Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 15:29

Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 15:29
Thanks Macca,

Originally i was thinking of coming back via the Great Central Road and up to Alice but again was unsure of temperatures, the condition of the road that time of year, and if we have enough time. We have a newish Holden Colorado ute which has taken us a lot of places with care (the Gibb, Savanah Way, Oodnatta, Birdville etc) but it is only a high clearance 2wd so wouldn't want to come across long sections of bulldust etc.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 15:49

Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 15:49
Gazza, 2WD on the Great Central Road would probably be ok during the season when a lot of people are on the road, but there are a few deep bull dust holes and deep sandy sections near Docker River. This early in the season there will be less people on the road, so if you get stuck, you may be there for a while. Also, the temps in central Australia at this time may also be pretty hot during the day, and cold at night.


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Reply By: richard v2 - Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 13:32

Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 13:32
Feb is rather hot on the Nullabour.!
AnswerID: 621131

Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 14:54

Monday, Sep 10, 2018 at 14:54
The Nullabor itself will probably be hot during the day but is pretty close to the ocean so I've always found the nights ok for camping. Inland NSW is another story, sometimes the temperature overnight is pretty oppressive in summer. Same for WA as you get further away from the coast.
AnswerID: 621132

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 13, 2018 at 10:37

Thursday, Sep 13, 2018 at 10:37
The weather patterns govern a Nullarbor trip more than anything.

If you study the developing weather patterns, you will get a good idea of what to expect across the Nullarbor.

The standard mid-Summer Nullarbor weather pattern is a huge high-pressure system centred around the middle of the Nullarbor, or the centre of the Bight.
It's more common to have the high pressure system centred over the land.

This leads to very strong South-Easterly to Easterly winds when the high pressure system is moving in from the West - very little wind when it's centred over the Nullarbor - and sudden changes (sharp drops) in temperature when the high pressure system starts to move Eastwards, with further regular weather movement.

South-Easterly winds can be quite cool, even in mid-Summer. This cool wind temperature can change rapidly upwards as the wind shifts to Easterly, then North-Easterly, with a high pressure system moving in - then as the winds drop right off with the high pressure system stalling over the Nullarbor, the temperature will soar.

If the high pressure system starts to move Eastwards off the Nullarbor, it is often replaced by the tip of a cold front brushing the Bight - and this leads to a rapid wind shift to South-Westerly and even Southerly winds - which can see temperatures plummet to single figures.

I've been travelling West in Mid-December, with mid-to-high 30's temperatures - camped overnight West of Kimba - and found the temperature had dropped to 3 deg C overnight! - as the tip of a cold front brushed past the Bight - making it a real shock to the bodys system, and particularly the starting power of older batteries!

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 621183

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