Highway actually passes through 2 states, SA and WA although for simplicity we refer to it as a South Australian route.
Curving around the Great Australian Bight
, the route across the Nullarbor is legendary and one of Australia
's great road journeys. It is more than 2700km from Perth
, about the same as the distance from London to Moscow!
This long highway crosses the southern edge of the vast Nullarbor Plain
. It was once a track fraught with bulldust and potholes, but since the late 1970s it has been fully tarred and is now the major road to cross the country from east-west.
The highway runs close to the coast on the South Australian side with 6 well-signed tracks leading to lookouts over the dramatic Nullarbor cliffs where the flat plains abruptly drop off into the ocean below. Most of these are located around the SA/WA border.
Although the entire crossing from Port Augusta
in SA to Norseman
in WA can be completed in just a few days there is much more to the region than merely the highway and the lookouts.
Each year pods of southern right whales on their annual migration pass the Nullarbor cliffs from May-Oct.
A special viewing platform has been constructed at the Head of Bight
and is not uncommon to see the whales very close up, frolicking in the bays. It is one of the best whale watch viewing areas in Australia
The Nullarbor region is also one of the largest arid to semi arid KARST landforms in the world. KARST topography is the result of the solvent action of water on bedrock. This dissolving of rock forms many different KARST features - the Nullarbor caves being a good example. Most of the caves can be easily accessed, some require 4WD. These caves contain underground fresh water channels and are therefore frequented by cave
diving expeditions. Cocklebiddy Cave
is the largest of the Nullarbor Caves and is a favourite with experienced cave
divers. The deepest cave
dive record in the world has been set here although due to a number of tragic accidents over recent years diving the caves is a strictly controlled activity. Koonalda Cave
and the nearby historic homestead
are also interesting features.
|With a 4WD there a number of excellent opportunities to experience the true nature of this fascinating region. South of Cocklebiddy you can travel to Twilight Cove where there are 75m high limestone cliffs or to the Eyre Bird Observatory, one of the best places in Australia to go bird-watching. There is also a museum and telegraph station here. Check details before going. |
Behind the township of Eucla you can follow a sealed track right down to the sand dunes where the picturesque ruins of an old telegraph repeater and weather station from 1877 has been almost engulfed by the sand.
Fowlers Bay and Mexican Hat Beach offer excellent fishing while south of Penong you can see a pink lake on route to Cactus Beach, a famous surf beach with left and right breaks.
Peninsula, dotted with sleepy seaside villages and the fabulous 4WD playground of Coffin Bay
makes an excellent alternative to the direct drive between Ceduna
and Port Augusta
The best detour into the Nullarbor for 4WD enthusiasts is along the transcontinental railway line.