crossing the Nullabor
Updated: May 25, 2020
20-24 April 2018
We left Ceduna and crossed the Nullabor in several days, stopping along the way to take in a few sights. We'd prepared ourselves for tedious straight roads and arid country-side with little too see. Instead we got hills, curves and greenery. It wasn't what we'd expected.
Weather across the Nullabor was exciting at night, with downpours and huge thunderstorms appearing out of nowhere. In the mornings, we were gifted with beautiful sunrises. However, at times we had to lock ourselves in the caravan for fear of being carried away by the flies.
We trekked into the old telegraph station at Eucla. Even with his leg firmly splinted, Ollie managed to crawl over and through the building, despite the large amount of sand in the way. It didn't stop him the next day either, when Drew held tightly onto the boys as they climbed into the Caiguna blowhole.
We stayed at Norseman in WA on 24 April so that we could get up early and attend a dawn ANZAC service. The boys had brought their scouts' uniforms with them for the occasion. Afterwards we joined the locals for a huge cooked breakfast. The hall was packed and we ended up seated with the local constabulary. I think the kids talked his ears off!
Norseman was named after a horse which went lame when a gold nugget supposedly lodged in his hoof. The town has a great free area set aside for self-contained campers. It is monitored by the council rangers, so if you don't have a toilet and water you need to stay at the caravan park.
You can see the life size bronze statue of Norseman and the well-photographed tin camels by the round-about. Make sure to walk the nice trail above the mine to a lookout over the town.
Top tips for travelling between Ceduna and the Nullabor
#1 - make sure your mobile phone is on Telstra. A provider that claims to use "all" the Telstra towers just doesn't have the coverage you would expect. We started with an Aldi prepaid, but even in bigger towns like Streaky Bay we couldn't get coverage. The exception is in some of the Aboriginal communities which are better supported by Optus.
#2 Even if you have got Telstra, phone/internet coverage across the Nullabor almost doesn't exist. Familiarise yourself with a pay phone and buy a phone card. You are off the grid. It's not that big a deal; facebook and insta will still be there when you get back.
#3 - Buy some oysters from the Oyster Bar just outside of Ceduna. We bought a dozen and wished we had bought more. I put one in my mouth and the flavour was incredible. It took me back 35 years to my childhood surfing moments at Port Willunga beach.
#4 Download wikicamps and make sure you tick the off-line option. If you can camp off the grid you will be able to find all of the cool free campsites. Not only will you save some dollars, but also you'll find some lovely areas with amazing scenery. If you are prepared to follow the winding tracks away from the main sites, you might come across something really special.
#5 Quirky things crop up. Visit the Penong windmill museum.
#6 Allow yourself time to explore the Australian Bight. The cliffs along the Bight are amazing. Make sure you visit Head of Bight. Even if you don't see any whales, the views are amazing.
#7 We had a young guy, with a carload of small children and a cranky wife, sheepishly ask us for some petrol. He had no cash and offered to pay us with meat and a couple bottles of cider. We gave him some fuel, but luckily for him we are vegetarian, so he got to keep his roast.
Don't run out of fuel. You should know the distance to the nearest petrol station not gamble on making it.
#8 Make sure you have plenty of pain killers in the first aid kit. You can pay $11.20 for a box of 20 paracetamol from a roadhouse. I bet you didn't think that possible!