Driving Across The Nullarbor Plain : Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know

The name ‘Nullarbor Plain’ exudes a certain air of mystery and compel. The plain spans two Australian states, broken only by the Eyre Highway that is the main part of an Adelaide to Perth road trip. If you’re planning on driving across the Nullarbor, you’ll most likely have been told that you’re crackers, had a few dozen people wondering why you don’t just hop on a plane and have lost count of how many times you’ve heard ‘you know it’s a load of nothing, don’t you’…

Don’t listen to ‘em. If you’re craving space, freedom and an authentic Australian experience, take the Nullarbor. I mean, it is a load of nothing. Apart from a few roadhouses, all placed 200kms or so apart, the Nullarbor is one empty place. But at the same time, driving across the Nullarbor is an experience like no other. It makes you realise how big Australia – and the world – is. It’s actually home to some amazing sights – like the beautiful head of Bight – and some of the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises in Australia, if not the world. And most of all, driving across the Nullarbor is a huge adventure.


If you’re planning on taking the 1200km drive, you’ll most likely be searching for some tips for driving across the Nullarbor highway. The road is safe and a lot busier than you might think, but there’s definitely some things you should keep in mind when driving across the Nullarbor. Tips like these will help you get out of any sticky situation and have a safe and enjoyable experience while crossing the Nullarbor!


Pack right

As with any outback adventure, driving from Melbourne or Adelaide to Perth requires basic car kit and camping gear (unless you’re staying at the somewhat pricey roadhouse hotel motels). Remember to pack the following:

      • Car jack
      • Spare tyre and screws
      • Engine Oil
      • Coolant
      • Jump Leads
      • Tow Rope
      • LOTS of water – I’d say try to keep 10l for each person at all times and top up when possible
      • Canned and dried foods – enough to last a couple of extra days than you need. You could buy stuff at the roadhouses on the Nullarbor, but they’re super expensive – a bag of doritos for $7 expensive…
      • Tent – such as this one from Wild Earth
      •  A self-inflating mat; this type of camp mat is compact but still comfy – check out this great value one.
      • A good quality sleeping bag – the Nullarbor nights can get cold! Here’s a cosy sleeping bag suggestion.
      • Camping stove – like this great two burner stove – and gas cylinders

The jury’s out on a petrol tank. If you’re just sticking to the highway, you probably won’t need it. But you will save money if you take one – fuel at some of the road houses can be in excess of $1.80 per litre! We didn’t take one but could have saved some money if we had.

Shop for camping supplies here!

Check your car’s oil, coolant and tyres routinely


Confession: before we left Adelaide, I thought my car didn’t have a dipstick. Following a concerned conversation with a car mechanic, I drove all over the city to see if anyone had a dipstick for my car. Eventually one of the scrappers I spoke to looked in the bonnet, where he found the dipstick… exactly where it was meant to be. I was the dipstick that day.

Following this incident, I learnt the importance of checking the oil, coolant and tyres. I checked them pretty much every day and avoided any incidents. I still don’t know how to change a tyre, but I have the wikihow instructions print screened on my phone for when the day comes…

It’s well worth keeping an eye on these things when you’re driving several hundred kilometres a day to avoid the car breaking on you somewhere around Cocklebiddy.

Don’t drive at night


That’s where the wild things are! Crossing the Nullarbor at night is just tempting fate – we saw a couple of bad accidents that looked like they’d happened at night. There’s loads of roaming animals around the Nullarbor after the sun goes down, who will jump out suddenly at night. Plus it’s so much easier to become drowsy when it’s not light. It’s really really not worth it.

Be vigilant about trucks and road trains


We were lucky when we crossed the Nullarbor; the wind was pretty low, so we didn’t have any problems crossing trucks. But in high wind, they can create a ‘wind tunnel’ which will feel like your car is being pulled into them. It won’t actually hit it, and there’s not much you can do other than hold your nerve, but it’s important to be vigilant.

Road trains are interesting. They can be over 50 meters long and go at speeds of up to 130 kmph. If you see one coming towards you, (and you will see it in good time thanks to the good old flatness and straightness of the plain) it’s best to pull onto the side and wait for it to pass. We didn’t actually see any super long road trains when we were driving across the Nullarbor, but I’ve heard lots of accounts of them.

Know your fuel stops!


If you know your petrol tank’s capabilities at certain speeds, you might be able to deign whether certain fuel stops can be avoided. Here’s a list of all of the fuel stops across the Nullarbor and the distances between them:

71km – this is the start of the Nullarbor – click here for accomodation options and book today!



181km – the roadhouse here is highly rated for travellers and makes a good rest stop. Click here to read more about it and to book today!

Border Village







Norseman is the end of the Nullarbor, where there are way more amenities than you’re now used to and lots of petrol stations. If you want to book some accomodation for your victorious night after crossing the Nullarbor (or to prep for it, if you’re driving west to east!), click here to see rates and book today.

My top tip for getting cheap fuel is to bypass Border Village and top up at Eucla, just 13km away. It’s much cheaper!

For a great crossing the Nullarbor map, check out this handy PDF.

Use Wikicamps to find free campsites


Look no further than Wikicamps for accommodation across the Nullarbor; it’s a fantastic app that helps users find free campsites on the Nullarbor and all around Australia. On the Nullarbor, these are just pit stops off the road, but are ideal for a night. I saw the best sunset and sunrise of my life at one of these!

Wikicamps cost around $5 to download (the price does go up and down) but is well worth it – you’ll make your money back in one day. There’s heaps of free campsites on the Nullarbor, so you can negate the pricey fuel with some accommodation for gratis!

If camping’s not your thing, there’s alternative Nullarbor accommodation at most roadhouses. These should really be booked ahead of time, especially in the tourist seasons – if you get to one and find it’s full it’s a long way to the next one!

Today’s Nullarbor Roadhouse Deals – Click through for more details and to book today!



Stop whenever possible


Did I mention that driving across the Nullarbor is a long way? Stop whenever you can to avoid driver fatigue. There’s not a huge amount of attractions on this long straight road, but there’s a few unique things to do on the Nullarbor Plain that are well worth stopping for, including…

Snapping pictures with some of the iconic ‘I’m in the desert in Australia’ signs


These include the typical ‘a million miles from everywhere’ signs and ‘exotic animals on the road’ warnings. The pictures will be a great memento of your time!

Admiring some of the Nullarbor specific signs!


Where else will you have the chance to get a picture taken with an ‘Australia’s longest straight road’ sign (answer: nowhere, because it is here) or ‘Nullarbor: eastern end of treeless plain’ (same answer applies)? Enjoy these signs, there’s little else to do!

The Great Australian Bight

DSCF2557 2

Don’t miss the bight, but don’t go to the head of bight, which costs $12 and closes at 3:53pm sharp. (advertised as 4, but the owner wouldn’t let us in for five minutes at 3:53. Hmphh). Just down the road (heading west), there’s a turn for the cliffs of the bight, where the spectacular view is freeeeee. Bear in mind that this area isn’t signposted with a name, just with a parking and photo symbol. So if you know you’re close to the bight and you see a little camera picture on a sign infront of you, turn down the next side road!


We had a great view of the bight from our wikicamps spot too. Seeing the sun come up over the colossal edge of the Australian continent is an experience that I don’t think I’ll EVER forget.

Get out of the car and stare off at the flatness, and the long road before you…


It is an experience like no other; I come from London and I’ve never felt so much SPACE. It’s quite surreal really, so be sure to get out of the car and take it all in.

Watch life go by at a roadhouse

Roadhouses are interesting places, and I loved marvelling at the random attractions they have there (such as a giant kangaroo holding a tub of vegemite at border village, SO stereotypical) and people watching, wondering why each of these people were driving across the Nullarbor. Roadhouses provide hideously expensive snacks, drinks and coffee and some ‘I’ve crossed the Nullarbor’ memorabilia. I did spend six dollars on a bumper sticker that is now proudly sitting on the back of my car, and I’m not sorry.

I also named my car ‘Nulla’ after crossing the Nullarbor. I’m still not sorry.

Roadhouses also normally have some interesting/ weird museums about the history of the area. They’re worth a stroll around while on a driving break!

Remember to download a LOT of music

You’re going to be driving 1,200 kilometres across the Nullarbor with very limited reception, so you’ll really need some pre-downloaded music. By some I mean A LOT. I had 250 songs on my ipod and to this day, whenever I hear ANY of them I just think about that long straight road…

I’d recommend at least a thousand songs. And one of them has to be ‘Nullarbor Song’ by Kasey Chambers. If you’re not sure what else to download, here’s some road trip playlist inspiration.

Get a Telstra plan


If you want any phone reception on the Nullarbor, go with Telstra – other providers just don’t have signal. You can get a pay as you go plan starting at $30. It’s well worth it!

Telstra doesn’t cover absolutely everywhere on the Nullarbor, but it does span across a majority of the plain.

Don’t panic if you break down (but make sure that you have the right cover)

If you do break down on the Nullarbor, you won’t be left to perish, especially if you’re on the main road. There’s plenty of cars still using this road – we saw about one every five minutes. People in the outback are typically very friendly and helpful, and lots will stop for you; helping if they know the problem, or passing a message on if you’re out of a phone signal area.

To avoid hefty tow away fees, make sure that you have RAC insurance and, if you’re savvy enough, some spare parts. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this; I know nothing about car repairs and I only had what I detailed above on me. There’s a lot more you can have/ know and if you want to hear advice from someone who knows a bit more about cars than me check out Amanda from Travel Outback Australia’s advice for if you break down in the outback.

Be prepared to lose all sense of time


Time doesn’t really matter on your Nullarbor roadtrip, but it’s worth mentioning that the time zones will baffle you. South Australia is half an hour behind East Australia and Western Australia two hours behind (8 and a half hours and 7 hours ahead of GMT respectively). BUT various places on the border have their own time zone, 45 minutes ahead of WA time and behind SA time. It makes sense in terms of daylight, but it’s a tad baffling. To make things more confusing, your phone might automatically change to WA time when you’re still in SA or vice versa, like mine did…. I ended up going to bed at 5:50pm in darkness because I was so damn confused.

Don’t underestimate the distance


It takes time to drive 1,100 kms. Don’t think you can do it in a day. That’ll just give you our old foe, driver fatigue. With two drivers, we made it from 50kms from the WA border to past Norseman in a day – a huge amount really – but we swapped every two hours and only drove that way because we felt we could.

Don’t put a time on it and force yourself to be in one place at a certain time. This is where the flexibility of wikicamps can’t be criticized. You just rock up to whichever is nearest when you’ve had enough of driving (and there’s honestly tons).

Don’t forget everyone’s warnings… but work out how to avoid the dangers and have a safe time driving across the Nullarbor


Driving across the Nullarbor is no way as scary as most of the people I spoke to before I went thought it was going to be. The main danger is driver fatigue, and if you’re old enough to be driving across the bottom of Australia you’re old enough to know how to keep yourself awake when you’re in control of a vehicle zooming at 110kmph.

The next biggest danger is animals being in the road – which can happen at any time, but is rare during the day. If an animal jumps out the main advice is sadly to go with it and not try to dodge it, as you’ve still got a very high chance of hitting the animal and an equally high chance of flipping the car. I cringe every time I see roadkill, so I was extremely glad this didn’t happen to me. But you can avoid this by not driving at night and remaining vigilant. It’s worth mentioning that when we drove across the Nullarbor the only animals we saw were two emus at the side of the road – which I was kind of disappointed about – but this nods to the fact that it’s not absolutely teeming with wildlife.


Other dangers? Not stopping for road trains, overtaking too closely etc. We didn’t see any road trains but as long as you remember to pull over when you see one coming, you’ll be fine. It’s probably safer to overtake here than another road, as there’s a lot less cars and at times you can see incredibly far, but obviously don’t overtake anywhere unsafe.

We’ve covered breaking down, and as long as you take Amanda’s advice (not the girl who thought a dipstick went somewhere completely different to where it actually does), you’ll be fine there. It’s a pain in the ass if it happens and it might cost you a few bob, but you’ll make it through.


The long and short of it? You’re going to be fine crossing the Nullarbor by car. It’s long, it’s flat, it’s straight… but it’s also fun, unique and safe.

The Nullarbor road trip is one of the best things I’ve done in Australia so far. It’s an experience like nothing I’ve ever had and it’s one of those travel memories that I will take with me forever. If you’re thinking about it – DO IT. You’ll have a blast.

P.S. When I was researching this road trip, I struggled to find helpful real-life accounts of road tripping across the Nullarbor. So I want this to be a helpful real-life account to help future Nullarbor goers. SO, please do comment and leave me some feedback. Do you have any more Nullarbor related questions? Could I add anything else to the article? How would you rate my Nullarbor information knowledge on a scale of 1-10? 😉

Also, let me know if you’ve crossed the Nullarbor, I love speaking to people about it! Comment below or drop me a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Disclaimer: some of the links in these posts are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This is just one of the ways I keep Claire’s Footsteps running!

Hey! I’m on YouTube too!

I’m currently travelling from Bali to London without taking a single flight! I’m documenting my journey on YouTube and would love it if you could follow me there!

Here is a video detailing the journey a bit more:

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93 thoughts on “Driving Across The Nullarbor Plain : Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know

  1. Meg | MeanderWithMeg says:

    I’ve driven across the Nullabor recently and I loved it! I was definitely either looked at like I was mad by the people who haven’t done it and met with enthusiasm by the people who had! This is a brilliant resource with loads of helpful information for anyone planning the drive. Makes me want to do it all over again! I liked the tip about Wikicamps – I will try that next time. I just camped at the roadhouses usually where I had access to a hot shower, but next time the Bight sounds like it’s a winner!

    • Claire says:

      I’m glad you loved it just as much as me! Haha yes, it’s definitely something that’s got to be experienced to be believed. We paid $3 to shower at one of the roadhouses so that was our only expense there 🙂 The Bight was so amazing!

      • Maria Mondello says:

        Tha k you for your information. In 2006 we drove across from Perth to Melbourne, and back to Perth, it was a great trip. Driving at day with a short stop to strech our body and sleeping at the road house/motel at nigh. Great food all the way and friendly people.
        Thank you again.
        Maria Mondello

  2. Anonymous says:

    Think your a little confused with trains and roadtrains. Roadtrains are trucks pulling trailers which Im pretty sure wouldnt be able to pull any more than two or three accross the nullabor. They certainly wont be two ks long and shouldnt be doing any faster than 100ks an hour. The trains on the otherhand could be 2ks long and I dont know what speed they do. Pretty sure you dont cross any train lines between Norsman and Ceduna.

    • Claire says:

      As I said, I didn’t cross any of these trains. However I did hear from multiple sources that the road trains do along the normal road of the Nullarbor. So I’m not sure what the real answer is!

      • Anne says:

        A road train is a trucking vehicle of a type used in rural and remote areas of Australia, to move freight efficiently. It consists of two or more trailers or semi-trailers hauled by a prime mover.
        A train on the other hand is a group of railway carriages pulled by a locomotive. You may see an occasional train as there are a few train tracks that run near the highway, but none cross the highway.
        Road trains are a familiar sight on the Nullabor. Make sure you slow down for them and let them pass.

      • Stewie says:

        Road trains are legally a max of 53 mtrs long and shouldn’t exceed 100 klm per hour even though the speed limits in Aus can be upto 135 kph but they can give you a blast of wind when coming towards you especially if you are towing a van or trailer.

        • Claire says:

          Thanks for clarifying Stewie! Yes they definitely give a blast of wind haha

        • Justanaussieboy says:

          I think you will find road trains are restricted to 36.5 metres and tow 2 trailers between Adelaide and Perth, you are correct about them being restricted to 100 kilometres per hour

  3. Gabby says:

    Looks incredible! I love roadtrips so would love to do this one but sadly haven’t visited Australia yet. Can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a kangaroo crossing the road in front of you!

    • Claire says:

      You should definitely do it when you get to Australia! It’s amazing – we didn’t see any kangaroos there but lots at a nearby national park 🙂

  4. Katarina says:

    Great post, very informative! I wish you added coordinates of your camping spots, too. To save us those 7$ on Wikicamps 😉

    • Claire says:

      Haha, I didn’t make a note of them! The 7$ is well worth it I promise! 🙂

  5. Stafaine says:

    Woow, this looks really amazing,
    This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s

    Keep posting,
    Kind regards

  6. Francesca says:

    Hi Claire, great post. I am planning a similar trip later this year so reading this is very helpful. Just a couple of questions: how did you decide on what car to travel in? was cost or engine size the main factor? Thanks! (I’m looking forward to reading your other posts too)

    • Claire says:

      Hi Francesca, thanks for your comment! I bought a car in Melbourne with the intention of using it to drive around Australia and I wanted a cheap and small 4WD so the car I had (Subaru Forester) was perfect. It was also not as costly as the bigger 4WDs. But I mainly wanted the 4WD feature for the west coast where there’s a lot of gravel roads and off-roading opportunities (you don’t need a 4WD to do the west coast but you can definitely do more with one!) my engine isn’t that big and it’s not the best with petrol, but you could always get a jerry can or two to save Nullarbor fuel costs! 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Shirley says:

    Good morning Claire. We are hoping to cross the
    Nullarbor in November 2018. I am 71 and my husband is 74. We are very use to travelling, in November 2015 we left the Uk traveling to Singapore, Melbourne, Adelaide, taking the Ghan to Darwin, then to Brisbane. On to Fiji, then NZ, back to Sydney, then South Africa. Arriving home in March 2016. 39.000 miles, 36 different beds, 15 flights, on 8 different airlines, 4000 photos. All with my darling husband who takes 25 tablets a day, has Parkinson’s disease, is insulin diabetic and in a wheelchair. Yes Claire most things are possible. It was our holiday of a lifetime, it did cost a lot of money!! But the memories!!!!! these can never be replaced. BUT the travel bug is still in our veins!! So we are planning driving from Adelaide to Perth. I have read your blog re: The Nullarbor which is amazing, but we will not be able to camp!!! Any suggestions where we should stay??? I have looked at a few places but some of the reviews are not good! Hoping that you do read this ( yes I do go on a bit?) and are able to help. Kindest regards Shirley from Nottingham. X

    • Claire says:

      Shirley this comment has made my morning – you and your husband sound awesome! I hope I’m still travelling in my 70s, you’re an inspiration! That trip sounds incredible, I’d love to see some of the pictures. What were Fiji and South Africa like? You’ll love the Nullarbor, it’s such an great experience – you get a real sense of solitude and realise how big the world actually is! So as I mentioned I only free camped, I don’t know your situation but is there any way you could rent a mobile home and sleep in that? Lots of Aussies travel around the country in them, I’m sure they can be rented as well. Alternatively there are motels with some roadhouses, you might have looked at these already. They are unfortunately the only options but you should be able to plan your route so you can stop at the best ones. Have you seen this map? It’s quite helpful! http://www.nullarbormap.com.au/ Let me know how you get on!

      • Narelle says:

        Hello Claire,

        Glad you enjoyed your trip so much and I agree that it may appear to be boring to some but if you don’t just speed across (easy to do) without looking left or right it’s much less boring than you think.

        I’ve read your comments, we’ve done the trip with car, not a 4WD so not able to go on some side roads, and now going back with caravan and 4WD. Reasonable, adequate accommodation at the petrol stops. Many of the cafes at these stops close by 7pm, if you’re hungry don’t delay. The food is usually plain. We always travel with chilli flakes, makes many dishes edible!

        The ‘road trains’ are trucks, long semi-trailers who think the road is theirs so beware. The railway line is nowhere near you so you won’t see a train.

        But as for calling 70+ year olds brave and awesome you and the rest of the population need to stop imagining that life has stopped by then. When you get there you will see the brain is still young, the body just does a little less and it’s your sense of adventure that determines your age.

        • Claire says:

          Hi Narelle,

          Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you love the Nullarbor as well! Thanks for your extra travel tips.

          I hope I didn’t offend you in the comments – I don’t think at all that life stops at 70+ and haven’t commented on anyone being especially brave because of their age. I’m just impressed by anyone who’s living life a little differently, whatever their age.

          Have a great day,


  8. Helen Dalmain says:

    Well said Claire ,I will be driving to w a in Oct 2018 being part of my job , thankyou for all the wonderful information ,keep up the good work happy travels. Helen

  9. kathleen kirwan says:

    claire that sounds fantastic we are doing the trip in Feb2019 that is a lot of great information. THANKS

  10. Sailendra Bhaskar says:

    Hi Claire,thank you for all the details you provide on the drive through the south of Oz. I am 62 and my classmate from boarding school, David and I will be doing the drive from Melbourne to Perth in mid September this year. Yes, I’ve heard a lot of people ask me if I was cuckoo or what for even thinking about the drive! But I have this bucket list and one of the items on my bucket list is to drive across a continent so never mind if some body calls me daft or cuckoo I’m jolly well going to do it! Will share some of the pictures I take en route. Until then keep blogging – someone somewhere will benefit from your experience just like I have.


    Sailendra Bhaskar from Chennai, India

    • Claire says:

      Hi Sailendra,

      That’s the spirit! You’ll have a fantastic time. And it’s so soon! Do you have a car out there or are you renting? It sounds fabulous and I’m glad you’re checking something off your bucket list! 🙂 Please do come back and let us know how you got on!

      Best, Claire

  11. Lorraine says:

    Like Shirley I have just found your very useful post and are also a little above the ages she mentioned and have health issues that never keep us sitting on a couch watching TV. I am researching a trip from Brisbane to Norseman from March through May – June 2019. We have a Mercedes Benz Vito diesel converted to a camper. It’s a bit low on the ground so reading about road conditions was good. I am wondering, however, if we could access the wikicamp places you mentioned in it. We’re not going past Norseman because we have spent several weeks exploring the area from Perth – Kalgoorlie – Esperance etc Perth.

    Once we complete this trip we will have missed only the Perth to Kunurra part of the M1. we have met many road trains on other trips through the centre. They can be very long – 4 cars plus the engine and do create a vacum and wind when passing on the opposite side. I found the drivers great in that they often signalled when it was clear to overtake them on the long roads. If you’re behind you can’t see ahead!

    I hope we get to enjoy at least one sunset and sunrise as you enjoyed. One of my best memories of camping is sitting in the middle of the outback, under the bright, clear stars eating dinner and enjoying a wine in the company fellow travellers, newly met.

    • Claire says:

      Sounds like a great adventure, Lorraine! I’m glad my post could be of help. I think you’ll be ok to get into the wikicamps, from memory they were gravel but not 4WD roads. I’m not 100% though but there will be comments on the WikiCamp app letting you know 🙂

      The West Coast is awesome! Do try and do it if you get the chance, the highlight for me was definitely the Gibb River Road (although that’s not the coast of course haha) – although you’ll need at least an AWD vhiecle for that.

      I’m sure you’ll get a sunset and sunrise, they’re pretty spectacular over the Nullarbor! For sure, I love outback nights so much. I’m really missing Australia!

      Hope you have fantastic trip, do come back and let us know how you get on!

  12. Ren K says:

    Thanks for the abundance of info Claire. I’m doing the Nullarbor trip in December with my dog. We are travelling from Melbourne to Perth (Christmas with the family) and return. I’ve bought myself a new car so there is no time like the present!

  13. Val Watkinson says:

    Hi Claire, My friend and I are in Norseman and begin our trip home to Adelaide across the Nullabor tomorrow. We set off to Darwin to celebrate my 80th birthday with family there, on the return journey we turned right at Katherine and slowly worked our way down to Perth to see my daughters and families. It has been amazing, flights over the Bungle Bungles, glass bottomed boats at Coral Bay, 80 mile beach, Broome and many more places. Esperance had a great surprise Stonehenge as new and a walk in the Forest of the Giants at Denmark. There was much more but the Nullabor calls and a whole new adventure. Thank you for your advice and information on the drive across. I shall certainly be taking more photographs.

  14. Faye says:

    Hi Claire and travellers
    I’m wanting to drive from perth to melbourne. I’ve a new picanto kia there a small car that’s my only concern although I wouldn’t drive at night.Do many people drive across the nullabor in small cars?

    • Claire says:

      Hi Faye, it’s a highway all the way so you should be fine as long as it’s had a service recently!

  15. Diana Wilde says:

    Thank you so much for all this information…I am planning to drive across the beginning of April 19 to visit my grandkids in Geraldton…First time ever driving Nullarbor and cannot wait…thanks again ?? Diana

  16. Brad says:

    Hi Claire,
    Good-on-ya for endeavouring the Eyre Hwy trip. And then writing about it to aid others.
    My wife and I are intending crossing east to west about early-ish in 2020. We’ll be 62 and 60 respectively.
    We’ve both travelled Australia (and overseas) quite extensively, but are planning an early semi-retirement, and a 12 month trip in a converted bus/motor-home (a 1991 MAN, being the 2nd bus I would have converted).
    Our current plan is to leave our Northern Rivers area (near Tweed Heads, NSW) late next year/2019, heading south for the summer, visiting friends around Tassie, cross to WA (where I’d lived for 8 years) to visit other friends, then head north around the top end over winter, and back down the east coast as summer again approaches. And we’ll use free camps wherever possible/feasible. The vehicle will be fully self-contained. We already have Wikicamps and are members of CMCA.
    My wife hasn’t yet travelled the Eyre Hwy, but has trekked central Australia in the months prior to our meeting in Nov 2002.
    My longest single road trip to date was having travelled 30,000 kms from Newcastle to Perth in 1986/1987 towing a home-made tandem-axle caravan, leaving it in Townsville to go up Cape York (from Weipa I saw my first sunset across the sea, before cutting across to the Wenlock River), then upon returning to Townsville I re-hitched the ‘van to head to 3-Ways, up to Darwin, to Humpty Doo and Kakadu… then continued west to Katherine Gorge, through the Kimberley region, up Shark Bay to Denham and Monkey Mia, and finishing in Perth 9 months later.
    Over the following 8 years I made countless trips around the South East corner… the Pinnacles (4 times, once by by Honda CB360), Augusta (3 times, by car and 1951 bus/motor-home), Albany (3 times, once by Honda CB360), Esperance (twice), Kalgoorlie (3-4 times), etc.
    I’ve travelled from Fremantle to Melbourne twice (needing to move 2 vehicles from west to east);
    In April 1995 via the Great Ocean Rd., in a 1951 AEC MkIII Regal bus/motor-home conversion (with 7 passengers and my dog, Possum… and a life-sized Dalek standing upright on the roof-rack looking a bit Priscilla style).
    And in Dec 1995, I flew back to Perth to drive my 1938 Austin A10 roadster utility over. This took 4 & 1/2 long days (approx. 12 hours driving each day), sleeping under the stars each night, wherever I’d found a suitable spot to stop.
    Both trips were fabulous, though I understand there will have been many changes along the way since then.
    Anyhow, I’ll gather more info in preparation for this next trip… just thought you may be interested in the above.
    I can send you some pics of previous trips across if you like.
    All the best with your on-going travels,
    Brad & Julie
    P.S. I don’t use Facebook or social media.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences! Wow, it sounds like you’ve seen a lot of Australia! How nice that you’re getting to experience it with youwr wife now as well. Have you been to Central Australia yet? It’s a really magical place. I love the top end as well, Kakadu, Katherine and of course the Kimberleys. I never made it up to Cape York but it’s top of my list for when I return to Australia.

      The start of your next trip is actually very similar to the start trip I did – I first left Byron Bay in Feburary 2017, then headed to Tasmania for 3 weeks, then after a brief stint in Melbourne headed west. The Nullarbor is just magical, isn’t it? It may have changed a lot since you were last there but I still very much enjoyed it – and I’m sure that you will do as well.

      Let me know if you have any questions, although it sounds like you know the land and road trip lifestyle very well! And yes, I would love to see some photos – you can reach me on [email protected].

      Speak soon and stay in touch!

      Best, Claire

  17. Alanna says:

    Would you say it is safe for a solo female traveler? I need to get my car out to WA!

    • Claire says:

      Yes fine for a solo female! I was with two friends but all the free campsites had people in – mainly grey nomads. I drove through the outback (Adelaide to Cairns) solo and it was great! 🙂

    • Linda says:

      Hi Alana
      I’m a solo female driving around Australia in an all electric car. Others have done it before me. Just take the usual precautions – lock you car, no visible valuables, carry your keys in your fist (makes a great knuckle duster), etc.
      Happy for you, or anyone to follow/comment on my blog https://tesla80daychallenge.home.blog/


      • Jennifer says:

        Claire, thanks for the great info. Thinking about doing this too as a solo female. Alana, if you made the trip, let me know how it went.

  18. Nasir says:

    Hi Claire,
    We hv arrived in Perth 3days ago from KL. Having this trip plan fews weeks ago, me and my wife will drive thru this challenging route tomorrow. As we speak, having read your reviews mskes us really appreciate the tips and key messages especially the safety tips.
    We plan to stop over at cockledilly for a rest before heading east towards melbourne.
    Thanks for the heads up and lets pray tjat everything would be goid especially festive season on christmas and new year comes in just couple of days…

    • Claire says:

      Hi Nasir, I’m glad that this post helped! Do let me know how you got on if you see this. Merry Christmas!

  19. Dane says:

    Hey Claire, Awesome story!
    I’m looking to travell alone from Melb to Perth.
    Just wondering. Do I have to worry about my own protection from animals or even other people at the camp sites just off the main road?
    Or maybe people stealing things of my ute?


    • Claire says:

      Hi Dane, glad you enjoyed it! You should be fine, there’s obviously snakes and spiders around but we didn’t see any of them, just obviously be careful when walking around at night. Don’t drive in the dark as that’s when there’s wildlife on the road. The people I met were all lovely, but you never know! If you’re on your own and sleeping in a tent maybe best to stay at free camp spots where there are some other campers – that’s what I’d do at least! I shouldn’t think people would steal anything off of your ute 🙂

  20. steve says:

    Hi, really enjoyed the post

    I am planning a trip like this soon myself, going from perth to adelaide then up to alice springs possibly.

    Can you remember how much you spent on fuel? and how long you actually took you to get from a to b etc? im planning on renting a car/van and going to campsites etc.

    sorry if you already covered this i could have missed it

    thanks for the info

    • Claire says:

      I’m glad it helped! Ahh I think maybe $1500 on fuel, I may be wrong on that though! Fuel is pricey in the outback, unfortunately! I’m going this off the fact that I spent $1000 on the West Coast and the Nullarbor was slightly longer. Definitely check out Coober Pedy if you make it up the Stuart Highway!

  21. Keren says:


    We are looking at travelling from Sydney to Perth this year 2019. We are 66 & 63yrs old., healthy, but don’t like camping.
    We are wanting to experience the great outback n visit a friend in Perth.

    Are there many toilet stop along the Nullabor? may seem a silly question.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Keren, there are some but not hundreds, of course every road house has them and there are some others at rest stops as well. Generally you should be ok by just stopping at road houses though! There are places to stay at all of the road houses as well so you don’t have to camp!

      • Keren Hart says:

        Hi Claire

        We set off on our WA Nullarbor trip on 2 sept ( 2 weeks time) taking 5 days to cross it, stopping at Cobar the first night then Peterborough, Ceduna Madura, Kalgoorlie staying 2 nights then Rockingham staying a week, after this we head down south to Margaret River, Esperance Albany then back up to Ceduna along Nullarbor again to SA/Vic along the great Ocean Rd taking our time and enjoying scenes, be away 6-8 weeks
        Finally it’s all come together, we are excited and looking forward to the experience.

      • Keren Hart says:


        Which town do you suggest we stop at on the Nullarbor coming from down south Experience heading to SA up the great Ocean Rd?


  22. Pete says:

    Hi..we’re abt to go across! Great post..thanks..has really helped. Going by campervan. Am looking forward to a…whole lot of nothing!! Great tips abt The Bight and various roadsigns..wish us luck! Any other camps u stayed at other than near bight? Cheers and happy travels Claire…Pete

  23. Angela Metcalfe says:

    Hi Claire,

    What a lovely read from you and really sound advice without it being teachy ( like a teacher explaining to children)
    My husband and I did this in November 2018 from Perth to Wagga Wagga in 3 days, no we weren’t silly but flew over to drive a car back that Chris had bought.

    We are going again in September 2019 and I cant wait, its absolutely stunning and I’m so looking forward to our stops and seeing the wonderful places and things we have on our doorstep. That is a very long doorstep none the less.

    Thanks again,

    • Claire says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment Angela! Enjoy your trip in September, I miss it a lot! Haha, the Nullarbor (and the rest of Australia) is more accessible than a lot of people think. I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  24. Lucy Furness says:

    Hi Clare
    I’m so glad I came across your page! My husband and I are about to do the drive from the Gold Coast to Mandurah and he’s determined to drive and tow his precious jet ski. I’ve been dubious about towing his precious cargo but have no choice.
    How do you think we will go with a JetSki in tow? Just in a Kia Sedona so nothing heavy duty or fancy. I’m feeling much more enthusiastic having read your blog, but still worried it’s a long trip. We can’t go to the supermarket without an argument so this’ll be fun ??‍♀️

  25. Helmut Hilz says:

    Hi there,
    Good and very informative posts on this site.
    I have crossed the Nulaboors 4 times, 73 unsealed the first time.
    Will do it again from Perth to Ceduna and back to participate in the 10 year anniversary of the longest Fairway in the world. I had enjoyed the first one 10 years ago. Will have a relative from Germany with me in a Campertrailer. I will be using free camp sites, as I always do in my travels. Planing a relaxing 3 days to get to Ceduna. It will be an eye opener for my brother in law!
    Just wonder if there is some one else planing the trip from Perth?
    Some of the comments on this site are pretty spot on!
    Don’t drive at night and change drivers every 2 hrs, disregarding if one feels tired or not. Have a look at the diversity in the plant life, go for a quick walk ( in good footwear) whilst you changing drivers.
    Safe travel to all

  26. Fred says:

    We crossed the Nullabor in 1973 in a yellow Mercedes Saloon. I was 13 years old. I remember every detail of our trip. I think my parents were crackers!


    Great story, I crossed the nullabor in the ’70,s on a motorbike (400cc) the trip was trouble free. A family group of us are going to drive across and back in April 2019. Thanks for your story.

  28. Peter Baehnisch says:


    Great stories. Can you give me the name of 24 hour fuel roadhouses on the Nullarbor please

  29. Mifsud Christopher says:

    Hi Claire,
    Planning a motorcycle trip across to Perth from Sydney,
    when is the best time of year to go
    Regards Chris

    • Claire says:

      I reckon early/ mid spring or mid-autumn is the best time – in the winter the nights will be very cold and in the summer the days will be scorching! There’s not that much rain any time of the year. I went in April and it was pretty perfect weather – we got rained on once but I think we were just unlucky.

  30. rey bresler says:

    rey from south africa, going to bucket list this and who knows. but on a bicycle…….. extimate 30 days of toughie

    • Claire says:

      You should read ‘The Man Who Cycled the World’, the Nullarbor was part of his bicycle trip!

  31. Ray says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the information and tips as my dear wife and I head off from Melbourne to Perth in about a weeks time.

  32. Lynn Kimber says:

    Great read and very informative. I’m driving across in a couple of months with friends and I found your article fantastic. It covered most of what I wanted to know! I’ll be passing it onto other friends who are travelling the road later in the year.

    • Claire says:

      Really glad it helped Lynn, thanks a lot for passing it on!

  33. Ankie says:

    Such a great blog about the Nullarbor, wauw!

    Me and my friend will drive this route this July and I have a quick question. At those campsites, is it also possible to park a van and sleep in the van? (just checking haha).


  34. Linda says:

    Thanks Claire.
    Reading this has made my decision to circumnavigate Australia in an all electric car less stressful.

    I’m in Darwin today, 21 May 2019, will be in
    Broome 02 June,
    Perth 15 June,
    Adelaide 01 July,
    Hobart 08 July,
    Melbourne 11 July,
    Katoomba 14 Juy,
    Byron Bay 17 July, last stop returning home
    Gold Coast 19 Jul.

    80 days all up.

    Happy for advice/encouragement on my (very poor) blog


  35. Ron says:

    Hey Claire well done.
    I’ve crossed from Melb to Perth three times and once from Perth to Melb.
    Not sure about your fuel stop at Nurd? Do you mean Nundroo?
    Keep up the good work.


    • Claire says:

      Hi Ron, haha whoops! Thanks for that correction and for commenting, I’m glad you enjoyed the post – four times crossing the Nullarbor is impressive!

  36. Jess says:

    Hi Claire,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together.
    I am a young female hoping to make this journey next year alone. I have been wanting to do it for forever but am scared to be honest, so doing a lot of reading to reassure myself that I’ll manage.
    One question is how long you took for the journey and how long you would recommend?
    I am planning on Perth>Port Augusta>Alice springs>Adelaide>Melbourne so perhaps not as direct a route as you but I would love to hear what you think having done it yourself.
    I thought I could do it in two weeks but it would be very tight with tiring myself and actually enjoying the experience so I thought three weeks would allow for more rest along the way.

  37. Kim says:

    Hi! Just wondering, how many hours does it take to drive across the malleable? I am planning a trip from Adelaide to Perth sometime this year.

  38. Zoe Farrell says:

    Hi Claire,
    We are hoping to do the Nullarbor next year. We are in a VW kombi and our main worry was petrol stations. Your post is very helpful for that. Thanks!
    Our next issues is the best time of year to go? The kombi doesn’t fair well in stifling heat. Any advice on the best month to do it in?

    • Claire says:

      Hi Zoe!
      I did it in April and it was great – the nights weren’t too cold and it didn’t get super hot in the day! It was a bit chillier in Esperance area (we got in the sea but it was cold!) but otherwise April was perfect.

  39. Eric says:

    Hi Claire, thanks for the story, I am a European guy that is planning to live in Australia part-time in the near future, I am used to drive fast and drive a lot, so the question is, is there any speed limit on Nullarbor? My idea is to go from Brisbane to Adelaide to Perth and return via the northern road from Perth to Darwin to Cairns, with all usual stops and stuff. Would it be a safe trip for a foreign couple in a new expensive SUV? Do you think we require some getting used to Australia before undertaking this trip? Thank you in advance for your insight

  40. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this great account Claire. My husband and I are about to drive this in November with our 3 kids. We’re flying to Perth to visit family and driving back to Melbourne. I did this trip a couple of times with my family from the age of about 8 in a Ford Falcon and I do remember a bit of backseat fighting with my siblings and plenty of are we there yet? In saying that we have twins who are 1 and a 3 year old, they love sleeping in the car and audio stories are a favourite of the 3 year old so we’re hoping it won’t be as tedious for them. We have planned a stop every couple of hours and have 7 days to complete the journey… I hope that’s enough!

  41. Andre says:

    I done this trip recently. Both ways. Very cool how you have put a website together. Technically the Nullarbor is from Norseman to Port Augusta but yes the Barron part is from Norseman to Ceduna.

    Couple more tips guys. Cheaper fuel are stops like Nundroo (dirt cheap), Eucla and Caiguna (still expensive but cheaper than the others).

    I had my animals with me and was unlucky to cop a 35 degree air temp AT NIGHT at border village with 10% humidity with 120km+ hot dry heat wave winds from the north.

    Absolutely horrible. Had to pack up tent and start driving again. Now my air con worked but I was in a Land Rover discover series 1 1996 300tdi diesel and towing a heavy trailer with wind resistance and the roof rack loaded up with more wind resistance. They do not like that kind of hot dry weather let me tell you. Yes I had the air con on. I had to travel in 3rd gear at 72kms an hour for the first few hours to get through that heat wave (no there’s nothing wrong with my vehicle apart from the fact that it’s a European vehicle made for cold cold cold with higher humidity weather).

    Secret, ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR TEMP GAUGE. If you vehicle temp starts to climb, don’t panic, slow down and drop it back a gear to take the load off the engine. 95km in 4th or 72km in third. That doesn’t mean over rev it either, you must also slow down. You do not want your engine working in a higher gear with a heavy load on pushing it to the max.

    Anyway I invested in some ROO whistles, travelled at night at a steady pace and did not have a single kangaroo step out in front ?. In saying that though be careful as there are wombats and camels and everything in the Nullarbor.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Andre, thanks a lot for adding to the conversation! It’s great to get more tips from other people who’ve done the trip as well. It sounds like you enjoyed the most part of your trip – apart from the weather of course!

  42. Erick Regnard says:

    Hi Claire,

    Hope that you are well, i’m traveling in my defender from Perth to Brisbane and thought of doing the Nullarbor trip and bring a couple of models with me to do a road trip kind of story (guy + girl) for a photoshoot.
    I’m trying to plan the trip well, where to stop and what to shoot at each location that is different then the other one, so i’m putting a well detailed plan together.

    One thing i notice you speak about passing the Head of the bight lookout and turning on the next road (which for me will be before) and if you are standing at the head of the bight and look west, you are supposed to see all the cliff, if you look east you will see the dunes but hence you’ve put a photo of yourself walking away from camera but you are looking east and you have cliffs instead of sand dunes, where was that photo taken? also i notice that there is a car at the back with a tent, are you able to camp on the spot there?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, regards,


  43. Anonymous says:

    I’ve driven west to east twice and let me tell you the views of the coast are breath taking during the day! The 1st time we drove by at night and it was so serene seeing the moon’s ray of light reflect off the ocean but the 2nd time, my goodness, it was utterly breath taking. I’m Australian by birth so I thought I knew how vast this country was but you truly do not feel how expansive Australia is until you’ve driven the Nullabor. All these tips are really helpful and for anyone who stumbles upon this article – TAKE NOTES. We forgot the aux cord for the car 1st time round, imagine listening to the same 6 cds for 3 days straight ?

  44. Sha says:

    Love this!!
    I’m planning on driving across, as you said in your article so many think it’s crazy to do that it has left me wondering whether it’s okay to do alone?

    What would your advise be about driving it alone as a female? A few people I’ve spoken to have recommended not to drive alone across it as a female, uncertain as to the reasons why though ?

    • Claire says:

      I drove from Adelaide to Cairns on my own, through the NSW and Queensland outback, and I was absolutely fine 😉 there are a lot less tourists on that route too. As long as you stick to campsites where there are other campers and I know I felt more comfortable sleeping in a locked car, I don’t see why you’d run into any issues! 🙂

  45. Bob Jennings says:

    What a great post, thank you Claire from US! If you have a moment I have an unusual question please. I drove a 1970 Plymouth Superbird Racecar 5,208 miles (about 9,000 km) from Louisville, KY in US to Fairbanks and then on to Whittier Alaska on the ALCAN a couple of years ago, and then south to Key West last summer, simply because everyone said only an idiot would do that, of which I apparently meet the qualifications. Many breakdowns on the gravel roads, 30,000 GoPro pictures and hundreds of the coolest people/animal encounters ever. Is the road totally navigable from Melbourne to Perth without 4 wheel drive? I don’t mind dirt, I don’t have A/C, I don’t care about music, I just want to drive this old beast where idiots do, and your comments on the NullArbor screamed my name! I can sleep in the car, I carry lots of parts for breakdowns, and will carry lots and lots of water and can go about 300km between fuel stops-I did it in the gravel of the Yukon, so I can do it in Australia.

    Sorry for the rambling. This would be done in Australia’s winter-probably July of this year (2020). Thanks for any advice.

  46. Rebecca Gardiner says:

    I’m looking at driving Bunbury WA to Melb towards the end of the year.
    What car insurance or roadside assistance would you recommend for a drive across?

  47. Charlene says:

    Hello Claire,
    Thankyou so much for your information it was great me and my partner are planning on doing this trip in three months time starting to plan it now I was a bit worried as we don’t have a four wheel drive just a small car but we’re going for it! I loved this thankyou! Ps did you see dingos ?

    • Claire says:

      Hello, you’ll be fine without a 4WD on the Nullarbor 🙂 Didn’t see any dingos here but did up in Queensland!

  48. Mell says:

    Great post. I have driven across the Nullabour twice now once from Perth to Adelaide with a friend. Then I did the drive on the way back on my own with my 2 dogs a couple of years later and I was perfectly safe as a solo female. Just keep your wits about you and you will be perfectly safe driving on your own and I felt safe the whole time only time I was a little nervous was actually in Port Augusta in SA at a caravan park but the Nullabour itself and along there no probs felt 100% safe. Also do what other say drive during the day and rest up at night. It is not worth driving at night with the amount of wildlife that is out and about. Plenty of places to stop and I stayed at a mixture of campsites and hotels and never had a problem getting in anywhere.

    • Claire says:

      Thanks for your additional tips Mell! I absolutely loved my trip over the Nullarbor! 🙂

  49. Rob says:

    Thanks for the info; lived in this country for 40 yrs and thought only mad people do this trip! But my daughter and hubby did this and loved it. So I’m up for it!

  50. Amy says:

    Hi Claire!

    I’m just wondering if you found pitching your tent OK? I have read that it’s very challenging to pitch a tent on the Nullabor and am wondering whether this is the best option.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Claire says:

      Hell, why did you read that it was challenging? Because of the wind? We found it ok generally, it was windy a couple of nights but never too bad. I actually slept in the car and my friends slept in the tent but they seemed to find it ok!

      • Amy says:

        Because the ground is very hard, apparently? I have no idea. I’ve just read it in a few places, and it gave me pause 🙂

        Glad to hear you don’t recall your friends battling for hours to get the pegs in, I guess! This is… apparently a thing? Other people have experienced? I have no idea.

        Thanks for your reply!

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