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Nullarbor Plain

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The Nullarbor is a vast flat-topped plateau that stretches some 800 km and covers some 270,000 sq km. In fact the Nullarbor Plain is the world's largest limestone karst landscape, stretching some 2,000 km between the township of Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia. Two thirds of the Nullarbor lies in Western Australia, with the rest in South Australia.

As well as being very flat, vegetation is very sparse across this landscape, 'nulla arbor' means 'no tree'. Although the Nullarbor receives more rain than many regions in Australia, it is the underlying limestone, being so porous, gives the vegetation very little chance to benefit from any rain. However, this arid region is far from bereft of any plants, with bluebush, saltbush and other drought tolerant shrubs seen growing across the landscape. The region is also home to many species of wildlife such as the southern marsupial mole, the princess parrot and the Nullarbor Quailthrush.

This region is sometimes affectionately referred to as 'Nullar-boring', but for many people it is far from boring. Whilst beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, the Nullarbor often reveals unexpected things of interest.

Bordering the Nullarbor on the south are the magnificent Bunda Cliffs and the Great Australian Bight. To the north is the Great Victoria Desert. Indeed, this vast landscape is recognised internationally as an important natural and cultural resource, although at the time of writing, only 900,000 ha section of the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia has been officially declared a Wilderness Protection Area.

It is not uncommon for cold cloudy rain, but it is when the wind blows from the hot inland interior, that the temperatures soar across the glaring white limestone plains. It is after the flooding rains that the 'Plains' rollout the carpet of wildflowers, although grass fires struck by lightning, are also common, turning the 'Plains' black. Many parts of the limestone plain is bordered by deep rich loam to the west and the red deserts of the 'Centre'. At the head of the 'Bight', at its eastern edge, are vast coastal dunes that roll across the land, forming a rampart against the Southern Ocean.

One of the great mysteries of the Nullarbor is found far beneath the desolate flat surface. Here are found vast subterranean cave systems which support rivers, lakes and caverns, that stretch for kilometres. This vast subterranean world holds mummified and fossilised remains of animals from times long past. Due to their isolation and inaccessibility, many of the caverns and tunnels remaining unexplored and unmapped to this day. The Aboriginal 'Dreaming' legends tell of a great snake called 'Ganba' or 'Jeedara' who lived in the subterranean labyrinth. The sounds of his breathing can be heard in the strange gurgling which sometimes emanate from the subterranean blow holes of the plains.

There is evidence of ancient tribes that date back some 24,000 years into a time when places such as the Koonalda caves were prized for their permanent water and their deposits of flint stone used in the making of ancient tools.

The Nullarbor Plain is one of the lowest populated areas in Australia. There are no towns located in the region, just a few small settlements that provide services to travellers along the single road.

To travel across the 'Nullarbor' is a journey into a timeless and unforgettable land. For some Australian's, it is something that they want to do once in their lifetime.

Nullarbor Plain Attractions

Nullarbor Plain Drive
'Crossing the Nullarbor' is one of those iconic Aussie road trips that for many Australian's, is something that they must do once in their lifetime. This journey into and across a timeless and unforgettable land, takes you through small fishing villages, remote roadhouses and along lonely stretches of highway.

Your starting point can be almost anywhere in South Australia such as Port Lincoln, although many start their trip from either Port Augusta, where the Eyre Highway starts or Ceduna. Koonibba is a little over 40 km northwest of Ceduna. As you continue west along the Eyre Highway, you pass the Wirangu Community of Scotdesco and through the Nullarbor National Park, crossing the Western Australia border.

Border Village on the border is the gateway to Western Australia and South Australia. The Border Village Roadhouse provides good modern amenities. There are accommodation, licensed bar and restaurant facilities. Eucla on the WA side of the border is one of the most remote townships in Australia.

As you continue west, you can visit the Eyre Bird Observatory. This scientific and recreational facility is a research station, weather bureau, museum and bed and breakfast, all located in the old telegraph station. Cocklebiddy Roadhouse is about 50 km to the northwest of the research facility. From Cocklebiddy, the drive to Balladonia takes in a well known section of the Nullarbor Drive known as the "90 mile straight", a perfectly straight stretch of road that goes for 146 km. Continuing west you pass the Fraser Range Station. This pastoral station is some half a million hectares in size and only 160 km long. From here you finally reach Norseman, which is the end of the Eyre Highway.
Nullarbor Links
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• The world's longest golf course is here in Australia. This 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres with one hole in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway, from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. Each hole includes a green and tee and somewhat rugged outback-style natural terrain fairway. The course provides a quintessential Australian experience and something you can boast to your friends about...
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