In The Bush
has been added to help
travellers make careful choices. Enjoy a magnificent experience,
for this is really one of the world's great road journeys, but
temper enthusiasm with great care. I have tried not to preach, but
please take this advice as it may well help you enjoy your trip
more, maybe even save your life.
Nullarbor is still a long, long, long drive
with limited facilities. No banking exists between Ceduna and Norseman,
ensure you have sufficient cash, as EFTPOS facilities may not be
available at all times. Norseman and Ceduna are the two towns at either
end and are about 1300km apart. Post Offices do not exist between these
towns. There are no Social Securities offices on the Nullarbor. The
only Police Station is at Eucla, there are no supermarkets, there are
no hospitals or doctors or chemists, there are no suburbs and there are
no traffic lights. Actually, there is not much at all! You are on your
own. If you travel with the young or old, make sure you have everything
- There is a quarantine checkpoint at the sa/wa border for
traffic coming into wa. If you have a prohibited item you will get
caught. if you have an illegal item you will be detained. if you have
fruit, you'd better be able to eat there. If you have dirt or animal
manure, be prepared to clean it off there (and you may have to unload
- There are limited repair facilities, towing is very
- The animal life can vary from apparently non-existent to
almost plague proportions. Driving at night is not recommended except
for experienced country drivers (and even then it's best avoided). I
don't recommend night driving unless absolutely necessary, and
certainly not without a bullbar and long distance driving lights are
essential. Kangaroos are really, really big on the Nullarbor. Ignore this
advice at your own peril. I used to travel
from Norseman to Border Village every week, so far I have seen camels,
kangaroos, emus, dingoes, wombats, cats, foxes, rabbits, Wedgetail
eagles, snakes, bob tailed lizards, crows and idiots! Every week at
least one extra vehicle is added to the long list of destruction!
- If you must travel at night SLOW
down. You may not even see the suicidal kangaroo that will destroy your
vehicle and strand you in the middle of nowhere. Slow down when
approaching another vehicle at night. If either one of you hits an
animal both vehicles may be involved. When you first see another
vehicle's lights directly in front, turn OFF your
spotlights. Dip your high beam when you can perceive two distinct
headlights (a good rule of thumb).
- In WA the 110km speed limit is the maximum you are allowed
travel, not your minimum target speed. Remember it is difficult to see
at dusk, which is when many animals start to move around.
- And yes the police DO
patrol the highway, so speeders will usually get caught. People doing
illegal things will end up with a free ride somewhere and maybe free
accommodation for a while. With only one road, there is nowhere to hide
- Whilst there are emergency facilities along the highway, if
you are in an accident it may be some time before help arrives.
Ambulance travel can be very expensive. The RFDS is usually required
for casualty evacuation. There are emergency telephones located on the
road. When you pass one note its location and how far from it you are
and which direction it is from you...you never know when you may need
to use it.
- Mobile phones do NOT work on the Nullarbor. There may be
coverage in South Australia and at Eucla, but between roadhouses and in
nearly 700km of WA there is NO coverage. Satellite phones may work.
Please understand you ARE travelling a
- Ensure you have sufficient water for your own use. Do not
expect the roadhouses to provide water for cleaning your car, they have
to provide their own water and it is expensive and in very short
supply. Do not drink water from taps unless you check first, some of it
is salty bore water.
Click this link to
see more about the
WHOLE Nullarbor experience
have a good time.
Now having said all that there are
some exciting things to see on the Nullarbor
- Spectacular cliffs (Check with the roadhouse about what
coastline is near them)
- Eucla Telegraph Station ruins (you can win a bet here,
because the exposed ruin is not actually the Telegraph Station, but the
Telegraph Master's Residence)
- Beaut beaches (sometimes a long drive from the main road,
but it'll be pretty quiet down there. Check at the roadhouses what's
available. Swim with care because there are big fish that eat humans in
- Caves (There are a number of caves, particularly around
Cocklebiddy and Eucla. Some on these caves are very big. Check with the
roadhouse for information. Take their advice about entry, some caving
in meant for experts)
- Blowholes (Caiguna has a blowhole on the south side of
the Eyre Highway about 5km west of the roadhouse)
- Rock outcrops and lonely graves (History records the
death of an Afghan, killed by whites when he was discovered washing his
feet in a waterhole. As with all culture clashes intolerance and
thoughtlessness by both parties had a tragic result. One man saw his
religious beliefs above what another man considered ordinary hygiene.
They each paid a penalty. Afghan Rocks is just east of Balladonia and
the grave is on the edge of the rocky outcrop, or so I believe).
- Fantastic and unusual wildlife (Keep you eyes open and
look carefully. Sometimes stopping for a for minutes and letting
yourself become used to the bush so you can see the animals standing
hidden amongst the scrub, probably keeping a wary eye on you.)
a vast area of Western Australia. It is very beautiful in a rugged sort
of way. The most comfortable time to see the Pilbara is in winter when
day time temperatures are pleasant. However, the summer time or wet
season is when most rain falls, and when waterfalls and creeks start to
If you look you will see
kangaroos, emus, snakes, wild donkeys (we don't have tame ones!),
camels, idiots who survived the Nullarbor, eagles and other birds of
prey, gorges, old air force bases, beautiful oases (plural of oasis),
fantastic rock outcrops, vast plains of spinifex, petroglyphs, bloody
big trains and even bigger mines.
the wet never ever camp in a creek or river bed, rain falling a 100km
away may well drown your experience.
- It is
very harsh in summer and you must always carry plenty of water. We have
to carry 10l per man per day for work!
spinifex is a pretty nasty grass. It was not called deadly triodia for
nothing, but other than being prickly, it often hides large venomous
snakes, including the king brown. Not all snakes are poisonous and one
nice looking snake is a python but is often thought to be a tiger snake
because of its stripes.
again many little towns have no mobile phone coverage, and few services.
Camping is not as
easy as around Norseman. You have to plan ahead and many times there
will be no firewood (fires are generally prohibited anyway, so use
caution). Because the good spots are so good, sometimes you will have
to share, especially the "icon" camp spots. If a local tells you of a
place, it is either well used or you have been given a rare gift of
some beauty. There are some abandonned homesteads, and if you visit one
remember the struggle of those who built them, and also please do not
vandalise them, as most people couldn't give a shit what date you were
there, but will remember you as a wanker if you scrawl your name!
Exploring the Pilbara does require a bit of planning, because the
distances are much bigger and you could easily miss something and find
it too far to go back.
Much of the advice for the Nullarbor applies equally well to the
Enjoy the bush!