Well, this is where the going gets good.
Having to pull away from my beloved Barossa Valley (I’m still working on the wine + cheese I bought there, and I’ve since also added some specialty honey and home-grown olives to my loot from Denmark – but I’ll get to that later).
So anyways, leaving behind wine country it was time to make our way back to land of sand and sun, which is exactly what we found!
Day 1 | Drive from Barossa to Port Augusta
Admittedly, there is nothing here worth writing home about. It was purely a functional stop for us to get some rest for one night as we continued on our journey, BUT I’ve heard that if you go further down to Port Lincoln it’s a great little oyster town. Our journey was only 3 hours, so we didn’t want to add the additional 10 it would have taken (5 up, 5 back) to go down to Port Lincoln, so this was it for us. C’est la vie.
Day 2 | Drive from Port Augusta to Ceduna
This was another functional stop but WAY better than the previous. We stayed right on the water-front and the blue crab fishing was ample. Time and time again, fishermen, women and their children would pull up a solid loot for a delicious, fresh-caught dinner.
We were faced with the longest haul of our drive the next day (14-15 hours in one go – eesh), so it was a buffet dinner at the hotel and straight to bed for us that night after a walk along the pier.
Day 3 | Drive from Ceduna to Esperance
Of course this doesn’t have to be done in this mammoth drive, but resources are slim along the route of the Nullabor, so we opted to just buckle down, wake up at 4AM and hit the dusty trail. Definitely pack and prepare wisely if you’d rather camp out along the way because the places for rest are a bit few and far between. We stocked up on extra fuel as well since the prices are STEEP along the way, so I’d suggest getting a jerrycan or two of the lesser expensive stuff before trekking across the Nullabor.
The main attraction along this part of the drive is the Nullabor itself – with plunging cliffs and stunning views at the coastline. It feels like you’re driving along the edge of the earth, and rightly so as you are in fact driving (closely) to the edge of Australia. It’s completely flat, almost treeless and something I would liken to perhaps driving through Saskatchewan (sans ocean and jutting cliffs) for any Canucks reading this. And also except maybe for this:
Part of the journey includes Australia’s longest stretch of straight road for a full 90 miles (146KM) which I drove myself! Literally there is not a single bend, so you have to try to stay awake, but sitting on cruise-control with the windows down and country tunes on blast – I was well equipped to make it through, no troubles.
Once you pass into West Australia, you can jump down to see the Eucla Sand Dunes which are really quite tall and vast! And if you have a 4WD vehicle, make sure you hit the Bunda Cliffs before crossing the border (they’re about 5-6KM before the border check point).
I should also note, when you cross the border to Western Australian (eat your fruits, veggies, nuts + honey before you cross because they will get tossed), you gain 3 hours! So although we were driving for 15(ish), it didn’t hurt so much when after driving for 7 hours, it became 8AM again, haha.
But back to the Bunda Cliffs: for those of you, like us, who didn’t have 4WD, we hit a beautiful stretch of the Nullabor cliffs quite early-on at an unmarked look-out point/camp-grounds. It was maybe about 20-25KM from the Whale’s Tale Tavern/Nullabor Roadhouse but don’t quote me on that distance. Look for a y-shaped path on the left-hand side, and follow the red dirt path down the clearing. You’ll be met with this:
Overall, we made it quite easily in 15 hours with stops, and of course two drivers. We only clipped one Kangaroo along the early dawn drive (I wish I was kidding, but don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he was okay), so make sure if you do this you stay alert during those active wildlife hours.
Finally we hit our promised land, Esperance, and I will say this: it shouldn’t matter how you get here, or what route you take, but find your way as you definitely won’t regret it. More on that here.