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If you’re planning a road trip from Perth to Adelaide along the south coast of Australia, crossing the Nullarbor Plain is going to be an inevitable part of your journey.

Driving the Nullarbor takes two to three days, and there is little to see on the Eyre Highway apart from Nullarbor roadhouses. However, a Nullarbor road trip is a unique experience that allows you to appreciate just how vast and uninhibited much of Australia really is.

I experienced driving across the Nullarbor on my five-week Perth to Adelaide road trip. After enjoying the ancient forests and bright white beaches of Western Australia, including a few rainy days exploring Esperance, we headed inland to begin our journey from Norseman to Ceduna.

I’ve used my experience to write this comprehensive guide to driving the Nullarbor Plain. It includes Nullarbor accommodation and the best overnight stops on the Nullarbor, including free camping, caravan parks and roadhouses.

You can also use this post to plan visits to Nullarbor petrol stations and which things to see on your road trip. Read on to learn more!

Crossing the Nullarbor Plain: Table of Contents

Nullarbor Car Hire

Make sure you find the best price for car hire by using Kayak as a starting point. They compare hundreds of car hire sites to save you hours of research.

>> Click here to compare car hire prices and book your rental car <<

Roadhouses on the Nullarbor: Petrol Stations

Roadhouses on the Nullarbor are where you’ll find petrol stations, as well as overnight accommodation and cafes or restaurants. Use the list of roadhouses below to plan your fuel stops on the Nullarbor .

Since there are very long distances between Nullarbor roadhouses, with nothing in between, it’s crucial to know where to find petrol stations on the Nullarbor.

Make sure you carry a full jerry can of petrol when you’re crossing the Nullarbor, just in case you run out of fuel.

Most Nullarbor roadhouses have motel accommodation and a caravan park, as well as a restaurant, shop and sometimes coin-operated showers.

Here is a list of roadhouses across the Nullarbor where you can fill up on petrol, along with the distances between them.

  • Norseman Roadhouse: 205km from Esperance (2 hours, 10 mins)
  • Balladonia Roadhouse: 218km from Norseman (2 hours 15 mins)
  • Caiguna Roadhouse: 153km from Balladonia (1 hour 30 mins)
  • Cocklebiddy Roadhouse: 66km from Caiguna (40 mins)
  • Madura Roadhouse: 91km from Cocklebiddy (55 mins)
  • Mundrabilla Roadhouse: 116km from Madura (1 hour 10 mins)
  • Eucla Roadhouse: 65km from Mundrabilla (40 mins)
  • Border Village Roadhouse: 41km from Eucla (30 mins)
  • Nullarbor Roadhouse: 184km from Border Village (1 hour 55 mins)
  • Nundroo Roadhouse: 144km from Nullarbor (1 hour 30 mins)
  • Penong Roadhouse: 79km from Nundroo (50 mins)
  • Ceduna Roadhouse: 72km from Penong (50 mins)

The price of fuel on the Nullarbor is more expensive than in the surrounding towns, unfortunately. We paid around 50% more for fuel on the Nullabor than in Esperance and southwest Australia.

We did meet a couple in Albany who’d recently crossed the Nullarbor and told us the cheapest places to get petrol. The prices had totally changed when we did the journey just a few weeks later though. So, I don’t think particular roadhouses will be consistently cheaper than others.

Comparison of Nullarbor Accommodation

There is plenty of accommodation on the Nullarbor, including motels, caravan parks, camping grounds and free camping areas.

If you want to stay at caravan parks or motels on the Nullarbor, I recommend booking in advance. There are long distances between each accommodation and limited rooms, so you may be spending a night in your car if they are fully booked!

If you’re travelling with dogs or other pets, some motels offer pet-friendly accommodation on the Nullarbor Plain.

Check the accommodation across the Nullarbor table below, where I’ve marked yes or no in the pet-friendly column. Alternatively, read through the details in the best overnight stops on the Nullarbor section.

Make sure you check with the accommodation provider beforehand whether they are pet friendly or not, as some only have limited rooms that you need to book in advance.

Here is a list of Nullarbor hotels, motels and caravan parks, with links or phone numbers to book. Scroll across to see all the columns and booking links.

NameGoogle Rating (max 5)Motel RoomsDormsCaravan ParkPet-Friendly MotelRestaurantPoolBook
Great Western Motel Norseman3.8YesNoNoYesYesYesClick Here
Balladonia Hotel Motel3.6YesYesYesNoYesYesClick Here
John Eyre Motel (Caiguna)3.0YesNoYesNoYesNoCall: (08) 9039 3459
Cocklebiddy’s Wedgetail Hotel4.1YesNoYesNoYesNoCall: (08) 9039 3462
Madura Pass Oasis3.9YesNoNoNoYesNoCall: (08) 9039 3464
Mundrabilla Roadhouse4.0YesNoYesYesYesNoClick Here
The Eucla Motel3.8YesNoYesYesYesYesClick Here
Border Village Roadhouse3.9YesNoYesYesYesYesClick Here
Nullarbor Roadhouse4.1YesNoYesYesYesNoClick Here
Nundroo Hotel-Motel3.2YesYesYesNoNoYesClick Here
Penong Caravan Park4.6NoNoYesYesNoNoClick Here
Highway One Motel (Ceduna)4.8YesNoNoNoNoNoClick Here

Best Overnight Stops on Nullarbor (Motels & Caravan Parks)

Read more details about the location and facilities available at each motel and caravan park accommodation on the Nullarbor Plain below.

If you’re brave enough to try Nullarbor camping like we did, head to the free camping on the Nullarbor section! I’ve listed all of the free camps that we stayed at with details of facilities.

1. Great Western Motel Norseman

Great Western Motel Norseman has ensuite rooms and apartments and a rating of 3.8 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Corner Prinsep and McIvor St, Norseman, WA 6443

Click here to check prices at Great Western Motel Norseman

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (double, twin, queen and family (some pet friendly) with a/c, TV, desk, free Wi-Fi, fridge and kettle)
  • Apartments (sleep up to 4 people with motel room facilities plus kitchenette and seating area)

Site Facilities:

  • Swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Garden
  • BBQs

2. Balladonia Caravan Park & Hotel Motel

Balladonia Hotel Motel and Caravan Park has a rating of 3.6 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Balladonia Hotel Motel, Eyre Highway, Balladonia, WA 6443

Click here to check availability at Balladonia Hotel Motel

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (double, suite and family with a/c, heating, TV, fridge and kettle)
  • Backpacker dorms and kitchen
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)

Site Facilities:

  • Underground swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • BBQs and outdoor entertainment area
  • Children’s playground
  • Shop
  • Fuel

3. Caiguna Accommodation: John Eyre Motel & Caravan Park

Caiguna accommodation is the John Eyre Motel and Caravan Park, which has a rating of 3.0 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Mile Peg, 232 Eyre Highway, Caiguna, WA 6443

Call John Eyre Motel to check availability: (08) 9039 3459.

Accommodation Type:

  • Motel rooms (single, twin and double)
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)
  • Camping ground

Site Facilities:

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Children’s playground
  • Fuel

4. Cocklebiddy Caravan Park & Wedgetail Hotel

Cocklebiddy Caravan Park and Wedgetail Hotel has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Eyre Highway, Cocklebiddy, WA 6443

Call Cocklebiddy’s Wedgetail Hotel to check availability: (08) 9039 3462.

Accommodation Type:

  • Motel rooms (single, double, triple or family up to 6 people)
  • Caravan park

Site Facilities:

  • Restaurant
  • Cafe
  • Pool table
  • Dart board
  • Fuel
Cocklebiddy’s Wedgetail Hotel accommodation

5. Madura Pass Oasis Motel

Madura Pass Oasis Motel has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Call Madura Pass Oasis to check availability: (08) 9039 3464.

Accommodation Type:

  • Motel rooms (with a/c and free Wi-Fi)

Site Facilities:

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Fuel

6. Mundrabilla Roadhouse Motel & Caravan Park

Mundrabilla Roadhouse Motel and Caravan Park has a rating of 4.0 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Mundrabilla Roadhouse, Eyre Highway, Mundrabilla, WA 6443

Click here to check prices at Mundrabilla Roadhouse.

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (single, double, group and family (some pet friendly) with a/c, fridge, kettle, TV and free Wi-Fi)
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)

Site Facilities:

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Fuel

7. Eucla Caravan Park & Motel

The Eucla Motel and Caravan Park has a rating of 3.8 out of 5 on Google reviews. There are a few things to see in Eucla, such as the sand dunes, as well as great views.

Address: The Eucla Motel, Eyre Highway, Eucla, Western Australia, 6443.

Click here to check availability at The Eucla Motel.

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (double and family (some pet friendly) with a/c, heating, TV, fridge and kettle)
  • Executive motel rooms (sleep two, includes motel room facilities plus sofa, kitchenette and indoor and outdoor seating area)
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)

Site Facilities:

  • Swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Outdoor deck with views to the Australian Bight
  • Fuel
Swimming pool at Eucla Roadhouse, accommodation on the Nullarbor.
The swimming pool and sea views at Eucla Motor Hotel

8. Border Village Roadhouse (Motel & Caravan Park)

Border Village Roadhouse is a motel, camping and caravan park located at the border of WA and SA. It has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Border Village Roadhouse, Eyre Highway, Border Village, South Australia, 5690.

Click to check availability at Border Village Roadhouse.

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (single, double, queen and family (some pet friendly) with TV, a/c, fridge, kettle and free Wi-Fi)
  • Cabins (two bedrooms sleeping up to 6 people & kitchenette)
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)
  • Camping ground

Site Facilities:

  • Swimming pool
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Shop
  • Games room
  • Laundry
  • Fuel

9. Nullarbor Roadhouse Motel & Caravan Park

Nullarbor Roadhouse has a motel, camping and caravan park with a rating of 4.1 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Nullarbor Roadhouse, Eyre Highway, South Australia, 5690.

Click here to check motel room availability at Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (sleeping up to 6 people, pet friendly with a/c, heating, TV, desk, kettle and free Wi-Fi)
  • Caravan park (powered and unpowered sites)
  • Camping ground

Site Facilities:

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Free parking
  • Laundry
  • ATM
  • Fuel
Nullarbor Roadhouse accommodation and fuel stop.
Nullarbor Roadhouse Motel

10. Nundroo Hotel-Motel

Nundroo Hotel-Motel has motel rooms, dorms and a caravan park with a rating of 3.2 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: Nundroo Hotel-Motel, Eyre Highway, South Australia, 5690.

Click here to check availability at Nundroo Hotel Motel.

Accommodation Type:

  • Motel rooms (ensuite double and twin with a/c, TV, kettle, fridge and Wi-Fi)
  • Backpacker dorms
  • Caravan park

Site facilities:

  • Swimming pool
  • Kiosk
  • Shop
  • ATM
  • Fuel

11. Penong Caravan Park

Penong Caravan Park has cabins and caravan sites and a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: 4 Stiggants Road, Penong, SA 5690

Click here to check availability at Penong Caravan Park.

Accommodation Type:

  • Caravan park (pet friendly powered and unpowered sites)
  • Cabins (ensuite with 1 or 2 bedrooms and full kitchen)

Site facilities:

  • Laundry
  • Entertaining area

12. Highway One Motel (Ceduna)

Highway One Motel in Ceduna has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Google reviews.

Address: 35 Eyre Highway, Ceduna, SA 5690

Click here to check availability at Highway One Motel.

Accommodation Type:

  • Ensuite motel rooms (double, twin and family with a/c, heating, TV, kettle, microwave, fridge, toaster and free Wi-Fi.

Site facilities:

  • Beachfront location
  • Laundry

Browse more Ceduna accommodation using the search box below:

Free Camping on the Nullarbor

Here are the free camping Nullarbor spots that we stayed at on our road trip. Most free camps don’t have bathrooms, but lots of the roadhouses have coin-operated showers.

Note that the ground was very hard on the Nullarbor, and it was difficult to get pegs into the ground. We didn’t see many other people in tents!

1. Free Camping Nullarbor: Baxter Rest Area

We had our first overnight stop 114km east of Balladonia, at a free camping spot called Baxter Rest Area.

The free camp was very basic, with just a few picnic tables and a toilet. If you’re self-sufficient though, and have your own water and food, it’ll save you a few dollars.

We stayed at Baxter Rest free camp in summertime, and only one other group of people arrived! It was extremely quiet!

The entrance to Baxter Rest Area in Caiguna

Baxter rest Area was by far the most remote place we’d camped at on our Perth to Adelaide adventure. It was very weird to see absolutely nothing in all directions!

Setting up our camping spot at Baxter Rest Area

We even recovered from our long day in the car with a bit of a workout in the outback! Definitely not something I’d done before!

Off for a jog in outback Australia!

2. Free Camping Nullarbor: Bunda Cliffs, Great Australian Bight

There are quite a few marked camping areas along Bunda Cliffs, just east of Border Village, on the southern side of the highway.

There’s a series of fantastic lookouts here, over the 80-metre high Nullarbor Cliffs at the Great Australian Bight. Looking out over Bunda Cliffs was one of my favourite things to do on the Nullarbor. Sunset was amazing!

Isolated camping at Bunda Cliffs

While free camping across the Nullarbor saved us money, we weren’t expecting there to be no toilets at the Bunda Cliffs campsite! Most of the greenery only came up to our knees, which wasn’t too bad in the dark, but come the morning I had to walk right over to the cliffs to find a bit of privacy!

The ground was extremely rocky, which wasn’t ideal for tent camping. Perfect if you’re in a campervan or caravan though, like everyone else was!

Sunset at Bunda Cliffs
Breakfast with a view

3. Free Camping Across Nullarbor : Wittelbee Conservation Park

We decided to save money again and bush camp in Ceduna, at Wittelbee Conservation Park. Although the view was beautiful, I’ll admit Wittelbee was the final straw for me in terms of bush camping!

Wittelbee Conservation Park and camping ground.
Stunning view at Wittelbee Conservation Area

The first annoyance was getting stung by a mystery insect whilst rummaging round in the tent in the dark. There was nobody else staying at the camping ground at all, and it was a very isolated spot.

The sting was unbelievably painful, much worse than a wasp sting, and I had to run to the car, which Michi was inside, and sit and wait until it subsided, hoping it was nothing serious!

We then had to attempt to search for the mystery insect inside the dark tent, and shake out our sleeping bags etc.

Michi thought he saw a bull ant (the most likely culprit, as their stings are mega painful and we saw loads across the Nullarbor), but we just had to hope there wasn’t one still in there.

Bull ant in the Australian outback.
A picture of a bull ant that I took at Baxter Rest Area. They grab with the pincers and sting with the bum!

It was also the second night in a row that we had no toilet. (We weren’t aware this would be the case when choosing the site.) Skulking off in opposite directions in the morning, surrounded by flies in searing heat was an experience neither of us wish to remember.

A tent in the wilderness whilst crossing the Nullarbor Plain, Australia.
Slight misjudgement of the porch size when pitching the tent!

The final straw was finding a huge hairy huntsman spider on the car as we were about to leave. They’re not dangerous, but not what you want to see after three long days in the car!

We only stayed in caravan parks on our way to Adelaide after crossing the Nullarbor!

Hairy huntsman spider on a car in South Australia.
Yes, this is my own picture of the actual huntsman spider on our car in Wittelbee!

Travelling the Nullarbor: Attractions & Things to Do

Now we’ve covered accommodation and fuel stops, here is what you can see on each section as you drive across the Nullarbor. I’ve listed the facilities at each roadhouse as well as other Nullarbor attractions.

1. Esperance to Norseman

The first stop at the western end of the Nullarbor is Norseman. Since Norseman to Perth is an 8-hour drive (722km), you’ll likely have at least one overnight stop in between if you’re not in a rush.

We spent a few days exploring beautiful Esperance before heading inland towards Norseman to start crossing the Nullarbor.

Norseman is a proper town, not just a roadhouse, so it’s here you’ll wave goodbye to “normal” life! If you need a lunch break, stop at Phoenix Park on the main road like we did. There are toilets and a few interesting things to look at in the park.

Phoenix Park in Norseman

Facilities in Norseman

  • Petrol stations, IGA supermarket, visitor centre, public swimming pool, motels.


  • Perth to Norseman: 722km – 8 hours
  • Esperance to Norseman: 205km – 3 hours

2. Norseman to Balladonia

You’ve now got a two-hour drive from Norseman to Balladonia, the tiny Western Australian settlement where pieces of a rogue NASA space station called Skylab came crashing down in 1979!

You can learn more about the Skylab incident, as well as information about the area, at the Balladonia Museum, which is located at Balladonia Roadhouse.

On the way to Balladonia, you can also stop at Fraser Range Station, about 100km east of Norseman. You can go on walks or take a tour of the station.

Facilities at Balladonia Roadhouse

  • Balladonia BP Roadhouse: fuel, shop and cafeteria.
  • Balladonia Museum: free to enter.


  • Norseman to Balladonia: 191km – 2 hours

3. Balladonia to Caiguna

After stopping for fuel at Balladonia caravan park and motel, you can stop at Afghan Rocks. This is 14km east of Balladonia, before the “90 Mile Straight”, Australia’s longest straight road!

One of the classic Nullarbor attractions is the sign for the 90 Mile Straight. Make sure you pull over here and take your “We’ve crossed the Nullarbor!” picture like we did!

A two-hour drive east of Balladonia is Caiguna Roadhouse. Here, you should visit the Caiguna Blowhole, just 5 kilometres to the west.

The classic sign for Australia’s “90 Mile Straight”

Facilities at Caiguna Roadhouse

  • Caiguna BP Roadhouse: 24-hour fuel & fast food, playground.


  • Balladonia to Caiguna: 181km – 1 hour 50 minutes

4. Caiguna to Cocklebiddy

It’s only another 40 minutes east of Caiguna to Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, which is where we stopped to refuel and have a break. You can stay overnight here at the Wedgetail Inn or the caravan park.

A Nullarbor attraction in this area is the Eyre Bird Observatory, 50km south-east of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, which is the most remote research station in Australia.

You can visit for the day or stay overnight in the Old Telegraph Building. Read the website carefully, as there are restrictions on types of vehicles because of the roads.

Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

The sign below shows just how isolated the roadhouse owners are, living out on the Nullarbor! Let’s hope they like kangaroos!

Facilities at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse

  • Cocklebiddy Roadhouse: fuel, takeaway food, restaurant, licensed bar, playground.


  • Caiguna to Cocklebiddy: 66km – 40 minutes

5. Cocklebiddy to Madura

At the base of the Hampton Tablelands, an hour east of Cocklebiddy and just over an hour west of Mundrabilla is Madura Roadhouse, where you can refuel, refresh and stay overnight at Madura Pass Oasis motel or the camping and caravan park.

About 2km west of Madura Roadhouse you can pull over at Madura Pass lookout (on the north side of the highway) to admire the sweeping view across the Roe Plains and Madura Pass.

Madura Pass lookout – just pull into the turn-off on the north side of the highway

Facilities at Madura Roadhouse

  • Madura Roadhouse: takeaway food, bar, fuel.


  • Cocklebiddy to Madura: 91km – 1 hour
Sweeping views across the Roe Plains from Madura Pass lookout

6. Madura to Mundrabilla

Just over an hour east of Madura Roadhouse is Mundrabilla Roadhouse, which has a motel, caravan park, and according to its website, a reputation for being one of the cheaper places to buy fuel across the Nullarbor.

Mundrabilla Roadhouse

Facilities at Mundrabilla Roadhouse

  • Mundrabilla Roadhouse: home-cooked meals, fast food, bar, shop, ATM


  • Madura to Mundrabilla: 116km – 1 hour 10 mins

7. Mundrabilla to Eucla

As you can see, Eucla Roadhouse, 40 minutes east of Mundrabilla, is one of the more modern roadhouses across the Nullarbor.

Eucla Roadhouse & Motel

There’s a bit more to see around Eucla than at most of the other roadhouses across the Nullarbor. You can take a look at the buried telegraph station and sand dunes now that you’re by the sea!

The buried Eucla telegraph station
Buried ruins of an old telegraph station in Eucla, an attraction to see when crossing the Nullarbor Plain.
Tasteful artwork on the Eucla telegraph station!
Exploring the sand dunes at Eucla

Facilities at Eucla Roadhouse

  • Eucla Roadhouse: takeaway food, fuel, museum, playground


  • Mundrabillato Eucla: 65km – 40 mins

8. Eucla to Border Village

Half an hour east of Eucla, at the checkpoint between Western Australia and South Australia, is Border Village Roadhouse. There’s a variety of accommodation types on offer here.

South Australia sign at the border on the Nullarbor.
Crossing the border between WA and SA

Facilities at Border Village Roadhouse

  • Fuel, store (groceries & souvenirs), restaurant.


  • Eucla to Border Village: 41km – 30 mins

Note that there are quarantine restrictions between WA and SA, so we stopped at a rest area on the way and cooked all our vegetables (to eat later on) as we’d been told we couldn’t take raw fruit and veg across the border.

Visit the Australian Interstate Quarantine website for details on what you can take in and out of each state.

Travel blogger Lisa Bull washing up on the road whilst crossing the Nullarbor Plain, Australia.
And… this is how you wash up when you’re living on the road! Glam, isn’t it?

Note that if you’re travelling east like we were, your quarantine checkpoint is actually at Ceduna, not Border Village (see the picture below). So we didn’t need to cook everything before crossing the border after all!

If you’re travelling west, you will be stopped for a quarantine check about 50 metres west of Border Village Roadhouse.

Note that the quarantine check in Ceduna just consisted of an officer poking around in our car boot. It wasn’t massively thorough, but obviously you should stick to the rules as there are reasons for them!

Travelling east into South Australia – note the red sign on the left saying that you do not need to stop here.

9. Border Village to Nullarbor Roadhouse

To the east of Border Village, on the southern side of the highway, are a series of lookouts to view the magnificent 80-metre high Bunda Cliffs at the Great Australian Bight.

We chose to camp in this area, but if you’re passing on through, you should definitely stop for a look.

You can also pay to go to the visitor centre at the Head of Bight, where you can whale watch from a viewing platform between May and October. There’s also a café, picnic area and toilets.

Nullarbor Roadhouse, two hours east of Border Village, is one of the nicer roadhouses. Although we didn’t plan it, we ended up spending ages here, as we stopped for a coffee and a shower.

The accommodation at Nullarbor Roadhouse has lots of options too.

Festive whale at Nullarbor Roadhouse!
A bicycle from 1962 belongong to the first person to cycle across the Nullarbor Plain.
Yes, someone actually cycled across the Nullarbor on this, with no gears and what looks like a very uncomfortable saddle! (Glad they wore a helmet though.)

Facilities at Nullarbor Roadhouse

  • Nullarbor Roadhouse: fuel, shop, café, bar.


  • Border Village to Nullarbor Roadhouse: 184km – 1 hour 55 mins

10. Nullarbor Roadhouse to Nundroo

An hour and a half east of Nullarbor Roadhouse is Nundroo Roadhouse, which offers overnight accommodation.

Facilities at Nundroo Roadhouse

  • Nundroo Roadhouse: fuel, kiosk, shop, ATM.


  • Nullarbor Roadhouse to Nundroo: 144km – 1 hour 30 mins

11. Nundroo to Penong

Penong is a dusty, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it settlement about an hour west of Nundroo, where you’ll find the Penong Hotel as well as fuel and a few shops.

Facilities in Penong

  • Town: general store, post office, laundromat.
  • Penong Roadhouse: fuel, fast food.


  • Nundroo to Penong: 82km – 50 mins

12. Penong to Ceduna 

If you’re crossing the Nullarbor from west to east, it’s here you will finish your 1,202km journey from Norseman to Ceduna! Travelling from Penong to Ceduna takes just under an hour.

After three days of staring out at endless plains of nothingness, it felt extremely weird to reach Ceduna and see an actual town, and kind of a relief!

Ceduna is still quite isolated, lying on the eastern edge of the Great Australian Bight at scenic Murat Bay, but it does have houses and schools and shops and people – around 3,500 of them!

Ceduna also has a thriving oyster industry, dry salt lakes, wildflowers, secluded beaches and the chance to snorkel or scuba dive along the coastline.


  • Penong to Ceduna: 72km – 50 mins

Nullarbor Plain Facts & Tips

Here are some important facts to learn before crossing the Nullarbor!

What is the Nullarbor Plain?

The Nullarbor Plain is a semi-arid area of limestone bedrock between Perth and Adelaide on the southern coast of Australia, covering 200,000 square kilometres. The name Nullarbor comes from the latin words “nullus”, meaning no, and “arbor”, meaning tree.

Beneath the limestone lies a vast system of unexplored caves and underwater labryrinths, which together with the rough, bumpy surface is known as a “karst” landscape.

I must say, I saw a lot more trees than I expected on my journey! However, the Nullarbor is still a whole lot of nothing compared to the more populated parts of Australia. It is also home to the world’s longest golf course, the Nullarbor Links!

Bunda Cliffs, a free camping ground when crossing the Nullarbor Plain.
My camping spot at Bunda Cliffs on the Great Australian Bight. No holiday resorts here!

How long is the Nullarbor?

The distance from Norseman to Ceduna across the Nullarbor Plain is 1,202km, which takes about 12 hours 20 minutes to drive.

Since you’ll likely be starting or ending in Esperance (the nearest large coastal town to Norseman), you’ll need to add on another couple of hours. The distance from Esperance to Ceduna is 1,406km, which takes around 14 hours and 30 minutes to drive.

We split the journey over three days, with two overnight stops bush camping on the Nullarbor Plain, at Baxter Rest Area and Bunda Cliffs, and one night at Wittelbee Conservation Park in Ceduna at the end.

How do you travel across the Nullarbor?

You could cross the Nullarbor Plain by bus tour or by train on the Indian Pacific railway journey that runs all the way from Perth to Sydney. This blog post will help you plan a self-drive itinerary if you’re travelling by car, campervan or motorbike.

Where to stay when crossing the Nullarbor Plain – free camping and caravan stops

If you want to go camping on the Nullarbor, there are lots of free camping sites, but note that they are really basic! Some don’t even have toilets!

You can use an app called Wikicamps to find campsites all around Australia (I didn’t use this, but have read great reviews), or just use Google.

I would plan your Nullarbor camping grounds in advance, as you won’t always have a phone signal and internet access!

We chose to camp in our tent at free campsites and rest areas along the Nullarbor.

I must say, we were the only people I saw tent camping – everyone else was in caravans or campervans.

Due to the hard limestone ground, it was extremely difficult to get tent pegs in. It took my travel mate about an hour to hammer them all in each time. There’s no way I’d have been strong enough to do it by myself.

You might have an easier time camping at the roadhouses if you’re staying in a tent.

Rocky ground beneath our tent at Bunda Cliffs – yes, this really was the best spot!

What do you need to know crossing the Nullarbor by car?

The Nullarbor is the kind of place you pass through if you need to get from Perth to Adelaide; it’s not somewhere people go on holiday. You certainly won’t get stuck in any traffic jams!

For somewhere with so much space though, it’s unfortunate that there’s only a single lane in each direction. Although with the low amount of traffic I can understand it wouldn’t be cost effective to expand the highway.

What you will come across is a lot of trucks and road trains (huge lorries). They tend to drive a bit below the Nullarbor speed limit, so you may want to overtake them (though not extremely long ones, as remember it’s a single lane). I don’t think I’d have had the guts to, but Michi did the driving on this stretch, and he’s a bit speedier than me!

Road trains at Nullarbor Roadhouse

Just be warned, the road train drivers would often try to “help” us overtake them by putting on their right-hand indicator to let us know it was safe for us to go round them.

It took us a while to understand this was why they were signalling, as back in the UK it would mean that they themselves were about to pull out and overtake something!

Before you set off, you should also make sure your vehicle has been serviced and is in a safe condition to drive, which you should have done already if you’re doing the whole Perth to Adelaide trip.

Make sure you keep an eye on your oil and coolant levels and tyre pressure every so often too.

Note that you won’t pick up a radio signal across the Nullarbor, so make sure you have an alternative source of music!

Driving the Nullarbor at night

Don’t do it. Just don’t. It might be tempting to power on through the night just to save some time, but it can be very dangerous.

First of all, the road trains drive all through the night (you’ll hear them if you’re camping), and you don’t want to be overtaking them in the dark. There aren’t any streetlights on the Nullarbor, and nobody’s going to realise until the morning if you’ve hurtled off the road into the outback!

Also, the Nullarbor is home to wild kangaroos, wombats and, apparently, camels! Kangaroos like to come out for the night just before sunset until dawn, so you need to be very careful of running them over, not just here but anywhere rural in Australia.

Watch out for those pesky camels!

It’s not just nasty for the roos (often the mothers are carrying babies in their pouches, which will be left to die in there), but if a kangaroo comes flying through your windscreen, you’re probably going to come off just as badly as they are!

So, plan where you’re going to sleep, arrive well before nightfall and live the rest of your life without a kangaroo’s leg lodged through your skull.

Mobile phone coverage across the Nullarbor

You won’t have a phone signal at a lot of places across the Nullarbor, but you’ll have a much better chance if you’re with Telstra.

I chose Optus when I arrived in Australia, and Michi chose Telstra. We quickly discovered that Telstra has better coverage in virtually every rural area we visited (including the majority of Tasmania). I’ve read the same thing countless times on other blogs. You’ve been warned!

Weather across the Nullarbor

The Nullarbor weather tends to be hot and dry, with cooler nights. The daytime temperatures average 31-33 degrees Celsius in the summer, with nights falling to 15-17. In the winter, daytime temperatures are usually between 19-21 degrees, but as low as 5-6 degrees at night.

The Nullarbor climate felt vastly different to what we’d experienced so far on our journey across the coastline from Perth to Esperance, which had been mostly windy and cool, despite it being summer! Norseman was the first place we felt properly hot since Perth!

Where to buy food and drink on the Nullarbor

You can pick up fast food at the Nullarbor roadhouses, and most have restaurants if you’re staying overnight.

Due to the Nullarbor’s isolated location, food prices are higher than in other parts of Australia. I paid about 50% more for a coffee at a roadhouse that I usually pay in Australian cities, although it was an enormous mug!

I’d advise stocking up on food and drink (certainly drinking water) before you set off. Just remember there are quarantine restrictions on food between WA and SA, so don’t bring too much fresh fruit and veg. See my Border Village section further down for more details.

Nullarbor time zones

This is one we weren’t expecting. While it’s well known that there’s a 1.5 hour time difference between Western Australia and South Australia (and 2.5 hours in the summer since WA has no daylight saving), some areas across the Nullarbor also have their own time zones!

There are clocks up in the roadhouses, and one had a sign confirming that yes, this is the real time!

While we were tired, stiff and in desperate need of showers by the end, we can proudly say that we crossed the Nullarbor! We also finally made some headway on our Perth to Adelaide road trip.

We had a terrific treat lined up the next day too: swimming with wild dolphins and sea lions on the Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience!

Best of luck on your Australian travel adventures. Let me know in the comments if you’re thinking of driving across the Nullarbor or if you’ve already done it!

You can read about our next overnight stop in my blog post on things to do in Port Lincoln.

Plan your trip crossing the Nullarbor, Australia. Learn where to camp, get petrol, what to see and how much it costs.
Lisa Bull
Written by Lisa Bull

Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.