Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Australian Outback: Cross the Nullarbor Plain in a Campervan

In Latin the words for "no trees" are "null arbor," so it's no surprise that the expanse of road connecting Norseman in Western Australia to Ceduna in the south is called Nullarbor Plain. This stretch of road--namely the Eyre Highway that follows the southern edge of the continent connecting, the west to the more populated parts of the country--is paved and ideal for driving. The surrounding landscape, however, is barren and there is little to see as the road unfolds before you. There is nary a turn or bend, in fact, Eyre Highway features the longest straight stretch of road (196 km) in Australia. When departing from Norsemen there is a sign letting you know that Adelaide, the closest city to Perth, is only 1,986 kilometres away and the length of the drive ahead suddenly becomes clear. The long drive can be done in a car, but is much more comfortable to complete in a campervan hire.

The Nullarbor Plain occupies an area of about 200,000 square kilometers and is the largest single piece of limestone in the world [1]. Not many people live on the largely uninhabitable Nullarbor Plain land, and the majority of communities are made up of campgrounds, a bar, a gas station and a motel. While several of these roadhouses are clean and lively, many are not. Rather than taking a chance on the accommodation choices you will find by the road, it may be a better idea to opt for a campervan hire instead. And lest you think the road is only dust and flatland, let me tell you that it's not. The Nullarbor Plain is one of Australia's great iconic drives with beaches and caves to discover as well as the dazzling cliffs of the Great Australian Bight, which are located along the country's southern coastline. Forget crowded resort towns, on this coast there is nothing but cliffs, water and sky. A sight not soon forgotten.

A word of warning to anyone attempting the Nullarbar Plain journey: watch out for the kangeroos. The kangeroos will often make their way on to the road, especially at night when they emerge to drink the forming dew, and need to be watched for when driving. Also keep in mind that the climate in the area is that of a desert, generally extremely hot during the day and intensely cold at night with little rainfall.

Photo courtesy of Australian Traveller

If you are looking to brave the Nullarbor Plain, and take on the roos, why not check out the campervan hire options at And I suggest you do, because while the drive may be long, and perhaps lonely at times, many who have made it consider it a quintessential and truly memorable experience of the Australian Outback.


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