Road Trip: Day 3 – Norseman, Western Australia

Day Three. Ceduna, South Australia to Norseman, Western Australia. 1,200 Kilometers. Crossing the Nullarbor. 

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By far our biggest day yet.  Our original plan was to go to Caiguna WA, but crossing into WA meant we also gained an additional hour and a half, which meant we made amazing time and hit Caiguna at 2:30 p.m.  Therefore we were determined to keep going.

This meant that we crossed the infamous and notorious Nullarbor.

The Nullarbor Plains:

The Nullarbor Plain ( /ˈnʌlərbɔr/nul-ər-borLatin: nullus, “no”, and arbor, “tree”) is part of the area of flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country of southern Australia, located on the Great Australian Bight coast with the Great Victoria Desert to its north. It is the world’s largest single piece of limestone, and occupies an area of about 200,000 square kilometres (77,000 sq mi).[1] At its widest point, it stretches about 1,100 kilometres (684 mi) from east to west between South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA).

With this definition and the fact that we had been told by many people that it was a long journey with not much of anything in between, we were expecting the worst. Like worse than no Starbucks the whole trip, like no Starubucks or McDonald’s the whole trip; shoot me now.

Now for what we thought of it, while there aren’t any Super Wal-marts, let alone a drive thru, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as we were expecting!

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I was expecting to see red dirt and pure desert the entire way across. None! While it is known as the treeless plain, it still had trees…and it wasn’t very brown either, nor was it all that flat. Funny really. In all fairness to those who have travelled it before us, apparently it has received a lot rain over the past months hence the green.

We were very fortunate to learn that there is a roadhouse every 200-300 kilometres. Roadhouses are nothing flash, they’re generally old, outdated building paved with tightly packed dirt.

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The important part? Clean bathrooms! I had packed an entire 6 pack of toilet paper, baby wipes, flushable wipes and prepared myself to have to pee out in the open road. Nope, didn’t have too! Every roadhouse had a place to eat, sleep, gas up the car and stock up on snacks. The bathrooms were nothing fancy, but let me tell you, so much more than I expected! For a girl, this is important. They all had signs on them saying, please keep theses toilets clean, and let us know if anything needs refilling, etc. They really do take pride in keeping clean facilities for travelers.

While Nathan had 20 liters of fuel with us just in case, we stopped at every single road house we hit. It was nice to get out and stretch the legs, sometimes swap drivers, and rotate snacks or make a sandwich. This also meant, our gas tank never went below half a tank. I’m sure many first time Nullarbor travelers do this simply because you’re not sure how far you’ll need to keep going. In all honesty, it’s the safest way to go, and never once did we ever have to stress about having enough gas to make it to the next service station.

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Cool things along the way:

1. A family of dead kangaroos. Like really damn big, gigantic, holy crap I almost peed myself big kangaroos. I’ve yet to see a live one in the last 10 months. And the dead ones I witness along the road on a daily basis are quite average for what we Americans see in the zoo and at the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney. This was one of those roos that natives tell you about. You know the big 6 foot, boxing, ginormous hopping things. Now these things weren’t even upright when I saw them, they were flat on their back dead, but holy flying monkeys were they huge! I was driving and Nathan had fallen asleep, so I’m just cruising along listening to music. Then way ahead of me I see who big things which I thought were some weird stone art or something off to each side of the road and they were directly across from each other, hence why I thought it was some random art. Like, hello, welcome to the Nullarbor, here is some strange bump art.  As I get closer I keep looking at it. Closer, closer, soon I’m passing it and my heart jumps out 10 feet and I cursed a bit. That’s a freaking kangaroo! Nathan wasn’t joking! Then I see 2 more knocked out cold right passed the first ones. I was deeply disturbed.

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2. We drove along the Great Australian Bight. “The Great Australian Bight is a large bight, or open bay, off the central and western portions of the southern coastline of mainland Australia.” It is also known for whale watching. It’s weird because as you drive across the Nullarbor, unless you already knew that the coastline is just kilometers away, you would have no idea otherwise! The road isn’t too close the the cliffs, I’m guessing because over years of the cliffs breaking off into the ocean, they needed to build a road far enough away that they wouldn’t have to move as the coastline came further in. I’m no scientist, but that’s my guess! We stopped off at one sight seeing area and took a few photos.

ImageBut I didn’t take this photo, I stole this one from Google obviously. But this is the view from the top so you can have an idea what the Bight looks like. I can’t find the photos that show where the road is located in comparison. 

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3. We drove across the longest straight road in Australia!…A big deal to some when you finally hit a curve, honestly as a native Californian, I’ve driven the 5 freeway to Nor. Cal too many times to think 90 miles of straight road and a curve is exciting. But that’s just me. Nate wasn’t that impressed either.

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4. A giant kangaroo!

ImageOkay, so it wasn’t real. But at least he wasn’t dead.

*Click the links to see the accommodations we stayed at or where we stopped for takeaway food along our trip and what we thought.

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