Our Adelaide to Perth road trip answers all the questions of where to stay on the Nullarbor and what to see along the way in Port Augusta, Ceduna, Norseman and Coolgardie.
- Day 1: Adelaide to Port Augusta
- Day 2: Port Augusta to Ceduna
- Day 3: Ceduna to Nullabor Roadhouse
- Day 4: Nullabor Roadhouse to Eucla
- Day 5: Eucla to Caigun
- Day 6: Caiguna to Norseman
- Day 7: Norseman to Coolgardie
- Day 8: Coolgardie to Merredin
- Day 9: Merredin to Perth
Driving the 2,716km from Adelaide to Perth requires careful planning and preparation. As with most outback treks, a 4WD is the better option. It’s also advisable to avoid the peak temperatures of summer. That said, crossing the Nullarbor on the Eyre Highway has got to be one of the great Australian road trips.
Day 1: Adelaide to Port Augusta
Just an hour out of Adelaide is the Barossa Valley where some of Australia’s finest wine is made. Why wouldn’t you check out a cellar door or two for a little something for those nights on the road? To find out all about the area’s German heritage, check out the Barossa Museum in the old Post & Telegraph building (1865) in Tanunda.
Stay… On the tip of the Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta is known as the “Crossroads of Australia” and the “Gateway to the Outback”. Sounds promising either way. Discovery Parks Big4–Port Augusta has a range of cabins, powered and unpowered sites a few minutes from the town centre. Or check out the award-winning Majestic Oasis Apartments.
Port Augusta is the gateway to the ruggedly beautiful Flinders Ranges where landscape painter Sir Hans Heysen found his inspiration and the amazing Wilpena Pound, a perfectly formed geological bowl that is a bushwalker’s paradise with Aboriginal rock art and an abundance of wildlife including emus, euros and red kangaroos. Get a bird’s-eye overview with Wilpena Pound scenic flights and perhaps stay another night at the Wilpena Pound camping site.
Day 2: Port Augusta to Ceduna
It’s a straightforward drive across the top of the Eyre Peninsula through the towns of Iron Knob, Kimba and Wirrulla before hitting the coast, and the Great Australian Bight, at Ceduna. Check out the Encounter Walking Trail, the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre and the Ceduna Oyster Bar. Perhaps end the day playing the first hole of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course, the world’s longest – the 18th hole is 1365 km away at Kalgoorlie in WA.
Stay… The location of the Foreshore Caravan Park can’t be beaten. It offers waterfront villas, cabins and powered sites. And after a day traversing the peninsula, it’s all about the ocean.
Day 3: Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse
Nullabor Cliffs (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)
Pick up some oysters-to-go at Denial Bay and then it’s all about the scenery. There is wildlife aplenty to be seen at the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park, once you pass the Nundroo Roadhouse you’re travelling through Yalata Aboriginal land and will need a permit to venture off the beaten track to the beaches, camping grounds or whale-watching sites. Pick one up, along with some local arts and crafts at the Yalata Roadhouse.
Local attractions include the limestone sinkholes at Murrawijinie Caves where you’ll find ancient Aboriginal hand stencils and bird-nesting sites. The sheer Bunda Cliffs at the head of the bight are a good vantage point to spot southern right whales.
Stay… at the Nullarbor Roadhhouse, of course, but expect to pay extra for fuel and accommodation because of the remote location.
Day 4: Nullarbor Roadhouse to Eucla
Ecula sand dunes (Photo credit Tourism Western Australia)
Now it’s across the treeless plains of the Nullarbor National Park. Watch out for wild camels and the occasional dingo. Cross the border into Western Australia and a different time zone. Take some time to tick these off your list. Check out the museum, the old telegraph station, once one of regional Australia’s busiest communication centres, and the shifting white sand dunes of the Eucla National Park.
Stay… Tonight’s bed is at the Eucla Motor Hotel & Caravan Park and comes with ocean views.
Day 5: Eucla to Caiguna
Drive across the Hampton Tableland to Mundrabilla then through low-lying hill country to Madura, where the legendary Waler horse was once bred for distinguished army service during WWI. A 50km detour to the coast gets you to the Eyre Bird Observatory, home to some 250 species, many rare and endangered and which had a narrow escape from recent bushfires.
Stay… and eat at the Caiguna Roadhouse and John Eyre Motel.
Day 6: Caiguna to Norseman
Nuytsland Nature Reserve (Photo credit: Laurent Marsol)
There are many more birds – and caves – to see in the Nuytsland Nature Reserve, but keep your concentration along Ninety Mile Straight, at 147km it’s one of the world’s longest stretches of straight road. Check out the historic Balladonia Homestead (1879) now an art gallery, then continue past Afghan Rocks, named after a murdered cameleer whose grave is nearby, across the Fraser range to Norseman.
Stay… The Great Western Motel has a good Travelers Restaurant. Gateway Caravan Park has a range of cabins and sites, while the classic art deco Railway Motel & Inn has all the mod cons.
Day 7: Norseman to Coolgardie
Old Goal in Coolgardie (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)
Take a 22km drive to visit the 550-million-year-old Dundas Rocks or go fossicking for gemstones just out of town.
Then drive through salt lake country to Coolgardie. This is gold country and Coolgardie was once the third-largest town in WA with grand buildings, wide streets, two stock exchanges, three breweries, 26 hotels and seven newspapers. Find out about the good times at the Goldfields Exhibition Museum.
Just over the road, the Coolgardie Goldrush Motels has a licensed restaurant and offers country hospitality and wi-fi.
Day 8: Coolgardie to Merredin
If you don’t fancy a side trip to Coolgardie’s more famous golden twin, Kalgoorlie, hit the Southern Cross Highway through the Boorabbin National Park and into the wheatbelt and Merredin.
Stay… Merredin Tourist Park has chalets, sites and all amenities while Merredin Motel has a restaurant, room service and is pleasantly located among gumtrees off the highway.
Day 9: Merredin to Perth
Stretch your legs on the Merredin Peak Heritage Trail then hop back into the car for the home run to Perth.
Stay… Travelodge Hotel Perth is located in the city's central CBD and is close to the Swan River, major shopping precincts, Perth train station and Kings Park. NRMA Members can get access to exclusive offers and discounts at Travelodge Hotels Australia-wide.