Our Adelaide to Perth roadtrip answers all the questions of where to stay on the Nullabor and what to see along the way in Port Augusta, Ceduna, Norseman and Coolgardie.
Driving the 2,774km 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.
Image credit: Tourism Western Australia
Day 1: Adelaide to Port Augusta
3hr 26min | 307km
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
4hr 54min | 470km
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.
The location of Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel can't be beaten. It overlooks the shores of Murat Bay and is only a short walk to the town centre. It offers a range of rooms including those with balcony ocean views. Head to the bistro for breakfast, lunch or dinner where fresh local seafood is served.
Day 3: Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse
13min | 13km
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 Roadhouse, of course, but expect to pay extra for fuel and accommodation because of the remote location.
Day 4: Nullarbor Roadhouse to Eucla
4hr 53min | 479km
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.
Unwind and relax with a ocean view. Tonight’s bed is at the Eucla Motor Hotel & Caravan Park and comes with ocean views.
Day 5: Eucla to Caiguna
5hr 14min | 391km
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
5hr 16min | 391km
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 at The Great Western Motel which provides comfortable rooms and self-contained apartments within walking distance of the towns facilities and tourist bureau. Alternatively, stay at the classic art deco Railway Motel & Inn which has all of the mod-cons and offers simple home-cooked food in a quirky, relaxed setting.
Day 7: Norseman to Coolgardie
1hr 46min | 167km
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
2hr 58min | 295km
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 at the Merredin Motel which is pleasantly located among gumtrees off the highway, offering guests a rustic country experience. The Motel also has a restaurant providing lunch, coffee & cake during the week.
Day 9: Merredin to Perth
3hr 4min | 260km
The 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. Alternatively, the Adina Apartment Hotel Perth offers accommodation idyllic for travelers and families.