The Baker Brother's 1963 Nullarbor crossing

Denis - Road Trip Tales
Denis | Road Trip Tales
44 hr | 4,102 km
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In 1963, I (Denis) made a family road trip from Port Augusta to Western Australia to visit dad’s relatives. I was a 9-year-old, eager for adventure, with my two older brothers to keep me entertained. We travelled day and night, sleeping every so often in a small tent on the side of the road or in the car if the weather was rough.
  • 1 Holden station wagon
  • 4 days on the Eyre Hwy
  • 5 hours desert-walking
  • 1 wedge-tailed eagle swoop
Port Augusta to Fowlers Bay
My first memory of the trip was the vast expanse of the Nullarbor Plain. Most of the trip along the Eyre Highway was dirt road pitted by large, deep bulldust holes. Such was 1963 in Central Australia, we could travel four to five hours without seeing another vehicle. My 17-year-old brother, Ian, shared the driving with dad. I remember Summer Holiday by Cliff Richards rattling through our car radio, the perfect song for our unforgettable family adventure.
Denis Road Trip Tales - Ready to hit the open road
Car packed and ready to hit the open road
Follower’s Bay to Ivy Tank
We stopped half way across the Nullarbor at a petrol stop known as Ivy Tank, once the world’s loneliest petrol station. It’s still there today – very desolate, but still accessible via a short trip along a dirt road off the existing highway. We saw kangaroos, snakes and goannas throughout the journey, as well as thousands of pink and white galahs. I remember vividly the remarkable sight of a Wedge Tail Eagle gliding down and flying alongside our car as dad drove.
Denis Road Trip Tales - Posing with the locals
Making friends with the locals
Ivy Tank to Albany
I remember stopping just shy of the WA border as dad wanted to have a snooze. We three boys continued walking across the plain for five hours until mum and dad caught up with us. For a while there, my brothers had me convinced that our parents had abandoned us. Thankfully, the familiar sound of the family Holden approaching quickly put my mind at ease. Eucla was a welcome sight across the Western Australia border. From there, we headed south through Esperance and around the coast to the historic Albany.
Albany to Bridgetown
We headed north to dad’s home town of Bridgetown, staying there with relatives for three weeks. Whilst in Bridgetown, we ventured to various orchards and towering forests where huge Kauri Trees grow. I remember one tree at Manjimup that had a hollow through its trunk so large that you could drive a small car through. I’d never seen a tree so big!
Denis Road Trip Tales Kauri Tree in Manjimup with a trunk hollow big enough for a small car to driv
Kauri Tree in Manjimup with a trunk hollow big enough for a small car to drive through
Bridgetown to Perth
On the way home, we headed west to the coast and saw a very young Margaret River, Busselton (with its famous 1,800-metre-long timber jetty), Bunbury, Mandurah, Freemantle and Perth. We stopped at Kings Park, a lovely spot that overlooks Perth, and soaked up the panoramic views of the city.
Denis Road Trip Tales - With mum at Kimgs Park Perth 1963
With mum at Kings Park, Perth (1963)
Perth to Kalgoorlie

From Perth we headed north east to Kalgoorlie, where Paddy Hannan discovered gold in 1893. Although I kept a keen eye on the ground, looking for anything that glistened, I wasn’t as lucky as Paddy.

Even though the Eyre Highway is now all sealed and the trip is an easier 2-two day journey with many more comfortable stops, the boundless adventure that lies in the southern coast of our great country will always hold memories for any and all road trippers.

Denis Road Trip Tales - With dad at Kimgs Park Perth 1963
Dad and us, Kings Park, Perth (1963)
Road Trip Tales are Member-shared memories, providing a sample of their route. Some highways and routes may no longer be open today. If you would like to emulate the Baker Brother's journey, use the multi-place map. above, or create your own route using our trip planner and our road trip guides.