Planning for the Nullarbor
I was always a bit nervous about making it across the Nullarbor, after reading and hearing so many horror stories of people breaking down or running out of fuel. You cross the Nullarbor plains by driving on the Eyre Highway, which is essentially the big stretch of road (1,670km) that stretches from Western Australia through to South Australia. I did some research before setting off and knew that planning your fuel stops was a big part of it. This was made easy with the use of my free Campermate app, as you can easily see all fuel stops on the map as you go (even with no phone reception). The prices do fluctuate between stations, but generally we paid around $1.50 p/l for diesel (when the current rate was around $1 p/l). It was a lot more expensive, but to be fair, once you’ve travelled the distance you kind of understand how much driving it must take to get it there! Most of the petrol stations have fairly decent toilets, your usual ‘roadhouse’ style snacks and some even have kids playgrounds. The other thing to have a rough idea of is how much distance you want to cover and a loose idea of what camping options you have. Not only does this help you with your fuel stops, but it also gives you an end goal to aim for each day. The Nullarbor has one of the longest, straightest stretches of road in the whole of Australia, so sometimes you need something to keep you focussed. Again, Campermate plots near enough every option for camping spots throughout the whole of Australia, even the Nullarbor, and it’s where I found one our free ‘rest-stop’ camps at Jilah Rockhole Rest Area. There are motels and caravan parks in some of the towns, if you want to take your time across the Nullarbor and get a bit more comfort (with power), but we did two straight days of 7 hour drives, so just really wanted to cook up some dinner & hit the sack. We also found a couple of stations to stay at. They all had hot showers and it was nice to get away from the road (without too much of a diversion) to experience the true ‘outback’. We stayed at Frasers Range Station and Coorabie Farm, both of which were great, and fairly in expensive. [caption id="attachment_2639" align="alignnone" width="900"] Coorabie Farm - Campermate App[/caption] The final thing to think about is food. Obviously you want to make sure you have plenty of food & water supplies with you (as this is also expensive on the Nullarbor), and it’s not always possible to get drinking water at sites. But to complicate things, border control between WA & Australia is very strict, which means you can’t take any fresh fruit or vegetables with you. We stocked up a fair amount with food, but made sure we were planning ahead so we cooked up all our leftovers the night before (before crossing the Ceduna quarantine check point in Ceduna), but knew where to re-stock our supplies again once in South Australia. And let’s not forget the site-seeing. Some people say you can spend days on the Nullarbor siteseeing, but to be honest I would be clutching at straws to say there is that much to do. We did use our trusty CamperMate app though to highlight the key sites. It’s definitely worth a visit to see the great australian bight (especially if you’re there during whale season), and the giant sculptures along the way are always worth a cheesy photo next to if you’re passing too. [caption id="attachment_2640" align="alignnone" width="900"] Campermate Australia[/caption] Finally, when we first hit the Eyre Highway from WA and every car & truck that passed us waved, don’t be alarmed, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your car or camper. It’s just part of the etiquette on the big old plains of the Nullarbor. Replicating the friendly wave (or nod – feel free to mix it up), definitely gave me some good karma as we made it successfully across with no major issues.