To those who haven’t crossed it, the Nullarbor is often thought of as ‘the Nullar-boring’ – a 1,600-kilometre stretch of highway devoid of anything and everything interesting. Among those who have, the verdict’s usually a little different.

The road spanning the world’s largest expanse of limestone bedrock is long on bitumen and short on big name features – that there can be no denying. But to slate the Nullarbor as boring is to overlook its attraction. Two straight days of driving through a landscape of little change makes for surreal travel. As horizons warp and perspectives alter, questions present themselves. How did First Nations Peoples survive out here? How can the ground above Australia’s largest underwater lake be so arid? Whatever became of the Nullarbor Nymph? Much more than ‘a bloody long drive’, crossing the Nullarbor has become a rite of passage for travellers wanting to fathom Australia’s sheer vastness.

Our Southern Ocean & Nullarbor trips

What to see on Australia’s southern coast:

The Great Australian Bight Nullarbor Plain

The Nullarbor Plain

You don’t know ‘empty’ until you’ve crossed the Nullarbor. Stemming from the Latin ‘nullus arbor’ meaning ‘no tree’, this arid limestone desert runs parallel to the Great Australian Bight for close to 1,700 kilometres. Crossing the Nulla from Norseman (Western Australia) to Port Augusta (South Australia) along the sizzling Eyre Highway takes two days minimum. Prepare for haunting, beautiful monotony – abandoned sheep farms, Outback pubs, plains stubbled with saltbush – broken up by strange anomalies – the old telegraph township of Eucla, now buried under sand dunes, or the rusty remains of the Skylab space station which crashed to earth near Balladonia in 1979. There’s nowhere like it on earth. Experience it here.

Wine tasting Margaret River

Margaret River

No South Australia tour is complete without a stop in Margaret River. Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, the region is home to over 120 wineries and produces more than 20 per cent  of Australia’s premium wine. If swilling peppery shiraz in rustic cellar doors isn’t your vintage, there are plenty of boutique breweries to keep you watered, not to mention a smorgasbord of delectable restaurants, cafes, and even a fudge factory! But it’s not all world-class wining and dining in Margsas it’s known locally. The nearby coast is awash with beaches, caves and surf breaks, and from June to November, whales can be seen cruising the waters.  Taste some wine on our 6 day trip.

Swim with Sea Lions

Baird Bay

It may open into Anxious Bay, but Baird Bay is hardly stress-inducing. Located off the coast of a sleepy fishing village on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, the inlet is home to some delightful local residents: a colony of Australian sea lions, and sometimes, bottlenose dolphins. While they’re wild (feeding is prohibited), they’re a friendly lot, regularly approaching the clear waters of the beach. Swimming with the sea lions of Baird Bay is a highlight of any Eyre Peninsula tour. The town itself has very limited facilities, so if you need supplies, you’ll have to pop into Streaky Bay (around 50 kilometres away).  Swim with Sea Lions on our Lake Eyre trip.

Esperance Kangaroo

Cape Le Grand National Park

Just 45 minutes east of Esperance, this idyllic stretch of West Australian coastline is everything that’s good about Aussie beaches. Crystal blue water, rugged walking trails and the whitest sand in the land – Cape La Grand National Park has it all. Visitors can swim at Cape Le Grand Beach, cast a fishing line at Dunn Rocks, enjoy a picnic overlooking Hellfire Bay or discover the whistling rocks at Thistle Cove. Head inland and you’ll find pygmy possums and groves of wildflowers; hike up Frenchman Peak (262 metres) and you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Recherche Archipelago. If you’re lucky, you might even see a western grey ‘roo taking a morning hop along the beach. ‘Straya.  Experience the Perth to Adelaide tour.

Southern coast tour reviews

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Trip rating
Time of year

Esperance & Southwest Adventure, December 2019


Fun facts about Australia’s southern coast:

Nullarbor means ‘no trees’, which explains the lack of greenery along the 1,200 kilometre road.

Hairy nosed wombat

Along with over 100,000 wild camels, this part of the world is also home to one of the largest populations of hairy-nosed wombats in Australia.

Coffin Bay, just west of Port Lincoln, is famous for its oysters. Molluscs from the Eyre Peninsula often grow to almost one kilogram in size.

Travelling in May to October? Visitors to the Eyre Peninsula should keep their eyes peeled for migrations of Southern Right Whales along the coast.

Tips for travelling on Australia’s southern coast:

  • Timezones can be a little bit haywire across the southern coast of Australia. Adelaide works on Central Standard Time, Perth has Western Standard Time (which is an hour and a half behind) and then there’s Nowhere Standard Time, which applies to towns on the SA/WA border. Throw daylight savings times into the mix and you’re got an extra hour of confusion (but is that earlier or later?).

Articles on the Southern Ocean & Nullarbor