We love sharing passionate travellers’ stories and here, Sue Whiteman shares her recent road trip along Australia’s longest stretch of road – the Nullarbor Plain.
Follow Sue on Instagram (@suewhit) for amazing, inspirational travel photography.
Where did you go?
What’s a road without a destination in mind? After some deliberation, it was decided to fly from our home base in Brisbane to Perth. Once we arrived in Perth, all we had to do was pick up our 4WD and we were on our way.
Three weeks exploring south-west Western Australia, crossing the mighty Nullarbor Plain, then through the Flinders Ranges, Barossa Valley and Adelaide, before flying back to Brisbane.
Perth, Fremantle, Rottnest Island, Margaret River, Albany, Esperance and Kalgoorlie were on the itinerary that can certainly be tweaked as you go. What’s a road trip without some impromptu diversions?
“The house, the stars, the desert… what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery. The Nullarbor Plain folks! Why drive this wide expanse of nothing you might say? Well, it is certainly not that. I was tempted to jump into this frame but thought the road was happier alone here. Playing “I SPY” is hilarious along here unless you see a cyclist. I did! Side trips to the southern coast to witness the Great Australian Bight in all its glory and roadhouses by night to avoid an altercation with kangaroos, emus, wombats and even camels. A long drive, but certainly an experience. The road trip continues….. @westernaustralia #justanotherdayinwa @australia #seeaustralia @canonaustralia #canonaustralia
The one thing not to be missed?
With so many wonderful sights along the way, how can I choose just one thing not to be missed. Seeing whales breaching from the top of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, spotting stingrays in shallow, azure waters of Hamelin Bay and actually seeing the Great Australian Bight whilst driving across the expansive Nullabor Plain.
One thing not to be missed? Don’t miss a thing on a drive like this.
If I had more time I would have?
If I had more time I would have spent more time doing the Cape to Cape walk through Margaret River, watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean and playing in rock pools along the way as a child would do.
This walk is suitable for all ages and can be done as fast or as slow as you please. Esperance also could demand more time with the wonderful beaches and coves to explore.
If you travel North a few hours from Esperance you’ll come across Wave Rock in Hyden, a formation that resembles a mighty wave about 14m high and over 100m in length. A selfie or two here would’ve been fun.
After any trip, we always say “I wish more time was had in ……” The Barossa Valley in South Australia is a destination that can always be granted extra time. Always one more winery to visit.
My hot travel tip is…
The main purpose of this trip was to cross the Nullarbor and to witness the magnificent Great Australian Bight. Whether you travel West to East or the other way, be sure to stop at Head of the Bight to witness the migration of Southern Right Whales offshore where the cliffs take your breath away.
Be sure to get your times right as there is a second-time difference as you get close to the South Australian Border called border time. If you get it wrong you will miss your entry to the platform. If you can, make Ceduna on the South Australian side, an overnight stay.
Whilst there, a walk through the sand dunes to the historical telegraph station and further to the disused jetty is well worth the effort. The water is clear and blue, the sand is silica white. The photos you take will be treasured.
One more tip here is to have plenty of music. Eye spy can only go so far in the desert.
MORE READER SUBMITTED STORIES…
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How do you rank this trip?
Road trips that include time frames and long distances can sometimes get the better of you. If you take a step back, breathe and take wonder from the experience it can be awesome.
Compared to other Australian road trips I’ve done it certainly would rank in the top 5. It’s so hard to compare as the sights are very different, the locals have different personalities and its a different time of life.
I would have to say that my number one road trip in Australia to date would have to be Brisbane to Cape Tribulation. That’s another story!
My favourite meal was…
When travelling it’s so easy to slip into bad eating habits. On a road trip through rural areas like this one, big meals seem to be the order of the day. Meals like your mum used to make and always a weekly schnitzel night somewhere.
Wines acquired from Margaret River were opened thoughtfully and enjoyed thoroughly.
I never travel without…
I never ever travel without my Canon camera kit. In fact, I rarely leave the house without it. With 3 cameras, multiple lenses and an array of accessories, including my tripod, I have become used to carrying close to 12 kg to so many places.
The obligatory selfie with the phone is always good for social media too. Road trips need music and whatever takes your fancy, be sure to have it downloaded and turn it up loud.
Australia, being so vast, is ripe for road trips. Every day there are people crisscrossing the land that I love. Backpackers and retirees that I’ve met along the way always have a story to tell. The memories are created with ease as each day is so different from the last.
I love road trips. Both in Australia and overseas. But in Australia, it’s a way of seeing parts of the country that may not normally be visited. Why not take a road trip yourself? Self-drive by 4WD, campervan or do a tour. You’ll love the experience and the sights you’ll see.
Have you just returned from a trip or about to head off on one? We’d love to share your stories with the Well Travelled community. Submit a story.
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