One example of Australia’s “unique beauty spots” is the Nullarbor Plain – derived from Latin for “no tree”. It is known for scenery that stuns despite the seeming lack of visual stimulation. The 200,000 square kilometres of dry surface goes on and on, challenging many travellers.
In this post, we have 10 travel tips to ensure you get the best from your outdoor Oz experience – visual wonders, dirt roads and all.
1. Take note of the road rules as many outback roads have their own ‘rules’. For example, it is expected that larger caravans will allow smaller vehicles to past them on the right hand shoulder. This is normally indicated with a flash of the headlights or a toot of the horn. Also remember a smiling face and polite hand gesture also goes a long way.
2. Prior to your journey let someone know where you are headed, your expected stopovers and when you plan to get back. This way if anything goes unexpectedly wrong, friends back home can know your approximate location in order to notify help.
3. Bring extra cash to cover water, food and petrol. You never know when you may have to drive an extra 100kms or stay an extra night, so it’s important to have backup cash (coins and notes) as a safety net.
4. Preparation beats boredom. As anyone with experience will tell you, travelling long distances (e.g. across the Nullarbor Plain) can quickly become tedious. Plan for this by bringing plenty of music, audio books or car games, which can keep you entertained for extended periods.
5. Avoid driving into the night. Nothing is more dangerous then a tired driver, so limit any driving after sunset. The daylight will also help you steer clear of roaming animals.
6. Be aware of the weather conditions and temperature changes on the days of your travel. The Australian Outback can be deceiving as it can get very hot very quickly (40 degrees hot!), yet as the sun sets the temperature also takes a dive. Do some research before your journey to ensure you have the appropriate clothing.
7. Wear sensible shoes and comfortable clothes. If you plan on making plenty of stops, make sure you have a pair of shoes easily accessible; this way, you will not have to take on any rocks in thongs. Remember to be sun safe – wear sunscreen and hats.
8. Don’t stray too far away from your vehicle. Walk around only when you intend to sight-see, or along a designated track. The outback sun works quickly, so keep plenty of water on hand when you are spending extended time away from your vehicle.
9. Take your time exploring. Don’t breeze through the trip – take time to appreciate everything you see. Chances are you will not be back there anytime soon.
10. Plan your trip ahead of time. The most important tip is to make sure that you know where you will be going and what you can expect to encounter. Research and be prepared.
With all these tips, you are now ready for the wonder that awaits you in the Nullarbor or elsewhere in the Australian Outback. The experience that comes with being in outback Australia is best summed up in a quote by Australian writer Ian Parkes: “How can mere red dirt and stones and scrubby trees and shrubs and rises and falls in the land and haze and a vast blue sky be so potent? Such was its power, even in the intense heat, even at night – sometimes, especially at night – the landscape seized you.”
For more about Nullarbor’s attractions and travel safety tips, feel free to contact us at the Nullarbor Roadhouse. It’ll be our pleasure to help you plan your memorable outback experience.