Port Augusta to Norseman on the Eyre Highway
A journey from Port Augusta to Norseman on the Eyre Highway is one of Australia’s greatest road trips. The 1675km-long highway is the main sealed road that links Western Australia and South Australia across the Nullarbor Plain and along the Great Australian Bight.
Ceduna is one of the major towns on the highway, located on the eastern side of the Nullarbor. The town is considered the gateway to the remote part of the highway and is a popular place for a pitstop to relax, explore and fill up on supplies.
With nearly a quarter of a million vehicles passing through Ceduna each year on the Eyre Highway, it’s one of the most sought-after road trips in the country. Here’s everything that you need to know about the longest and flattest road in the country.
About the Eyre Highway
The Eyre Highway is the only sealed road that runs across the Nullarbor and connects South Australia and Western Australia. It is part of the National Highway route between Perth and Adelaide.
The Nullarbor Plain is a semi-arid landscape that stretches across the vast southern end of Australia along the coast. It is considered a remote part of the country with very few towns across the region.
The highway begins north of Adelaide in a town called Port Augusta. It heads west, skirting along the coast of the Great Australian Bight and then back inland until it reaches Norseman, eight hours east of Perth, in Western Australia. It is the longest straight road in the country, with one section running for nearly 150km without a single bend.
Driving along the Eyre Highway has become a bucket list adventure for many Australians and international tourists. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people set out to cross the Nullarbor via the Eyre Highway on a self-drive adventure.
Despite crossing a barren landscape, there are plenty of things to see along the way. Some things require a slight detour off the highway and considering the remoteness of this highway, there is a significant amount of preparation involved if you plan on crossing the entire 1675km road.
History of the Eyre Highway
The highway is named after John Eyre who was the first European to cross the Nullarbor Plain in 1841 with his Aboriginal companion, Wylie. It was not until a century later that construction began on building the road that would allow east-west traffic across the Nullarbor. It remained the same until the 1960s when they began to seal the entire highway, which wasn’t finished until 1976.
Preparing for a trip along the Eyre Highway
The Eyre Highway is 1675km and if driven directly, takes around two days to drive the entire way. It can be tackled by a conventional vehicle with a well-maintained sealed road for the whole length of it. However, if you plan on doing side trips and off-road adventures along the way, you may need a 4WD.
The remote Nullarbor Plain requires some planning involved in a road trip, with limited supplies available along the way. There are well spaced service stations and roadhouses so that you shouldn’t need to carry extra fuel, however, most service stations on the Eyre Highway are not open 24 hours.
The speed limit for most of the highway is 110km per hour. This reduces when driving through built-up areas and roadhouses. You should remain aware of long road trains and freight trucks along the Eyre Highway, which can be quite intimidating if you’ve never driven on outback roads before.
There is limited mobile coverage along the Eyre Highway. You will find plenty of service in major towns like Ceduna, but very little along the lonely parts of the Nullarbor. It’s a good idea to carry some essential safety and repair equipment with you. Items like a car jack, spare tyre, oil and coolant, jumper leads, and tow rope can be good additions to have with you in case of something happening along the way.
You should avoid driving at night along the Eyre Highway. The risk of hitting wildlife is higher after sunset and, with only simple roadhouses along the way, it can be a dangerous place to have an accident. Most people spend the night in one of the roadhouses along the way which make for convenient and comfortable rest stops.
Roadhouses are the rural service station complexes that are spaced out along the highway. They provide some of the only supplies and fuel along the way. They are spaced at between 65 and 180 kilometres apart so that you can reach each one without having to carry extra fuel. They are a combination of petrol station, hotel and caravan park, providing food, fuel and accommodation for all travellers.
Eyre Highway itinerary
You can cross the entire highway in two days. However, it’s best enjoyed at a much slower pace if you have the time. For those interested in seeing some incredible sights along the way, you can easily stretch your Eyre Highway itinerary out to at least a week or more. This way you can stop and enjoy the scenery, as well as, some of the towns like Ceduna along the way.
You can easily use the major towns on the highway as bases to explore further. The major towns such as Port Augusta, Ceduna and Norseman have plenty of amenities and facilities for tourists, from where you can explore on day trips.
Things to see and do along the Eyre Highway
There are plenty of things to do along the Eyre Highway, from the incredible wildlife to the dramatic coastal scenery and iconic roadhouses. Here are some of the best things to see and do along the way from Port Augusta to Norseman.
Despite being an arid plain, the Nullarbor is home to an abundance of wildlife. You’ll likely come across kangaroos, emus, wombats and wild camels while you drive on the Eyre Highway. Along the coast, you can also spot Southern Right Whales at certain times of the year, especially along the Eyre Peninsula and Great Australian Bight.
This is the largest town on the Eyre Highway in South Australia and also marks the eastern end of the road. It’s approximately four hours from Adelaide and is a good place to grab supplies and have a break before continuing your journey. You’ll also find major takeaway food outlets, supermarkets, accommodation and plenty of services.
Ceduna is one of the major stops on the Eyre Highway. It is the last major town in South Australia before heading further west and is considered the gateway to the Nullarbor Plain.
Ceduna is a lovely seaside town and is known as the Oyster Capital of Australia. There’s some delicious seafood to try from one of the restaurants or you can head out on a fishing charter or oyster farm tour. There are also plenty of things to do in the surrounding coastal region, including Cactus Beach, Penong, Denial Bay and Smoky Bay.
Ceduna has plenty of accommodation options, restaurants and all the services that you’ll need such as a supermarket, petrol station and pharmacy and more. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long journey and explore the surrounding Eyre Peninsula.
Nullarbor Link Golf Course
Considered the longest golf course in the world, the 18-hole par 72 Nullarbor Link Golf Course spans 1365 km with one hole in each roadhouse along the Eyre Highway. It’s a completely unique way to experience the highway and begins in Ceduna.
Penong Windmill Museum
This is one of the most popular stops on the Eyre Highway, west of Ceduna. The windmill museum in Penong showcases old, new, small and big windmills, including “Bruce” the biggest windmill in Australia. It’s a unique photo opportunity for your trip and an interesting walk to stretch your legs and learn more about the agricultural history of South Australia.
Cactus Beach is a world-famous surfing destination located just outside of Penong. The beach is a popular place for experienced surfers who come to tackle the two left-hand breaks and one right hand break. While the remote beach is a popular spot, it’s best reserved for experienced surfers, while novices should head to Fowlers Bay for their surf.
Head of Bight
The Head of Bight is the northernmost point of the Great Australian Bight. It’s located just a short 20km detour off the Eyre Highway. It’s also a famous whale watching spot, with a couple of platforms from where you can look out over the Southern Ocean. Between May and October, you can see Southern Right Whales here as they come to mate in the warmer waters off the coast.
These coastal cliffs stretch for 200 kilometres along the Great Australian Bight and are a staggering 90 metres high in some sections. They are considered the longest line of sea cliffs in the world. There are five lookouts along the dramatic edge where you can stop and take photos of this beautiful natural feature of the Nullarbor.
This roadhouse marks the border between South Australia and Western Australia. They have a swimming pool, homecooked meals and comfortable beds for weary drivers who are crossing from one state to the next.
Eucla National Park
This vast park is situated on the south east corner of Western Australia. The small settlement of Eucla is located on the highway, with a roadhouse and basic services. You can also explore the stunning sand dunes, white sand beaches and an old telegraph station inside the park area.
The Nullarbor is home to the largest exposure of limestone bedrock in the world, which is dotted with hundreds of caves. Cocklebiddy Cave is the most well-known and is considered one of the longest caves in the world with a single passage of up to 6km.
Eyre Bird Observatory
This was Australia’s first bird observatory established in 1977. While it’s a 34-kilometre detour along a 4WD-only road off the Eyre Highway, it’s a must for any avid bird watchers. As a remote research station amongst woodlands and sand dunes that is a truly unique place to visit off the highway.
90 Mile Straight
The famous 90 Mile Straight is the world’s longest, straightest road at 147km. It goes from Balladonia to Caiguna and a photo with the road sign is a must!
This is the last major roadhouse stop before arriving in Norseman, Western Australia. The Balladonia Cultural Heritage Museum is worth a visit to see the fragments of the US Skylab space station that fell to earth here in 1979, as well as, exhibits on Aboriginal history and European exploration.
Located halfway between Norseman and Balladonia on the Eyre Highway, this beautiful range of eucalyptus forest and granite hills offers a nice view. The Fraser Range Station was settled in 1872 and the first in the whole Nullarbor Plain area.
This large town marks the end of the Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It’s the only major town on the Western Australia side of the road and has supermarkets and accommodation to restock and refresh after the long drive across the Nullarbor.
Once you’ve arrived in Norseman, your journey across the Eyre Highway is complete and you can explore Western Australian further. There are multiple road options to take, including heading up to Kalgoorlie or down to the coast.