The Nullarbor Roadhouse is the access point for adventure on the expansive Nullarbor Plain.
This roadhouse is much more than a service station, as it includes a motel, restaurant and caravan park. It is adjacent to the historic Nullarbor Homestead.
The Nullarbor Plain itself is 77,000 square miles and stretches 720km. Not surprisingly, the name comes from the Latin Nullus and Arbor, meaning ‘no trees’. The Nullarbor region is one of the largest semi arid Karst landforms in the world. There are a variety of caves across this sunburnt landscape, including Murrawijinie Caves north of the roadhouse which have been approved for public access. There’s also the Koonalda Cave and Bunabie Blowhole that may be viewed from the top. Most caves however, can only be accessed in the company of National Parks and Wildlife officers or with an accredited caving group.
Just south east of Nullabor is the magnificent Head of Bight, where Southern Right Whales can be seen on their annual migration from June to October.
The Nullarbor Plain
Vast, mysterious and often silent, the Nullarbor Plain is an awesome place. The name is Latin for “treeless” – an apt description of this vast expanse running from the Great Victoria Desert in the north to a dramatic series of 60 metre cliffs plunging into the pounding Southern Ocean. Travel along the coast between Adelaide and Perth and you can’t miss it.
Stand here in the daytime (preferably in the shade) and you gaze at an unbroken 360 degree horizon and an immense dome of sky, almost invariably blue and seemingly infinite. By night, a glittering canopy of stars unfolds, as intense and pure as you will see in this world. View the Southern Cross and other constellations not visible in the northern hemisphere.
The Nullarbor is equally magical, in another way, beneath the surface. Throughout this karst (limestone) country, passages running for kilometres link caves the size of cathedrals to form the world’s longest cave system, much of it unexplored. From Koonalda Cave, (just north of the Nullarbor Roadhouse) an immensely deep cave network winds down to a subterranean lake. Koonalda Cave, containing one of the earliest records of human occupation in Australia, is part of the Murrawijinie Caves, which have been approved for public access. Many caves can be entered with National Parks and Wildlife officers, but never without permission.
In winter, gaze in awe at the gathering of southern right whales at the Head of the Great Australian Bight. You require a permit to enter the Head of Bight, which is managed by the Yalata Aboriginal Community.