Driving The Nullarbor Plain

The Nullarbor Plain is a ‘must do’ drive for many people…and many different types of traveller.  Apart from the truckies, there are the grey nomads, backpackers, families and even a few brave cyclists to name but a few of the wanderers.

Stretching for around 1,200 kilometres, its name come from the Latin (nullus arbor) meaning ‘no trees’

These days the road is sealed and communication facilities are improved.

A ‘few’ years ago (in 1973) driving along the Nullabor Plain was a different experience. Max and his brother decided to experience driving the Nullarbor Plain. It was a spur of the moment decision, with little planning.  Max said his brother arrived to see him in Port Lincoln. ‘We talked about it and then made a sudden decision to go’.

Max said they had a Falcon ute in ‘good condition’, so we ‘so we quickly fitted it out with twin fuel tanks etc and away we went. Driving conditions were good to Penong then from there to Eucla, at the Western Australian border, it was all dirt and we had to be extremely careful. There were some holes deep enough to nearly bury our ute !!!!!’

Whilst these days there seems to be a steady stream of vehicles, back in 1973,  ‘there was very little traffic then; an odd truck and a few 4wd vehicles, but  very few mad people like us with 2 wd’. It was a fun, unplanned adventure for the duo and Max says, ‘we had no trouble or didn’t get stuck any where. We took plenty of food and fuel with us, and the back of ute was full’.

They stayed at Ivy Tanks the first night, then Cocklebiddy, and other  places like Balladonia, BoulderPerth, Esperance, and Norseman.

One of the interesting things about driving the Nullarbor is the variety of people you meet. This was certainly the experience of Max and his brother. ‘All the people at the road side stops were great to talk to, and  from memory, we were only away for a week’.

There always seems to be something to see along the way. I remember seeing ‘pickled snakes’ preserved in jars at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Max remembers his brother climbing the  Gloucester tree at Manjimup not far from Esperance.  ‘He got a long way up, but when he got to the top the door to the platform was locked.  He looked down to see where I was and got a shock as I was only a speck in the distance. His legs went like jelly and took him a long time to come down’.

It’s certainly an experience to drive across the Nullarbor Plain.

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