How to Travel the Nullarbor on a Budget
17 October 2017 | Petro Marais
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1. Free Camp on the Nullarbor
If you are Australian or have been traveling here for awhile you will be aware that even 1 star accommodation does not come at a low rate. Considering that the Nullarbor is mostly a treeless plain there aren't too many Air Bnb's available (none that I am aware of). So if you want to save money then definitely sleep in a tent. If that is not an option then pack your car so you can easily sleep in that. As a solo female I have done this plenty of times and never felt unsafe. I usually sleep where the trucks park since I feel safer around them. (It is nowhere near a 5 star Hotel however neither is the cost) The great thing about Australia is you are able to pull up literally anywhere and stay the night. Some places you are only permitted one night before you are asked to move on. However having driven the road between Perth to Brisbane 4 times now I have not once been asked to move. I also lived in a RV for 6 months and very rarely did we check into a caravan park. Here you will find an up to date list on free camping spots for driving the Nullarbor. Note you will not be able to camp in Ceduna and I would also not recommend this. You will need to drive outside town about 20km either way before you will be able to find free camping. Ceduna has a higher crime rate.
2. Take Extra Fuel When Crossing the Nullarbor
3. Take Plenty of Food & Water
If you are happy to not have any warm meals then I would recommend packing plenty of snacks. Even hot chips will set you back 10 AUD easily when driving the Nullarbor. I have crossed with a small refrigerator running on my car's power and would keep water and energy drinks cool in there. With the heat you will want to drink plenty of fluids and may be tempted to buy a cold drink at a highly inflated price at one of the roadhouses. However, if you need it, you need it the Aussie sun is hot enough to kill.
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4. Stick Strictly to the Speed Limit
If you value your money I would recommend sticking to the speed limit. Once you enter into South Australia fines become even more brutal. I have it on good authority that the police do monitor the Nullarbor. Personally I have never come across them; however I have been fined for driving a mere 6km over the speed limit near Adelaide. Fines start at 170 AUD for speeding less than 10 km and go up as high as 1014 AUD with a 60 AUD victims levy added on.
5. Visit Free Attractions on the Nullarbor
Australia has plenty of Big Things to see and any road trip along the Nullarbor should include stopping at a few of these. These are all free attractions. Between Adelaide and Perth you will find the following "big things" in order of east to west:
- The Big Scotsman - Adelaide, South Australia
- The Big Cockroach - Lower Light, South Australia
- The Big Galah - Kimba, South Australia
- The Australian Farmer - Wudinna, South Australia
- The Big Ant - Poochera, South Australia
- The Big Oyster - Ceduna, South Australia
- The Big Windmill - Penong, South Australia
- The Big Wombat - Bookabie, South Australia
- The Big Kangaroo - Border Village, South Australia
- Leeuwin Way Whale - Eucla, Western Australia
- World's Tallest Bin - Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
- The Big Camera - Meckering, Western Australia
6. Be Aware of the Costs for Its Main AttractionsYou've probably heard of the gorgeous views of Bight and the Nullarbor being home to the largest golf course in the world. However, neither of these two things are free. To visit the Head of the Bight it will set you back 12 AUD since it is on Aboriginal land. However, it is definitely worth it as you can see by the photo and the money also goes towards supporting the local indigenous communities. As for the cost of playing golf on the Nullarbor, a single scorecard will still set you back 70 AUD. Though if you are golf fanatic then this is definitely for you. I took my own set of golf clubs to save having to pay $5 at every hole which added up to a savings of 90 AUD - now that's how you travel the Nullarbor on a budget.
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