The Bunda Cliffs are the dramatic meeting point of the Nullarbor Plain and the Great Australian Bight. These incredible limestone cliffs stretch along the coast for over 100km making them the longest uninterrupted sea cliffs in the world. They are truly one of the most beautiful natural features of South Australia and a drive along the Nullarbor is not complete without a sighting of these cliffs.
If you’re planning your trip to the Far West Coast, here’s what you need to know about the Bunda Cliffs, including the best ways to see them.
About the Bunda Cliffs
The Bunda Cliffs are part of the limestone bedrock of the Nullarbor Plain, which is the largest single exposure of such foundation in the world. It covers an area of about 200, 000 square kilometres and is a 65-million-year-old former shallow seabed. This makes it one of the most unique geological features of the Far West Coast of South Australia. The Bunda Cliffs were named after the Aboriginal word, Bunda. They are the dramatic meeting point of this limestone bedrock with the wild waters of the Great Australian Bight.
The cliffs are visually unique not only in their size but in that you can notice the bottom half of the cliffs are almost bleached white. This is because they are composed of fossiliferous limestone, which can also be seen from Eucla to Madura. The Bunda Cliffs officially begin at the Head of Bight and stretch west to the border of Western Australia, although you will notice towering cliffs along most of the coastline. They stand up to an incredible 100m high in some sections and travel for more than 100km along the coast.
There is also a section of the Bunda Cliffs in Western Australia between Toolinna Cove and Twilight Cove. However, these cliffs are referred to as Baxter Cliffs.
How to reach the Bunda Cliffs
The Bunda Cliffs stretch from the Head of Bight to Eucla in Western Australia. If you’re travelling from Ceduna in South Australia, the nearest edge of the Bunda Cliffs is at the Head of Bight. This is the northernmost extent of the Great Australian Bight and sits roughly halfway across the Nullarbor. From the Head of Bight, the Bunda Cliffs stretch west towards Eucla.
The Head of Bight is easily reached by road off the Eyre Highway. It’s a short detour of 12km from the highway to reach the coast and lookouts, which is well signposted. This is one of the most convenient and best places to see the cliffs and makes for a nice stop as you travel across the semi-arid plain.
If you’re travelling across the Nullarbor from the west, then you will first reach the Bunda Cliffs just after Eucla. The Eyre Highway runs very close to the cliffs after you cross into South Australia from this direction, which provides great views of the western edge of the Bunda Cliffs.
Depending on which direction you’re travelling from:
• From Ceduna to Head of Bight: 285km or 3.5-hour drive along the Eyre Highway west of Ceduna town.
• From Eucla to Head of Bight: 221km or 2.5-hour drive along the Eyre Highway east of Eucla.
• From Norseman to Eucla: 710km or 7.5 hour drive along the Eyre Highway.
How to see the Bunda Cliffs
You can either see the Bunda Cliffs by land or air. The Bunda Cliffs are most easily seen by land along the Eyre Highway which skirts right along the cliffs with multiple viewpoints. Although for a completely different perspective, you can also take a scenic flight over the cliffs.
By road and land-based viewpoints
Most people view the Bunda Cliffs by land. The Eyre Highway is the only sealed main road which crosses the Nullarbor Plain and often runs right along the coastline with beautiful views across the Great Australian Bight. There are also designated viewpoints of the Bunda Cliffs off the Eyre Highway, allowing you to pull over and safely admire the natural wonder and to take photos.
These viewpoints are well signposted with safe access roads and parking areas from where you can get out and see the Bunda Cliffs stretching along the coast. These viewpoints are scattered along the way between Eucla and the Head of Bight, with plenty of opportunities to savour the view.
Otherwise, one of the best land-based viewing platforms is at the Head of Bight Whale Watching Centre, which is one of the best places to stop on the Eyre Highway.
The Head of Bight Whale Watching Centre
The Head of Bight is the northernmost point of the Great Australian Bight. It’s also widely considered to be one of the best land-based whale watching spots in the country. Located right on the eastern edge of the Bunda Cliffs, it provides incredible views of the Southern Ocean.
At the Head of Bight, you will find the whale watching centre and viewpoints. This includes a large car park, picnic area, boardwalks and viewing platforms, toilets, water tanks and informational boards. The boardwalk takes you to two main viewing platforms, one to the east and one to the west. They are sloped and accessible to people of all ages and abilities, including for wheelchairs. The centre is also an educational facility with a number of display boards that provide information about the habits and behaviours of the Southern Right Whales and fragile environment of the area.
The Southern Ocean is an important habitat for these endangered marine mammals. They come to breed in the warmer waters of the Bight each year from around May until October. Those with calves generally remain within just the same section of coast, with more than 150 whales appearing near the Head of Bight on average each year. The viewing platforms at the Head of Bight are busy during these winter months with many people hoping to get a glimpse of these beautiful animals.
However, the viewing platform facing to the west also happens to be one of the best land-based viewpoints of the Bunda Cliffs as they stretch all the way to Eucla. This means that the Head of Bight is a great place to have a break from driving across the Nullarbor, whether it’s whale season or not.
By air on scenic flights
For a completely different perspective and to grasp the true scale of the cliffs, a scenic flight is one of the most memorable ways to see the Bunda Cliffs. Scenic flights are available over the Nullarbor, Bunda Cliffs and Head of Bight from near Ceduna. While they are most popular during the winter months for whale watching from the sky, a scenic flight is still an incredible way to view the sea cliffs along the coast.
Flights can be from 20 minutes up to an hour but are not allowed to fly lower than 500 metres above a whale, if they are present. To see the incredible Bunda Cliffs in their full glory as they stretch for 100km, is certainly a once in a lifetime experience.