One of the most unique geological features of the Far West Coast of South Australia is the towering Bunda Cliffs. As the longest uninterrupted sea cliffs in the world, a sighting of this incredible coastline is one of the best things to do across the Nullarbor Plain.
Whether you’re driving along the Eyre Highway from South Australia to Western Australia or you’re planning day drives from Penong or Ceduna, you can easily see the Bunda Cliffs during your trip. While the long drive from Penong to the beginning of the cliffs at the Head of Bight is around 2.5 hours, there’s plenty to stop and see along the way. Just leave early enough to ensure that you have enough time to drive along the Eyre Highway and back before dark. This is where launching from Penong might suit you better than Ceduna, depending on your travel preferences.
If you’re planning a self-drive tour to the Bunda Cliffs, here’s a sample itinerary that you can customise to suit your own trip.
Itinerary for Ceduna to Bunda Cliffs self-drive tour
Stop 1: Penong Windmill Museum
The first stop is in Penong, before you’ve even left town. A visit to the Penong Windmill Museum is definitely a must, and it’s conveniently located right in the middle of town. The open-air museum showcases 20 restored windmills from around the country demonstrating the importance of these inventions for the agricultural industry of the Far West Coast. It’s also home to the largest windmill in Australia named Bruce. It attracts travellers from all around the country, making it one of the most popular attractions for the whole family.
Stop 2: Lake MacDonnell
The next stop is one of the most popular places for keen photographers. Lake MacDonnell is a former salt mine on the largest gypsum deposit in Australia. The lake attracts hundreds of travellers who come to take photos of the fluorescent pink water which is created by the unique algae and bacteria. However, it’s at its brightest when it’s dry, so plan your visit around rainfall if you can. It’s easy to find, just turn left down Point Sinclair Road at the western end of Penong town. You should be aware of other vehicles when stopping to take photos though, as it is on a public road that leads to Point Sinclair.
Stop 3: Big Wombat at Scotdesco
After you leave Penong, make time to stop at the Scotdesco Aboriginal Community just 30km west of town. The 25, 000 acre property is open to the public and offers accommodation, conference facilities, cultural experiences and a photo op of the Big Wombat. The Big Wombat was built by local artists and has become a popular tourist stop on the drive heading across the Nullarbor.
Stop 4: The Dingo Fence
Most Australians have heard of the famous Dingo Fence, or Dog Fence. The long barrier runs for an unbelievable 5600km and was built as a pest management device during the 1880s to keep the dingoes away from the fertile southeast of the country. It’s one of the longest manmade structures in world stretching from the Darling Downs in Queensland and finishing on the edge of the Great Australian Bight near Nundroo. You can see the fence just 56km west of Scotdesco Aboriginal Community on the Eyre Highway at Nundroo for a nice photo op of this iconic fence.
You can see the fence 45 km from Nundroo and 5.5 km from the road going into Yalata along the Eyre Highway. Alternately it’s 98.9 km from the Nullarbor Roadhouse heading toward Ceduna, or 197 km from Ceduna and 124 km from Penong.
You won’t miss it!
The fence in broken by the Eyre Highway and replaced with a stock grate that is embedded into the highway as a deterrent to animals looking to cross the highway to avoid the fence – when you go over this you’re there! If you stop to get a photo please remember you’re on a remote highway and stay safe. If you take a look around you’ll notice it’s a bit of a graveyard for lost hubcaps and other loose vehicle debris, so please take care!
Stop 5: Bunda Cliffs
The Bunda Cliffs are the dramatic meeting point of the Nullarbor Plain and Southern Ocean. As one of the most unique geological formations of the Far West Coast, the cliffs are the longest uninterrupted stretch of sea cliffs in the world running for 100km from the Head of Bight to Eucla. The incredible cliffs reach up to 100 metres high and are composed of fossiliferous limestone, which is distinguished by its bleached white bottom half.
If you’re driving from Penong in the east, the first place you will want to stop to see the cliffs is at the Head of Bight. This land-based whale watching centre has two viewing platforms which have beautiful views of the Bunda Cliffs as they stretch west towards Eucla. This makes the 12km detour off the Eyre Highway worth a stop, whether it’s whale season or not.
The centre also has a toilets, a covered picnic area and large carpark, so it makes for a great spot to have a picnic and a break from the long drive. If you’re doing this trip between May and October your in with a good chance of viewing the whale nursery of babies and their mothers while your there too.
Otherwise, if you have time to continue, there are other viewpoints and lookouts spread along the coast as you head further west. Each is well signposted, and they all give another perspective of these incredible sea cliffs as you park off the side of the Eyre Highway.
Stop 6: Nullarbor Roadhouse
As you turn around to make the journey back to Penong, you can stop in at the Nullarbor Roadhouse for a photo op with the baby whale statue and the iconic ‘must-have’ pic with the novelty building of an old roadhouse.
Return to Ceduna
You can return back to Penong the same way, and onto Ceduna if that’s your travel plan.