Eucla is a small town on the western edge of the Nullarbor. It’s the easternmost settlement in Western Australia and is a common place for travellers to pass through on the Eyre Highway. The long journey from Ceduna to Eucla across the Nullarbor is one of the greatest road trips in the country. The 493km trip takes you from the white sand beaches of the Eyre Peninsula across the semi-arid plain and along the dramatic cliffs of the Great Australian Bight all the way to Eucla in Western Australia.
Although you can travel the distance from Ceduna to Eucla in a day, there are plenty of things worth doing and seeing on the way. The Nullarbor Plain and Far West Coast are some of the most unique landscapes in Australia, making it a great place to take your time to explore. This article will cover all the best places to see on the way from Ceduna to Eucla.
Best time to travel from Ceduna to Eucla
The weather is favourable in Eucla for most of the year. However, there are some benefits of travelling at different times and different seasons depending on what you want to do. If you want to enjoy the beaches on the Far West Coast, summers are quite hot and the perfect time to cool off in the ocean. On the other hand, winters are much cooler and are the only time that you can find Southern Right Whales off the coast. This is one of the real highlights of travelling along the Great Australian Bight
The most moderate weather is in spring and autumn, with perfect days for exploring and driving, without the inconvenience of heat or cold days. It’s also much quieter at this time, with less crowds than during the summer holidays. However, no matter what time of year you plan on heading to Eucla, you’ll still enjoy your trip.
How to get to Eucla
Eucla is located right on the Eyre Highway in Western Australia, just 11km away from the South Australian border. Travelling from Ceduna to Eucla along the Eyre Highway is 493km or a 5-hour drive.
The Eyre Highway is the only sealed road that connects Eucla with Ceduna across the Nullarbor. It’s an incredibly long road that begins in Norseman in Western Australia and runs all the way to Port Augusta in South Australia, often skirting along the dramatic coastline of the Great Australian Bight.
The Eyre Highway is known as one of the must-do road trips in all of Australia. Hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass along the road each year, travelling between South and Western Australia.
Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Eucla
If you’re planning a trip across the Nullarbor from Ceduna to Eucla, there are some important things to know about safety and the highway before you head off.
The Eyre Highway
The main way people travel from Ceduna to Eucla is by car on the Eyre Highway. This road is part of the National Highway A1 and is the only direct, sealed route that connects Western Australia and South Australia across the Nullarbor. It’s considered one of the greatest road trips in the country and is a lifetime bucket list achievement for many people.
The highway runs from Port Augusta, across the top of the Eyre Peninsula to Ceduna and then continues across the Nullarbor to Eucla. The full length of the road is 1675km, with the distance from Ceduna to Eucla being 493km.
The highway is named after Edward John Eyre, an English land explorer who first crossed the Nullarbor in 1841 with his Aboriginal companion, Wylie. Construction on the road didn’t begin for another century, and it was completed and sealed in 1976. Today, the road sees hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year, including trucks and travellers who make the long journey.
The Eyre Highway is a well-maintained, sealed road for its entire length. However, there are still some safety considerations for your journey across the remote road.
The most important driving tip is to avoid driving on the highway at night. The road from Ceduna to Eucla is a secluded road that has very few settlements on the way and no major towns after Ceduna. The highway and Nullarbor area are particularly known for wild animal crossings and this can be dangerous for both you and the animals at night.
When it comes to packing, you should also make sure that you have a basic first aid kit, jumper leads and car repair kit so that you can manage anything that happens on the way. It’s also a good idea to purchase roadside assistance so that you can get help if you need no matter where you are on the highway.
It’s also important to take breaks while you’re driving. Crossing the Nullarbor can be a long and lonely drive with the flat semi-arid plain seeming an endless expanse. It’s a good idea to plan at least a couple of stops along the way to stretch your legs and have a break from driving. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy along the way. The longer you take to make the journey, the more you’ll appreciate the landscape and learn about the places of the Nullarbor and Far West Coast.
The stretch of Eyre Highway between Ceduna and Eucla is very remote with the only main sources of supplies and accommodation being the roadhouses. Roadhouses are small multipurpose stations that are spaced along the highway and generally include a petrol station, hotel, caravan park, bar and restaurant. After Yalata heading west, the roadhouses are the only form of settlements out there.
One of the most iconic roadhouses is the Nullarbor Roadhouse. It’s located 95km west of Yalata on the Eyre Highway and is nearby a couple of other attractions such as the Head of Bight lookout. If you time it well, it’s a nice spot to have a meal or stay the night.
Popular towns and things to see on the way
While you can technically make the journey from Ceduna to Eucla in five hours without stopping, there are plenty of worthwhile things to see on the way. While many people assume the Nullarbor is one large expansive plain with nothing to see, there is in fact some interesting places to stop and enjoy and take a break from driving.
Whether you’re limited or have plenty of time, here are the best places to stop and things to see on the way from Ceduna to Eucla.
Ceduna is a major town on the northwest corner of the Eyre Peninsula and on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain. It’s the last major town in South Australia before heading west across the plain towards Eucla in Western Australia. For this reason, it sees thousands of travellers passing through each year.
Ceduna is particularly known as being the Oyster Capital of Australia, with some of the best oysters and freshest seafood in the country found in the nearby bays. One of the most popular activities to do in Ceduna is to tour a working oyster farm in nearby Smoky Bay.
Beyond the delicious food, Ceduna is also a popular traveller’s rest stop on the Eyre Highway. The town has all of the amenities and accommodation that you need to suit any trip style and budget.
From Ceduna, you can also head off on day trips and explore more of the Eyre Peninsula and Far West Coast. The town is in a very convenient location within close proximity to many of the area’s activities and attractions such as surfing, fishing, 4×4 driving, swimming and walking. The trip from Ceduna to Eucla across the Nullarbor is certainly one of the most popular trips to do and is one of the main reasons people find themselves in town.
Penong is known as the ‘town of windmills’ and you won’t be left wondering why. The Eyre Highway runs right through the middle of town and it’s easily missed if you blink, and many unknowing travellers do. It is a quiet place, but it just happens to boast the largest windmill in Australia, the largest gypsum field in the Southern Hemisphere (which is now world-famous thanks to its pink lake), and a world-famous surfing area.
Penong Windmill Museum
The Penong Windmill Museum is one of the most popular stops on the Eyre Highway. The museum in Penong showcases a range of windmills, including the biggest in Australia called “Bruce”. It’s a unique photo op and an interesting place to explore the agricultural history of the area.
Cactus Beach is a world-famous surfing destination at Point Sinclair just outside of Penong. The beach is a popular place for experienced surfers who come to tackle the left-hand and right-hand breaks at this notorious spot. However, novice surfers should head to Fowlers Bay or further on to the Eyre Peninsula instead, where the waves are a little gentler.
This salt lake is a former salt mine on the largest gypsum deposit in Australia. It’s just inland from Cactus Beach and has become a popular place to stop thanks to it becoming a famous Instagram attraction. The incredibly high salt level of the water combined with algae and pink bacteria makes the colour of the lake turn a fluorescent pink colour. The contrast with the blue lake water next to it makes it an impressive sight and popular spot for photos.
Scotdesco on the Nullarbor Plain is located about 26km west of Penong on the Eyre Highway. A turn off the highway is required but only a small detour that will turn right and bring you to a giant wombat and another unique photo-op for the trip album.
Fowlers Bay is a pleasant little fishing town off the Eyre Highway not far from Ceduna. It’s popular for fishing and surfing and is a quieter alternative for a night’s stop. Fowlers Bay is also one of the most popular places for departures of whale watching tours during winter. Southern Right Whales are only found off the coast of the Great Australian Bight in the cooler months and are one of the coast’s major attractions.
The Dingo Fence
The Dingo Fence is a famous long barrier that is also referred to as the Dog Fence. It runs for an incredible 5600km and was built as a pest management device during the 1880s to keep the dingoes away from the southeast of the country.
It begins on the Darling Downs in Queensland and finishes on the edge of the Great Australian Bight near Nundroo. It’s the world’s longest fence but also one of the longest manmade structures in the world, so many people like to stop and get a glimpse of the fence on their trip from Ceduna to Eucla.
Spotting the fence along the road is made easy by the stock grate that is embedded in the highway, the fence on either side is The Dingo Fence. Make sure your hubcaps are firmly secured, if you stop at the fence and look over either side of the road you’ll see why. It’s a bit of a hubcap graveyard.
The Nullarbor Plain
The Nullarbor Plain is a flat, semi-arid limestone bedrock that stretches for 200, 000 square kilometres across South and Western Australia. It’s one of the most unique landscapes in the whole country and meets the Southern Ocean along the Great Australian Bight. The plain stretches from just west of Ceduna all the way to Eucla and is a remote, harsh landscape that has very few settlements or towns scattered across it.
For most people, a drive across the Nullarbor Plain on the Eyre Highway is one of the country’s ultimate road trips. The drive from Ceduna to Eucla is certainly one of the best ways to appreciate the incredible vastness of the plain. The plain itself is also home to impressive features such as the Bunda Cliffs and Cocklebiddy Cave.
The Bunda Cliffs are the longest continuous stretch of sea cliffs in the world. The cliffs stretch for 100 kilometres along the Great Australian Bight and can be up to 90 metres high. There are five lookouts along the dramatic cliff edge where you can enjoy the view and take some photos. It’s one of the most outstanding features of the Great Australian Bight and Nullarbor Plain.
Head of Bight
The Head of Bight is the northernmost extent of the Great Australian Bight. It’s a short detour of 20km off the Eyre Highway and is worth the drive to this spectacular location. There is a lookout platform there from where you can gaze at the Bunda Cliffs and try to spot some Southern Right Whales during the cooler months. It’s known as one of the best land-based whale watching spots in the country.
Nullarbor Link Golf Course
For golfing enthusiasts, this is considered the longest golf course in the world. The 18-hole par 72 course spans 1365km across the Nullarbor with one hole in each roadhouse along the Eyre Highway. It’s a unique way to see the Nullarbor and the Far West Coast and begins in Ceduna continuing all the way to Kalgoorlie.
For a bit of a photo-op, a stop at Border Village roadhouse marks the border between South and Western Australia. The roadhouse has a restaurant, pub, accommodation and a swimming pool for weary drivers, otherwise, you can just stop to take a photo of the border sign.
With a population of just over 50, Eucla is a very small settlement in Western Australia and yet it’s one of the largest on the vast Nullarbor Plain. It’s located just 10 minutes from the South Australia border and 493km away from Ceduna on the Eyre Highway. This makes it a popular place for passing travellers. You can find a few things to see and do in town, as well as, accommodation, a fuel station, restaurant and café.
The area around Eucla is part of the Eucla National Park stretching down to the south-east corner of Western Australia. The park is characterised by stunning sand dunes, white sand beaches and the old telegraph station. Originally built in 1877, the station was once one of the most important on the line between South Australia and Victoria and Western Australia. Today, it is now abandoned and slowly being swallowed up by the imposing sand dunes.
The best place to learn more about the telegraph station and Eucla’s history is at the Eucla Historical Museum which documents the town’s emergence and what it was like in the early days. A popular attraction is also the old Eucla Jetty which sits on the beach just outside of town. It’s a 15-minute walk from the old telegraph station and makes for a very picturesque photo.