Edward John Eyre, who in 1841 was the first European to successfully cross the Nullarbor Plain, described it bluntly as “a hideous anomaly; a blot on the face of nature; the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams”.
Despite his less than flattering critique, thousands of Australians in caravans and motorhomes make the pilgrimage across the Eyre Highway, named in his honour, each year – many on a lap of Australia, others just to tick it off their bucket list as a quintessential outback experience.
Crossing the Nullarbor, which literally means ‘treeless plain’, was an achievement in itself until the Eyre Highway, which stretches 1668km from Port Augusta to Norseman, was carved across the continent in 1941.
Today, the highway, which contains the longest straight piece of tarred road surface in Australia (146.6km) on its western side, is just a bitumen bore. The other problem is the limited quality
accommodation, or even quality caravan park facilities, so if you are a creature of comfort, you’ll need to bring your own, which is exactly what my wife Wendy and I did.