Road Trip Gems of the Great Australian Bight
The magnificent southern coastline of Australia is home to many of the Country’s National Parks, including both marine parks and those on land. Due to their remote localities, the natural beauty and wildlife that exists along the Great Australian Bight seaboard, is extraordinarily unique.
Because of the travel distance required to reach this pristine region of Australia, the most comfortable and convenient way to journey, is by arranging a campervan hire.
This practical means of transport will allow you to set your own pace, without worrying about accommodation reservations and availability, whilst travelling across considerable expanses of wilderness.
One way motorhome hire from Perth or Adelaide will allow you to travel across the Nullarbor Plain, Australia’s longest stretch of straight road, without having to back-track.
Here is a list of must-see National Parks to explore, when you embark on this epic, once-in-a-lifetime road trip.
Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia
Located on the far eastern corner of the Great Australian Bight, this remote National Park is renowned for its exquisite coastal scenery, colossal sand dunes and calm waters of its sheltered bays.
The southern end of the park is accessible by 2WD, making it easy to explore the regions rockpools, cliffs and beaches in your motorhome. Kangaroos and Emus are plentiful, as are the Goannas and Blue Tongue Lizards.
There are several lookouts along the impeccable shoreline, providing the chance to spot seals, turtles and dolphins that populate the Southern Ocean. Point Avoid and Golden Island lookout are both accessible via sealed roads, providing exceptional views over the surrounding reef. Dolphins, Great White and Bronze Whaler sharks are occasionally seen from this lookout, while they hunt for schools of salmon on the coastal edge.
Nullarbor National Park, South Australia
The Nullarbor National Park is in the heart of the Great Australian Bight, and due to its isolated location, only a lucky few get to visit this magnificent stretch of coastline. The semi-arid habitat here is a haven for wombats, dingos, camels, emus, lizards and a variety of bird species.
Renowned as the best whale watching location in Australia, Southern Right Whales use the protected waters of the Great Australian Bight between May and October each year, as a nursery to raise their calves.
The Murrawijinie Caves are also located inside the park, just minutes away from the nearby Nullarbor Roadhouse. Temperatures inside the cave can drop up to ten degrees lower than outside, a nice reprieve from the heat in summer. Make sure to bring a torch and comfy walking shoes to explore these fascinating caves and the ancient Aboriginal art that is contained within.
On your way to or from the Nullarbor National Park, you must make a stop at the Great Australian Bight lookout, which is located to the east. From the viewing platform you can admire the sapphire blue waters, which provide a stunning contrast to the mammoth Bunda Cliffs towering above.
Cape Arid National Park, Western Australia
The remoteness of Cape Arid National Park has allowed it to remain almost untouched by human disturbance. Self-guided tracks are available for walks ranging in length and difficulty, rewarding your efforts with views of unspoilt native bushland and stunning granite outcrops. Explore pioneer homestead ruins and remnants from the graziers who occupied the area in the 1800’s.
More than 160 species of native birds inhabit the park, including Emus, Honeyeaters, Carnaby’s Cockatoos and Cape Barren Geese. Whale watching is best from the Dolphin Cove lookout, which is also a stunning spot for a swim, with crystal blue water meeting the pristine white sand.
Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia
The beaches at Cape Le Grand National Park are consistently labelled the world’s best by visitors. These exquisite shorelines also face the neighbouring Recherché Archipelago, providing a delightful view of its 105 islands that sit off the coast of Esperance.
Hellfire Bay is a secluded white sand beach inside the park, and it’s sheltered location makes it perfect for swimming. Rossiter Bay is equally great for swimming, and also a great spot for bushwalking. There are stunning plants throughout the park, including Banksias, Grasstrees, Wildflowers, Grevilleas, and many more; the ideal habitat for the many native birds that find sanctuary here.
Wildlife lovers will be in paradise amongst the friendly kangaroos, pymgy possums and bandicoots. Whale watching is also possible from the beach, or even better from one of the lookouts available via hiking trails.
Campgrounds at the National Park combine the best of both worlds, having the bush meet the beach… and delivers a divine spot to wake up, surrounded by natures finest.
Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia
This stunning National Park, located on the outskirts of the Great Australian Bight, contains a hugely diverse amount of plant-life. Twenty percent of all West Australian flora species have been identified inside this nature sanctuary. If you happen to travel from September to November, you will be rewarded with the specular colours of the spring wildflowers.
However, there is reason to travel earlier in the year too. Between the months of June and October, Southern Right Whales are sighted regularly from lookout points located within the Fitzgerald River National Park. At Point Ann there is a platform purposely built for this activity, with some days recording over 20 sightings. Pods of dolphins, Sea Lions and Humpback Whales are often sighted in the area as well.
It’s not just marine life that is abundant here, on land you will no doubt get the pleasure of seeing emus, kangaroos, echidnas, plus a plethora of bird and reptile species.
If you don’t have the time to do the entire journey from Adelaide to Perth, or vice-versa, then you may wish to visit the edges of the Great Australian Bight in either Western or South Australia.
The Fitzgerald River National Park is only a 6-hour drive from Perth, Western Australia, or Coffin Bay in South Australia is a 7.5-hour road trip from Adelaide. Both of these places have several campground options, and if you are needing help sourcing them, there is a free mobile phone app called “Discovery Roadtrip” that will help you out. Either of these destinations are a great way to experience this exceedingly special part of the world, and its incomparable natural beauty.