Last Modified: 18 Sep 2014
9 Day Nullarbor Unleashed
Trip code: PA9
Validity: 01 Apr 2014 to 31 Mar 2015
This is not only one of the world's great road trips across the vast plains of the mighty Nullarbor, but also an opportunity to encounter the best of Australian wildlife up close. This journey provides opportunities to spot a kangaroo, wombat, emu and dingo in the wild. Learning to surf, swimming with dolphins, taking in stunning Australian coastal scenery and kicking back in character-filled Aussie pubs, make this trip the ultimate for those looking for a wild and nature-filled journey through Australia's outback and remote regions.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner Nullarbor Traveller.
Table of Contents
- The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Day 1 Perth/Wave Rock/Fitzgerald River National Park
G'day and welcome to Perth.
Pickup is from Perth YHA, 300 Wellington St, at 7:00am. Please have your checkout finalised by 6.45am and be ready for a prompt departure.You will meet your fellow group members on board the vehicle as many of them may be staying at other accommodation.
Our adventure begins as we travel east over the Darling Ranges. After a morning break at the historic township of York we then continue our journey south. Our lunch stop will be at Wave Rock, where there's the opportunity to have a look at this amazing rock formation.
After lunch we drive further south to the Fitzgerald River National Park, an internationally recognised world biosphere reserve with plenty of beautiful beaches, rugged coastline and the opportunity for a short walk.
Our evening meal and overnight accommodation is with a fascinating person, Mary Richardson, who will explain how she built her straw bale house, manages a cafe while providing a feast of nature's own foods and bush foods from the district.
Approx travel 645 km with stops along the way. Camping with basic toilet and no electricity. (LD)
- All National Park entry fees
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Esperance/Cape Le Grand National Park
After a morning drive along the coast we arrive in Esperance with time to have a look around. A short drive brings us to the Cape Le Grand National Park where we set up camp only metres from a picture postcard beach.
The afternoon is free to explore this stunning coastal park with its white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. A late afternoon hike up the granite formation known as 'Frenchman Peak', rewards you with stunning views of the bay and islands of the Recherche Archipelago.
Approx travel 240 km with stops along the way. Camping with limited showers and toilets, no electricity. (BLD)
The next day is free and it is totally up to you how you would like to spend the morning enjoying this beautiful area. You may like to do one of the magnificent coastal walks or go for a swim or just relax and read a good book while lying on a pure white beach, you might have to share with a couple of locals, kangaroos that is.
Mid afternoon we head back north to the Eyre highway to start our journey east bound to Newman Rocks where we find a bush camping site. (BLD)
- All National Park entry fees
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 4-5 The Great Australian Bight/Nullarbor Plain
Today we travel through some diverse Australian country, have a look around Eucla - an old telegraph town buried by sand dunes and stop for the night at Koonalda Homestead.
Today the reality of the Nullarbor really hits you; this huge expanse of karst limestone has many hidden secrets including the biggest under ground lake system in Australia and is the source of many international divers who come here to explore this unique landscape.
Approx travel 500 km. Bush camping with no toilet, shower or electricity. (BLD)
The following day we see the majestic Nullarbor cliffs and stop at the famous wombat/camel/kangaroo road sign as we cross the Nullarbor. We spot some wedged tail Eagles and take some silly photos with unique Nullarbor signs.
In the evening we set up camp in the desert and get prepared to be bedazzled by one of natures greatest shows. People say the sky in Australia looks bigger than elsewhere. Tonight you get an IMAX sized version of the great southern night sky. Pick out the star sign constellations, the Southern Cross, planets and be amazed by the show of shooting stars so prevalent in the clear skies of the desert plain. (BLD)
- All National Park entry fees
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Day 6 Eyre Peninsula
Our first stop today is Bairds Bay which is a sublime stretch of coastline where we can spend time on the beach and having a swim. For those wanting to experience one of Australia's most unique wildlife experiences of swimming with dolphins and sea lions (OE $140) we have the time at this stop to do so. This incredible optional wildlife experience involves a four hour boat cruise. We find the friendly populations and can swim and snorkel amongst them. There is nothing that can parallel the feeling of communing with wild creatures such as these. If you wish to take up this option please notify us in advance so we can make the necessary arrangements.
A short drive brings us to Murphy’s Haystacks, incredible granite rock formations sculptured into wondrous and weird shapes over millions of years. After that we go to Talia caves. Not far from the caves are the sand dunes where we can go sandboarding.
After that part of the day you can relax on a private beach, spend time exploring the many beautiful bush or coastal walks on Coodlie Park Farm Retreat. This working farm has both traditional cropping and a project of tree planting on their own land to offset their own carbon emissions. Our accommodation here is hostel-style with shared limited showers, toilets and electricity. There is no mobile phone reception. (BLD)
- All National Park entry fees
- Swim with Sea Lions and Dolphins - AUD150
Farmstay (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Port Lincoln
This morning we head out and learn to surf with Spike at a beautiful deserted beach. We spend about two hours mastering the surf breaks.
After the surfing at Scales Bay we go to the Colton Bakery - a unique wood fired bakery on the side of the highway with a honesty pay system. We meet Mark, the owner, and walk through this interesting bakery.
We have lunch at Elliston along the Great Ocean Tourist Drive with stunning sculptures which contrast against the Investigator group of islands in the back ground.
After lunch we travel to Locks Well and admire the view and the man made 291 steps down to the Locks Well beach.
Tonight we camp at Mikkira Station, a private campground with a great opportunity to see koalas in their native environment. (BLD)
The next morning those that dare come face to face with the Great White Shark on a day tour which includes a video highlights of your experience.
Those not wishing to be quite so extreme head out to Whalers Way Conservation Park for some more spectacular and stunning coastlines,after lunch we go and swim with blue fin tuna. before a visit to Glen Forest Wildlife Park and the kangaroos, koalas, emus, birds and other unique Australian animals.
We head back to Mikkira to camp for the night. (BLD)
- All National Park entry fees
- Hand feed and swim with Blue Fin Tuna
- Great White Shark Cage Dive - AUD495
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Day 9 Flinders Ranges/Adelaide
Our first stop is Wadlatta Cultural Centre in Port Augusta that helps provide answers to the many questions about the formation of the Nullarbor, Flinders Ranges, and the formation of Australia as a continent. The tour then travels to Port Augusta and into the Flinders Ranges to enjoy our last last bush walk at Mount Remarkable.
The journey from the Flinders Ranges into Adelaide gives you a chance to reflect on the experiences over the last nine action packed days.
We recommend that you book a night for yourself in Adelaide tonight as although there are no formal activities planned, sometimes the groups plan to get together and reflect on the big journey together over a few drinks and a meal. We arrive late in the afternoon and flights should be booked no earlier than 9pm to be sure of making your flight out. There is no accommodation this night. (BL)
- All National Park entry fees
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Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
To get the most out of this trip you need to be prepared for walks of between 3-8 km on some days. This may be on rough ground and perhaps getting feet wet in rivers and creeks. From Oct to March you will experience temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius (and sometimes well into the 40’s) so be prepared to endure extra physical stress due to the heat at these times, especially while on walks.
These extreme outside temperatures can also place stress on the air-conditioning units within our vehicles which can make travelling uncomfortable. Your tour guide will assist with regular breaks and information to assist in keeping well hydrated.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
It is highly recommended that you pre book the optional activities listed in our trip notes as they are very popular and can't be booked at at time of travel. Please request at time of booking and we will provide the contact details for you to be able to book and pay the operator directly.
Our local operator for the Great White Shark diving option is a licensed Commercial Tour Operator, controlled by the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). All skippers are endorsed by the Fisheries Department and strict limitations are in place on how the shark diving activity takes place. When sharks are present at the boat, every effort is made to ensure that no provoked contact is made with the dive cage or boat. The quantity of bait and chum is controlled to ensure they don't start a 'feeding frenzy'. Baits are removed from the water if the shark action becomes 'excessive and when divers enter and exit the dive cage. The cage floats on the surface and is supervised by crew at all times. The operator also assists the CSIRO with shark research by tagging the sharks and providing additional data. They also contribute financially to the CSIRO to enable them to continue their white shark research program and continually make available space on the vessel for research personnel as requested by CSIRO. The Great White Shark dives are conducted in a natural location and the sharks are free to come and go as they please without excessive provocation by the operator.
Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
In Australia, tipping is expected for certain things, but not everything. As a guide, tipping applies when you sit down in a restaurant for a meal (10% is a general rule). When using taxis or buying drinks at a bar, rounding up is acceptable.
You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline AU$2-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 7
Please bring a sleeping bag. You may hire one at the start of your trip for $35.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner Nullarbor Traveller.
Maximum of 18 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Camping (with basic facilities) (4 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nts), Farmstay (1 nt)
To participate in this trip you must be prepared to assist with preparing meals, cleaning dishes, collecting firewood, setting up and packing up camp every day, in all conditions.
While camping you may be expected to assist with helping push the vehicle when stuck in sand bogs. Due to customer feedback for this trip, we no longer provide tents but use swags only
8 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 8 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Passengers with special meal requirements must ensure they or their travel agent inform Intrepid of this at the time of booking. Food for the trip is purchased prior to commencement and special requirements cannot be catered for after departing. Vegetarians and those with any special meal requirements may need to provide additional assistance to the leader for meal preparation.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised safari vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) and recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
Default pick up location Perth YHA @ 7:00am
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Select Adelaide accommodation
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Belgium: Yes - required in advance
Canada: Yes - required in advance
Germany: Yes - required in advance
Ireland: Yes - required in advance
Netherlands: Yes - required in advance
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: Yes - required in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance
USA: Yes - required in advance
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/index.html
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
Winter (June, July, August) night time temperatures can reach below zero. Please ensure you pack appropriately. Warm jacket, thermals, woollen hat is advisable for the colder months. Depending on the region you are visiting, particularly the South, you may also need to pack waterproof trousers and a jacket. Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures can also be high at this time of year.
Australia has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress, however the extreme sunshine can cause sunburn- particularly in summer. We recommend that you bring loose, cool, cotton clothing to protect yourself from the harsh sun. A sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.
Pack only your bare essentials. Due to limited space and strict road laws limiting gross weight of vehicles, you are required to limit your luggage to one small to medium sized soft bag or backpack (max 15 kg) and a small daypack, which can be carried inside the vehicle.
Please bring your own sleeping bag as there is no hire or purchase available for this trip.
CAMERA: A camera with a good zoom capability is recommended for this trip due to the high number of wildlife encounters possible. Wildlife being wild means it is not always possible to get in really close. A disposable underwater camera is also handy.
Winter (June, July, August) night time temperatures can reach below zero. Please ensure you pack appropriately. Warm jacket, thermals, woollen hat is advisable for the colder months.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures can also be high at this time of year. Long, loose, light coloured clothing is cool in the heat and prevents exposure to the sun. A hat and sunscreen is essential at all times. A water bottle (1.5L) is also advisable.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
REMOTE AREA TRAVEL:
We carry a satellite phone on all of our remote/overland trips to be used by our leaders in the event of an emergency and for your safety. In addition, all of our leaders are First Aid trained and certified.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are responsible for around 15,000 beach rescues and up to 120 people being drowned each year in Australia (source: Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
To enjoy Australia's beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
* Always swim between the red and yellow flags, as these indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
* Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
* Observe and obey safety signage, which indicates current and typical hazards for that location.
* Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice on conditions; they are there to make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
* Always swim with a friend; never swim alone.
* If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help by calling and waving your arm above your head.
Be aware of your own limitations in terms of your physical health and your swimming ability in the given conditions. Never swim while, or after, consuming alcohol.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.