Many Nullarbor adventures begin or end in Adelaide. The capital of South Australia is located on a beautiful and fertile part of the coastline and is an easily accessible place to reach. The journey at the edge of the Nullarbor Plain, from Ceduna to Adelaide is a varied drive from the stunning coast, through rural outback towns to the Winelands around Adelaide. The journey itself can take as little as one or two days, but with some extra time the options for detours are endless.
The nearly 800km road trip from Ceduna to Adelaide is often the end or beginning of the much longer journey on the Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor. This entire journey is considered one of the best road trips in the country, with a variety of landscapes and sights to see on the way.
If you’re planning to drive from Ceduna to Adelaide, then this article will outline everything that you need to know, including what to see and do along the way no matter how much time you have.
Table of Contents
- 1 About Adelaide
- 2 Best time to visit Adelaide
- 3 How to get to Adelaide
- 4 Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Adelaide
- 5 Book Ahead and Save
- 6 While you’re crossing The Nullarbor Plain
Adelaide is a vibrant city on the edge of the St. Vincent Gulf in South Australia. It’s the state capital city and is famous for what some people describe as a Mediterranean style of living. The city is quite a bit smaller and more laidback than other cities in Australia, but it makes up for it with exceptional food and wine, cultural events, shopping and beautiful attractions within a short drive.
Many people begin or end their road trips in South Australia in Adelaide, with the city being well connected by road and flights to other major destinations around Australia. Of course, one of the most well-known of these journeys is the long drive from Perth to Adelaide, which takes travellers across the Nullarbor Plain along the Eyre Highway. With this road trip, Ceduna is one of the major overnight stops, as it is the first major town in South Australia that you come across if you’re coming from the west and it’s just a further 777km to reach Adelaide.
Best time to visit Adelaide
South Australia has a great climate all year round. If you prefer to avoid the most extremes of the weather, then you should consider travelling in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. Temperatures can soar in summer with the average around the mid-30s. While this is perfect for exploring the beaches, but it can be a bit uncomfortable for long days of driving and sightseeing.
Winter on the other hand is relatively mild, with an average temperature of around the low-20s. However, rainfall is also more common in winter, so it’s not the best time to be making long road trips. Although, winter is a great season if you want to catch a glimpse of the Southern Right Whales off the Far West Coast, as they only migrate to the sheltered waters of the Great Australian Bight in the cooler months.
One of the best times to visit Adelaide is during one of its many lively festivals. Both the annual Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide are held in March, making this month a particularly great time to be in the bustling city.
How to get to Adelaide
Being the state capital, Adelaide is easily reached by road from most places in South Australia and beyond. The Ceduna to Adelaide stretch is particularly popular for people after exploring the Nullarbor and Eyre Peninsula.
The distance from Ceduna to Adelaide is 777km on the National Highway A1. It can be driven in around eight hours directly but is best enjoyed at a slower pace so you can take the time to admire the incredible landscapes. If you take two or three days to travel between Ceduna and Adelaide on the Eyre Highway, you can enjoy places on the way including the Gawler Ranges National Park, Port Augusta and the Clare Valley.
If you have more than a couple of days to drive between Ceduna and Adelaide, you can explore the incredible Eyre Peninsula, as well. You can take a detour around the peninsula southeast from Ceduna and explore the seafood havens of Smoky and Streaky Bay, the stunning beaches in Coffin Bay National Park and Lincoln National Park and the water activities in Whyalla. This Ceduna to Adelaide itinerary can take up four to five days, or even longer with overnight stays in Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Augusta and Clare.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can also take the weekly Stateliner bus which travels between Ceduna and Adelaide in around 11 hours. There are also daily flights from Ceduna to Adelaide with Rex, if you want to travel quickly.
Things to know about travelling from Ceduna to Adelaide
If you’re planning on driving from Ceduna to Adelaide, there are some important things to know about the road, including some safety tips.
The Eyre Highway
Most people who travel from Ceduna to Adelaide take the Eyre Highway, which is part of the National Highway A1. It is the quickest and most direct road option between the two destinations and is a well-maintained sealed road. The Eyre Highway is considered one of Australia’s greatest road trips, as it links South and Western Australia across the Nullarbor Plain. The long road begins in Norseman to the west and runs across the arid plain, through Ceduna to Port Augusta in the east. From Port Augusta, the road becomes the Augusta Highway as it heads south to Adelaide.
Driving along the Eyre Highway and across the Nullarbor is often one of the most sought-after road trips in the country, with hundreds of thousands of people making the journey each year.
The highway was named after John Eyre, who was the first European to cross the Nullarbor in 1841 with his Aboriginal companion, Wylie. The road was officially constructed from 1941 onwards but wasn’t fully sealed until 1976. Today, the Eyre Highway is a well-maintained road with yearly improvements to cater for the increase in traffic.
Eyre Peninsula detour
If you have a little extra time on your way from Ceduna to Adelaide, you can make a detour to explore more of the Eyre Peninsula. Although this adds a few extra days onto your trip, there are plenty of things to see and do with the incredible coastal scenery along the way.
If you opt to take this detour, you can head southeast from Ceduna along the Flinders Highway to Port Lincoln and then continue northeast from there to Whyalla and Port Augusta before resuming your trip to Adelaide.
You should try to avoid driving at night from Ceduna to Adelaide, particularly in the more rural areas between major towns. Wildlife regularly cross the roads at night, and it can be dangerous for both you and them. You should also carry a basic first-aid kit, jumper leads and car repair kits as well as purchase roadside assistance if you can, so that if anything happens along the way you can get help or help yourself.
It’s ideal to break the 777km journey up with at least one night. There are plenty of towns along the way to stay, so you don’t drive the whole distance in one day. In fact, it’s better to take your time while travelling from Ceduna to Adelaide, as there are plenty of things to do and see along the way.
Popular towns and things to do on the way
No matter how much time you have, you can find plenty of activities and sights to keep the whole family busy on the long drive from Ceduna to Adelaide. From the stunning coastline of the Far West Coast to the delicious seafood in the small coastal towns, to the contrasting outback landscape in the Gawler Ranges and the fertile wine regions outside of Adelaide, there’s plenty to see.
Some of these places require a bit of a detour from the most direct route, but if you want to get the most out of your trip, they’re worth the extra time and effort. Here are some of the most popular stops and things to see on the way from Ceduna to Adelaide:
Ceduna is the major town on the northwest coast of the Eyre Peninsula and the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain. It’s known as the Oyster Capital of Australia and is famous for its fresh and delicious seafood caught in the nearby bays. The town is also in a very convenient location for exploring the Far West Coast and the Great Australian Bight.
For many people, Ceduna is the last stop before the endless Nullarbor Plain or the first stop after a long drive across the Western Australia border. There are a variety of accommodation options in Ceduna to accommodate travellers stopping overnight on their way. You can pick up all sorts of supplies you might need with plenty of local shops and businesses including, Terry White Chemmart, Jim’s IGA in Thevenard, Ceduna Home Timber and Hardware, Ceduna Meat Service and Autopro Ceduna, just to name a few and one-stop-shops for travellers on the go such as Mozzies Truckstop and Diner. It’s not hard to find what you need in this town with these and so many more stores and services.
To reach Adelaide from Ceduna, you can travel on the Eyre Highway to Port Augusta and then down to Adelaide for the most direct route to the capital. This takes around eight or nine hours of continuous driving or is best broken up with an overnight stay somewhere on the way. Otherwise, if you have more time, you can head southeast from Ceduna on the Flinders Highway to explore more of the Eyre Peninsula which has a variety of things to see on the way too.
Gawler Ranges National Park
The Gawler Ranges National Park is an outback wilderness area characterised by a stunning red rock landscape. It’s conveniently located halfway between Ceduna and Port Augusta and just north of the Eyre Highway. It’s one of the best stops for those with a little more time to spare on their way to Adelaide.
The national park is best explored either on foot or on a guided 4WD tour. It is a sacred area for the region’s Aboriginal people and is a great place to explore and admire the unique landscape. There are also campgrounds located in the park, if you want to stay overnight amid the rocky gorges before continuing on your journey.
The Eyre Peninsula is a triangular-shaped peninsula south of the Eyre Highway. It is known for its incredible coastal scenery, wildlife, white sand beaches and delicious seafood. It attracts a large number of visitors each year who come looking for a both a relaxing beach holiday and a real adventure with plenty of activities on offer.
If you have the time to explore the peninsula, it’s a great alternative detour on the way to Adelaide from Ceduna. You can take the Flinders Highway south towards Port Lincoln, which is the main town near the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, and then head up along the Lincoln Highway to Port Augusta. There are plenty of things to see and do, including fishing, surfing, whale watching, walking and camping, which are outlined below.
The Far West Coast is home to a range of small coastal towns that are popular with surfers. Some of the best local surf spots include Elliston, Fowlers Bay and Venus Bay on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula.
While more experienced surfers tend to go for the world-class breaks at Cactus Beach, which is near Penong west of Ceduna. It’s known as one of the best places to hit the surf in the whole country and care should be taken of the notorious swells.
The Eyre Peninsula is known as one of Australia’s premier seafood frontiers, with the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight harbouring some of the most delicious seafood you can find anywhere else in the country. Fishing is both a commercial activity and popular pastime along the coastline between Ceduna and Adelaide, as well as further afield along the Far West Coast. You can throw a line in almost anywhere or head out on a guided fishing charter for the best opportunity to catch the famous King George Whiting.
Drive the Seafood Trail
On your way from Ceduna to Adelaide, a self-drive tour of the Seafood Trail is a must for foodies. It takes you south of Ceduna around the Eyre Peninsula to Whyalla. It’s a perfect detour from the Eyre Highway if you have more time.
The self-drive trail takes you to Streaky Bay, Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln, with optional stops for you to sample some fresh seafood including oysters, prawns, tuna, lobster and King George whiting. A highly recommended stop on the way is at a working oyster farm in Smoky Bay. There you can take a tour of SA Premium Oysters, where you can learn all about the process behind this delicious seafood delicacy.
One of the most sought-after wildlife encounters on the Far West Coast is catching a glimpse of Southern Right Whales off the coast. These beautiful creatures can only be seen from around May until October each year when they migrate to the warmer waters from Antarctica. There are some designated lookouts off the Eyre Highway and along the coast of the Nullarbor Plain, including the Head of Bight.
Otherwise, a more intimate experience is one of the two-hour whale watching boat tours from the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. This way you can get to see these giants up close.
Port Lincoln is a major town towards the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula. This town is a huge seafood hub and makes for a great base for exploring both the Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks. The town itself also has a range of things to do, including the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum and Port Lincoln Railway Museum.
Port Lincoln town is just 405km or a four-hour drive from Ceduna along the Flinders Highway. This drive takes you along the beautiful west coast of the Eyre Peninsula and includes many of the great fishing and surfing spots including, Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay, Baird Bay, Venus Bay and Elliston.
Whyalla is one of the main towns on the eastern coast of the Eyre Peninsula. It’s just an hour’s drive south of Port Augusta and a three-hour drive north of Port Lincoln along the Lincoln Highway. It’s a great option for an overnight stay or as a base for exploring more of the Eyre Peninsula. From Whyalla, you can enjoy swimming with colourful cuttlefish around Point Lowly depending on the time of year. There are dedicated local tour companies who can take you out with experienced guides.
Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia and a major road traffic and railway junction. It’s located 322km or three and a half hours drive north of Adelaide at the tip of the Spencer Gulf. It’s a unique place, with all the major highways meeting there, including the Eyre Highway, Augusta Highway, Stuart Highway and Flinders Ranges Way. It’s one of the most popular places to stop overnight on the way from Ceduna to Adelaide, with plenty of accommodation, shops and businesses catering for the passing traffic.
On your way down to Adelaide from Port Augusta, a popular place to visit is the Clare Valley. It’s one of the oldest wine-producing areas in Australia, with its fertile lands producing world-class wine, as well as a range of local produce. The beautiful valley is north of Adelaide and an easy side trip from the highway between Port Augusta and the city.
It’s a popular place to stop and enjoy a picnic amongst the vineyards after the long drive from Ceduna. Otherwise, you can also stop overnight with plenty of boutique B&Bs, if you don’t want to continue on to Adelaide just yet.
Book Ahead and Save
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