Sandy Edwards (played by Toni Collette) is a director in a company designing geologicalsoftware in Perth, Western Australia. Her business partner manipulates her into agreeing to act as a guide for a Japanese businessman visiting mines in the Pilbara desert, in hopes that the businessman will purchase her product and have a good impression during his trip. When Hiromitsu Tachibana (Gotaro Tsunashima) arrives, he treats Sandy like an ordinary driver, with more intent on discovering himself in the wilderness than on buying computer software. At first Sandy is angered by his private and demanding nature. During their first travel in the desert, Hiromitsu, feeling insecure, speaks more on his phone with friends in Japan than he does to Sandy driving next to him, and insists that she drives farther than planned. The terrain becomes too much for the pair's vehicle which becomes bogged down. After a series of desperate attempts to release the vehicle, including digging a dead man anchor, their winch burns out. Sandy tries to contact other people for rescue through cellphone, but Hiromitsu keeps stopping her from doing so. This forces them to spend the night stranded together. The next day Hiromitsu, conscious that his actions had placed them in danger, wakes up much earlier than Sandy and builds a wooden sticks track over which they can drive out of the sand. Now that they are on the road again, the ice breaks and a friendship starts between them that, in isolated surroundings uninterrupted by their work, grows quickly and honestly. Later on at a motel, they have sexual intercourse. Only after does Sandy learn that Hiromitsu has a wife and children in Japan.
On another travel to other nature spots, Hiromitsu and Sandy share a quiet moment and kiss each other, eventually having sex again. Afterwards, Sandy takes off her shirt and runs into a swimming hole nearby, where Hiromitsu dives into shallow water before she can warn him. After a moment of frantic calling from Sandy, Hiromitsu's corpse resurfaces. In shock at his sudden death, Sandy struggles in extremity with the necessities of the situation, dragging his body into their vehicle then carefully washing it before driving for hours to reach the nearest town. Back in Perth, Sandy cannot comprehend the violent end to her journey. Reality intrudes in the form of Hiromitsu's grieving widow, Yukiko, leaving Sandy attempting to understand how Hiromitsu's life had ended before she had understood his place in hers.