Eyre Highway

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Eyre Highway
Western Australia – South Australia
Nullarbor warning signs, 2012.jpg
General information
Type Highway
Length 1,675 km (1,041 mi)
Opened 1941
Route number(s)
  • National Highway 1 (Norseman - SA/WA border)
  • National Highway A1 (SA/WA border - Port Augusta)
route number
National Highway 1 (SA/WA border - Port Augusta)
Major junctions
West end Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, (National Highway 94 / National Route 1), Norseman, Western Australia
East end Augusta Highway (National Highway A1), Port Augusta, South Australia
Major settlements Nullarbor Plain, Eucla, Ceduna, Kimba
Highway system
Highways in Australia
National HighwayFreeways in Australia
Highways in Western Australia
Highways in South Australia

The Eyre Highway is a highway linking Western Australia and South Australia via the Nullarbor Plain. Signed as National Highway 1/A1, it forms part of Highway 1 and the Australian National Highway network linking Perth and Adelaide. It was named after explorer Edward John Eyre, who was the first to cross the Nullarbor by land.

The Eyre Highway runs between Norseman in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia. The road, and Highway 1, then continues as the Augusta Highway towards Adelaide.



There are two parts of the Nullarbor crossing that are now distinct and separate routes to the current Eyre Highway: on the Western Australian side is a mapped Old Coach Road that is further north towards the Trans Australia Railway line. On the South Australian side, the older highway route runs from Border Village to the Nullarbor Roadhouse, well away from the coast and running through the centre of the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area.[1]

Construction on the Eyre Highway first started in July 1941 and was completed six months later. First known as the Forrest Highway (named after John Forrest)[2][3]

During the road around Australia road trials in the 1950s,[clarification needed (complicated phrasing)] movie newsreels would show cars on very sandy tracks. The current route of the highway has not been deviated from significantly during various upgrades to the highway.

A decade long program to seal the highway began in the mid-1960s. The first section to be completed was the 462 km route between Port Augusta to Ceduna, in December 1967. This was followed by the section from Norseman, Western Australia to the state border in 1969. In October 1972 the Ceduna to Penong seal was completed. The final link to be sealed between Penong, South Australia and the state border was completed with a ceremony held on 29 September 1976 near Wigunda Tank, South Australia.[4] Between Yalata and the state border, the highway was realigned and deviated considerably from the original unsealed route. In deciding the new alignment for the South Australian section of the highway between Yalata and the state border, long, straight, flat sections were purposely avoided in order to prevent driver boredom and consequent fatigue, as well as sun-glare and glare from oncoming headlights. The new alignment also took into consideration the potential tourism opportunities provided along the coast of the Great Australian Bight.[4]

Route description[edit]

Western Australia[edit]

Mundrabilla Roadhouse, a typical Nullarbor roadhouse
Royal Flying Doctor Service emergency airstrip

The Western Australian section of the Eyre Highway is on the western side of the Nullarbor Plain. The Nullarbor gets its name from Latin for 'no trees'. The typical view is that of a straight highway and practically unchanging flat saltbush-covered terrain, although some parts are located on ridges. The population on this stretch was estimated at 86 as of the 2006 census and, apart from Eucla, no towns exist along the route. Roadhouses providing basic services such as petrol, food and bottled water are approximately 200 km (124 mi) to 300 km (186 mi) apart, but not all are open 24 hours. Because of its remoteness, some sections of the Highway serve as emergency airstrips for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. These airstrips are signposted and have runway "piano keys" painted on the road, and turnaround bays for small aircraft.

This section of the highway includes what is regarded as the longest straight stretch of road in Australia and one of the longest in the world, between Balladonia and Caiguna; the road stretches for 145.6 kilometres (90.5 mi) without turning. The section is signposted and commonly known as the "90 Mile Straight".

Localities in this section include:

  • Norseman
  • Balladonia
  • Caiguna
  • Cocklebiddy — South of Cocklebiddy is the Eyre Bird Observatory, located in a restored telegraph station. Many caves are also located in this area and are popular among cave divers and fossil hunters.
  • Madura — Once a homestead where horses were bred for use in the British Cavalry and for polo. This is now a peaceful roadhouse and hotel located on the pass through Hampton Tablelands. A lookout over the pass is located nearby.
  • Mundrabilla
  • Eucla — Located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the WA/SA border, this roadhouse is situated close to the Great Australian Bight. A historic telegraph station, half-buried in sand dunes, can also be viewed nearby.

South Australia[edit]

The Great Australian Bight is a short detour away at several places along the highway
Driving north along the Eyre Highway between Iron Knob and Port Augusta.

The South Australian section of the Eyre Highway crosses the eastern section of the Nullarbor Plain before arriving in the town of Ceduna. It then skirts the northern boundary of the Eyre Peninsula before reaching the city of Port Augusta. An alternative route between Ceduna and Port Augusta, formerly signed Alternate Route 1 and now signed B100, follows Flinders Highway and Lincoln Highway down the western and eastern sides of the peninsula respectively.

Localities in this section include:

Major intersections[edit]

State LGA Location km[5] mi Destinations Notes
Western Australia Dundas Norseman 0 0 Coolgardie-Esperance Highway (National Highway 94 north / National Route 1 south) – Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, Perth, Esperance, Albany Western highway terminus
Eucla 720 447 Western Australia / South Australia border National Highway 1 eastern terminus
South Australia Outback Areas CDT Border Village National Highway A1 western terminus
Ceduna Ceduna 1204 748 Flinders Highway (B100) – Streaky Bay, Port Lincoln
Streaky Bay Poochera 1337 831 Streaky Bay Road  – Streaky Bay
Wudinna Kyancutta 1422 884 Tod Highway (B90) south – Lock, Port Lincoln T-Junction: Eyre Highway south-eastbound continues as Tod Highway
Outback Areas CDT Iron Knob 1598 993 Dickenson Street to Iron Knob Whyalla Road – Iron Knob, Whyalla
Port Augusta Port Augusta West 1640 1,019 Lincoln Highway (B100) south-west – Whyalla, Port Lincoln T-Junction: Eyre Highway south-westbound continues as Lincoln Highway
Port Augusta 1664 1,034 Stuart Highway (National Highway A87) – Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Darwin Highway terminus: continues south east as Augusta Highway (Princes Highway, A1) towards Adelaide
  •       Route transition

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wilderness Advisory Committee Annual Report 2012-13" (PDF). September 2013. pp. 17–18. ISSN 1832-9357. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "FORREST HIGHWAY.". The Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1874 - 1954) (Charters Towers, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 29 January 1942. p. 4. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "FORREST HIGHWAY.". South Western Advertiser (Perth, WA : 1910 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 27 March 1942. p. 4. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Eyre Highway (January 1977). Western Roads: official journal of the Main Roads Department, Western Australia, 2(1), p.2-6. Perth: Main Roads Department.
  5. ^ Google (28 March 2013). "Eyre Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Main Roads, Western Australia (2006) Distance book: distances to towns and localities in Western Australia East Perth, W.A. Main Roads ISBN 0-7309-7668-8
  • Western Australia. Dept. of Tourism. (1978) Eyre highway traveller survey, 1978 : a study of travellers prior and subsequent to sealing of the highway Perth: Western Australian Dept. of Tourism. ISBN 0-7244-7800-0 (Roads. Use. Australia. Eyre Highway. Reports, surveys (ANB/PRECIS SIN 0061603)

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing