Nullarbor Links

Nullarbor Links

At 1365 kilometers long, or 848 miles, the Nullarbor Links is the world’s longest golf course! In fact, the golf course is so long that it is like playing from Bandon Dunes all the way to Torrey Pines. Or, from Chicago Golf Club all the way to Pine Valley. Or, from Royal Portrush down to Ballybunion. Then back to Royal Portrush. And back to Ballybunion!

The Nullarbor Links is laid out across Australia’s Nullarbor Plain, which is one of the longest and straightest stretches of road found anywhere in the world. It is a place of endless skies, unforgettable sunsets, unimaginable horizons, and where you feel like you can see forever. It is also brimming with friendly people, cheap green fees, and mile after countless mile of absolute nothingness.

The desolate Nullarbor Plains
The desolate Nullarbor Plains

So, be sure to fill your car with petrol and select your favorite playlist before you get out on the road, because you are in for some serious time behind the wheel!

Fuel up on the Nullarbor Links
Fuel up on the Nullarbor

The World’s Longest Golf Course

Yes, you read that right, the Nullarbor Links is an astonishing 1365 Kilometers, or 848 miles long, which makes it the world’s longest golf course! OK, the actual golf course itself plays 6752-yards. But those 6752-yards are stretched across 2 of Australia’s states. As well as 2 time zones!

Nullarbor Links, the world's longest golf course
Nullarbor Links, the world’s longest golf course

Seven of the eighteen holes are located on existing golf courses, while the remaining eleven are found at roadside pubs and stops. Six holes are in the state of South Australia (SA), and twelve are in Western Australia (WA).

According to the Nullarbor website, Bob Bongiorno and Alf Caputo came up with the idea for a golf course one evening. Their imagination was stoked by a bottle of red wine at the Balladonia Roadhouse. The long road across the desolate Nullarbor Plain is extremely boring, so their idea was to spice it up by adding golf holes along the way. The golf course opened in 2009.

Beginning in the coastal town of Ceduna, SA, and ending in the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie, WA, par on the Nullarbor is 72.

What to Know Before You Go

Located in southern Australia, the Nullarbor Plain is the world’s largest exposure of limestone bedrock. It is a vast, arid, and almost treeless area of about 200,000 square kilometers (77,000 square miles). At its widest point, the Nullarbor Plain stretches about 1,100 kilometers (684 mi) from east to west across the border between SA and WA.

The word Nullarbor is Latin. Nulla, or nullus which means “no”, and arbor which means “tree”. So Nullarbor literally translates as “no tree”. And it’s no exaggeration.

When to go: Summer can be extremely hot on the Nullarbor Plain, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees (104°F). The best time is during the winter months when the days are warm and dry. However, the nights can be cold! To combine your golf with another unforgettable experience, whale season in South Australia is between June and October.

Do NOT drive the Nullarbor at night, or anywhere in Australia for that matter. Kangaroos, stock, and wild camels are abundant in the area. Beware of snakes if searching for wayward shots.

Drive with care on the Nullarbor Links
Drive with care on the Nullarbor

It is best to plan at least 5 to 7 days, one way, from Adelaide to Perth, to play the Nullarbor. It is approximately 2700 kilometers, or 1678 miles, from capital to capital.

Carry enough, and drink enough water.

Eat your fruit and vegetables before the borders else you will have to surrender them. And honey as well, we had to leave 2 jars!

Download the following apps: Camper Mate, Wiki Camps, and Petrol Spy. Camper Mate and Wiki Camps will assist in finding the best accommodations, and Petrol Spy is helpful in finding the all-important petrol stations!

Crossing the Nullarbor is one of the quintessential experiences of the Australian Outback. But be sure you fuel up often because some sections of the drive are 200 kilometers, or 125 miles, between petrol stations.

Long drive on the Nullarbor Links
The Nullarbor is a very long drive!
Driving the Nullarbor Links
Driving the Nullarbor Links

Starting the Nullarbor Links

Starting our Nullarbor Links journey in South Australia on the western tip of the Eyre Peninsula, the opening holes of the golf course are in the small town of Ceduna. Ceduna is nearly 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Adelaide, across the hot and dry Eyre Highway. Pulling into town late in the evening, it was refreshing to see the ocean once again. The town name of Ceduna is derived from the Aboriginal word Chedoona which means “resting place”, a fitting name indeed.

We began our adventure the week before Christmas, 2021. It was 29 degrees (84° F), the coolest day in the upcoming forecast, and not a single thing reminded us of Christmas! Ceduna had decorated the trees along the main street with red ribbons, and the few people we met along the street greeted us with a hearty Happy Christmas. In the evening, the town felt empty. We parked our campervan Putu near the town jetty and ate our noodle dinner curious about what tomorrow might bring us. As the sun set, we cracked open a 2018 Hog Bay Cab from Dudley Wines that we bought while on Kangaroo Island, reminiscing of our travels in Australia and all the golf we’ve played.

Christmas along the Nullarbor Plain
Christmas along the Nullarbor Plain

We had recently booked our flights back home to Germany and were going through a wide range of feelings. Because of covid, our intended 6 to 9-month Australia travel plan had turned into something much bigger. Something that we certainly weren’t expecting. But something that made us better- somehow.

Checking in at the Nullarbor Links

The Ceduna Visitor Information Centre acts as the Pro Shop, if you will, of the Nullarbor Links. For your $70-dollar green fee, which in our opinion is quite steep, you receive a scorecard. As you play the golf course, you can have your scorecard stamped at each hole. And when your round is completed, a “Certificate of Completion” is given.

Because of border closures between South Australia and Western Australia, we knew that we would not be able to complete our round of golf, so we enquired what options we had. We explained our story about being “stranded” in Australia because of covid, and that we live in Germany and don’t know when or if we will return. Despite our pleas, unfortunately, there weren’t any options available. We were told that the green fee payment is for life, however, so when we return, we can pick up our round where we left off.

Before leaving Ceduna, be sure to fuel up, because this is going to be the least expensive petrol for the next 1000 kilometers!

Ceduna Golf Club is the opening two holes on the Nullarbor Links
Ceduna Golf Club is the opening two holes on the Nullarbor Links

Oyster Bed (1st Hole)

After our inquiries at the Information Centre, we made our way to Ceduna Golf Club. Surprising, to us anyway, Ceduna Golf Club is an eighteen-hole golf course. It is also the home of the first 2 holes of the Nullarbor Links. It was already getting hot when we pulled Putu into the empty parking lot. We laced up our golf shoes, which would become a reoccurring theme, had a peak through the windows of the locked clubhouse, and made our way to the first tee. Standing on the tee, the golf course looked dry. Parched actually. And it looked like a place that would quickly make an orphan out of a brand-new Titleist. So, we rummaged through our bags in search of something that would be less costly to lose.

Oyster Bed, the 530-yard straight away par 5, is the first hole at Ceduna and acts as the opening hole of the Nullarbor Links. I blocked my tee shot slightly right, Menekse flushed one down the heart of the fairway, and we were off, excited to start this bucket list journey!

After another well-struck 3-wood, we found Menekse’s ball on the right side of the fairway. As we looked toward the sand-green, we couldn’t see a flag! Uncertain of the distance, Menekse blasted a 5-wood that sailed high and straight. As we arrived at the green, we found the flag lying flat on the sand.

Approaching Oyster Bed on the Nullarbor Links
Approaching Oyster Bed
Putting out on Oyster Bed on the Nullarbor Links
Putting out on Oyster Bay

Denial Bay (2nd Hole)

Nullarbor’s 405-yard par second hole is named Denial Bay, which is the eighteenth at Ceduna. And, at only 100-yards, this well could be the shortest distance between any 2 holes on the Nullarbor!

The shortest walk between 2 holes on the Nullarbor Links
The shortest walk between 2 holes on the Nullarbor Links

Denial Bay is a slight dogleg right, and I ripped one down the middle, easily my best tee shot of the day. It took us more than a few minutes to find the forward tees, however. Not as well maintained, we saw something about 50-yards up the left side that we guessed was Menekse’s tee box. Resting unused in the middle was a hose and sprinkler that looked like they hadn’t been used in ages! Nevertheless, Menekse forced her tee into the thirsty ground and proceeded to hit another great tee shot, joining me in the middle of the fairway.

Checking out Denial Bay on the Nullarbor Links
Checking out Denial Bay
Middle of the Denial Bay fairway on the Nullarbor Links
Middle of the fairway

Walking together with the sounds of dry grass crunching under our feet, we found our balls not far apart from each other. I guessed that I was about 120-yards and hit a straight wedge. My old beat-up ball landed well short, and I had to bump a wedge short of the green and hope for a straight bounce.

We have played many sand greens in our golf travels, so I knew that I would need to hit my 15-foot putt for par hard. Striking it vigorously, it quickly stopped a good 5 feet short!

Denial Bay green on the Nullarbor Links
Denial Bay green
Sand greens on the Nullarbor Links
Sand greens

After 3-putting, we changed our shoes, packed our clubs back into Putu, and off we went. We had 73 kilometers, or 45 miles, to the town of Penong. Penong translates as “waterhole”, which we didn’t see. But it is also known as the town of 100 windmills, which we did see. It is also home to the third hole.

Penong, the town of 100 windmills on the Nullarbor Links
Penong, the town of 100 windmills

Windmills (3rd Hole)

After the relatively short 50-minute drive, we arrived at the 284-yard par 4 third hole, appropriately named Windmills.

We got out of Putu, pulled out our clubs, changed our shoes, and went to the tee. The wind had picked up significantly since we left Ceduna, and the windmills were twirling in the background.

Windmill on the Nullarbor Links
Windmill on the Nullarbor Links

We could actually make out a fairway here, with taller scrub grass lining both sides. Not that the fairway looked like Augusta National, but still, there was an obvious fairway. What was less obvious was the green because we couldn’t see one anywhere.

Windmill tee box on the Nullarbor Links
Windmill tee box on the Nullarbor Links

Dissecting the fairway in two was a line of 5 gum trees. And 3 of them were growing directly in the middle of the fairway. We had no idea what was on the other side of the trees, so I decided to play it conservatively. I guessed that I could carry a 5-iron over the trees, and then would worry about what happens next. I picked it clean off the Astro-turf tee, and watched it start out right and nicely draw back to the middle, over the trees.

The Fastest Green on the Nullarbor Links

We found Menekse’s tee shot to the left of the gum trees, just far enough beyond them so as to not come into play. However, we still didn’t have a clear view of the green, because it was hidden behind a grove of tea trees. She hit her approach over the low trees, and we could see that it bounced surprisingly high as it landed. As I walked over to my ball, that is when we got a better view of the green.

Between a narrow opening through the tea trees, we spotted an Astroturf green. Finding my ball, I was faced with a difficult shot. I needed to thread it through the tight gap and try to stop it on what we assumed to be a very hard-putting surface. Giving myself a better lie, I knocked it through the gap. It landed on the green, but just as we suspected, it ran over.

Narrow opening to the Windmill green on the Nullarbor Links
Narrow opening to the Windmill green

Both Menekse and I were long of the green, and what a wonderful green it was! Square in shape, and fairly small in size, the third green had a 1-foot elevation from the high front to the low back. And even though it was covered in a lite dusting of white sand, it was easily the fastest green thus far on the Nullarbor and probably the fastest since our day at Royal Melbourne! From just over the green, Menekse had a little too much sauce with her wedge, and her ball scooted across the green and down the elevation. She chipped it back on and was faced with a 15-foot slightly downhill putt that looked dangerously quick. She gave her putt a gentle stroke, which nearly ran out of gas before falling in!

Chipping onto the Windmill green on the Nullarbor Links
Chipping onto the Windmill green
Windmill green on the Nullarbor Links
The fasted green on the Nullarbor Links

Lake MacDonnell and Cactus Beach

After changing shoes, and putting our clubs back into Putu, we spent the night at the local caravan park in Penong. Remembering the definition of Nullarbor, we had a good laugh, guessing that every tree found on the Nullarbor Plain, must be here on the third hole!

Fifteen kilometers, or 9 miles west of Penong is Lake MacDonnell. Lake MacDonnell is a salt lake that is pink and is quite famous on Instagram. Reading Google on why the lake is pink, we found that it has something to do with algae levels and the salt water. Whatever the reason, this truly is an incredible sight to see. There is a narrow gravel dirt road that runs through the middle. Driving toward the ocean, the water on the right side of the road is pink. And often very pink. While on the left side of the road the water is blue. And when viewed from above, the view is striking! Unfortunately, we had some clouds on the morning we arrived, and the contrast of colors wasn’t quite as remarkable, but it was still very impressive.

Lake Macdonnell
Lake Macdonnell
The pink Lake Macdonnell
The pink Lake Macdonnell

Famous for surfing, Cactus Beach is just a few kilometers further. If you do decide to surf, take extra caution, because Cactus Beach is notorious for rips and currents. And it is also a prime location for Great White Sharks!

After enjoying the ocean breeze on our faces, it was time to get back into Putu and head down the highway. From Penong, our next tee was waiting, another 79kilometers, or 49 miles west.

Cactus Beach on the Nullarbor
Cactus Beach

Wombat (4th Hole)

Named Wombat, the 569-yard fourth hole is somewhat hidden behind a petrol station at the Nundroo Roadhouse. Because of the morning stop, we arrived later in the day than we intended. It was 1 pm, and the summer sun was absolutely beating down on us. The long drive, coupled with not drinking enough water, gave me a headache. Exiting the highway, we saw a sign that pointed in the direction of the tee box. Just as we were about to park, we noticed a dirt path that led up to where we guessed the tee was. And since it was extremely hot, we decided to drive!

Wombat is a long par 5, and on first inspection, we didn’t know where the fairway was. Lying before us was tall dry grass that the strong wind blew unanimously in the same direction. Looking closer, we noticed white posts that we assumed indicated the fairway. And it was exactly where we had just driven! Taking one glance around, Menekse said that the hole looked “way too snakey”, and she smartly decided to skip the hole. We had seen a lot of snakes in our travels through Australia, and this looked like prime real estate for another sighting!

Fairway views on the Nullarbor Links
Fairway views on the Nullarbor Links

Tired of taking the clubs in and out of Putu, and changing shoes, I decided to just wing it. I grabbed a 5-iron, 8-iron, and my putter out of my bag, and left my Vans on. In all my years of playing golf, I’ve never had to loosen up on every tee. But here I was, again attempting to loosen up my back on only the fourth hole!

Driving down Wombat on the Nullarbor Links
Driving down Wombat

Nullarbor Link’s Impressive Course Record

We couldn’t see the green from the tee, but Wombat is a somewhat dogleg right. And all my loosening up didn’t help because I blocked my tee shot so to the far right, that I immediately knew that it was lost, and we didn’t even attempt to look for it. I dropped a mulligan on the Astroturf tee and was happy to see it disappear into the fairway.

Blocking it right on Wombat on the Nullarbor Links
Blocking it right on Wombat on the Nullarbor Links

Getting back into Putu, we drove down the fairway stopping where we thought my five-iron should have landed. After parking, I grabbed the same club and began the search. But the grass was too high, and our fear of snakes got the better of us, so I dropped another junk ball. And proceeded to lose it as well!

Searching for my ball on Wombat at the Nullarbor Links
Searching for my ball on Wombat

The course record on the Nullarbor Links is a 2-under par 70, set in 2018 by 2015 ALPG Rookie of the Year winner Hayley Bettencourt. I quickly realized how impressive that score really is. After all, just not losing a ball out here is nearly almost impossible!

Beginning to run low on balls, I dropped one between the burnt-out shell of an abandoned car and the square green. I chipped over, putt back onto the green, and left a 5-footer short for a solid X.

Taking an X on Wombat on the Nullarbor Links
Taking an X

Before leaving Nundroo, we fueled up again and made the futile attempt to scrape the bugs off our windshield. We had another 144 kilometers or 89 miles to the next tee.

Abandoned cars on the Nullarbor Links
Abandoned cars on the Nullarbor Links

The Great Australian Bight

About an hour and 15 minutes into our drive, we saw an exit for the Great Australian Bight. The Great Australian Bight is the enormous concave-shaped bend off the central and western portions of the southern coastline of Australia. The cliffs are 40-80 meters tall and run west from here for an astonishing 800 kilometers, or halfway to Perth!

Besides offering a stunning view of the milky-blue colors of the ocean, the Bight is one of the best locations in Australia for whale watching. It is here that the largest congregation of Southern Right Whales in Australia are found, and we read on the viewing platforms that it isn’t uncommon to see up to 70 whales per day during whale watching season (June to October)! Unfortunately, we didn’t see any whales, but we did see some dolphins and a brown snake. The strong winds of the Southern Ocean felt refreshing on our faces. And we stood there soaking in the moment, amazed at the fact that there is nothing between us and Antarctica!

The Great Australian Bight
The Great Australian Bight
Admiring the Great Australian Bight
Admiring the Great Australian Bight

There is an extreme change in landscape on the drive between the 4th and 5th holes. The short sporadic trees suddenly gave way to absolutely no trees. Turning back onto the Eyre Highway, we soon passed a sign that indicated we had reached the eastern end of the treeless plain. We were now truly entering the Nullarbor Plain.

Just minutes later, we saw a dingo cross the road. We have seen many wild dingos in our travels, especially up in the Northern Territory. We slowed down, let him pass, and watched him disappear into the desert. Australia is amazing!

The Eastern End of the Nullabor Plain
The Eastern End of the Nullabor Plain

The Nullarbor Roadhouse

Driving through Australia for 2-plus years, we noticed that on-coming drivers often wave to each other. This is especially true in remote areas. But the wave isn’t offered with the entire hand. No, it is rather done with a few fingers raised from the top of the steering wheel. Just a respectful head nodding “how ya going, mate” Aussie spirit sort of greeting. The salute was reduced to fewer fingers the more remote we became until it was down to just a half-raised index finger on this stretch of the Eyre Highway. But without fail, there was always a wave.

We arrived at The Nullarbor Roadhouse as the sun was beginning its slow descent. Pulling Putu around back, we parked alone along the back fence, with a perfectly unobstructed view of the fifth green. We were hot and tired, and very hungry- never a good combination. So we went into the Roadhouse, paid our 20 dollars for our overnight, and ordered veggie burgers and a couple of refreshing ice-cold West End Draughts.

We ended the evening back at Putu where we savored those 15 seconds of serenity that lie between the last of the day’s flies and the start of the evening mozzies. A star-filled night sky began to emerge. Orion was faithfully watching over us from above, and we could see the Southern Cross pointing her way south. It was a moment of true tranquility, interrupted only by the occasional sound of birds. And the trucks barreling down the highway.

The Nullarbor Roadhouse
The Nullarbor Roadhouse

Dingo’s Den (5th Hole)

Dingo’s Den is the 588-yard monster of a par 5 fifth hole. A noticeable dirt airstrip runs through the fairway, and the 2-tiered Astroturf green, which elevates in the back, offers 2 holes, but only 1 flag. It was a cool morning, well, cool for me anyway, and as we closed the doors from Putu, we took notice of the recently sighted brown and tiger snake warning. We walked the extraordinarily long way back to the tee on very high alert.

Beware of snakes on the Nullarbor Links
Beware of snakes on the Nullarbor Links
The 2-tiered Dingo's Den green on the Nullarbor Links
The 2-tiered Dingo’s Den green

Aptly complimenting the name, we saw a dingo fence along the hole. We also noticed a short stone wall that probably acts as an indicator for the runway, but it reminded us of a miniature North Berwick stone fence.

North Berwick stone fence on the Nullarbor Links
North Berwick stone fence

Dingos Den is a dogleg right, and if you’re a straight ball hitter, you can follow the 4wd track that runs down the middle. We’re not, so I brought my 8-iron, and Menekse her trusty 6-iron, which we entrusted with our lives. The fairway is so narrow, that it would be unfindable if you miss it. We would soon find out that we would be lucky to find it even if we did hit the fairway!

Dingo's Den tee box on the Nullarbor Links
Dingo’s Den tee box on the Nullarbor Links
Dingo fence on the Nullarbor Links
Dingo fence

Our Very Last Putt in Australia

The flies were already so bad that we wore the fashionable fly nets that had saved us many times during our journey through the incredible Northern Territory. With the buzzing sound of flies on her face, Menekse hit a great tee shot down the middle. As we waded our way through the 6-inch wispy grass of the fairway, always vigilant for snakes, we saw a cheeky crow swoop down, pick up Menekse’s ball, and unashamedly carry it away.

Not bothered by distances, we played the Nullarbor strictly by feel. And winter rules. After coming across mine, or maybe it was someone else’s scuffed Srixon, I hit a good 54-degree approach that landed on the front of the first tier of the green. It rolled up the slope, took a look at both holes, and came to a stop about a yard or two long of the green. I decided to putt through the white sandy pebbles, and past the Stink that had made its home between the green and the desert.

Approaching Dingo Den on the Nullarbor Links
Approaching Dingo Den on the Nullarbor Links

Faced with a long putt, Menekse climbed the tier, but her ball didn’t come to a stop until it reached the edge of the green. She had about a 6-foot putt remaining, which, almost appropriately, lipped out with a full 360° spin. And since we didn’t know what happens next, that was to be our last putt in Australia!

The last putt on the Nullarbor Links
The last putt on the Nullarbor Links

Her putt had made the full lap. But because of closed borders, we could not.

WA border closed on the Nullarbor Links
WA border closed

What is it like to play the Nullarbor Links

Yes, we know that there are 6 holes located on the South Australia side of the border. However, the sixth hole, named Border Kangaroo, is located a mere 50-meters from the SA/WA border, which was still another 185 kilometers, 115 miles, and a nearly 2-hour drive further west. And since the WA border was closed, we decided that Dingo’s Den would be our last stop.

We only played 6 holes but had racked up 295 kilometers, or 183 miles, which included our side trips. We used 90 liters of petrol and topped up once again at the Nullarbor Roadhouse before turning around. And we had already lost 6 balls!

Let’s face it- the Nullarbor Links is not great golf. It’s not even good golf. Taking out the clubs for one hole at a time was a lot of effort. Putting on golf shoes, only to take them off 10 minutes later, and then doing it repeatedly also got old quickly. All the starting and stopping, while only playing a couple of holes per day, makes it nearly impossible to get into any sort of golfing rhythm.

But playing the Nullabor isn’t about score. It’s about bragging rights. And despite the missed putts and the lost balls, for traveling golfers like us, the experience of playing the Nullarbor Links is an absolute must-play!

We can’t wait to return to Australia and finish the Nullarbor Links!

Accommodations along the Nullarbor Links

Accommodations along the Nullarbor Links
Accommodations along the Nullarbor Links

At over 1300 kilometers long, you are going to need to stop and stay somewhere along the Nullarbor. Thankfully, there are various types of accommodations scattered along the route. From hotels, motels, Roadhouses, and caravan parks, we were surprised by the variety of choices that are available along the highway.

Ceduna was the start of our adventure, and while there we stayed at the Ceduna Foreshore Caravan Park. We paid $35 dollars for a powered site. The Park has ocean views and very clean new amenities. Even though we arrived late, we receive a very warm welcome.

Located between the fourth and fifth holes, we stayed at one of the greatest deals in2 years traveling Australia, the Yalata Caravan Park! Yalata has 20 unpowered sites ($20 per night). It has brand new clean showers and amenities, a fantastic camp kitchen with a phenomenon BBQ and outside grill, and even free laundry! Greg takes tremendous pride in his site, and it shows!

The Nullarbor Roadhouse is found on the sixth hole, and no matter which direction you’re driving is a must-stop. The Roadhouse has 20 unpowered sites ($20 per night), good food, including tasty veggie burgers that we not expecting, cold beer, starry night skies, and excellent golf course views! Or should we say golf hole views?!

Room with a view at Nullarbor Links
A room with a view

Golf Course Contacts

Nullabor Links

Various locations along the Eyre Highway

Australia

Phone: +61 0407 990 049

Email: alfiecap@bigpond.net.au

Website: https://www.nullarborlinks.com/

Green Fees: $75.00 AUD

18 Holes, 6752 yards (6174 meters), par 72

Walkable: You’re kidding, right!!

You are here on the Nullarbor Links
You are here on the Nullarbor Links

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