Driving as Straight as a Tack

StraightRoadWhilst there is some conjecture about what is truly the longest straight bit of road in the world, the answer is that it is probably Highway 10 in Saudi Arabia which has a perfectly straight stretch of 260.7 kilometres (162 miles).

The second longest bit of straight road in the world is the Eyre Highway in Western Australia, which has one straight length of 146.6kms (90 miles) which runs between the roadhouses of Balladonia and Caiguna.  I haven’t driven in Saudi Arabia, but I have done the Eyre Highway.

There are lots of straight roads in the world, but most have little curves in them, so aren’t actually arrow straight.  Both or the roads above are just that.  Mile after mile after mile of straightness.  No kinks, no curves, no deviations of any sort.

You would imagine that driving so straight for so long would be kind of boring.  Well, people who bore easily either have no imagination, or an inability to appreciate the landscape they are crossing.

On my trips across the Nullarbor Plain, the world’s largest karst region, over which the Eyre Highway traverses, I have never found the trip boring, in fact, I am fascinated by the subtle changes in such a broad landscape.

To drive the Nullarbor is a great experience.  Yes, it is certainly long.  In fact, when I turned left onto the Eyre Highway at Norseman my TomTom told me that the next corner was 1200 kilometres (745 miles) away at Ceduna.  Yes, there were curves and we did go through a couple of small settlements, but the next place where I actually had to turn a corner was 1200 kilometres, which must also be some sort of record.

Nullarbor means “no trees”, which is true once you get on the Nullarbor Plain proper.  There are times when you see nothing but short saltbush form many kilometres, but the Eyre Highway hugs the coastline for much of the trip, so there is actually plenty to look at.

Besides, the best way to see the true Nullarbor is to do the Indian Pacific rail journey which is a lot further north where the vegetation is much sparser.

Getting back to the really straight bit.  The road is good, conditions are generally excellent, traffic sparse.  You can see a long way in front, a long way back through your mirrors and a long way out either side.  In other words, out there you can afford to safely look at the country through which you are passing.

As you trundle along that long, long straight road you have time to think, to enjoy and to be amazed that such a magnificent place has remained almost untouched since long before humans walked the Earth.

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