Coodlie Beach

Nullarbor Traveller Tour Guide Q&A – Meet Jason “Westy” Wood.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today Jase! What’s it like being a tour guide on one of Australia’s longest haul overland journeys? 

I guess it’s more like a lifestyle rather than a job. We’re away from home 20 days at the time, so our family becomes the people that come and travel with us.

Outback or Ocean?

For me the outback.  I spent 15 years in the middle of Australia and I loved it! Obviously, I don’t mind being in remote areas and I think the Australian outback is phenomenal. On the other hand, going to places like Cape Le Grand National Park in the South West of Western Australia is amazing too.  People are absolutely blown away by it.  So, yeah it’s really tough question that one!

Can you explain why they are so blown away by Cape Le Grand National Park?

I guess when people think of Australian beaches they think about the East Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. But when you get down to south coast of Western Australia you get crystal clear water, white powdery sand and kangaroos all over the beach.  It’s everything everyone wants when they come to Australia.

Do you remember the first tour you did across the Nullarbor? 

It was a long time ago. Don’t tell anyone but when I did my very first tour for Hassie, I’d never even been to Adelaide or Perth!  So, I was more excited than the passengers at each place that we went to.  Hassie needed a guide because someone was sick and I got the call to come down from the Red Centre if I could help out.  I jumped at the chance and no one on the tour actually knew that that I’ve never been to those places!  My first thoughts though honestly, I thought it was just magic and wished I had done it sooner.

Why would you encourage people to embark on a trip across the Nullarbor?

A trip like ours gives people a taste of everything Australia has to offer. The plant life, the wildlife, the incredibly diverse scenery.  Even for Australian’s it should be in their bucket list because there’s a lot more out there than people realise.  A lot of people think it’s just long boring drive but they are so wrong.  One of our guides will take you and show you places you never thought were out there.  Its really amazing.

What are your absolute top 3 spots in South Australia & Western Australia?

Cape Le Grand near Esperance is going to be number 1. Easy.

Number 2 would be Koonalda Homestead where we camp when we’re going across the Nullarbor. Its such a unique camping spot and people are always surprised by what a special and unique place it is.

Number 3 for me is Mikkira Station, with the koalas.  It is really an amazing feeling when you in your in your swag and a koala is moving from tree to tree and comes right up to your swag for a look!

Mum and baby koala Mikkira Station Port Lincoln

You have had a lot of passengers on your tours. Are there any most memorable?

Good or bad? LOL. It’s really hard as a guide to remember each passenger but you get a good feeling when you look in their eyes after they’ve just came back from swimming with the sealions and dolphins, and you can tell that they just experienced something so incredible.  An experience in their life and they will never forget.

What is it that you think passengers most love about Nullarbor Traveller’s camping adventures?

 

Well I think they love being in remote areas rather than really touristy areas. We do go to some touristy spots but not by East Coast standards and that’s what makes our regions so special.  When we’re swag camping, swimming at a pristine beach or hiking a peak we could be the only ones there.  You’ve also got that view of the stars like nowhere else in the world.  And a lot of passengers don’t see that at home, in big cities, with lights everywhere. Sleeping under the stars is one of those incredible things that will really reconnect you with nature like you couldn’t have imagined.

Camping or self-drive?

I might be a bit biased but I think you take more away from a place, especially internationally, if you’re with a local guide that knows the area.  Yes people can read maps and drive themselves but honestly I think they miss half of it.  Our tours are about getting off the beaten track and finding those secret little spots only an experienced guide would know about.  Places that aren’t on maps.

When you self-drive you’ve also got the worry about driving long distances in some of the most remote places in Australia and risks of break downs. We have experienced guides and you don’t have to worry about anything.  Everything is included and we take the worry out of it for you.

What are your favourite Aussie critters and why?

I love snakes.  When I moved to the Red Centre, part of my job originally was to catch snakes, take them out of the campground and release them.  Once you learn how to understand them you know they are not a dangerous creature.

I love the wild koalas of Mikkara Station on the Eyre Peninsula.  I am just a big Koala myself, so I love those guys.  I think the sharks would be third and I really want to learn more about them.

 Have you been shark cage diving with Great Whites in Port Lincoln?

Yes, I did. It was a really great experience. Coffee straight away, croissants for breakfast, good food. Then the boat heads off and you’ve got dolphins jumping alongside.  Once you get out there and you see your first shark, in the water, on the edge of the boat, you go ‘’oooh’’ this is a little bit nerve racking!  But once you get down in that cage, I don’t know, I felt calm. The adrenaline was pumping but I was wow these creatures are amazing.  The guys that take you out have a lot of understanding about the sharks.  It’s wonderful experience, you can ask them questions and learn about them as well.

If you’re lucky enough you might score Jason as your guide on our Adelaide to Perth tour.  In the meantime you can see some of his shenanigans as he gives a lesson on Swag Camping in this hilarious video. 

Discover Our Margaret River Tours from Perth

 

 

 

Nullarbor staff watching a sunset on the Eyre Peninsula