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Little-known time zone in Aussie outback stuns Irish tourists: 'Bizarre'

Tourists Oisin Cooke and partner Rachel O’Toole said the Central Western time zone gave them an appreciation of how large Australia really is.

With time zones in Australia a common point of contention among travellers – with some going as far as expressing their anger towards them, a pair of Irish backpackers were stunned to stumble across a little-known timezone in the middle of the Australian outback.

Oisin Cooke and his partner Rachel O’Toole, who are travelling the Nullarbor in a campervan, pulled up in the tiny West Australian town of Eucla only to discover it’s 45 minutes ahead of the rest of the state — describing the time zone as "bizarre" on their Tiktok.

“It was confusing for our body clocks driving through time zones,” Oisin told Yahoo News Australia. “With the Eucla time zone, it just gives you an appreciation of how huge Western Australia is and how big Australia as a whole is.”

Irish backpacker Oisin Cooke after discovering the Central Western Time Zone. Source: Tiktok/ABC
Irish backpacker Oisin Cooke after discovering the Central Western Time Zone. Source: Tiktok/ABC

Central Western Time zone exists along 340 kilometres and encompasses the tiny roadhouse communities of Cocklebiddy, Madura, Eucla and Border Village. Remarkably, it is not officially recognised by WA or SA state governments.

Sharing the discovery on his Tiktok account, Oisin said: “We pulled up into Eucla which is WA’s last stop for us ... Eucla is also 45 minutes ahead of the rest of WA which is bizarre. Eucla is closer to Adelaide than it is to Perth. We are so far away from everything right now."

Many were quick to share their own experiences of the time zone — "Stayed in Eucla when we crossed the Nullarbor and had to head to the servo that is across the border and forgot about the time change and it was closed," said one fellow traveller.

Locals just as baffled by time zone

Those who live in remote locations are just as baffled by the origins of the time zones as locals. Asked what the reason for the time zone was, co-owner of the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, Brian Pike, told the ABC: “Good question. I don't even know that, and it's been going for over 50 years."

"We're used to it, but it totally confuses the travelling public," he added.

Irish couple’s lap around Australia

Oisin and Rachel arrived in Perth on September 2022 and explored the West Coast. Now they’ve now taken their travels across the rest of the country. “We always felt like we’d love to try van life & live permanently on the road,” Oisin said.

They’ve made their way from Perth, across the Nullarbor into South Australia before heading to Melbourne. After Victoria, the couple intend on travelling up the East Coast of Australia.

There have been lots of highs and lows along their journey, including travelling 70kms to find cheaper petrol - only to discover the petrol station had run out of diesel. “We then had to drive back the 70ks with our fuel light on the whole way, we still don’t know how we made it - this was ridiculously stressful,” he said.

American savages Australia's daylight saving time zones

The discovery comes as one American sports journalist and podcaster Jack Mac shared his "fury" online after looking at maps showing the different times in each state and territory in Australia. "Every time I’m reminded of how Australia does time zones, I get mad for no reason," he said. "The daylight saving portion of this graphic makes me furious."

Aussie states and territories with daylight savings

In Australia, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT, participate in daylight savings and Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) kicked in at 2.00am on October 1, 2023 — making the clock jump forward to 3.00am.

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia don't follow daylight savings, so their time does not change. During October to April, the Australian mainland experiences five different time zones.

When does daylight savings end in Australia this year?

The time adjustment is in place until 3am on April 7, 2024. On that day some Aussies will be turning their clocks back an hour — which means one extra hour of sleep for most.

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