South Australian Road Trips

So you have come to the wine state set with your 4×4 and van ready for your SA adventure but you’re at a loss of what direction to head? 

Here is a list of our drives to inspire. Go on all of them, some of them or join them up and create your own trail. The world is your oyster, or more specifically SA is your oyster!

Seafood frontier

Speaking of Oysters … our first drive is the seafood frontier, aptly named for a path that takes you to world-renowned seafood capitals. This drive is along our beautiful Eyre Peninsula coast – starting in Whyalla, about 385 kilometers west of Adelaide and finishing in Ceduna right by the edge of the Nullarbor. This drive includes some pristine untouched beaches, sleepy surf towns and an absolute smorgasbord of seafood including; prawns, oysters, rock lobsters, abalone, tuna and a wide range of other sea-dwelling creatures.

If you are a seafood lover, this drive is for you, with plenty of restaurants celebrated by high-class chef’s nation-wide. Be sure to stop at the very southern point of the Eyre Peninsula in Port Lincoln to swim with the seals and dive with the great white sharks.

From Port Lincoln it’s a very easy 30 minute drive to duck over to Coffin Bay to learn how to shuck an oyster! Another great sight is all of the silo art along the way and worth the stop for a quick happy snap. If you are a beach person this drive should be an absolute must on your list of SA experiences, it really offers everything you could wish for and more. Feel that white sand beneath your toes, swim in the crystal blue waters and get amongst the wildlife!

Southern Ocean Drive

South Australia’s Southern Ocean Drive is a trip not to be missed! It travels quite some distance covering all the way from Adelaide down to Cape Jervis at the very tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Just by Cape Jervois is Deep Creek National Park which is great for short or longer hikes through valleys and along the coast. These walks are rich with wildlife and amazing lookouts.

After all the hikes, take the short (but sometimes rough waters) 1-hour ferry across to Kangaroo Island. We recommend at least a week on Kangaroo Island (or K.I. as the locals call it) at a minimum. This will give you enough time to see the native wildlife, rugged landscapes and crystal waters before moving on along the southern surf coast of South Australia. At Middleton and Goolwa there are several ‘learn to surf’ schools where you can try your hand at the art of board riding and do the ‘shukas’ in the happy snap.

Next you weave your way through the Coorong passing our Giant Lobster in Kingston and continuing onto Robe (which has a very good Pizza restaurant) and Mount Gambier (SA’s second largest city after Adelaide) on the Limestone Coast. While in Mount Gambier check out the sink holes, particularly Umpherston, you will be amazed! Another key destination in Mount Gambier is the Blue Lake, a perfect little walk around or escape the head and plunge into the deep water for a swim.

From here to return to Adelaide it is an easy 5 hour drive along the highway to get you back to the city. On the way home stop at Penola for some tastings of delicious Coonawarra red wines! Most of these roads are country roads heavily littered with active wildlife so ensure you drive carefully and watch for animals.

Epicurean Way

This is a tasty little trip for your tastebuds, incorporating many of SA’s beautiful wine regions. We recommend starting this drive just 45 minutes south of Adelaide in a small town called “Willunga”, in the McLaren Vale wine region. This gem is a mix of old 1800’s history with it’s old buildings, blended with new state of the art cellar doors like D’Arenberg. Be sure to visit on a Saturday morning to catch the markets that have been celebrated by The Lonely Planet. Dine in style and fill your belly some delicious red wines to enjoy what the region has to offer.

Not a wine lover? There is still plenty this region can offer with several breweries, distilleries and even Melba’s chocolate shop to pick up the iconic SA-only Fru-chocs! Also make sure to visit the local beaches, with the heavily-photographed Port Willunga beach with it’s old caves, jetty ruins and iconic Star of Greece restaurant made famous by several visiting A-listers. Or for something different you can head to SA’s first unclad beach at Maslins or drive on the beach at Aldinga.

This epicurean way continues the scenic route through to Harndorf (SA’s very own German township) and the Adelaide hills known for it’s citrus dominant white wines and fruits. Sit back, enjoy the serenity with a cheese platter from Udder Delights. Or for a bigger feed head to The German Arms pub, rest assured a visit here for a giant hotdog will certainly leave you with a full belly.

From here you meander your way through the valley to the Barossa to enjoy reds once again. Here you will find the renowned Louise Appellation restaurant and world-wide recognised wineries such as Seppeltsfield and Wolf Blass. Last stop on your tantalizing tour is the Clare Valley. This is the perfect spot to hire a push bike and cruise along the riesling cycle track (an old rail line) to visit all the wineries and enjoy the fresh country air.

Explorers Way

The Explorers way is an epic journey that takes you straight through the centre of Australia from Adelaide across the NT border all the way to Darwin. This is for those who want to experience the true rugged outback and connect with the native custodians of this beautiful land (who are also the oldest living culture in the world!). Along this drive you will encounter arid landscapes, red dirt, amazing rock formations (hello Uluru!), wildflowers and native animals. Notwithstanding, some spectacular sunrises and sunsets along with the clearest of clear night skies for star-gazing.

The drive to the NT border can be done in one day, but it makes for a very long day as it’s roughly 1100kms from Adelaide. Be careful here, driving at dawn, dusk and during the night can be particularly hazardous due to the active wildlife. The highway has numerous roadhouses that offer fuel, food and accommodation for a rest stop to refresh and soak in the surroundings.

This trail starts in Adelaide with your first stop being the Clare Valley for a glass of riesling. It then meanders through many towns rich with heritage through the Flinders Ranges. Ensure you stop at Melrose and take one of the many hike routes up Mount Remarkable. Onwards to Port Augusta, stopping at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens for a coffee or lunch in the award-winning Bluebush Cafe and a walk around the garden.

Next stop is Coober Pedy, SA’s iconic opal town to stay in a donga (underground room) and have dinner at the big winch with the view over the town. The last stop in SA is Marla, here view the indigenous gallery with amazing pieces of art for sale.

Coastal Way

The Coastal way is over 700 kilometers of pristine beauty along the Yorke Peninsula. This drive takes approximately 6 days to complete with multiple attractions to suit everyone’s interests. For the active alternative there is ‘walk the yorke’ which stretches the 500km from Port Wakefield to Moonta Bay. As for the drive, it takes you all along the copper coast with sleepy fishing towns as well as secluded beaches with pristine waters.

At Ardrossan you have the dolomite quarry and silos as well as unreal fishing, boating, sailing and snorkeling. Marion bay has an unreal pub for all of your fresh seafood needs, as well as amazing pizza. Try out your sea legs with many fishing charters departing from the jetty here which also gives you a different view of this incredible coastline (our charter’s haul is pictured). Take a walk along the coast, grab a coffee at the Studio Surf Art Gallery where the barista is also the artist and is more than happy to chat about everything art, fishing, surfing and coffee. Speaking of surfing, head to the nearby Innes national park (the very tip of the Yorke Peninsula) for uncrowded rolling waves at Pondalowie bay. Not a surfer? Why not check out the historic Ethyl wreck or watch the Emu’s strutting about all over the park.

The road home goes through Minlaton which has a good bakery and also a great brewery, Watsacowie (often there is live music for entertainment on a weekend afternoon). More good eats, coffee, and beaches are found at Moonta Bay before you hit Wallaroo. Wallaroo boasts the well-known jetty, the bond store microbrewery as well as all the fishing you could dream of. Port Broughton is the last stop on the journey which is situated a short distance from the Clare Valley. The tourist park is well kitted out with a splash park for the kids so the parents can relax before heading back home.

Mighty Murray Way

South Australia offers so many options for scenery for your caravan adventures. Most of our iconic drives take you coastal or through the rugged outback, however this one follows the Murray, a river that stretches over 2500 kilometers from NSW to southern SA.

This drive starts at Renmark, a beautiful country town in the riverland. For the over 18’s the riverland is home to a selection of wineries as well as 23rd gin distillers and Wilkadene Brewery. For the kids or the kids at heart, the river Murray is a perfect location to get all your water sports in without the chaos of the surf from the beaches. The options are endless; you can kayak, wakeboard, waterski, kneeboard, tube, cruise in the boat, paddle-board and more! Renmark and Berri both have very good family-friendly caravan parks perfect for an easy camp base.

Moving through the townships, stop just outside Loxton at the Banrock Wine and Wetland Center where there are several options for beautiful wetland walks. After a big morning of walks you can refuel at the famous Waikerie Bakery for lunch. For the sweet-tooth there is the Heavenhand Chocolate Company who utilise the locally-grown fruit and pair it with belgian chocolate. Head to Swan Reach to Caudo Vineyard to wind down and enjoy the serenity.

Moving south, stop at Monarto Zoo, just outside Murray Bridge where you can get to see the animals free-range. The viewing is as close to the wild you can get without actually being completely wild.
On the tail-end of this drive is the Langhorne Creek wine region. Tour round to the cellar doors and try their red wines, particular mention to their Malbec variety. The last location is Goolwa, where you can go to the Murray mouth. This is a combination of riverside town as well as beachy and a surf-side town. You can participate in surf lessons from Goowla beach, try your hand at cockling for pipis or tour through the Coorong. For the kids you can head across the bridge to Hindmarsh Island to Narnu Farm where there is horse-riding and a petting zoo.

The road back to town is either the freeway or you can go through McLaren Vale wine region and onto Main South Road.

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