Explore sinkholes, glowing pink and blue lakes, iconic wine regions and more as you journey through South Australia along the state’s best road trip routes.
The Great Southern Journey, SA
If you love to mix wine and adventure (not necessarily at the same time), then a trip down the Southern Ocean Drive Road could be just the ticket.
Starting at Mount Gambier, drive 30 minutes, passing the Blue Lake and Umpherston Sinkhole to arrive at Coonawarra. Be sure to stop in at a couple of the cellar doors while you’re there. From there, head to Robe, where Long Beach is situated – the main street is great for shopping.
Head almost five hours to Victor Harbor, and en route you can visit Jack Point Pelican Observatory, Meningie Cheese Factory Museum and once you’ve arrived, even take a horse drawn tram to Granite Island. From there it’s a short trip to Kangaroo Island, where you can explore Flinders Chase National Park before heading back to Adelaide.
This road trip links together the four iconic wine regions of South Australia; McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley. If you’re a lover of great food and wine, this is definitely one for you.
First stop McLaren Vale is just 40 minutes from Adelaide, and has many incredible destinations worth pulling over for. None more so that the incredible d’Arenberg Cube, which resembles Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory inside, housed in what looks like a giant Rubik’s cube – and you blend your own wine.
From there, head on to Adelaide Hills, where you can try Hahndorf Hill’s ChocoVino, a delicious combination of chocolate and wine. You should also stop in for cheese tastings at Udder Delights. From there, the Barossa is on the menu, where you can stop in Jacob’s Creek vineyard and Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, where you can pick up some amazing goodies to take home.
Next, it’s the Clare Valley. Stop at Skillogalee for a tasting or two. You can also follow the 35km Riesling Trail (by bike is your best bet!), past scenic landscapes and spectacular places to eat. From there, extending on to the Southern Flinders Ranges; a young wine region with around 20 growers, known for its Riesling.
You may not know it, but scattered across the beautiful state of South Australia, are spectacular pink lakes, varying in florescent hues.
Travelling from Adelaide, the lakes (Lake MacDonnell, Lake Eyre, Lake Bumbunga, Lake Hart and Lake Albert) are located varying hours away. From a mere hour-and-40-minutes’ drive to Lake Bumbunga, to a short plane ride and 45 minutes by car to stunning Lake Eyre.
The bright pink hue is achieved thanks to a salt-loving algae, attracted to the high salinity levels found in the lakes – and voila, we’re pretty in pink!
Stuart Highway, SA to NT
Caution, this has been labelled ‘the mother of all road trips’ – and we’re sure it’s not for the faint hearted. First set by John McDouall Stuart over 150 years ago, his journey took nine months north and another five months back to Adelaide – but yours won’t take nearly that long.
With a recommended driving time of 16 hours, and at least one recommended overnight stop, the trip down Stuart Highway is probably best enjoyed leisurely over two or three days. Why? With quirky outback towns, vast horizons and blue skies to take in, it’s not the kind of trip you want to rush. Major highlights include a dip at the Berry Springs National Park – and a drink at the Daly Waters Pub, which has been pouring lager since 1893.
With vast landscapes and limited reception, it’s the ultimate drive for self-reflection – just make sure to fill up your tank!
Food is undoubtedly the big reason many Australians make roads 470 kilometres north of Adelaide to South Australia’s Prairie Hotel. The menu changes seasonally, but obscurely, for 15 years passers-by have always been able to get the ‘Feral Mixed Grill.’
If you can kill it, they’ll grill it: kangaroo fillet, camel sausage and emu fillet mignon are piled high on a mound of gravy and mashed potato. Yep. Sir David Attenborough, Kate Winslet and Rachel Ward have all come by for a taste. However, for those who are about the scenery, the lookout to the Flinders Ranges is a sight to be seen.
Winter is said to be the best time to make the drive, due to the crisp, crystal clean air and perfect driving conditions. Make sure you stop for a tasting or two in the Clare Valley wine region on your travels – you can also walk or cycle along the Riesling Trail.