5 South Australian road trips you need to do before the year is over

Many of us travel to South Australia for Barossa Valley wine but if that is all you do, you’re missing out on some of Australia’s greatest travel experiences.

SA has dusty outback that’s less crowded than the NT. It has stunning secret beaches and quaint rural towns. And yes, there’s wine. Great wine.

These are our favourite South Australia road trips to give you a bit of inspiration.

1. Ocean to Outback on the Explorers Way 

South Australia road trips
Flinders Ranges & Outback. Image: Lyndon O’Keefe

Travel away from the bustle of the city and towards the outback and Flinders Ranges.

This place makes you feel like you’re navigating the face of Mars. It has rugged, red mountains, spectacular gorges and rolling terrain. The 95,000 heactare Ikara-Flingers Ranges National Park has dramatic gorges, rugged mountain ranges and creeks lined with red gums.

The Flinders Ranges is home to several important Indigenous cultural sites. The traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha people co-manage the park with the SA government and they ask that visitors show respect for the culturally significant places, including rock art sights that date back thousands of years.

If you love mountain biking, try the Mawson trail, a long-distance trail with incredible views. For an incredibly scenic drive, try the Brachina Gorge Geological trail which passes through 130 million years of the history of the earth over a 20km distance. Roadside signs detail changes in climate, evolution and mountain ranges.

Along the way be sure to stop off at Clare Valley, one of South Australia’s famous wine regions, and visit some of the many wineries and cellar doors including Skillogalee and Sevenhill. From there, it’s about three hours and thirty minutes to drive to Flinders Ranges. If you’re after a road-trip of more epic proportions, the Explorer’s Way can take you all the way from Adelaide to Darwin, cutting through Australia’s desert heart.

2. The Epicurean Way

South Australia road trips
Bethany Wines, Barossa. Image: Nick Rains

This one is for the food and wine lovers. The Epicurean Way seamlessly links together the four iconic wine regions of McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley to create a journey that’s as delicious as it is gorgeous. Experience some of the state’s finest wines and world-famous food while taking in the idyllic scenery along the way. South Australia Tourism have mapped out a four-day itinerary for this journey which gives you the optimal amount of time to visit the region’s must-see wineries including d’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield, Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, St Hugo, The Lane Vineyard and Wirra Wirra.

3. Southern Ocean Drive

Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island Image: Baillie Lodges

Hit the Southern Ocean Drive to explore some of the lesser-known treasures of South Australia.

Traversing the coastline will take you through the natural wonders on the Limestone Coast, to the wilderness of Kangaroo Island and the sea and vines of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to stop at stunning cliff faces and spectacular beaches, and you might even spot some whales at Victor Harbor.

Image: Shutterstock

Be sure to check out the sinkholes and blue lakes of Mt Gambier. In Early November the Blue Lake mysteriously changes from a sombre blue to an intense turquoise almost overnight. The colour stays until February.

On this SA road trip, you can also spend a few days in the Coonawarra wine region. Here’s a suggested itinerary.

4. The Seafood Frontier

South Australia road trips
Eyre Peninsula. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

Follow the Eyre Peninsula’s stunning coastline and embark on a seafood safari. Eat your way around the coast and be sure to try the oysters in Coffin Bay and the tuna in Port Lincoln. Once you’re done filling up on food, make sure to allow time for activities like swimming with sea lions and wandering along pristine beaches. Or, if you’re really brave (and the experience has reopened), try a cage-diving experience with great white sharks. For more fun things to see and do, consider this planned itinerary that recommends allowing eight days for the full experience. 

5. Mighty Murray Way

Australia’s longest waterway, the mighty Murray River flows more than 2500 kilometres from the Snowy Mountains to the Southern Ocean in South Australia. This road trip allows you to travel alongside it, starting at the river town of Renmark and ending at the Murray Mouth. Along the way, uncover local lifestyles in nearby towns and the habitats of local wildlife. It’s suggested that this road trip will take you five days, factoring in plenty of time for activities including, scenic cruises, hiking trails and tours of local microbreweries. Find out about the best things to do and see along the way, here

Are you looking to plan a road trip for your whole family? These incredible family-friendly road trip routes and tips will make your family happy. So pack the car – and the kids – and head out on one of these incredible weekend road trips from Adelaide.

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