A road trip through South Australia is a chance to explore everything from a subterranean town in the remote reaches of the Outback to short daily hops around the state’s premier wine regions.
Kiwis love a good roadie, and with New Zealanders heading to South Australia in record numbers, here are four iconic road trips to suit each of the seasons.
Autumn: 3000kms from Adelaide to Darwin
Be prepared to get dusty. The Explorers Way starts in Adelaide, heads into the Outback and the heart of Australia, and ends in in the Northern Territory capital of Darwin.
The South Australia leg provides a mix of history, wine, wildlife, and epic Outback gorges and stargazing.
Climb aboard a restored heritage steam train in Port Augusta to explore the iconic Old Ghan rail route to Alice Springs; for a slice of luxury stay at the 60,000-acre private wildlife conservancy at Arkaba; and visit the underground community of Coober Pedy which is known for its below-ground houses and dwellings designed to counter the scorching daytime heat.
Winter: The culinary adventure
Spend five days exploring four of South Australia’s premier wine regions along the Epicurean Way – from the mix of boutique and grand vineyards of McLaren Vale, make your way through the scenic Adelaide Hills, the world-class Barossa Valley and finish up in rustic Clare Valley.
It’s all about tasting your way through the regions, so why not ditch the car for a bike or guided tour and take in the region’s best along with delicious fresh, seasonal produce from artisan producers and weekend farmers markets.
For a unique sensory journey, the D’Arenberg Cube is an eccentric and fun place to visit (check out the “virtual fermenter” that replicates what it’s like to be immersed in a tank of grapes), while over in the Barossa get cosy on a chilly afternoon beside a roaring fireplace at an underground cellar door.
Spring: Hook, line and sinker
Explore uncharted fishing spots and indulge in five-star luxury over five days along the Coastal Way as you circumnavigate the sandy Yorke Peninsula.
Start in Port Wakefield and head all the way down to Marion Bay, near the tip of the peninsula, before looping back up the western side of the isthmus to finish in Port Broughton.
There’s plenty of seafood to be devoured along the way. Drop a line from a kayak in Port Vincent, located almost directly opposite Adelaide across the Gulf St Vincent, or enjoy the fresh oysters on your way through Stansbury.
Near Edithburgh, get a taste of how the other half live when you rent the historic Troubridge Island Lighthouse and keep watch over your very own private island for the night.
Summer: Southern Ocean Drive
The five-day Southern Ocean Drive from Port MacDonnell to Adelaide is a great extension to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. Start your discovery at the Piccaninnie Ponds, a wetland of international significance which is a must for seasoned divers and amateur explorers alike. Nearby Mount Gambier is home to the Blue Lake, an enchanted lake inside an extinct volcano, and a large-scale limestone formation known as the Umpherston Sinkhole.
For a shot of adrenalin and then some tranquillity, take a four-wheel adventure along the coastline of Coorong before heading inland on a kayak to explore the waterways of the area. Inland is the world heritage site of Naracoorte Caves National Park with fossil sites dating back 500,000 years.
As a finale, add on the natural wonders of Kangaroo Island which is also making a name for itself with a burgeoning food scene and some of the best distilled liquor in Australia.