The Go-To Guide for Road Tripping South Australia

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by Hertz NZ - 22 September 2023

South Australia has such a diverse landscape, often overlooked by overseas visitors. But make the decision to follow its coastlines, drive towards Lake Eyre or explore its incredible wine regions, and you may be stunned by what you find.  

Choose your adventure and go on a South Australian road trip you’ll never forget. 

The Epicurian Way 

For those who love the finer things in life, this four- to five-day journey takes in four of Australia’s finest wine regions: McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley. None of the regions on the Epicurean Way is more than about an hour’s drive from Adelaide and they can be visited in a loop or individually. 

It’s not all about bold shiraz and zesty riesling though; you’ll also taste the wares of some of South Australia’s finest chefs and artisan producers and be awed by the impressive views. Take turns as designated driver if you’re visiting cellar doors or check into your accommodation and stroll to the closest ones. 


In McLaren Vale, make a stop at the incredible d’Arenberg Cube. Surrounded by vineyards, its towering, abstract architecture is an eye-catching wonder. Within it is a tasting room on the top floor, pan-Asian restaurant Singapore Circus, a Salvador Dalí exhibition and a contemporary museum.

The Barossa is Australia’s most famous wine-growing region, with some of the oldest shiraz vines in the world. Be impressed by the Taste of Grange experience at Penfolds, try the tawny made during your year of birth at Seppeltsfield, or explore some of the newer, more innovative cellar doors. For a real treat, make a lunch booking at Hentley Farm, where you’ll dine on produce from the surrounding land in an 1840s cottage.

The best part of this road trip is you can visit historical towns like the German-influenced Hahndorf and, near McLaren Vale, explore the rugged Gulf St Vincent coastline.  


Ocean to Outback 

Once you’ve enjoyed all Adelaide has to offer, hire a rental car and head north. There are two different roads you can follow to the same destination. If you’re keen to take in the Clare Valley along the way, follow RM Williams Way. Otherwise, National Highway A1 meets the Spencer Gulf at Port Pirie and hugs it until you’realmost to Port Augusta.

Then it’s time to head inland where the landscape becomes drier and redder. Your ultimate destination is the 95,000-hectare Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, about 430 kilometres from Adelaide.  


You might feel as though you’re on Mars here, surrounded by rust-coloured mountains, plunging gorges and, where there are waterways, clusters of eucalypts. It’s a place where walkers will be richly rewarded. Do the hour-long loop to Arkaroo Rock, where you’ll see Indigenous ochre and charcoal rock art, or follow the Pound Gap Track to enter Ikara/Wilpena Pound and climb to the Wangarra Lookout for the epic views. 

Check into Wilpena Pound Resort – there are glamping tents and resort rooms – for a couple of days and do some independent touring, join one of the Yura guides for an Aboriginal cultural tour, take a scenic flight or hire a mountain bike to hit the trails.  


The Limestone Coast 

While most people head to Victoria to drive along the Great Ocean Road, those in the know leave the crowds behind to explore South Australia’s Limestone Coast. 

On a road trip between Adelaide and Mount Gambier, close to the Victorian border, there’s so much to see you could spend weeks discovering it all. Take your time at Coorong National Park. This is where the Murray spills into the sea, and the region is peppered with salt lakes, including a pink lake near Meningie, and sinkholes. All of it is protected by the sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula. Coorong is also where the Australian movies Storm Boy (the 1976 original and the 2019 remake) were filmed, and you’llobserve pelicans and other waterbirds throughout the region. 


Don’t miss Robe, one of the most popular towns on the coast. There are historical buildings along its streets and relaxation to be had on the 17-kilometre stretch of sand called Long Beach. Robe is also famous for its crayfish or southern rock lobster as it’s known in these parts. If you’re keen to picnic, get a freshly steamed one from Sky Seafoods – you can also do a tour to see how they’re processed – or pre-order one at the town’s pre-eminent restaurant Sails at Robe, to make sure you’re not disappointed 

Mount Gambier is the home of sinkholes. In the town, a cave collapsed to form
Umpherstone Sinkhole, which has been transformed into a tranquil garden that can be observed from platforms as you descend to the bottom. Bring some fruit at sunset to feed the possums. Just south of Mount Gambier, make a booking to snorkel in Kilsby Sinkhole where the crystal-clear water allows for pristine viewing of the incredible underwater formations. 


Ready to explore South Australia? Hire a rental car and get on your way.