Going walkabout has been around since the first Australians arrived on the continent some 50, 000 years ago. This word and experience seems to suit travelling in Australia like nowhere else… Whether you are a backpacker seeking natural landscapes or more interested in cosmopolitan city with fine wine and cuisine, South Australia can provide you with any experience. You will also come to a quick realisation: Australia is a vast place – with more adventure than you can poke a stick at.
There’s no better way to get to know South Australia than rent a car and do a road trip, with multiple and diverse drives. That’s the way to do it!
THE EYRE HIGHWAY
The legendary route west, or east, depending on where you are looking at it, has been the way Aussies have moved across this great land.
Short signposted detours along the great slab of limestone, known affectionately as the Great Australian Bight, brings stunning views of sea cliffs, and of course, for the brave-hearted, surf. This drive has been wrongly described as lonely and long. These descriptions miss the beauty of The Nullarbor Plain, with grain and mining belts, wild camels and glimpses of kangaroos seeking shade from a tree jutting out from the flat landscape. This is Australia. You just have to drive the longest straight road in Australia, “90 mile straight” and get exited as you reach Border Village, or an isolated Roadhouse.
KANGAROO ISLAND DRIVE
One third of Kangaroo Island consists of national parks. Beautiful pristine beaches, wetlands, lagoons, coastal cliffs and enormous granite boulders provide the ultimate backdrop to just as varied and bountiful wildlife. Whether you want to brave the elements or stay in a high end lodge, it is all possible and you can easily spend more and more time here…
Circumnavigating the 420km island along sealed roads takes you through stunning places like Seal Bay, where hundreds of cute and whiskered sea lions spread out on the beach to bask and play.
Further on, the sweeping sandy beach of Vivonne Bay has been declared one of Australia’s best beaches, no small feat. Paul also reminds me that the surf is great too!
You have to make time for Flinders Chase National Park. The wildlife is amazing: native animals abound, including koalas, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, fur seals, goannas, possums, bandicoots. And of course, the island’s namesake, kangaroos.
YORKE PENINSULA DRIVE
You don’t have to venture off the mainland for dramatic coastal scenery, and world renowned surf beaches in natural settings. This can all be found at the southern tip of the Peninsula in Innes National Park.
The coastline and great roads just make you want wind down the windows, feel the wind in your hair and discover!
You can get a sense of the Early settler life in towns like Kadina, or more coastal examples, Wallaroo and Moonta where you take part in the Cornish Festival.
Wherever you stop, make sure you drop a line in at a jetty along the penninsular- designed to make anglers happy. If you prefer your contact with marine life, little more up close and personal, the unspoilt waters are perfect for diving and the underwater Marine Heritage Trails with 18 shipwrecks are perfect for you to explore.
FLEURIEU WAY TOURING ROUTE
Another peninsular. But add a touch of nudie beach and glorious wine country this seems a good combination! Beautiful hills sweep down into sun-drenched bays that lead into deep blue water.
This is an enticing option as it is only round one hour’s drive south of city- Adelaide. You can stop in at Strathalbyn for some (fingers crossed) discovery of a great antique piece for your home. Make sure you catch the waddling penguins and Victor Harbour Market to savour the regional produce before saying goodbye to this area…