Road trips are the ultimate way to uncover South Australia’s natural wonders, and there’s no better place to gear up than Adelaide. Empower your clients to embrace the freedom of the open road as they cruise along kilometres of picture perfect coastline, roll through lush wine country and take in awesome outback vistas, with plenty of great accommodation located along the way.
Although borders remain closed for now, the South Australian Tourism Commission anticipates a surge in self-drive holidays when international visitors are welcomed back to Australia. With jaw-dropping sights at every turn, road trips in Adelaide give your clients the opportunity to explore at their own pace in the comfort and safety of a private vehicle. Manageable driving distances, traffic-free roads and friendly locals add to the appeal.
Send your clients on these four adventures for guaranteed access to the local insights that make road trips in Australia utterly unforgettable.
1. Road trip from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island via the Fleurieu Peninsula
Rolling wineries and pristine beaches team up to make this one of the best road trips in the Southern hemisphere. Start with one night in Adelaide before taking the three-hour car and Sealink ferry journey south along the coast to Kangaroo Island. Brimming with rugged beauty, the island’s coastline is studded with intergalactic rock formations, vineyards and white beaches, all surrounded by crystal clear waters.
Slow down and reconnect with nature on a wildlife excursion led by Exceptional Kangaroo Island or Kangaroo Island Odysseys. After being struck by bushfires in early 2020, the island is bouncing back and is still teeming with wild sea-lions, dolphins, birds, koalas and – of course – kangaroos. For more on where to explore, eat and drink, check out this three-day Kangaroo Island itinerary or discover these seven good reasons to book a trip to Kangaroo Island.
On your way back to Adelaide, traverse the jaw-dropping landscapes, world-famous wineries and sandy shores of the Fleurieu Peninsula. For more activities, here are five things to do in the Fleurieu Peninsula.
This self-drive holiday includes a total of around seven hours on the road. We recommend taking a seven-night trip, including four nights on Kangaroo Island, one night in the Fleurieu Peninsula and one night in Adelaide at either end.
2. Road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne via the Limestone Coast
Self-drive holidays in Australia don’t get much better than the road trip between Adelaide and Melbourne. Kayak the saltwater lagoon of Coorong National Park, located two hours’ drive south of Adelaide, before venturing a further two hours to lounge on the powdery beaches of Robe, where you can feast on local crayfish.
Just over an hour’s road trip inland, you can sample local wagyu beef at Mayura Station and sip Shiraz while glamping amid the picturesque vineyards of Coonawarra. Coonawarra Experiences offer private wine tours of more than 20 cellar doors in the area.
Venture further along the Limestone Coast to discover Mount Gambier’s striking cobalt Blue Lake nestled amid dormant volcanoes, the underwater oasis of Kilsby Sinkhole where you can dive and discover their delicious gin (not at the same time of course!), the natural wonder that is the Umpherston Sinkhole, and the glistening rock formations of Tantanoola Caves. Check out our Limestone Coast itinerary for more details.
Next, head to the Shipwreck Coast’s Warrnambool for a glimpse of southern right whales before embarking on the scenic route towards Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road, which is dotted with spectacular rock formations.
The full drive time of this road trip is around 11 hours. We recommend taking an eight-night trip, including at least one night in Adelaide and Melbourne on either end.
3. Road trip from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges
Road trips in Adelaide reach new heights when you head north. Lake Bumbunga’s flamingo pink shores and the sprawling vineyards of Clare Valley are reachable in less than two hours. Drive a further three hours and you’ll hit the dusty red roads and Martian landscape of the Flinders Ranges.
Once you’ve absorbed the Clare Valley’s rich wine heritage – and a glass or two of Australian Riesling – with Clare Valley Tours, you can rest for the night before venturing into the Flinders Ranges’ outback. Next, set up camp in an eco villa at Rawnsley Park Station. From here, you can unearth the area’s Aboriginal culture, deep red craters, rugged mountain ranges and gigantic natural amphitheatre, Wilpena Pound. Head to this Flinders Ranges and outback natural wonders bucket list for more inspiration.
The full drive time of this round road trip is 10 hours. We recommend taking a five-night trip, including one night in the Clare Valley, two nights in the Flinders and one night in Adelaide at either end.
4. The Epicurean Way road trip from Adelaide
Iconic wineries, artisan produce and decadent restaurants team up to make this one of the best road trips in Australia for foodies. Adelaide – the vineyard city home to Penfolds Magill Estate – makes the perfect jumping off point for this juicy adventure through Australia’s renowned wine regions with Ultimate Winery Experiences as your guide.
Encounter biodynamic wines in d’Arenberg’s iconic Rubik’s Cube-like bar and enjoy a fine-dining feast at the Currant Shed in McLaren Vale before heading to Adelaide Hills for a crash course in winemaking at The Lane Vineyard. Work up an appetite on the 45-minute drive to the Barossa Valley, where quintessential South Australian cooking awaits at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop washed down with 100-year-old vintages at Seppeltsfield Wines.
Cram a picnic basket full of gourmet bread, seasonal veggies and local cheeses at Barossa Farmers Market before driving north to the Clare Valley to eat among the historic vineyards of Sevenhill Cellars with a glass of Riesling. You can find a more detailed itinerary here: South Australia’s Epicurean Way – A road trip with wine, wildlife and wow factor.
The full drive time of this road trip in Adelaide is around four hours. We recommend taking a seven-night trip, including two nights in Adelaide, one night in McLaren Vale, one night in Adelaide Hills, two nights in Barossa and one night in the Clare Valley.
Explore more of South Australia by car
With its rugged wilderness, rolling vineyards and pristine beaches, South Australia is made for self-drive holidays. Uncover even more attractions, accommodation and travel tips for road trips from the vineyard city of Adelaide here.