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Hitting the road in South Australia

The secret’s out. South Australia is one of the best states to explore by car, catering to foodies, wine connoisseurs, outback adventurers, beach bums, wildlife enthusiasts and much, much more. Here are our top picks for driving holidays in South Australia.

Top picks for road trips in South Australia

There are many shorter road trips you can take from Adelaide—whether it’s to visit the wineries in the Barossa Valley; the sparkling beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula; or to get a sense of the scale of the Murray River at Goolwa. From Adelaide, you really can head in any direction and be rewarded with a great adventure.

If you’re a nature lover, then taking your car on the ferry across to Kangaroo Island is one of the best driving holidays in South Australia that you could hope for. With over 1,600km of roads on the island, you won’t be short of places to go—and you’ll be rewarded with a feast of flora and fauna around every corner.

Want something a little more adventurous? Hit the open road for an outback adventure in South Australia. If you’ve got a 4WD, you’ll be able to tackle the rugged peaks of the Flinders Ranges and the endless corrugations of the Simpson desert. Out here, the iconic Birdsville track is a memorable driving experience for 4WD fans, too.

If you don’t want the gravel between your tyres but still want to get out amongst it, head west from Ceduna to hit the famed Nullabor and see the Great Australian Bight up close. Or, take the Stuart Highway up to Coober Pedy and marvel at one of the most unique towns in Australia.

Get more ideas for driving holidays in South Australia.

Checklist for driving in South Australia

Like it’s northern and western cousins, South Australia is a state of extremes. If you’re planning to travel into the outback, then you need to be prepared. Here are our top tips when you’re planning a driving holiday in South Australia.

  • Plenty of planning. Whether it’s working out how to make the most of a shorter driving holiday in and around Adelaide, or getting out into the outback, plan your trip carefully to make the most of every moment.
  • Driver reviver. No matter what distances you’re travelling, remember to stop every two hours to give the driver a break.
  • Carry a current road map.
  • Check your car before setting off. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip ahead—check tyres, water, oil and fuel. If you can, get your car serviced before you go.
  • Carry all the right gear if you’re heading off to remote areas, including spare tyres, plenty of water, spare food and camping equipment. Conditions can be very harsh on some of the remote roads in outback South Australia. If you’re not sure what you need, ask an expert.
  • Carry a satellite phone or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) for outback trips through South Australia. You’ll find that your mobile phone won’t work between towns or in many of the national parks—and you’ll want emergency back-up just in case.
  • Check the road conditions. If you’re heading into the outback or you’re travelling soon after heavy rains or bushfires, roads can be closed. Ask ahead—local townsfolk are generally happy to help.    
  • Make sure your insurance is up-to-date. Before you set off on a road trip in South Australia, check your car insurance policy. If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll want to make sure it’s insured too.

Finally, have fun! Setting off on the great open road in South Australia is a memorable experience that you’re sure to love.