Adelaide – Alice Springs via Flinders Ranges
Prepare for the great Australian road trip along the Explorer’s Way, a 3,000 kilometre (1,860 mile) route stretching from Adelaide to Darwin. Embark on an unforgettable journey through South Australia’s outback landscapes and historic towns where you can meet the locals, get back to nature and experience the wonder of the outback sky at night.
At a glance:
Trace the trail of pioneer John McDouall Stuart as you travel from Adelaide to Alice Springs.
Drive north from Adelaide via Main North Road for two hours before reaching the Clare Valley. Clare Valley is internationally known for its Riesling and is a popular spot for an overnight stay, with a choice of motel, bed and breakfast and luxury accommodation. Take the opportunity to sample the area’s fine wines at one of many cellar doors.
Travel from Clare to the Flinders Ranges, one of 16 National Landscapes in Australia.
Stop in Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges, for a meal or refreshment at the North Star Hotel. Continue north to the quaint town of Quorn. On selected days from April to October, ride the Pichi Richi Railway through the beautiful Pichi Richi Pass.
Drive to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park. An enormous natural amphitheatre, the pound offers breathtaking scenery, rich Aboriginal and European history, wildlife, and above all, a great chance to unwind. A variety of accommodation is available at Wilpena Pound Resort and nearby Rawnsley Park Station.
Spend today exploring the area either by walking trail or on a guided 4WD tour, keeping an eye out for native animals and wildflowers (in season). Scenic flights are available (such as a 30-minute flight over the Pound), and are another great way to truly appreciate the grandeur of this remarkable area. Travel to Parachilna for an overnight stay at the Prairie Hotel, an Outback pub that offers a high standard of accommodation and an award-winning restaurant featuring Australian ‘native’ cuisine and a colourful front bar.
This morning drive from Parachilna via Blinman to the township of Arkaroola, exploring areas such as Chambers Gorge, if time permits. Arkaroola is a private wilderness sanctuary and one of Australia’s most spectacular areas. Rich in history, the area features rugged mountains, towering granite peaks, magnificent gorges and waterholes, and wildlife, including the shy Yellow footed Rock-wallaby. Join Arkaroola’s famous Ridgetop Tour, which features breathtaking scenery from the back of a 4WD. The pinnacle of the tour is Siller’s Lookout, which gives visitors the impression of being on top of the world.
Continue your journey into the outback driving from Arkaroola to William Creek, via Copley, Lyndhurst and Marree. Marree is the starting point for the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks. The journey to William Creek is along the Oodnadatta Track. Once the track of the Ghan railway to Alice Springs, it is now mostly used for livestock transport and travellers wanting to experience the real outback. At Coward Springs, there is an old railway siding and a campground that has shaded sites and the chance to soak in a natural hot pool. Continue along the Oodnadatta Track to William Creek, which boasts the world’s most isolated pub. Spend the evening here, in basic cabin or hotel accommodation.
Travel from William Creek to Coober Pedy, Australia’s unique ‘underground town.’ Opal was discovered here in 1915 and Coober Pedy now produces 95 per cent of Australia’s opal. Miners who flocked to the area quickly discovered that living underground gave a cool escape from the scorching summer. Search for your own opal in a Down n Dirty tour or take a tour of the town and get a fascinating insight into a completely different lifestyle. Tours visit underground churches, homes and shops and the spectacular landscapes of the Breakaways and Moon Plain. There is a range of accommodation options to choose from including some underground rooms.
Depart Coober Pedy and travel along Stuart Highway to Alice Springs.