WITH the world of international travel temporarily on hold, there is no better time to explore some of Australia’s best kept secrets during your next domestic holiday adventure, writes Adam Bishop.
Months of being cooped up at home under lockdown has left many of us with itchy feet, craving an exhilarating adventure in the great outdoors, and there is arguably no better place to fulfil this longed-for ambition than in the majesty of South Australia’s long and windy roads.
This vast and majestic state is home to hundreds of amazing road trip adventures, perfect for Aussies wanting to break the shackles of their non-stop Zoom calls and adopted lives as bored sofa spuds.
South Australia boasts a seemingly endless amount of picture-perfect coastline, coupled with otherworldly outback terrain and rugged bushland, just some of the alluring landscapes you will see during your leisurely car trips.
In between checking off some of the state’s natural wonders like the jaw-dropping Flinders Ranges, the tranquil banks of the Murray River and beautiful Limestone Coast, you will have all the time in the world to pull up and stay a while longer in some of the country’s most revered food and drink regions. Whether it’s enjoying a glass of wine in Barossa or checking out the nightlife in Adelaide, there is no better place to throw your bags in the boot and hit the open road.
The Epicurean Way
The Epicurean Way links together four of South Australia’s most touted wine regions; McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and the Clare Valley. There really is no comparable journey anywhere else in the country, providing an unparalleled number of pit stops which provide a diverse array of local produce together with a superb collection of wines.
On this four-day trip, it is difficult to know what will need to run faster, your car as it bombs along the highway, or your metabolism as you eat your way through the state at some of the best wineries and restaurants in Australia.
Highlights along the way include the d’Arenberg winery on the Adelaide to McLaren Vale leg of the journey, where you’ll be able to play winemaker for a day and take home what you have made. Also on offer is the Blessed Cheese shop in McLaren Vale which is one part delicatessen, one part cafe, and three parts delicious.
The Epicurean Way trip also provides a touch of German culture, with a stop in the picturesque town of Hahndorf an absolute must during the drive from McLaren Vale to the Adelaide Hills. This delightful European-style town is brimming with culinary delights, from traditional German bakeries, European lolly shops and a range of festive German pubs where you can wash down delicious freshly baked pretzels with a stein of German lager. Before you go, don’t forget to pick a few fresh strawberries for the car trip at Beerenberg Farm and enjoy a glass of wine with lunch at The Lane Vineyard Restaurant.
Another must-see along this iconic stretch of road is a visit to the famous Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa, a delightfully quaint destination to spend an hour or two gazing at the rolling hills. Here you will be able to buy and sample some of Maggie’s fresh produce along with a nice cup of coffee or glass of wine, and watch some of the local ducks frolic in a nearby lake from the cafe’s wide glass windows.
The desert meets the sea when you jump in the car and travel along Explorers Way, a whopping 3,000km journey boasting breath-taking scenery that beautifully entwines the rich history of South Australia with the dramatic Australian backdrop and abundance of native wildlife.
Start your engines in Adelaide and make your way towards the beautiful Clare Valley, renowned for its Riesling wines. Adventurers can recharge their batteries with a restful stop in Auburn where they can visit some of the many wineries and cellar doors in the region such as Skillogalee and Sevenhill. The opportunity to step back in time at the gorgeous Georgian mansion Martindale Hall is also on offer during this historic leg of the trip, as is a visit to the copper mining town of Burra.
Humming north, Explorers Way will take you through the Flinders Ranges, the largest of its kind in the state and located about 200km north of Adelaide. Alligator Gorge in Mount Remarkable National Park is a definite highlight, with travellers able to stay in luxury eco-villas at Rawnsley Park Station or Ikara safari tents at Wilpena Pound Resort, as well as campgrounds where visitors can set up their own tents. Where’s the best place to enjoy the view? Well, your best bets are the Razorback Lookout in Bunyeroo Gorge or Stokes Hill Lookout, but if it’s the unique wildlife you seek, then make sure to have a wander around the remote Brachina Gorge to try and catch a glimpse of the nimble-footed yellow-footed rock wallaby.
The final legs of this trip will see road warriors ensconced in the stony treeless desert and the scarp terrain of the Stuart Ranges near the small township of Coober Pedy, and for those brave enough for more of Australia’s amazing red desert, you can travel west from the South Australian town of Marla in search of the iconic Uluru.