6 days on the Explorers Way
Get ready for an epic Australian road trip through the heart of the outback.
Discover the extraordinary landscape of the South Australian outback on this six-day road trip along part of the famous Explorers Way route. Beginning in Adelaide, this 1,985-kilometre (1,233-mile) journey to Australia’s Red Centre combines gourmet food and wine with epic outback scenery and Australian history.
Day 1: Adelaide to the Clare Valley
- Drive time: about 2 hours
- Distance: 142 kilometres (88 miles)
Drive north from Adelaide through picturesque farming country to the Clare Valley, one of Australia’s premium wine regions, and an important pastoral region in South Australia. When you arrive, start with a visit to the region's oldest vineyard, Sevenhill Cellars, established in 1851. Afterwards, enjoy a mouthwatering lunch at Skillogalee (one of 40 local cellar doors) or Seed Winehouse + Kitchen.
In the afternoon, drive about 20 minutes to visit the heritage village of Mintaro, where you can wander around remarkable buildings including the magnificent 19th-century mansion, Martindale Hall. If you’re up for a slightly longer stroll, join the Riesling Trail; a beautiful walking and cycling path that offers outstanding views of the countryside, and the many vineyards between Auburn and Clare.
Stay overnight: Clare Valley
Day 2: Clare Valley to Wilpena Pound
- Drive time: about 3.5 hours
- Distance: 298 kilometres (185 miles)
From Clare Valley, head north to the Flinders Ranges, South Australia’s largest mountain range. After about 1.5 hours, stop in Melrose – the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges – for a meal at the North Star Hotel. Afterwards, hop back in the car and drive 45 minutes to the town of Quorn. Stretch your legs here with a walk around the town’s quirky heritage buildings, or ride the authentic stream train (from April to October), the Pichi Richi Railway, for stunning views of the outback.
From here it’s another 1.5 hour-drive to Wilpena Pound in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park; an enormous natural amphitheatre surrounded by breathtaking scenery in the heart of the Flinders Ranges National Park.Show more
Day 3: Wilpena Pound to Port Augusta
- Drive time: about 2 hours
- Distance: 165 kilometres (102.5 miles)
Explore the outstanding landscape of the Flinders Ranges today on a scenic drive through Parachilna Gorge, where red river gums meet dramatic rock formations. Step out of your car to explore the enchanting outback scenery — you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world. Then, continue driving to reach the Prairie Hotel, where you can tuck into one of their famously delicious platters of goat, camel, and kangaroo meat.
If you have a few days to spare, head further north for an off-road driving adventure along the legendary 630-kilometre (385.5-mile) Oodnadatta Track. Otherwise, make your way to Port Augusta.Show more
Day 4: Port Augusta to Coober Pedy
- Drive time: about 5.5 hours
- Distance: 542 kilometres (337 miles)
After about two hours, stop for a break at the Island Lagoon lookout for breathtaking views over the pink-coloured salt lake. Once you’ve stocked up on Instagram-worthy photos, hop back in the car and continue on towards Woomera Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, where you’ll find the Woomera Interactive Rocket Range Museum. Take a stroll around the museum’s historical displays to learn about Woomera's vital role in the past, present and future history of Australia.Show more
Day 5: Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is Australia’s unique and quirky ‘underground town’, and the largest producer of precious opal in the world. Tour the town, visiting underground churches, homes, mines and shops. Later in the afternoon, head to the spectacular Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, home to 15,000 hectares of majestic landscape, abundant with native flora species and wildlife. Stay for sunset to witness the striking orange rocks glow under the ruby skies.
Stay overnight: Coober Pedy
Day 6: Coober Pedy to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- Drive time: about 7.5 hours
- Distance: 752 kilometres (467.2 miles)
Rise early this morning to start your journey towards the heart of Australia, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, about eight-hours from Coober Pedy. On your way, make a detour to the Painted Desert, an ancient inland seabed bursting with ruby-coloured desert hills. Drive around it or explore the awe-inspiring landscape by foot before continuing your journey to the Red Centre.