DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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The Ultimate South Australia Road Trip

South Australia is a star-studded state, beaming with treasure at every turn.

Gob-smacking coastline and brilliant beaches, world-class wineries, incredible natural wonders, and a bucketload of other goodies are all in the mix.

We’ve created the ultimate South Australia road trip, so you can take in the bags of riches with ease.

The scenic 1500km path begins and ends in Adelaide, following a clockwise direction and incorporating key regions and destinations along the way.

See the map below for a visual reference.

Note: All distances referenced are approximate.

It's time to map out your journey.

The Barossa

Adelaide to Barossa Valley (Nuriootpa) distance: 80km.

Australia’s most celebrated wine region is a bucket-list destination for vino lovers.

The historical grape-growing area incorporates both the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, giving it the rare distinction of having both warm and cool-climate growing conditions sitting side by side.

Hundreds of wineries and dozens of cellar doors are planted in scenic surrounds, combing internationally recognisable labels with inviting boutiques. Many have remained in the same family across generations.

But the Barossa is about so much more than winning wine. A feast of diverse attractions ensures this is a region for all tastes, rather than just select tastebuds.

Looking grand: Chateau Yaldara. Credit: Isaac Forman.

Things to do in the Barossa

Highlights of the region include:

  • Cellar-door hopping: Naturally! Choose from grand old chateaus to cosy setups.
  • Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop: Tasty treats pair with unique food experiences.
  • Mengler’s Hill Lookout and Barossa Sculpture Park: Eye candy galore.
  • Greenock Aviation Museum: Excellent, underrated private collection.
  • Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park: Wildlife spotting among picturesque surrounds.
  • Hot-air balloon flight: Admire the bountiful beauty from above.
  • Barossa Adventure Station: A truck-load of family fun, including a mountain bike track.

Picnic perfection: Maggie Beer's Farm Shop. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/Sven Kovac.

Barossa accommodation

Spotted in the attractive township of Nuriootpa and neighbouring a large reserve, BIG4 Barossa Tourist Park is immediately congenial: it’s spacious, shaded, and tranquil.

As you can reliably expect from a BIG4 park, there’s a variable cabin range alongside ample caravan and camping sites.

A large pool and a communal fire pit headline the crowd-pulling features, depending on the season. And BIG4 Barossa has dog-friendly sites available.

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BIG4 Barossa is instantly inviting.

Riverland

Barossa Valley (Nuriootpa) to Riverland (Loxton) distance: 175km.

Concentrated around the iconic Murray River, the picturesque region has the power to induce a relaxing ambience on arrival.

While it’s suited to whiling away the days, don’t be fooled: The Riverland is jampacked with a rich variety of visitor attractions that encourage extensive exploration.

And the ever-present snaking waterway, coupled with an agreeable climate, invites myriad leisure activities on and off the water.

Canoeing along the Murray has its visual rewards. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Things to do in the Riverland

Highlights of the region include:

Wow! Gluepot Reserve. Credit: Luke Byrne.

Riverland accommodation

Three BIG4 parks are spotted on the banks of the Murray River and provide the perfect settings when undertaking the ultimate South Australia road trip. They are:

BIG4 Renmark Riverfront has nabbed a prime spot.

Naracoorte

Riverland (Loxton) to Naracoorte distance: 315km.

With its wide open spaces and heritage streetscapes, this small Limestone Coast town quickly grabs attention. But it’s the presence of something below the surface that has allowed Naracoorte to enjoy global prominence.

Naracoorte Caves are World Heritage-listed creations. Collectively, it’s regarded as one of the greatest fossil sites on the planet, and tours unearth eye-popping visual wonders and detail incredible stories that demonstrate their utmost significance.

Additionally, Naracoorte is within easy reach of one of Australia’s premier wine regions: Coonawarra. Its thin, long strip of terra rossa soil is the perfect foundation for producing outstanding and distinctive wines, led by cabernet sauvignon.

Fascinating fossils and much more: Naracoorte Caves. Credit: Mike Haines.

Things to do in Naracoorte

Naracoorte highlights include:

Summer favourite: Naracoorte Swimming Lake. Credit: Naracoorte Lucindale Council.

Naracoorte accommodation

Close to the heart of town and adjacent to the swimming lake, BIG4 Naracoorte Holiday Park delivers quality accommodation among expansive, shade-filled surrounds.

Leading in-park entertainment includes mini-golf, a Jumping Pillow, games room, and miniature train rides at selected times. And pet-friendly sites are available.

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BIG4 Naracoorte is perfectly positioned.

Mt Gambier

Naracoorte to Mt Gambier distance: 100km.

SA’s most populous regional centre dazzles with its collection of astounding natural creations, dotted around a vibrant city centre.

Its headline-stealing attraction is vividly coloured Blue Lake. This massive crater lake is spotted within an extinct volcano and conveniently sits on the city’s edge for effortless viewing.

Aiding its pulling power, Mt Gambier is a great base to explore other natural wonders found further afield.

Local landmark: Blue Lake. Credit: Jaxon Foale.

Things to do in Mt Gambier

Mt Gambier highlights include:

  • Blue Lake: Eye-catching local landmark suited to strolls around its edges.
  • Little Blue Lake: Popular swimming hole.
  • Umpherston Sinkhole: Spectacular sunken garden. Central.
  • Engelbrecht Cave: Witness unique dry cave formations.
  • Centenary Tower: Heritage creation that reveals pretty views from atop.
  • The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre: Headline by an impressive regional gallery.
  • Kilsby Sinkhole: World-renowned cave-diving site, 15km from the CBD.
  • Hells Hole: Incredible, eerie-like sinkhole spotted in nearby Caveton.

Umpherston Sinkhole is both central and spectacular. Credit: Offroad Images.

Mt Gambier accommodation

BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park earns its name, located directly across from the city’s most famous landmark. Expansive surrounds with landscaped gardens create a relaxing ambience.

Families are drawn to the likes of a swimming pool with a designated toddler area, tennis courts, Jumping Pillow, large playground, and games room.

There’s a sizeable kitchen and dining space and pet-friendly sites for those travelling with four-legged guests.

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There's a lot to love about BIG4 Blue Lake.

Tailem Bend

Mt Gambier to Tailem Bend distance: 340km.

Tailem Bend has an extensive past as a railway town, once the lifeblood of its post-European existence.

Nowadays, it’s on the map thanks to a different kind of track. In January 2018, The Bend Motorsport Park opened to the public and has quickly garnered a reputation as a world-class racing facility.

The park hosts a round of the prestigious Supercars Championship series as well as other leading motorsport events. Outside race days, the public has rare access to hot laps, go-karting, and other thrilling activities on a coveted circuit.

Roaring engines and fast speeds aside, Tailem Bend is a peaceful town spotted a stone’s throw from the Murray River. 

Need for speed: The Bend Motorsport Park. Credit: Josh Geelen.

Things to do in Tailem Bend

Tailem Bend highlights include:

A visit to the local playground captures the town's rail heritage. Credit: John Montesi.

Tailem Bend accommodation

Expect contemporary at BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park – the site opened brand-new in late 2018.

This followed the unveiling of The Bend Motorsport Park, which the BIG4 neighbours and is within walking distance of.

Roomy, modern, and with facilities that include a pool, Jumping Pillow, and large camp kitchen, this pet-friendly holiday park is the ideal accommodation choice in the area.

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Plenty of room: BIG4 The Bend.

Fleurieu Peninsula

Tailem Bend to Fleurieu Peninsula (Port Elliot) distance: 110km.

Paradisical beaches, first-rate wine regions, top-class golf courses, and whale-watching hotspots are just some of the key ingredients that make the Fleurieu Peninsula an integral addition to the ultimate South Australia road trip.

Its abundant goodies are scattered in and around time-honoured towns that burst with charm, character, and laidback vibes.

Add in interest for all ages and tastes, and it’s easy to see why the Fleurieu Peninsula attracts repeat visitors to its shores year after year. 

Run to paradise: Morgans Beach, Cape Jervis. Credit: dronedynamicssa.

Things to do on Fleurieu Peninsula

Highlights of the region include:

  • McLaren Vale Wine Region: Top shelf. Don’t miss the iconic d'Arenberg Cube.
  • Brilliant beaches: So many to choose from! Horseshoe Bay in Port Elliot is among the favourites; several others are often crowd free.
  • Granite Island, Victor Harbor: Reached via a wooden causeway. Home to big boulders and little penguins.
  • The Cockle Train: Sparkling coastal views from Goolwa to Victor Harbor and return.
  • Paddlesteamer cruises, Goolwa: Scenic weekend rides aboard the PS Oscar W.
  • Rosetta Head (The Bluff), Victor Harbor: Walk or drive to the summit for breathtaking panoramas.
  • South Australian Whale Centre, Victor Harbor: Get up to speed on all things related to these fascinating giants of the sea.

Whatever way you look at it, d'Arenberg Cube is a star. Credit: Louise Edebone.

Fleurieu Peninsula accommodation

Three BIG4 parks are dotted around the region in some of its most desirable locations and offer easy access to the sparkling coastline. They are:

How's the location? BIG4 Breeze - Port Elliot.

Kangaroo Island

Port Elliot to Cape Jervis ferry terminal distance: 70km.

Australia’s third-largest island is a dream destination, chockfull of gems that belie its smallish stature.

Visitors can justifiably expect a glittering coastline and its collection of sublime beaches – and Kangaroo Island more than delivers on the assumption.

But that’s just the first carrot that dangles. Amazing natural rock features, tons of wildlife encounters, great wineries, sand dunes, and plenty else is on the attractions list.

Note: Kangaroo Island is reached from the mainland via a 45min passenger and vehicle ferry ride that departs daily from Cape Jervis.

Brilliant beaches ... there are a few. Pictured: Stokes Bay. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Things to do on Kangaroo Island

Quite simply remarkable. Credit: Lachlan Swan.

From here…

On the return to Adelaide, the ultimate South Australia road trip has a few tempting diversions. They include more of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s amazing beaches: Rapid Bay, Carrickalinga, and Port Willunga are top picks.

There’s also the chance to stop by much-loved McLaren Vale Wine Region or a sprinkling of excellent microbreweries for those who prefer a pale to a pinot. Although someone needs to be designated driver, of course. 

Ale of a time: Swell Brewing Co, McLaren Vale. Credit: Isaac Forman.

Accommodation in Adelaide

Looking for somewhere to stay in Adelaide? Seaside BIG4 West Beach Parks is a popular choice.

It backs directly onto the beach and has a bunch of family-friendly facilities, including a water play area, pool, fire pit, and games room.

The park is only 10km west of Adelaide’s CBD and even closer to the airport.

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Ace Adelaide accommodation: BIG4 West Beach.

Where do I start?

Whether exploring beautiful beaches, cruising the mighty Murray, sipping on tasty wine, or enjoying myriad attractions for all tastes, it’s time to experience the ultimate South Australia road trip.

It’s recommended you take this route at an unhurried pace to best appreciate its many highlights.

Fortunately, BIG4 has ample accommodation along the way. They’re the perfect places to rest a weary head.

See all our quality holiday parks in SA here

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