Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Scenic Flights, Prairie Hotel and Coober Pedy
Clare Valley, Flinders Ranges and Outback
The Explorers Way is a journey through the heart of the Australian outback. Travel from Adelaide to Darwin through South Australia and the Red Centre.
This great Australian road trip travels through outback lanscapes and historic towns to meet the locals, get back to nature and experience the wonder of the outback sky.
This itinerary takes visitors from Adelaide to Alice Springs via the Flinders Ranges.
For more information and a complete itinerary, please also refer to the Explorers Way website.
Adelaide - Clare Valley
Drive north from Adelaide to the Clare Valley, a picturesque drive through farming country. The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s premium wine regions, as well as an important pastoral region. Its oldest vineyard is Sevenhill Cellars, established by the Jesuits in 1851. Enjoy lunch at Skillogalee, (one of 40 local cellar doors) Ragu & Co or Seed Clare Valley. Visit the heritage village of Mintaro: its remarkable buildings include the magnificent 19th century mansion Martindale Hall. The Riesling and Rattler Trail is an excellent walking and cycling path, and links many wineries and cellar doors between Auburn and Clare.
Overnight: Clare Valley
Adelaide to Clare Valley: 141 km/88 miles, 2 hour drive
Clare Valley - Wilpena Pound
Continue north to the Flinders Ranges. Stop in Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges, for a meal at the North Star Hotel. Continue to Quorn to ride the Pichi Richi Railway (from April to October). Drive to Wilpena Pound in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, an enormous natural amphitheatre, the pound offers breathtaking scenery, wildlife and bush walks.
Overnight: Wilpena Pound
Clare to Wilpena Pound: 294 km/183 miles, 3 hours 15 minute drive
Wilpena Pound - Port Augusta
On the drive through Parachilna Gorge (detour), you’ll encounter Aboriginal history and wildlife before finding yourself in the wide-open spaces near the famous Prairie Hotel of Parachilna. This is an absolute must-do for its evocative front bar, ‘Feral Platters’ of goat, camel and kangaroo meat. From here you have a choice: Keep heading north deeper into the outback to take on the Oodnadatta Track or return to Port Augusta to take the sealed Stuart Highway. The Oodnadatta Track will take you through the towns of Marree and William Creek and across the world’s largest cattle station. Caution is advised on this route as it is an unsealed road and drivers must be prepared for the conditions.
Port Augusta sits at the head of the Spencer Gulf: it’s your last chance to see some sea for a long time. The crossroads town is home to The Wadlata Outback Centre, a savvy and engaging exhibition that helps you get under the skin of outback, and the lovely Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden.
Overnight: Port Augusta
Wilpena Pound to Port Augusta: 166 km/103 miles, 2 hour 20 minute drive
Wilpena Pound to Parachilna: 110 km/68 miles, 2 hour 30 minute drive
Parachilna to Port Augusta: 93 km/58 miles, 2 hour drive
Port Augusta - Coober Pedy
Lots to see on this stretch of the Stuart Highway. Stop some 12 miles south of Woomera for amazing views over Island Lagoon, a salt lake with a distinctive shark’s-tooth of rock. Next stop is Woomera Heritage Centre and Interactive Rocket Range Museum for an unusual chapter in contemporary British and Australian history stories. Coober Pedy barely needs an introduction but is certainly worthy of your time. Marvel at the bizarre opal fields with their cones of excavated dirt.
Overnight: Coober Pedy
Parachilna to Coober Pedy: 542 km/337 miles, 5 hour 30 minute drive
Coober Pedy is Australia’s unique and quirky ‘underground town’ and the largest producer of precious opal in the world. Tour the town and visit underground churches, homes, mines and shops or fossick for opal. Later in the afternoon head to the spectacular landscapes of the Breakaways and watch the sun go down. Stay overnight in underground accommodation.
Coober Pedy - Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Travel along the Stuart Highway and detour east of Cadney Roadhouse to The Painted Desert - a spectacular and recently discovered section of the pristine Breakaways country with large rocky outcrop of large and small hills, which emerge suddenly out of a flat desert landscape (three hours return). Continue on to Ayers Rocks.
Coober Pedy to Ayers Rocks: 755 km/ 469 miles, 8 hour drive (without detour to The Painted Desert)
For more information and a complete itinerary, please refer to the Explorers Way website.
For the more adventurous, from Parachilna drive to Arkaroola and take the famous Ridgetop Tour and view breathtaking scenery from the back of a four wheel drive. From Arkaroola continue to William Creek via outback towns of Iga Warta, Copley and Maree. On the Oodnadatta Track be sure to stop at Coward Springs siding to soak in hot springs. Please refer to our 'Driving in the Outback' info.
Parachilna to Arkaroola: 197km/122miles, 3 hour drive
Akaroola to William Creek: 450km/280miles 7 hour drive
William Creek to Coober Pedy: 166km/103miles, 6 hour 30 minute drive
Finish your trip in Alice Springs or continue your journey north to Darwin.