Regional Drives in South Australia
The pick of the Regional Drives in South Australia ... in which getting there is truly half the fun.
Driving across the Nullarbor Plain is for many the quintessential experience of the Australian Outback. It is the ultimate Australian Road Trip and one every Australian should do at least once in their lifetime. It travels along one of the safest outback roads in Australia, with accommodation, cafes and vehicle repair facilities at regular intervals along the way.
The giant triangle of the Australian continent that juts out into the Great Australian Bight, Eyre Peninsula is one of the lesser known regions of Australia. The Flinders Highway, which follows its west coast from Ceduna to Port Lincoln and the tip of the Peninsula, is one of the least travelled highways, yet passes by some of the most unusual and interesting coastal vistas in the country.
A short coastal drive, Westall Way is one of the Eyre Peninsula's best kept secrets, a showcase of an amazing variety of landforms and seascapes. Dotted along Westall Way are rugged limestone cliffs, granite boulders covered in golden lichen, secluded granite pools and the ever-present foaming white breakers of the Great Australian Bight. In stark contrast are the huge white Yanerbie sandhills. At Pt. Labbat, visitors are treated to a bird's eye view of Australia's only mainland sea-lion colony.
When the Industrial Revolution was in full swing in 19th century England, machinery was at a premium and this meant a shortage of metals. Major English, Scottish and Welsh companies turned their sights on South Australia after a rich belt of copper was found. Its exploitation not only satisfied the demands in England, but brought much needed revenue to a colony close to bankruptcy. The legacy of those activities lives on in the former mining towns of Yorke Peninsula and the South Australian Wheatbelt.
The Ghan is one of the world's great rail journeys, a ribbon of steel through outback Australia that links Adelaide and Darwin. The original Ghan, named after the Afghan cameleers who helped open up the outback, first ran in 1879 between Port Augusta and Quorn. Over the next 50 years it was extended in stages through the Flinders Ranges to Maree and Oodnadatta, then finally to Alice Springs in 1929. When the second line was built and re-routed through Tarcoola in 1980, the Old Ghan line was left to the elements. To drive along the Oodnadatta Track and beyond in search of the remnants of the old line is a fascinating journey of discovery.
Recognised as one of the world's most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road follows the stunning coastline of Victoria's south-west. Stretching from Torquay, just south of Geelong, to Allansford, east of Warrnambool, the road winds along cliff tops beside breathtaking headlands, down onto the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through rainforests, offering ever-changing panoramic views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. If you driving between Melbourne and Adelaide, it is definitely the long way but well worth the extra time because of the stunning scenery.