Guides

The Ultimate 72-Hour Adelaide Road Trip Guide, For When You’ve Only Got A Long Weekend To Spare

Whether you're at home or on the road, there's no excuse to miss AWOL ever again. Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram.

I recently went on my first trip to South Australia, ever. It’s not that I didn’t want to go way earlier than this, it’s that I was subject to that belief that Australia would always be here so I’d explore the world first. Then we weren’t allowed to explore the world and now I’m realising how much I’ve been missing out on in my own country.

I flew to Adelaide with literally zero plans — not so much because I was trying to be a ‘true nomad’ or whatever, and more because it’s 2020 and nothing in my life this year is organised or planned for.

After rushing around to see as much of the state as I could in a long weekend, I’ve now been able to narrow it down to a fun, exciting, but not frantic road trip guide to explore around Adelaide. And yes, I say “around Adelaide” because, if I’m honest, Adelaide as a city didn’t particularly thrill me (although I didn’t stay long enough to explore the many cool dining experiences it has). I also stayed in “the best hostel” which now leads me to believe there are no good hostels in Adelaide, sorry about it.

Everything outside of the city though? Absolutely magical.

I also with this could include Flinder’s Ranges, but trust me, you need way more than a weekend to really get the most out of it. So instead, stick with wine and coastlines. Here’s an itinerary to make the most of it.

Day 1

9.00 am: Arrive in Adelaide and grab your rental car (yes, you definitely want a car here, even if you do decide to stay inside the city limits). Alternatively, like I did, fly in the night before so you can get a good rest and stay at the very cool Atura Hotel which is literally at the airport. Think QT makes an airport hotel you actually want to stay at, with amazing food you actually want to eat.

9.30 am: Swing by the city to Crack Kitchen for coffee to take on the road. Maybe even stay for a fancy brekkie if you’re feeling it, this place is super popular.

10.30 am: This entire itinerary could very easily be just “drive to the Barossa Valley and drink wine in luxury” and there would be no shame in it, but we’re going for the adventure version. So instead, we’re going to head to McLaren Vale, and specifically the famous d’Aranberg Cube. There’s no shame in drinking before midday on a holiday, or in a wine region.

Unless you have someone with you who is willing to be deso driver, this little wine trip is about selecting one, unforgettable experience before moving on. For that reason I say go for the Blending Bench experience The Cube is known for, and make your own damn wine. Then have lunch afterwards.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by d’Arenberg (@darenbergwine)

3.00 pm: When you’re appropriately full (and sober, I cannot stress this enough) jump back in the car and keep heading down the Limestone Coast. Take as many breaks as you’d like to enjoy the beauty here, but don’t forget you’ll be coming back this way.

7.00 pm: Stay overnight in Kingston, a simple little seaside town with plenty of accomodation options that’s a good central point for Limestone Coast adventures.

Day 2

10.00 am: Go for brekkie at Littles at Kingston by the Sea, a locally loved bakery and café. They don’t have a website so just head to 30 Agnes Street. You might even want to grab some extras for a picnic later in the day.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by WHY GET OUT – Travel (@whygetout)

1.00 pm: The Limestone Coast has a bunch of sinkholes because of the limestone ground and climate conditions. Today you’re going to check out a couple of the coolest ones. After breakfast, drive to the famous Umpherston Sinkhole in Mount Gambier. It’s basically a sunken garden with terraces and hanging vines, and it’s super cool. It’s the perfect place for a little picnic too.

2.30 pm: When you’ve had your fill, head along to another sinkhole just a 20-minute drive away. Little Blue Lake sinkhole is filled with the bluest of water that you can absolutely go swimming in, so pack your cozzies. You’ve never seen a natural swimming hole like this before.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Roadtrippers AUS (@roadtrippersaus)

4.00 pm: You can really stay here for as long as you like, but eventually take the one and a half hour drive back to Naracoorte Caves for the night. There’s camping or a bunkhouse, whatever floats your boat.

Day 3

9.00 am: Time to explore the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves. These caves are considered so special because they preserve the most complete fossil record in Australia for the last 500,000 — through several ice ages, to the arrival of humans in the area, to the 60,000 years ago when Australia’s Megafauna became extinct.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Matt Trapp (@red5au.photo)

Most of the caves open at 9am, and there are plenty of tours (self-guided or led by an expert) to really get up close with this cool capture of history. It’ll cost you from $14.50 to $34.50 to see the caves, and there are also caving experiences if you want to make this your whole day.

12.30 pm: After you’re done exploring the caves, time to (slowly) head back to Adelaide, but not before a stop at Coorong National Park, about two hours from you caving adventures.

2.30 pm: There are plenty of things to see at the lagoon ecosystem of Coorong National Park. Given we’re only here for a good time, not a long time though, I recommend Jack Point Pelican Observatory and/or Point Malcolm Lighthouse.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hanna 🌻 (@hannnasph)

5.00 pm: Drive the last one hour and 20 minutes back to Adelaide Airport. Drop off your rental car and catch a night flight home, or chill for the night at Atura. Just don’t miss your 6 am flight the next morning because you set your alarm for the last possible minute (because you’re literally AT the airport) and forgot to account for baggage drop. Just trust me on this.


(Lead Image: South Australian Tourism Commission)