Alice Springs to Adelaide: 9-Day Campervan Itinerary

An Explorers Trek from the Red Heart to Coastal Cool

Few trips run through Australia like the Explorer’s Way does. This classic route takes you through the red heart of Australia and ends in the more temperate Adelaide. It’s a journey that makes Australia the unique land it is.

Alice Springs Welcome Sign and Australian Flag of Northern Territory in Central Australia

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Day 1: Alice Springs

Rocky sands of the Rainbow Valley, in the desert of Red Centre, Southern Northern Territory, Australia

At the geographical heart of Australia, Alice Springs thrives as a unique place all to itself. Explore the town’s fascinating history as places like The Alice Springs Telegraph Station and Hermannsburg tell of life in the great Red Centre. You can also experience cultural highlights such as the Alice Springs Desert Park and Rainbow Valley and delve deep into ancient Indigenous relics throughout the town.

The town is surrounded by stunning natural landmarks that are within easy reach too. The East MacDonnell Ranges house dramatic gorges among dry riverbeds and you can even take to camel riding nearby dunes to discover nearby bushland faster.

Day 2: Alice Springs-Watarrka National Park

Scenic Glen Helen Gorge in West MacDonnell Ranges , Northern Territory, Australia

The road from Alice Springs to Watarrka National Park is lined with some dramatic natural landscapes that are often overlooked by tourists. The West MacDonnell Ranges you the chance to take a deep in stunning gorges whilst swimming in beautifully clear lagoons.

Following that, Finke Gorge National Park gives you the chance to explore ancient ranges that date back over 350 million years. It’s from here where it is just a short trip to the region’s more famous residents and stunning natural landmarks.

Day 3: Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon)

The edge of Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory, Australia

Nothing can prepare you for the spectacular sights that sit within Watarrka National Park. The most spectacular location is the iconic Kings Canyon whose cavern-like formation gleams dramatic red and oranges when the sunlight hits the walls. It’s a dramatic feat to wonder at any time of day.

It’s not the only thing to revel in though. Areas such as the Garden of Eden lagoon showcase stunning waterfalls and lagoons that cascade off sandstone escarpments and the Kathleen Springs area also shows how the area was inhabited thousands of years ago.

Day 4 – Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park

Dawn breaks over the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in the heart of Australia's Outback

Home to the famous Uluru rock formation, Kata Tjuta National Park is a must when venturing down Explorers Way. Even though you can’t touch or access Uluru directly anymore, seeing this world-famous marvel is still worth it, no matter what angle you look at it.

There’s more to discover in this famous park, though. A trek into the Valley of the Winds makes you feel like you are on a different planet due to its red craters. Alongside that, you can discover ancient rock art on the Kuniya Walk that dates back over 20,000 years.

Day 5: Kata Tjuta National Park- Coober Pedy

Outback Australian road

Nothing showcases the vast emptiness of the Outback quite like this leg. On this 750 km leg, swing by the Erldunda Roadhouse in Ghan to refresh on basic supplies before carrying through the desert surroundings. It’s here where you cross the border into South Australia and truly hit the second leg of the journey.

You can choose to stop off at the old mining town of Marla and explore the opal mines that dominate the local economy. Heading to the other town of Wintinna, you’ll discover cattle stations thriving in an otherwise inhospitable environment. After this, it’s time to power on to Coober Pedy.

Day 6: Coober Pedy

Underground house, called a dugout, Coober Pedy, Australia

Coober Pedy is a truly unique town in Australian culture. With many of the houses underground due to the heat, explore how these residential homes were built in a unique architectural wonder. Aside from these strange dwellings, the highlights of the town are based on its opal mining heritage.

You will find several working opal mines that you can explore with the Umoona Opal Mine and the Old Timers’ Mine & Museum being just several sites you can explore. Not far from the town, Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park allows you to explore an ancient reef bed that was once underwater and rises above the surrounding desert.

Day 7: Coober Pedy-Port Augusta

Direction signs in town, Port Augusta, South Australia

As you head further into South Australia, the outback gives way to more temperate settings. Before that, pull over and check out the stunning salt lakes near Pimba before refuelling at Glendambo Homestead for more supplies.

It’s also worth stopping by the fascinating Woomera Missile Park near Lake Torrens. This monument to the aerospace industry is loaded with vintage aircraft, rockets and other unique specimens that show how the space and flight industries have evolved over the years. After these insights, it’s time to head south to the coastal town of Port Augusta.

Day 8: Port Augusta-Adelaide

Bumbunga Salt Lake turned into pink in the summer time

A major crossroads in Port Augusta, this town is a bustling hub on the edge of the Great Bight. The town itself is home to the stunning Red Cliff Lookout and culture fans will get a kick out of the Wadlata Outback Centre.

After leaving Port Augusta, the trip along the Augusta Highway provides a view of rolling hillsides and a much more temperate setting. Stop for some stunning shots of the red Bumbunga Salt Lake as you pass the town of Lochiel and stop at Federation Corner which provides access to the stunning Yorke Peninsula. After this, it is only a short drive to Adelaide.

Day 9: Adelaide

Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley

The capital of South Australia, Adelaide has a reputation as one of the country’s cultural capitals. It only takes a quick look at the colourful Adelaide Central Market or a venture into Leigh Street to see why it has gained this reputation.

You can also venture out into the rolling hills around the outskirts of the city which are teeming with famous vineyards. The Barossa Valley is not far away giving access to one of the best wine regions in the world. It is a great way to end a huge and stunning drive across Explorer’s Way.

Alice Springs to Adelaide: 9-Day Campervan Itinerary

Campervan Itineraries