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A full 4 day road trip itinerary across South Australia, top things to do and places to visit

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

South Australia is easy to travel and a one of a kind Aussie experience!

It’s natural to associate South Australia with food and wine, but there is so much more to this picturesque region! It’s coastline is full of beautiful golden bays and turquoise waters, the sunsets are sensational, the landscapes of rolling hills are spectacular, and for a place that produces some of the world's best wine, we enjoyed wine tasting without the crowds.

With our Europcar rental allowing us to explore, we set off on a 4-day road trip across some of South Australia’s best regions! Bursting at the seams with activities, unique tastings and experiences, it's one hell of an epic, authentic Aussie-road trip!

Check out the below for the perfect 4 day adventure!

Day 1: Adelaide, McLaren Vale

After collecting our car at Adelaide airport, we headed for one of the inner-city beaches.

Henley beach is just a 10-minute drive from the airport.

With a few locals enjoying their weekend hangout, we took our cappuccinos and went for a walk down the promenade.

Henley Beach

Head South along the coast towards McLaren Vale. Only 45 minutes from Adelaide, we found vineyards, so many vineyards…McLaren Vale's most famous road McMurtrie Mile sees many restaurants, wineries and breweries all along the one road. The choice of wineries and breweries in this region is overwhelming with over 100 choices!

D'Arenberg Winery

Stopping at D’Arenberg and the iconic cube still tops many itineraries, with the option to also explore the art museum on site, we discovered the cellar door for some wine tasting and picked out our favourite meats and cheese from the ‘make your own platter’.

South Australia’s magnificent coastline is only a short drive away, Port Noarlunga and Port Willunga are two beautiful spots worth a visit.

Port Noarlunga

At low tide, heritage-listed reefs become visible at Port Noarlunga, a perfect activity for scuba enthusiasts, whilst walkers can take a walk down the estuary.

The jetty pylons still remain close to shore at Port Willunga, a reminder of the early days as a grain port. The caves that remain were used to shelter fishermen boats, now a great spot to watch the sunset over ocean!

Port Willunga

Ending the day at the beautiful Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills.

Mount Lofty House

With views over the Piccadilly Valley from our balcony, lavish décor, and a fantastic restaurant serving delicious brekky, their undeniable 5 star service was a dream. It’s a shame we didn’t have chance to check out the spa facilities, but just another excuse to return!

Take a break before day 2 to watch our highlight video of South Australia:

Day 2: Adelaide hills

Nestled among rolling fields, the drive is spectacular! Tree-lined roads and vineyards are for miles around.

Hahndorf is a small town and is the oldest surviving German village in Australia. Antique shops German pubs, butchers and bakeries, and other artisan stores line this quaint road, with restaurants serving traditional German foods and beer.

Hahndorf's restaurant serving traditional German food

Beerenberg farm is also close by, spending an hour here was fun as we filled our punnets with the juiciest strawberrys for the road.

Interesting fact:The Paech family who established Beerenberg were among Hahndorf's first settlers and farmers!

The Lane vineyard is not far from Hahndorf, the tasting rooms sit high over the vineyard overlooking the Adelaide Hills, the perfect backdrop to enjoy the afternoon.

Day 3: Barossa Valley

Barossa Valley is possibly one of the most well-known regions in Australia for it’s wine. The Barossa offers handmade wines from some of the world's oldest vines.

We visited Seppeltsfield estate which covers over 420 acres of vineyard and heritage-listed architecture, and offers tasting and picnic experiences on their grounds. A must visit as one of Australia's oldest wineries, well known for its signature 100-year old tawny!

Seppeltsfield road can be distinctively recognized by the perfectly-placed palm trees that line either side for a number of kilometres. Rolling vineyards run parallel and make for a spectacular drive!

We stayed at the Novotel Barossa Valley, just a stones throw away from the Jacobs Creek vineyard. The grounds are spacious with vineyard views from many of the balcony's.

A 5-minute stroll from our hotel room and we were already at the tasting house sampling the Jacobs Creek from its premium menu. There are fun bean bags and swings made from barrels to hang out at and soak up the views. Next time we will join the cooking class that we saw happening in the outdoor kitchen.

Jacobs Creek Winery

Day 4: Clare Valley

Clare Valley is a 1.5 hour beautiful drive from Barossa Valley.

Lake Bumbunga is a 30 minute detour from the centre, and is one of the most accessible pink lakes in all of Australia.

The halobacteria is what causes the pink appearance, the water had pretty much dried up which had left the salt crystals that cracked as we walked. A surreal experience that left us in awe of mother nature!

Unlike the bigger regions, Clare Valley is on a more boutique scale. This region is well known for its Riesling variety, with both national and international award winning wines and over 40 cellar doors, we stopped in at a few, with our favourites including Skilogalee and Eldredge. Both wineries are boutique family-owned and have been running for many years.

Even some of the wines are names after family members, including the pet dog!

The Reisling Trail is an option for the afternoon, along the way stopping at cellar doors and lunch at O'Leary Walker wines.

It was time to drive back to the airport (2 hours) and wave goodbye to our rental until next time!

Best time to visit South Australia

January is the hottest month in South Australia with July being the coldest.

The warmest months run between November - March.

Visiting in March was perfect, little rain and lots of sunshine.

Driving in South Australia

The best way to see this region is by car! This area is made for classic Aussie road trip and having a car gives the freedom to stop when, and where you wish. There are many petrol stations around, with most having a toilet and a small supermarket.

Disclosure: We were guests of Europcar, South Australia and Accor Hotels. All opinions in this blog are our own.

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