It’s hard to believe that 4 months ago we left Perth in Western Australia to begin our lap around the country, but time flies when you’re having fun. We moved from Perth across into South Australia fairly quickly, and have spent the entire time exploring the coast and some of the inland spots of what we can comfortably say is a beautiful state.
In this post, I want to cover a basic summary of what we did, what we saw, highlights and lowlights, along with where we are heading next, and plenty of links throughout to far more comprehensive posts.
Of course, you can check out our YouTube channel which has a number of episodes out in South Australia, and we’re doing our best to release them every Saturday morning.
Where did we visit?
If you want a detailed list of where we’ve been, you can follow along at our Lap of Australia Itinerary.
As mentioned above, we fairly legged it across into South Australia, and then slowed right down. We did the Nullarbor, then some coastline to Ceduna, and then started some of the Eyre Peninsula before heading to the Gawler Ranges, and then the Flinders Ranges for 3 weeks.
From there, we finished the rest of the Eyre Peninsula (over about 6 weeks), and then moved onto the Yorke Peninsula for around 3 weeks.
We spent Christmas and New Years on the front lawn of some relatives in Victor Harbor, before heading back up the coastline through Deep Creek National Park and Rapid Bay and arriving in Adelaide to get some birthday presents, visit the zoo and get some general bits and pieces.
We then headed down along the Coorong, past Robe and Beachport, and spent a week around Mount Gambier, before ending our South Australia part of the trip and crossing into Victoria.
What did we miss?
We spent a lot of time along the coast, and missed a huge chunk of inland travel, with exception of the Flinders Ranges and Gawler Ranges National Park. This was done intentionally as the weather was getting too hot to be inland (no one wants to be away from water when camping and its 33 degrees plus most days!).
We skipped a heap of the Murray River region due to the flooding, but we did drive onto the Goolwa beach to see the Murray river mouth flowing out and enjoyed some time at the Coorong.
We’ll do more of South Australia on another leg, but for now we feel we covered it fairly well.
How many kilometres did we do?
We’ve just ticked over 10,000km on the road. This averages out to be about 82km per day, and we feel we covered the regions fairly well.
There were some areas that we could have spent more time in, but the weather wasn’t in our favour so we continued moving, as you do.
A lot of time was spent with my folks
We’ve done a heap of travel with my Mum and Dad over the years, and always appreciate the company. They tow an 18’6 off-road van with a Mitsubishi Pajero, and I’m always pushing the boundaries with where they take it! We tend to be a bit more adventurous with where we go, given our setup is much smaller, and Dad loves the challenge of following (much to my Mum’s horror!).
We met up with them at Scotts Bay early on in the piece, and then they ducked off not long after to go to a wedding, and we did the bulk of the Flinders Ranges. We caught up again for the southern part of our Flinders journey, and then they travelled with us for the large majority of the rest of the trip.
Our kids love the extra attention, and it takes some of the workload off us as parents, which was fantastic. We headed separate directions just before crossing into Victoria, with my folks heading back to Adelaide and flying to Perth for a few months, before returning and meeting us further north later on in the year.
How much did we spend on camping?
Sarah did the sums the other day, which came in at $15.49 per night on average whilst camping in South Australia, which we are really chuffed with. We did a fair bit of free camping, and a lot of low cost camping whilst avoiding the majority of caravan parks.
If you are keen on more figures, you can read our 100 days on the road post which goes into fuel economy, costs and heaps more.
What were our favourite places?
We’ve actually got a separate post which covers this in detail, that we’ll release soon. If you want the short version though, there were a heap of amazing coastal camps on the Eyre and Yorke Peninsula, and the Flinders Ranges was up there with the best of what we’ve seen in WA.
What was the weather like?
We had hoped for warm, sunny days with minimal wind, and can comfortably tell you this is not what we got, most of the time. We knew leaving Perth in September would mean that some days would be cooler in South Australia, but for a WA bloke it was really cool, and when the wind was blowing it was actually quite unpleasant at times.
We did get some great weather in the Flinders Ranges (also a lot of rain, which was fun too), and we had a number of days along the coast that were warm and calm enough. On the flip side, we had a heap of days that were overcast, cool and windy, which made it far less pleasant.
I think if we did it again we’d leave the coast of South Australia a bit longer, and do it in January and February, where it’s the warmest and you have the best chance of nice, calm weather.
What did we not enjoy, or like?
There weren’t too many places that we went, or things that we did that left a sour taste in our mouth. Caravan parks are not our thing, and I can’t really rave about Augusta Caravan Park in Port Augusta (it was OK, but certainly nothing amazing). Parara on the Yorke Peninsula would have been pretty average if we didn’t get Blue Manna Crabs and get to see Ardrossan (which is beautiful).
Our kids have been the most challenging part of travelling, which is to be expected, but some days are pretty tiring and wearisome. We try to have as much patience as possible, but life isn’t always how you see it on Instagram, I can assure you!
What did we think of South Australia?
Overall, South Australia is a ripper state. Some of the coastline easily competes with the best beaches in WA (but its colder), and the Flinders Ranges are completely and utterly worth a visit. We were shocked at the beauty of south Australia on many occasions, and really appreciated the many low cost, or free camps around the place.
Almost everyone we met were super friendly, and we really don’t have anything bad to say about South Australia. We’ll be back to see some spots that we missed, and to do some more inland travel, but if you are thinking about travelling to South Australia we’d highly recommend it.
Come to think of it, this is not really out of reach for those in Perth wanting a long holiday; its only slight more driving to get from Perth to Adelaide as it is to get from Perth to Broome, and there’s a lot to see once you’ve crossed the Nullarbor.
Have you done South Australia? What did you think of it?