From Adelaide to Birdsville


Approximately 14 hours driving time or leisurely sightseeing over 5 days.

From coast to country, with a deeper look into the inspiring history of South Australia’s outback – the ultimate scenic road trip to the Big Red Bash. This journey will take you around five days and four nights, along Australia’s south coast, past the Flinders Ranges, and up the Birdsville Track. Experience incredible coastal sunsets, the famous outback camel trekking tours and interesting food from South Australia’s native Quandong fruit.

Make sure to check that your car is in good condition and that you are well stocked with extra fuel and water. 4WD’s are generally recommended for outback driving. Head to www.bigredbash.com.au for more outback driving tips.

Adelaide to Port Augusta (Approximately 3hrs 30mins)

  • Starting in Adelaide, take the Princes Highway along the beautiful southern coast of South Australia towards the small city of Port Augusta.
  • Along the way get some great shots at Bumbunga Lake, a pink salt lake that will up your social media game. Grab a bit to eat at Jitter Bean Oasis Cafe before continuing on your way.
  • When you arrive at Port Pirie, make sure to stop by the Port Pirie National Trust Historic and Folk Museum to learn about the town’s rich local history.
  • If it isn’t too cold, stick around for a paddle at Solomontown Beach, Port Pirie’s manmade beach. If the weather is a bit too chilly, stretch your legs at Memorial Park and commemorate the lost soldiers of the town.
  • When you reach Port Augusta, watch the sun set over the town from the water tower lookout.

Port Augusta to Parachilna (Approximately 2hrs 20 mins)

  • If you are feeling active, have a go at Port Augusta’s 4.5km Red Cliff Circuit Walk, or for some killer views without the exercise head to the Matthew Flinders Lookout for a spectacular view of the red cliffs.
  • If you have a spare few hours to kill, head to Quorn Railway Station to hop on the restored Pichi Richi Railway named after the Afghan workers that used to provision the outback in the 1800’s.
  • Stop by the Quandong Café in Quorn to try a variety of delicacies crafted from the native Central and Southern Australian fruit; the Quandong flavoured milkshake is a treat not to be missed.
  • On the road to Hawker, the Kanyaka Ruins are definitely worth a visit. Dating back to the mid-1800’s these ruins will give you insight into what life was like in outback South Australia in earlier times.
  • Pop in for a bite to eat at the well-resorted Hawker Railway Station that is now a restaurant and gallery.
  • The Hawker is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges; if you have time the Flinders Ranges National Park is a great place to camp for the night.
  • If you have a spare day why not book a full day tour with Camel Treks Australia.
  • Make sure to duck into The Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, famous for its menu of feral food, including camel sausage, kangaroo fillet and slow cooked Harissa goat.

Parachilna to Marree (Approximately 2hrs)

  • If you didn’t manage to stop for a camel trek back in Hawker then why not try out The Australian Camel Experience operating out of Beltana Station on the way to Marree.
  • The tiny town of Copley has little to offer except the Bush Bakery and Quandong Café, their pasties and quandong pies are a favourite of travellers driving through the region.
  • The Lyndhurst Hotel doesn’t look like much but the characters you’ll meet inside are a treat. The few locals that live in this town will talk your ear off for hours if you have the time.
  • Swing by the Marree Heritage Park to see the truck of the famous outback mail man, Tom Kruse.
  • Don’t forget to pop in a say g’day to Phil and Maz at the Maree Hotel.
  • Head out by air to see the mysterious Marree Man, a giant modern geoglyph depicting and indigenous man hunting with a boomerang.
  • If you're travelling through Marree before the Bash, be sure to check out the Marree Australian Camel Cup on the 1st and 2nd of July. The action-packed event includes camel races, donkey races, dog races, camel polo and tug of war against a camel!

Marree to Birdsville (Approximately 6 hours)

  • The long journey up the Birdsville Track is the toughest part of the drive. With little to no civilization and the ruins of settlements past, the trip up the track is an iconic outback experience.
  • If you have some time to spare, take a detour to Lake Eyre. Although it rarely fills up completely, it is the largest lake in Australia and is famous for its amazing wildlife.
  • Part of the Birdsville Track involves crossing the dry lakebed of the Cooper Creek, make sure to check if the creek is in flood before you start your journey, if so you will have to take a detour to the ferry.
  • Stop about half way at the Mungerannie Hotel where many people choose to stay the night for a beer, a meal and a dip in the hot spring. You can fill up on fuel and get any emergencies repairs done while you are here.
  • When you reach Birdsville grab a cold one from the Birdsville Hotel. This iconic outback pub is full of character and local memorabilia, including the hats of past Birdsville residents lining the beams of the front bar.
  • Before heading to the Big Red Bash campsite make sure to stop by the Wirrarri Visitors Centre in Birdsville, grab a camel pie from the Birdsville Bakery and stock up on supplies at the Birdsville Roadhouse.

A PDF copy of this itinerary is available to download and print HERE.