Australian Road Trip North to South: The Outback Experience

Australian Road Trip North to South: The Outback Experience

Cross Australia from north to south to immerse yourself in the true Outback adventure by taking a road trip from Alice Springs, the northern capital, to Adelaide, the southern capital.

If you want to see the Australian Outback and as much of Australia as possible in a single trip, the best way is to drive from north to south. This road trip will take you along the Explorer Way and right across expansive deserts and many remote but equally beautiful areas in the country.

Alice Springs

The practical starting point for this road trip is Alice Springs, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. Before you move downwards, spend some time in the city to check out the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park.

Once you’ve seen enough, start your trip by driving downwards. As can be expected in such a straightforward trip, the drive is smooth and relaxing, while the flat reddish landscape of central Australia provide excellent scenery on both sides. Along the way you will also see beautiful Eucalyptus trees as well as wide red plains.

The drive from Alice Springs to the South Australian border covers a total 300 kilometers. Most travelers spend the night near the border by camping out Outback style.

Coober Pedy

On your second day, check out Coober Pedy, which is quite near the border. Here you will start noticing the colorful hills that rise up on both sides of the road, replacing the flat plains of Alice Springs. Coober Pedy, an opal mining town, offers several interesting stops, such as the underground Catacomb Church, which was discovered and dug in the 70s. If you have a lot of time, you may even be tempted to stay overnight at the Desert Cave Hotel, which is also built underground and is characterized by natural rock interiors. If you prefer to continue your trip, continue driving to Moon Plain, which is said to resemble the surface of the moon due to the fossil deposits found there. It has, in fact, been used for lunar settings in Hollywood films.

Port Augusta

From Coober Pedy, make your way to Port Augusta through the Stuart Highway, which offers several interesting salt lakes including Lake Hart. Here the desert and the rocky hills are nowhere to be seen; the landscape is that of a green lush countryside especially when you get to the Flinders Ranges. When you finally arrive in Port Augusta, you will definitely welcome the sea breeze after being in the desert for so long.


The trip from Port Augusta to Adelaide is quite short; it will take just around 4 hours tops with mostly smooth coastal highways ahead of you. Here you will be greeted by vast expanses of wheat fields bordered by green rolling hills. Along the way, feel free to stop at the various wineries that dot the road.

In Adelaide, you’ll most likely welcome the sight of tall, bustling buildings after spending a long time in the Outback. Once in the big city, make sure you head to some of Adelaide’s white beaches to cap off your Outback road trip.

Travel tip: Do be careful especially when it starts getting dark; sometimes, kangaroos can hop onto the highway from out of nowhere.

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Route Details
Start Point: Alice Springs, Northern Territory Distance: approximately 1,500 kilometers/930 miles
End Point: Adelaide, South Australia Estimated Days: 4 to 5 days