South Australia’s rugged outback region is definitely worth a road trip lasting a few days or even a week. The surreal, desert landscape stretches from the Flinders Ranges and area north of the Eyre Peninsula, all the way up to the Northern Territory border.
One of the outback’s most recognised destinations is the Flinders Ranges − South Australia’s largest mountain range with the iconic Wilpena Pound.
Start your journey form the ranges, and drive past wild-western outback towns such as William Creek, Innamincka and Coober Pedy with its many underground homes.
Or have an adventure along the 620 kilometre Oodnadatta Track, a gravel road which follows the old Ghan railway line and the Overland Telegraph.
Scattered across South Australia’s outback are mesmerising lakes which turn pink when water is present. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is the world’s sixth-largest lake and a giant salt pan when dry.
The nearby Woomera town used to be the site of rocket and missile development, with many old rockets still residing in the area.
At Coober Pedy, head to its famous dugout homes made by mining families, many of whom still live there. And discover the town’s aboriginal and mining history at the Umoona Opal Mine & Museum.
The Simpson Desert Conservation Park is another scenic must-go, with blood-red sand dunes and spinifex plains.
Fancy living in an underground home at Coober Pedy? Down to Erth bed and breakfast is an eye-opening experience with a subterranean two-bedroom bunker.
There’s also the underground Desert Cave Hotel, with resort-style facilities like an outdoor swimming pool.
Above ground, Mud Hut Motel’s rooms are built of rammed earth, with comfortable air-conditioning and amenities.
In William Creek, the reliable William Creek hotel offers comfy rooms, self-contained accommodation and a camping ground.
Or check out Station Stays in the Flinders and Gawler Ranges, such as Gum Creek Station, Catninga Homestead and Horseshoe Rim’s Wilderness Cabin.
In Coober Pedy, Opal City Chinese is your go-to for generous, fuss-free Chinese chow. For Italian, Umberto’s Restaurant never disappoints with its classy ambience and well-curated menu.
Head to Waffles & Gems at Hutchison Street for dessert, where yummy Belgian waffles and buttermilk pancakes await.
Looking for a hearty outback meal? William Creek Bar and Restaurant is a great pub with cold beer options, savoury burgers and steak, and a friendly atmosphere.
In Woomera, Eldo Hotel’s on-site restaurant features excellent pub grub for the hungry traveller.
At Innamincka, the Innamincka Hotel also serves freshly-cooked, seasonal pub fare and refreshing cold drinks.