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Adelaide to Alice Springs | Explorers Way Itinerary

If you want diversity from your next holiday, then a road trip exploring Australia is the way to find it. Road-tripping across Australia's starkly beautiful outback and into the red centre from Adelaide to Alice Springs in a Mighty camper, you will discover some of the most unexpected landscapes. You'll come across underground towns, spectacular rock formations, unique plant life, sacred indigenous sites, beautiful artworks and unreal hiking and swimming spots. The miles of long, straight roads, wide open desert landscapes, vivid red sand, sparkling salt lakes and sparse bush are surprisingly beautiful.

For travellers seeking a free-spirited way to explore Australia and to sleep under bright, starry skies, there’s no better way to travel than with the freedom and flexibility of a campervan. Life on the road can be as fast or as slow as you want. You can take a few extra days in places that you like and just relax. A campervan trip lets you do things in your own time. Our campervan hire team at Mighty is often asked about the Explorers Way, how long it would take, where the best places to stop between Adelaide and Alice Springs are and whether the road is sealed. So, here is some information to help you put together your Australian road trip itinerary planner.


7 days


Adelaide to Alice Springs

Approx 1500km

Best Time of the Year

Between April to October


  • Clare Valley
  • Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park
  • Kings Canyon
  • Yubu Napa Art Gallery

The Journey


1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Day 1
Adelaide to Port Augusta

Distance 308km - Driving Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Pick your motorhome up from the Mighty Adelaide branch. The sealed road between Adelaide and Alice Springs makes this epic drive one of Australia’s easiest and a welcome improvement on the dirt road of the 1980s. Your adventure starts in the fertile wine regions of Adelaide. With its Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches, rugged coastlines and thriving restaurant and café scene, Adelaide is a great city to stay in and explore. But if you’re keen to get on the road straightaway, then head to Port Augusta or the ‘Crossroads of Australia’ where the Explorers Way begins. Set on the edge of the desert, with views of the Flinders Ranges, this is also a stunning place to spend some time if you have it spare.

To make the most of the drive from Adelaide to Port Augusta, go inland on the Main North Road through the Clare Valley. It only increases the journey by about 30 kms, and you can stop at some of their famous wineries on the way. The area is famous for high-quality riesling or particularly fine shiraz. Once you’ve stocked up on your favourite wines, head on to Port Augusta to take the sealed Stuart Highway. Sitting at the head of the Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta is your last chance to see the ocean for some time. Once you arrive, visit Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout. This is a great place to walk along the cliffs for magnificent views across the water of the ranges and the red cliffs. Combine your walk with a visit to Arid Lands Botanic Gardens.

Where to stay: Discovery Parks Port Augusta

SATC Media Gallery

Day 2
Port Augusta to Coober Pedy

Distance 540km - Driving Time 5 hours 45 minutes

Wake up and head out to join the Stuart Highway; you’ll feel like you have entered another world. The main points of interest on this leg of the Explorers Way is the military town of Woomera and its bizarre surrounds. Woomera was top secret and hidden from the world, and features a huge, dazzling salt pan, Lake Hart. There are several salt lakes in the South Australian outback, but this is the easiest to access. Then, it’s on to Coober Pedy.

The opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy is quirky. Over half the residents live underground to escape the heat. In Coober Pedy's moon-like landscape, you will also find underground hotels, bars and churches. Be sure to check out the Catacomb Church and Faye’s Underground Home or play night golf on the ‘grassless’ course.

Where to stay: Oasis Tourist Park

Tourism Northern Territory Image Gallery

Day 3
Coober Pedy to Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park

Distance 755km - Driving Time 8 hours

One of the longest legs on this road trip is from Coober Pedy to Uluru. Just 25 kms north of Coober Pedy, stop at the Kanku-Breakaways, once a vast inland sea. These eerie flat-top mountains appear to have broken away from the main mountain range. As you drive, you will be awed by this imposing landscape that stretches far off into the horizon. Take as many breaks as you need when driving this long stretch of the road trip. The Northern Territory border makes for a nice photo stop before you cross into the Red Centre, the spiritual heart of Australia.

There are a couple of nice roadhouses to stop for a refuel and the opportunity to stretch the legs, such as Erlunda and Kulgera, the first pub in The Northern Territory. The Lasseter Highway to Yulara, the hub town for Uluru, begins at Erldunda. En route, you’ll pass the Mount Conner Lookout. As it looks quite similar to its famous red rock neighbour, Uluru, this lookout has fooled many roadtrippers. Mount Conner is locally known as "Fooluru”. Stop here and stretch your legs. Yulara is the gateway to World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Once you arrive, we suggest you relax after your long drive with a home cooked meal in your well-decked-out campervan while enjoying a chilled bottle of famous Clare Valley Riesling.

Where to stay: Curtin Springs Wayside Inn - a great base for the next 2 nights.

Day 4
Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park

Spend a full day exploring the wonders of Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park and watch the sun rise or set over the world-famous Uluru. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta are important sacred sites to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people, the traditional landowners. You can learn the history of the area and its people at the Cultural Centre. Explore the park on one of the designated bushwalks, such as the Uluru base walk, Mala walk, and Walpa Gorge walk. Each walk varies in distance and difficulty. Another option is to take in the beauty of the desert landscape aboard a camel, hire a bicycle or go on ranger-guided Uluru tours and savour some bush-tucker-infused cuisine. Then head back to the Curtin Springs Wayside Inn for a nice meal and a restful night's sleep at your campsite.

Tourism Northern Territory Image Gallery

Day 5
Uluru to Kings Canyon

Distance 330km - Driving Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Located in Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon rises 100 metres from the ground on all sides. On the way from Yulara, stop at Salt Creek Rest Area. There’s a strong chance of seeing dingoes ambling around this remarkable red desert area. Just before entering Watarrka National Park, you’ll pass the huge Kings Creek Station. If you have time up your sleeve, the outback station offers various tours, meals and outback camping spots. Why not try one of their famous Kings Creek camel burgers? Another stop is the Kathleen Springs walk. This is a 2.6-km out-and-back trail with great views of a delightful spring-fed waterhole at the head of Kathleen Gorge. It really is a lovely cool spot for a break.

Although a little bit tough in places, The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is one of the best day walks in Australia. A six-kilometre hike from the bottom of the canyon to the top, the walk begins with around 500 steps, but it’s worth it. The circuit goes down into the Garden of Eden, filled with lush greenery. Here you can cross a secured bridge over the sacred watering hole and back to the top for stunning 360 views. This location is amazing at sunrise or sunset. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, give the 22-kilometre Giles Track that connects Kings Canyon with Kathleen Springs a go. Locals offer guided walking tours of the area, pointing out local flora and fauna. They also share the the legends and more than 20,000 years of Aboriginal history.

Where to stay: Discovery Kings Canyon

Tourism Northern Territory Image Gallery

Day 6
Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Distance 486km - Driving Time 5 hours 40 minutes

As you bid farewell to Uluru and Kata Tjuta, return back along the Lasseter Highway to Erldunda. Of the three routes from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs, the Lasseter Highway is sealed and safest. As our Mighty vehicles are 2WD only, under our hire agreements, they are only to be driven on sealed roads. When driving the Stuart and Lasseter Highways, remember to stop and get out of your car every two hours for a 15-minute rest, or ideally, share the driving.

Keep going west until you hit the Stuart Highway at the Erldunda Roadhouse, then turn north for Alice Springs. 70 km later, you'll arrive at the Finke River rest area, a popular stop right next to the Finke River (which only flows a couple of times each year). Around 40 km further on, you'll reach the Stuarts Well Roadhouse and a camel farm where you can take a short camel ride. Mt Polhill, just 60 km south of Alice Springs, is a small rest area just off the highway with great views. Another good spot for rest before you hit ‘The Alice’, as it's known to locals.

Where to stay: Alice Springs Tourist Park

Tourism Northern Territory Image Gallery

Day 7
Alice Springs

Sitting more or less on the Tropic of Capricorn, Alice Springs is the largest town in Central Australia. It’s also an area that has a terrific array of attractions and activities. In Alice Springs itself, you can learn more about the Aboriginal culture at the Araluen Cultural Precinct, home to the Araluen Arts Centre which hosts a theatre and galleries. The Yubu Napa Art Gallery has a broad range of quality paintings, sculpture weaving, fabric goods and decorative arts. They focus on locally sourced work, and you can see artists at work in the attached studio. The Alice Springs Desert Park has Red Centre wildlife in recreated natural habitats. You’ll get to see the venomous snakes, spiders, weird-looking thorny devils, goannas, bearded dragons, and other lizards that make the outback home. Try a nocturnal visit. On a West MacDonnell Ranges day trip, you can spend time at a swimming hole and enjoy beautiful walks. An early morning hot air balloon flight is “an amazing experience everyone must do at least once”.

Once you’ve finished sightseeing, you can hand your camper back to our Alice Springs branch. Alternatively, you can carry on your road trip to Darwin or head back to Adelaide.

Are you ready for your next road trip?

Of all the things to do in Australia, the Explorer's Way is the ultimate Australian road trip. Van travel is the best way to see and feel the climates, moods, and landscapes of the vast Australian Outback. It is a journey of epic proportions, and all you need to do is book your Mighty camper today in a branch or online. Not convinced yet? Then get more travel inspiration and information on some incredible Australian attractions on our blog. We’ll see you soon.