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South Australia road trip: Why women should travel solo – FEMAIL explores the Flinders Ranges


Road trips always sound like a good idea in theory, but deciding on the route, destination, soundtrack and accommodation can lead to undue stress and arguments.

There is another option: going it alone. 

As a young woman with little experience with different cars or complex directions, the thought of a solo road trip seemed daunting; I was nervous about phone reception, changing tyres and animals bounding out in front of the car.

But I had nothing to worry about – in fact I had one of the best and most delightfully freeing holidays yet. 

Here’s how I created a dream getaway by road tripping through South Australia’s Flinders Ranges – and why doing it on my own was best the best decision I could have made.

Here’s how I created a dream getaway by road tripping through South Australia’s Flinders Ranges – and why doing it on my own was best the best decision I could have made 

Day One 

Flying into Adelaide makes the perfect, clean start for a road trip through regional South Australia. Hire the car from the airport and you’re ready to go.

It’s worth spending a night in Adelaide ahead of your days on the road. The city offers a wealth of culinary delights.

Starting with Adelaide Central Market, travellers can eat their way through the city with ease, given almost everything is within walking distance to the hotels.

Walking tours are also available, with Food Tours Australia one such company offering roving dinner parties and private experiences at the market, which is getting a $400million dollar facelift later this year.

‘We’re hoping it’ll make us the best in the world,’ tour manager Cheryl Turner told Daily Mail Australia. ‘I’d argue we’re already the best in Australia.’

For adventure seekers and sports lovers alike, the afternoon can be capped off with a climb across the roof of the Adelaide Oval (from $99). 

South Australia’s answer to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge climb, the Adelaide Oval climb offers sweeping views of Adelaide and surrounds – and can even be hired out on game days for the best view in the house. 

Dinner options are endless – there are fancy restaurants or an eat street right around the corner with cuisines from around the world. 

Day Two 

A full tank of petrol and good playlist and you’re road trip ready. The drive to Rawnsley Park Station is long, but I’d take it over peak hour in Sydney any day.

Motorists are advised to stop for a rest every two hours, and this is crucial if you’re going it alone and have nobody to share the driving with.

Planning ahead can make this process a lot easier. I stopped once at Lake Bumbunga to stretch my legs and check out the famous pink salt lake. 

It’s impossible to miss the moment you enter the Flinders Ranges. 

It's impossible to miss the moment you enter the Flinders Ranges. Towering mountains of red dirt stretch as far as the eye can see and, seemingly within seconds, you're right in the thick of it

It’s impossible to miss the moment you enter the Flinders Ranges. Towering mountains of red dirt stretch as far as the eye can see and, seemingly within seconds, you’re right in the thick of it

Towering mountains of red dirt stretch as far as the eye can see and, seemingly within seconds, you’re right in the thick of it. 

Rawnsley Park Station has several different tiers of accommodation to suit all budgets. There’s a caravan park normally brimming with grey nomads and the standard cabins for the remainder of guests.

But the crown jewel in Rawnsley’s crown is the Eco Lodge. Guests are treated to an intimate villa with uninterrupted views of Wilpena Pound and surrounds.

There’s a pool on site for the warmer weather and a deep bath tub in every eco villa for the colder nights when the pool is closed.

The Woolshed restaurant is on site and makes the best of local produce. 

There's a pool on site for the warmer weather and a deep bath tub in every eco villa for the colder nights when the pool is closed

There’s a pool on site for the warmer weather and a deep bath tub in every eco villa for the colder nights when the pool is closed

Day Three

There are two ways to see the Flinders Ranges. The first is by road; in which you get a glimpse during the initial drive in. The second – and the most spectacular – is by air. 

Chinta Air is one of a handful of companies throughout the Flinders that offer small flights over the region.

The flight I took left about 9am and was the full day tour over Lake Eyre with just five other passengers. If you’re lucky, the salt lake is a cotton candy pink. 

The pilot also makes a good tour guide, pointing to rock formations and sharing folklore about mysterious drawings in the red dirt beneath. 

Chinta Air is one of a handful of companies throughout the Flinders that offer small flights over the region

Chinta Air is one of a handful of companies throughout the Flinders that offer small flights over the region

The flight I took left about 9am and was the full day tour over Lake Eyre with just five other passengers. If you're lucky, the salt lake is a cotton candy pink

The flight I took left about 9am and was the full day tour over Lake Eyre with just five other passengers. If you’re lucky, the salt lake is a cotton candy pink

Day Four

After a day relaxing in the skies and another night spent in the tub, it’s time to hit the road again. 

It’s a two hour drive to Melrose at the base of Mount Remarkable, which proved a perfect place to stop. 

There’s a quaint café which doubles as a bike shop, and walking tracks to stretch the legs.

Depending on how long you’re hoping to spend on the road, you can settle in for the night in Melrose. 

Bed In A Shed - the brainchild of painter Andrew Quixley - is exactly as it sounds. Sheds have been transformed into homely B&Bs with views as far as the eye can see

Bed In A Shed – the brainchild of painter Andrew Quixley – is exactly as it sounds. Sheds have been transformed into homely B&Bs with views as far as the eye can see

The other option is to get back on the road again and make the 90 minute trip to Clare Valley. After so many hours on the road at this point, the trip almost seems too short. 

Clare is famous for its red wine and pinot gris – there are wineries galore. 

In addition to having the best meal of the entire trip at Skillogalee Winery, Clare also delivered an accommodation experience unlike any other. 

Bed In A Shed – the brainchild of painter Andrew Quixley – is exactly as it sounds. Sheds have been transformed into homely B&Bs with views to die for.

With nothing but the goats as company, Bed In A Shed offers a tranquil atmosphere to reset and prepare for the return to everyday life. 

 

Clare is famous for its red wine and pinot gris - there are wineries galore

Clare is famous for its red wine and pinot gris – there are wineries galore

Day Five

With so many wineries and restaurants to choose from in the region, holidaymakers could spend several days in Clare. 

But five days after setting out for my maiden solo road trip, it was time to return home. The trip back to Adelaide is about two hours.

So, with one more epic playlist, I was on the road again for the final time this trip. 

The activities included in this article were supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission 



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