Day 1 Quickly escaping the city, we head north into the magnificent Flinders Ranges, the starting point for our outback desert adventure. Passing through charming country towns like Quorn and Hawker the scenery gradually changes to the legendary landscapes of the oldest continent on earth. At the lovely Parachilna Gorge, with its rock pools, red cliffs and creek beds, you’ll probably spot kangaroos, emus and, maybe a rare Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby. Your first night will be spent counting desert stars while snuggled inside a swag.
Day 2 Now, it’s time to really hit the Outback! From Maree, with a rich history of camel trains, we head along the unsealed Oodnadatta Track. We also follow the old Ghan Railway, with its crumbling bridges and long-abandoned settlements, and traverse the bottom of Lake Eyre. Usually a giant salt pan that you can walk, dance or cartwheel on. About once every eight years when it fills with water Lake Eyre transforms into Australia’s largest lake, where fish and birdlife gather to celebrate! We stop at Coward Springs for a relaxing, all-natural spa with its consistently warm water. At William Creek, South Australia’s smallest town with an official population of just 10 people and their pets, we enjoy a few drinks and chat to locals at the iconic pub built in 1887.
Day 3 We start the day following an isolated track through Anna Creek, the world’s largest working cattle station – at about 32,500 square kilometres, it’s bigger than Israel. Coober Pedy is the Opal Capital of the World and set in a landscape that looks like the moon. On a tour of an underground mine and Opal Mining Museum you’ll learn about the history of the town, and at the Aboriginal Interpretive Centre you’ll also hear about the local indigenous people. There’ll be time to explore this remarkable town above and below the ground; try your luck fossicking or “noodling” for opals or just browse one of the many opal shops. A highlight for some is visiting Josephine’s Kangaroo Orphanage, where you can meet the rescued kangaroos and baby joeys and admire (or buy) Aboriginal art and didgeridoos. Tonight we sleep like the locals do – underground, in bunkhouse accommodation.
Day 4 After breakfast, we leave early for the trip back to Adelaide through the ever-changing landscapes of the great Australian Outback. There are many opportunities to stop for photos, and we usually have lunch on the foreshore of Port Augusta at the tip of the Spencer Gulf, before arriving into Adelaide at approximately 6:30pm.