Australia is home to some of the most stunning scenic drives in the world, and South Australia’s Southern Ocean Drive is one you won’t want to miss. Spanning over 900 kilometres from mystical Mount Gambier to captivating Kangaroo Island, this journey will take you on an adventure via incredible coastlines, rugged clifftops and gorgeous native bushland. So, prepare your playlists and podcasts, fill up the car with your favourite snacks, and round up your road-trip buddies for an epic adventure along the Southern Ocean Drive.
Day one: marvel at Mount Gambier’s natural wonders
One of Mount Gambier’s most famous attractions is the magnificent Blue Lake/Warwar, which is positioned in the crater of a dormant volcano that is said to have last erupted around 4300 years ago. The lake is known for its seasonal colour changes. In the summer months, it is particularly picturesque, appearing a terrific shade of turquoise. While swimming is not permitted in Blue Lake as it provides the water to the residents of Mount Gambier, its views can be enjoyed from many lookout points situated along the walking circuit. The full loop takes around an hour and is relatively flat, making it a lovely way to stretch your legs before embarking on a long road trip.
Day two: road to Robe
Once you arrive in Robe, park the car and take a stroll along the Robe Coastal Walk trail. Attractions along the 12-kilometre route include the Obelisk, the Encounter Signal, the Old Gaol ruins, and the jetty set among the rugged Limestone Coast. After a decent hike, take a dip at Robe’s spectacular Long Beach. With crystalline water and pure-white sand, you’ll never want to leave!
Day three: Robe to historical Victor Harbor
The next leg of your trip is a little longer than the last, at just over 350 kilometres. On this leg, you’ll leave the wild ruggedness of the Limestone Coast behind, and head towards the rocky cliffs and untouched bushland of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
When you arrive in Victor Harbor, you’ll be spoilt for choice for what to do first. A popular spot for Adelaide weekenders, Victor Harbor is known for its charm and breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean. Our first pick is to take the iconic horse-drawn tram along The Causeway to visit the gorgeous Granite Island. Known for its striking granite boulders blanketed with orange moss, Granite Island is a playground for the outdoor adventurer – complete with walking trails, fishing and native wildlife. The island is also home to a small colony of little penguins, so you may be lucky enough to spot some of these adorable birds on your visit.
Day four (and beyond): Victor Harbor to the enchanting Kangaroo Island
Upon arrival to Kangaroo Island, you’ll soon find that it is absolutely brimming with things to see and do. We highly recommend spending at least a few days here. There are plenty of accommodation options on the island – from caravan parks and cottages, to hostels and hotels.
Kangaroo Island is the perfect place to see Australia’s native wildlife, with the island being one-third conservation or national park. The Remarkable Rocks, located at the west end of the island within the Flinders Chase National Park, are also a sight to behold. Forged from millions of years of harsh, coastal conditions, these extraordinary rock formations appear like giant works of art and make for a great photo opportunity. There are boardwalks surrounding the rocks that are accessible to wheelchair users and families with prams; however, this trail ends at the rocky outcrop of the Remarkable Rocks.
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Pictured: Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island. Image (C) Tourism Australia