Arriving at the end of the Great Ocean Road doesn’t have to be the end of your road trip of Coastal Australia. You can continue your journey towards Adelaide along the South Australian Limestone Coast.
The total driving time from Port Fairy to Adelaide is a little over eight hours. It can easily done in two days, but you could also spend several days exploring the natural wonders, wineries, national parks and coastal scenery along the way.
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From Port Fairy head first to Mount Gambier and the surrounding crater lakes. The famous “Blue Lake” turns a vibrant cobalt blue during the summer months. It’s also worth paying a visit to the Umpherstone Sinkhole, a magnificent garden cultivated in a collapsed cavern.
From Mount Gambier, a 45 minute drive will bring you to Southend and the coastal beaches, sand dunes and national parks of the Limestone coast.
Southend’s clear aquamarine waters and 40 kilometers of white sandy beach along Rivoli Bay look like something out of an exotic tourist brochure. The tiny village boasts white beaches hidden behind rolling sand dunes along the turquoise waters of Rivoli Bay. Holiday makers and locals enjoy the dramatic coastal landscapes and the chance to get back to nature in the Canunda National Park.
Here you can explore some of the most dramatic coastal landscapes, where the wind and ocean has shaped the rock formations over time. Choose from one of the well signposted coastal walks along the clifftop and discover impressive limestone formations and ruggedly beautiful coastal scenery. Seabirds soar above the rugged cliffs. Dolphins and seals make the area their home and you can also see whales on their annual migration later in the year. Signboards along the walks provide detailed information on the flora and fauna which can be found along the way.
Canunda National Park offers a limited number of basic campsites if you would like to take advantage of the many bushwalks in the area.
Another short drive brings you to the former whaling port of Beachport. Stroll along the historic jetty, stretching out nearly one kilometre into Rivoli Bay or enjoy a cooling dip in one of the swimming areas.
Nature lovers may enjoy a visit to the Beachport Conservation park, home to an array of native birdlife.
A drive along Bowman Scenic Drive provides spectacular views of the rugged limestone coastline. It takes you past the “Pool of Siloam”, said to be seven times saltier than the sea
Just half an hour’s drive from Beachport, Robe is one of our favourite places to stop over on a drive along the Limestone Coast. The working lobster port on the southern shores of Guichen bay has white sandy beaches, heritage buildings and a great opportunity to dine on locally caught shellfish.
The port was once a landing point for the thousands of Chinese fortune seekers flocking to the Victorian Goldfields. Today you can wander along the heritage buildings, stroll along the foreshore, or dangle a line off the jetty.
Take a short drive out to Cape Dombey to take in more beautiful coastal scenery, see the old Gaol ruins and the cliffside Obelisk which is slowly disappearing into the Southern Ocean.
The total driving time from Port Fairy to Robe is under four hours.
Under an hour’s drive will bring you to Kingston SE, also a working cray fishing port and home of the “Big Lobster”.
While in Kingston, look out for the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse, which was originally built out to see on the reef in 1872. It was later moved to the centre of town as a tourist attraction.
On the way into town, take a short detour out to Cape Jaffa, for spectacular views down the Limestone Coast
Take a side Trip: Kingston is a good base to sample to Cape Jaffa and Mount Benson Wineries
Coorong National Park
Your drive towards Victor Harbour will take you along the 130 kilometre stretch of saltwater lagoons along the Coorong National Park. The Park is a significant waterbird habitat, so keep an eye out for the wildlife along the way.
Your drive takes you through Wellington and across the Murray River, once a busy trade route with paddle steamers carting freight and produce along the river. The heritage riverside village of Stathalbyn is one of the prettiest towns in South Australia. It has retained most of it’s historic charm and we love to stop for lunch or a coffee and take to opportunity to browse through the many antique shops.
The drive from Robe to Victor Harbour is three hours 30 minutes.
The coastal town of Victor Harbour is a little over an hour out of Adelaide. Ride the horse drawn tram across to Granite Island, where you can see some of the resident “little penguins”. You can also take the Big Duck Boat Tour in an inflatable boat for a closer view of the local wildlife.
While you are in the area, make sure to visit the South Australian Whale Centre. Spot seals, dolphins whales and other wildlife from the coastal vantage points
Take the Cockle Train, a fully restored steam train along the coast to Goolwa. The little village was once a thriving port for paddle steamers bringing cargo up the Murray River.
Explore the hiking trails along the Fleurieu Peninsula. The Deep Creek Conservation park has 15 trails suited to all abilities.
Victor Harbour is also a good base to explore the McClaren Vale wineries
The drive along the Limestone Coast from Port Fairy to Adelaide is only a little over eight hours. However you could easily spend several days exploring the natural wonders, coastal scenery, wineries and history along the way.
Driving In Australia:
Important things to know.
- We drive on the left hand side of the road in Australia
- Once outside the city areas, it will be at least 100 kilometres between towns. Make sure to keep your fuel tank half full.
- Petrol stations in smaller towns will not open late. Make sure you fill up late in the afternoon if driving at night.
- Avoid driving at dusk or sunset. These are the danger times for kangaroos and wombats to wander onto the roads,causing accidents.
- Always keep a bottle of water in the car with you in case you do get stranded on a hot day
- Eftpos is universally accepted, however some smaller stores will have an AUD 10 purchase limit. It is a good idea to carry a small amount of cash for smaller purchases.
- Book your accommodation at least a day ahead. Smaller motel receptions may not be open after around 7pm.
- Avoid approaching any native wildlife you may come across. They may look cute, but can become aggressive if they feel threatened.