During a road trip on the Explorers Way, which connects Adelaide to Darwin, there are plenty of opportunities to get out of your vehicle and enjoy all sorts of activities
From hiking to outdoor exhibitions, nature watching and festivals, there's plenty to choose from along Australia's longest route. Whether you're a sports or museum fan, an outdoor enthusiast or a culture enthusiast, a trip on the Explorers Way will meet all your expectations.
The Active Explorers Way
Wide open spaces, huge skies and exceptional nature - this is the winning combination that the Outback has in store for outdoor enthusiasts
Watersports and marine wildlife viewing can be enjoyed along the coast of South Australia, as well as off Darwin. On the south coast, magnificent beaches, much appreciated by surfers, line the coastline from the Peninsula of Eyre to the Limestone Coast, via the Fleurieu Peninsula
In the Top End, there are many billabongs and natural pools for refreshment in Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks. However, be careful, it is imperative to swim where allowed, because of the large (and protected) population of crocodiles, both in rivers and at sea. Billabongs can also be found in the Red Centre, such as in Glen Helen or Ormiston Gorge.
Sailing enthusiasts will embark from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands, famous for their Aboriginal culture. We will go down the rivers of the Top End by boat or canoe, to observe the many species of birds... and crocodiles!
In South Australia, the Murray River, the longest river in the country, allows you to take a houseboat cruise, like a floating house, which can be driven with a simple car driving licence
South Australia is a paradise for animal lovers, and Kangoroo Island is THE destination to visit first, where koalas and kangaroos are easy to approach in their natural habitat. From April to September, the whales meet along the coast
The Northern Territory is home to hundreds of species of birds and mammals, not to mention reptiles! They can be seen in Kakadu National Park, and at the Desert Park in Alice Springs, the wildlife sanctuary of the Red Centre.
Hikingtakes place all along the Explorers Way. In the Northern Territory, the Larapinta Trail, recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world, runs along the MacDonnell Ranges for 223 km. We can also mention the trails of Kakadu, those of Lichtfield or the one that goes around Uluru...
In South Australia, the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park will delight walking enthusiasts with trails that run through the Wilpena Pound amphitheatre and the Heysen Trail, Australia's longest, which connects the Flinders Ranges to the Southern Ocean, 1,200 km further south!
Mountain biking is enjoyed throughout the outback, and camel riding is available in the Red Centre and Flinders Ranges. For a spectacular view of the bush landscape, take a hot air balloon ride to Alice Springs, a helicopter ride over Nitmiluk Gorge or a small plane ride over Wilpena Pound.
The Cultural Explorers Way
Australia, renowned for its wide open spaces and natural sites, is also a land rich in culture and history, to be discovered along the Explorers Way.
In Adelaide, most of the museums are located on the North Terrace main boulevard. The South Australian Museum, a must-see (and free) museum, houses an outstanding collection of Aboriginal culture. A visit to the Migration Museum provides an insight into the more recent, often moving, history of immigrants from around the world who came to South Australia from 1836 onwards. The Art Gallery of South Australia, a neighbouring art museum, displays collections of works from the 19th century to the present day, including a fine collection of contemporary Aboriginal art. Port Adelaide, fifteen kilometres north of Adelaide, is home to the very successful Maritime Museum, dedicated to an importantaspect of the city's identity, through model ships and documents telling the story of this ever-active port.
In Alice Springs, the Museum of Central Australia is dedicated to the natural history of the Red Centre, its landscapes, fauna and flora. The museum also houses a research centre dedicated to Aboriginal rituals through a collection of films and archives
The Central Australian Aviation Museum bears witness to the vital role of the airplane in rural Australia. The museum exhibits in particular planes used by the first flying doctors.
The Old Ghan Railway Museum traces the history of the region's first railway line, which was replaced in 1980 by the present Ghan line. A 10km excursion on a vintage train takes you on a journey through Australia's pioneering history
InDarwin, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), the Northern Territory's premier cultural institution, can be visited (free of charge) to learn more about the history and cosmopolitan culture of the Top End region. Exhibitions are dedicated to Darwin's maritime history, to Hurricane Tracy which devastated the city on Christmas Eve 1974, to natural sciences, with in particular the famous Sweetheart, a huge naturalized sea crocodile, and to Aboriginal culture.
The Defense of Darwin Experience exhibition interactively traces the tragic history of the city during the Second World War, when it was bombed by the Japanese army
Explorers Way Celebration
Throughout the year, events and festivals take place in cities and regions along the Explorers Way. Here's an overview
In Adelaide, the Adelaide Fringe is an annual event of all kinds of performances: music, theatre, dance, visual arts... It will take place from 11 February to 15 March 2020. The Adelaide Festival is a festival of opera, classical music, dance and exhibitions. It will take place from February 28 to March 15, 2020. The WOMADelaide will delight fans of world music and take place from 6 to 9 March 2020. Tasting Australia, an event dedicated to Australian gastronomy, will host the gourmet from 27 March to 7 April 2020. For its part, Tarnanthi, Australia's only national festival of contemporary Aboriginal art, will take place in October 2020
In Alice Springs, Parrtjima is a free annual event in April, blending futuristic technology and ancient Aboriginal culture, with a focus on the West MacDonnell Ranges. It will take place from 3 to 12 April 2020. The Wide Open Space Festival features concerts of contemporary and traditional music in the sumptuous setting of the East MacDonnell Ranges. It will take place from 1 to 3 May 2020. The Finke Desert Race is a race of motorcycles, cars and dragsters in the desert, which delights fans of speed sports. The event is scheduled to take place from 7 to 10 June 2020. Finally, at the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, we witness a crazy race of bottomless "boats" in a dry river bed! See you August 15, 2020
In Uluru, from 29th to 30th May 2020, you should not miss the Uluru Camel Cup, an impressive camel race. You must also attend the Field of Light, a landscape art installation. Tens of thousands of diodes light up at dusk and cover the desert with changing lights until sunrise. Fascinating. Then, at the end of the year, from 11 to 13 December 2020, Opera at Uluru is the opportunity to take part in 3 days of opera in the middle of nature, at sunrise and under the stars.
Passing through Darwin, take a trip to the Tropical Light, an outdoor exhibition through the city centre featuring eight spectacular light sculptures by Bruce Munro. It is on view until April 30, 2020. On July 19, 2020, the Beer Can Regatta invites the public to a laughing race of boats made out of... beer cans! The following month, from 6 to 23 August 2020, the Darwin Festival offers 3 weeks of open-air festivities, with a varied artistic programme: cabaret, theatre, exhibitions and concerts under tropical skies