A Road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide

It is cheaper and easier to take a flight to Adelaide than drive all the way, which is nearly 760km through the Western Hwy. The solace is, there won’t be much or any traffic along the way, and the speed limit is a cool 110km/h, except for the country town areas where the speed limit will come down to 80 and then to 60. The added advantage of taking up the tedious drive is not limited to having a control over the journey but the charm of the country towns along the way, will compensate for any misery.

Township of Nhill

Compared to Melbourne, Adelaide is a rather small city with a population of just over a million. If Melbourne is a shining cosmopolitan city, then Adelaide is its glamour less distant cousin. But Adelaide was built on great ideals. Based on British Politician Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s philanthropic and scientific vision of a society of well-regulated gentry and free and honest yeomen, which he described as systematic colonisation. His supplementary principles were that land should be sold at a fixed minimum price or above; that settlements should expand in contiguous blocks, that the volume and pace of immigration should be related to the available land; and that the settler should have a say in such matters as the appointment of officials and land sales. He also planned that the poor of Britain and Ireland will arrive in South Australia as working class. As they can’t afford to buy land due to the high prices they will end up as the hardworking labourers in the colony, popping up the economy. He was against using convicts as labourers. Convictism demoralized the infant society, he believed. Thanks to Wakerfieldism, Adelaide was never a convict colony. Moreover, in South Australia, the native aborigines were treated much better than in any of the other Australian colonies, in principle. But the white population considered them as sunken creatures and many thought that if they add a tail to the aborigines they will make perfect monkeys. Needless to say, ground reality was nothing better compared to any other new settlement in Australia for the Aborigines.

Old Settlers Cottage at Keith

Giving a pause to the history, the drive continued through the Grampian towns of Ararat, Halls Gap, Hamilton, Horsham and Stawell.  Having been to the Grampians recently, I did not bother making a stop at these beautiful towns and continued through Pimpinio, a small town 15km from Horsham with a population of just over 300. The next major town was Nhill, located half way between Adelaide and Melbourne and due to this position, it is a driver change over post for Truck drivers going from Melbourne to Adelaide and beyond. Nhill’s draught horse bronze statue is well documented and a short stop was worth it, listening to the audio recording near the statue detailing the services of the humble draught horse to the early Australian settlers. Then came Kaniwa- the land of the Windmills. But there wasn’t as many windmills in this country town to stay true their tourism slogan. Click here to read about the Nhill’s Draught Horse Statue

Keith diesel and dirt derby Advt over a Lucerne hay stack

The next major town was Bordertown in South Australia, which in fact was 18km away from the Victoria – South Australia border. It was worth taking a short stopover at Bordertown. Bordertown prides itself as the birthplace of one of Australia’s most loved Prime ministers, Bob Hawke. A quick drive to have a look at Bob Hawke’s Hawke House, just satisfied my thirst for seeing something of historic value and the heritage listed Railway station is also worth a visit. Bordertown is home to the only White Kangaroo rearing park in Australia, which is just off the Dukes Hwy. Read About Bordertown Here

Adelaide Railway Station

As we entered the State of South Australia, the difference was evident in Road Sign boards. The State of Victoria was like a caring mother with Road Signs warning “Droopy Eyes? Powernap now “or “Micro Sleep can kill”. But South Australia was like an annoyed father, with warning signs takings a no – nonsense stance like – “Drowsy drivers Die”.

National Gallery of Adelaide

Nearly 47km from Bordertown lies the small farming town of Keith. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘lucerne capital of Australia’ due to the high number of lucerne growers in the region and is famous for its purple paddocks. When lucerne is to be used as hay, it is usually cut and baled. Keith is also well known for its Keith and Tintinara District Show at Keith Show grounds in the month of October. Keith diesel and dirt derby which began in 2012, is usually organised in the month of March, attracts people from around Australia.  The below image depicts the advt for the Keith diesel and dirt derby over a Lucerne hay stack – the best way to represent this country town. Keith Early Settler’s Cottage is just half a kilometre away from the Hwy, built by William Davies in 1894, constructed of local limestone.

National War Memorial

Another 37km of high charged driving took to Tintinara, which had nothing much to offer and did not worth a stopover. But rural town of Coonalpyn, 27 km away from Tintinara was noticeably different due to the number of cars parked at the Hwy side. As many as thirty tourists were taking the photos of a Mural Silo painted by Guido van Helten who has made a name for himself making large-scale public artworks in cities across Europe and the US. Read about Mural Silo of Coonalpyn Here

Parliament House

After Coonalpyn came another insignificant town with a funny name, “Kiki”.  Not far from Kiki was Coomandook, a settlement that survives on sheep and cattle rearing and grain growing with just 134 adults who have voting rights.

Government House

At the last leg of the long journey, just hundred kilometres away from Adelaide is Tailem Bend, a town situated at the banks of Murray River. Murray is Australia’s longest river, at 2,508 kilometres in length. Tailem Old Town is the most famous attraction at Tailem Bend – a must visit destination for any tourist passing through the Dukes Highway. Click to read about Old Tailem Town Here

Port Adelaide

As we enter South Eastern Freeway driving towards Adelaide, the barren hills give an impression of a land from another planet. Through the Heysen Tunnels when Adelaide is reached after a 760km continuous drive, the tourist mentality just dried away and all we needed was a good rest.

South African War Memorial

Adelaide though, no way comparable with Melbourne still carries an inhibition to be great like other Australian cities. Adelaide City – the streets, the squares and the location is the creation of the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia, Colonel William Light. He chose the site of the capital Adelaide, designed the layout of its streets and parks despite the difference of opinion from the First Governor General John Hindmarsh. He was buried in Light Square, one of the six squares of the City of Adelaide, he designed.

Maritime Museum

Adelaide City is a city of monuments and Churches. North Terrace and the River Torrens is occupied are by cultural institutions and other public buildings, starting from West Terrace and travelling east. On the West Terrace is the Parklands and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. On the Morphett Bridge end is the Adelaide Railway station building, which also houses the Casino.  Adelaide’s first railway station was opened in 1856. The current building is a massive sandstone building in neo-classical style, which was built in 1927. It is a beautiful imposing structure befitting a city like Adelaide.

China Town

Next comes the Parliament House and behind the Parliament House is Adelaide Festival Centre and Elder Park. The old parliament House is just adjacent to the new Parliament house. The construction of the old Parliament house was completed in 1889.

Rundle Mall Sphere

On the King William Road is the Government House, which is the official residence of the Governor of South Australia. The earliest part of the building was completed in 1840 and occupation began in the same year, which makes it the second oldest continuously occupied house in the State, after Walkley cottage in St Mark’s College. It is not possible to enter the building compound as it is the official residence. The South African War Memorial stands in front of Government House on a traffic island at the corner of North Terrace and King William Road. This was unveiled in 1904 to commemorate the services of the soldiers who served in the second Boer War. This was the first war South Australians served.

The Piglets at Rundle mall

Nearby is the National War Memorial. This is a monument for those who served in 1st World war. Around 35000 South Australians, which was 37 percentage of the male population between the age of 18 and 44 at that time enlisted for the war. So imagine the effects of the war in South Australia with almost every house in the state has sent a male member for the war. The memorial was unveiled in 1931. In another 8 years, South Australians were once again sending their men to fight for the Empire. What a sacrifice!

Adelaide Arcade

At the Kintore Avenue is the State Library of South Australia, Art Gallery and University of Adelaide. The State Library which is built in French Renaissance style with a mansard roof was completed in 1884. The Art Gallery began its life in two rooms of the public library in 1881, The construction of the current building began in 1900 and after many renovations and extensions, it is in the current form.


My interest in British architecture could be one reason for spending time taking a stroll through the city streets, wondering at these marvellous architectural masterpieces. Otherwise Adelaide is more famous for its wineries and an Aussie visitor will usually put Barossa valley high on their agenda. But I gave it  a skip .   Another interesting place I missed is the Cleland Conservation Park, where a visitor can pat a Koala.  But I found time to take a quick walk through the sprawling Botanical Gardens but gave a miss to the Adelaide Zoo as I am a regular visitor to the Melbourne Zoo. It is a known fact that Melbourne Zoo is the best in Australia. Instead went straight to the Victoria Square.


When Victoria square was named so in 1837, Victoria was still a princess but one month later the King died and she became the Queen. For the aborigines, this was the dreaming place of the Red Kangaroo, a revered place indeed. The Supreme Court of South Australia, the Adelaide Magistrates’ Court, the Federal Court of Australia and Post Office are in its vicinity.  The China town located at the Moonta Street is only walkable distance from Victoria Square.  The first Chinese labourers arrived in Adelaide in 1847. Due to immigration restrictions in Victoria, they found their way to the Gold discovery areas in Victoria first embarking in South Australia. But the real growth of the Chinese population in the city began after the 1970’s.

Victoria Square

No visit to Adelaide is complete without being at the Glenelg beach. Glenelg is the oldest European settlement in South Australia. The beautiful beach is marked by Glenelg Jetty, amusement parks and bordered by high rise buildings. Port Adelaide is closer by but did not have enough time to visit Maritime Museum and the Railway Museum there. It is always best to leave something for next time.

Botanic Gardens

My Adelaide City tour ended with a visit to the Rundle mall. Some of the sculpture of Rundle mall have entered the tourism books of South Australia like the 4-metre-tall, Stainless Steel Spheres one above the other by Bert Flugelman referred as Rundle Mall balls.  Other well-known sculpture is a group of life-size bronze piglets − Horatio, Truffles, Augusta and Oliver rooting around a rubbish bin. This definitely is an overrated shopping precinct.

Statue of Mathew Flinders

It was time to bid adieu to the land of crow eaters. Another 8hours and 760km to be back to the nest. A home is a home and that is Melbourne the most marvellous and liveable city in the world.

Wind Turbines on the way

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