Bicycle Fish Index


Approaching Adelaide by Bicycle

from the North & from the South & East

Grace Newhaven | last update :  2015 / May 14


From the North

Between Port Augusta and Adelaide, a lot of bicycle travellers, especially those from places outside South Australia, choose National Highway 1. Most cyclists who live in SA would advise that this is NOT a good choice! The volume of traffic is high, with a lot of heavy trucks, travelling at 100Km/h or more, while the so called Highway is relatively narrow, mostly with an inferior shoulder - and sometimes with no shoulder at all ! There is very little of scenic interest, even if the cyclist could spare the attention to notice anything but the severe traffic hazards!


Now, while most South Australian cyclists would never think of using this route, for the reasons above, it’s relatively common to hear of foreign cyclists who do attempt it – and often complain bitterly after doing so! In the opinion of this author, this is simply due to a strange form of tunnel vision, an unwillingness to look at the alternatives on a map (who said being a cycle tourer makes you smarter ?)


However, there is an easy alternative : the “B82” road, which is fully sealed all the way. This route is scenic, with a number of attractive small towns on the way providing historical interest, food and accommodation options, and even free camping sites if required. Traffic volume is light, mostly farmers and local townspeople, and the surface is fine. There are pleasant views most of the way, and gentle undulations.


In most of the towns, it’s fine to camp overnight for nothing at local “the oval” (sportsground) where there is usually a basic toilet, sometimes with a cold shower. Be aware that most shops will likely close at noon Saturday, but the cyclist could easily carry enough food from the “seven day” supermarkets in Port Augusta.


The route can be followed with even the cheapest map ( eg free map from tourist office in Port Augusta), though the RAA’s “Mid North” regional map is also good value, especially if the traveller has some time to explore, rather than wanting to get to the destination as quickly as possible.


The route is as follows :


  1. Port Augusta
  2. (Horrocks Pass – rewarding climb!)
  3. Wilmington ( The “Mawson Trail” bike route passes close by here, heading N and S …)
  4. Melrose
  5. Murray Town
  6. Wirrabarra ( YHA in the forest is a possibility..)
  7. Laura
  8. Gladstone
  9. Gulnare
  10. Yacka
  11. Brinkworth
  12. Blythe ( divert here towards Clare and the wine region, if required. “Riesling Rail Trail” from Clare to Riverton….)
  13. Balaklava
  14. Hamley Bridge ( especially, see the old fashioned grocery store)
  15. Wasleys
  16. (west of Roseworthy College)
  17. Gawler ( from here, you can easily take the suburban train ( “roll on / roll off ”) to almost anywhere in the metropolitan area, very cheaply on weekdays between 0900 and 1500 ; more expensive at other times. Bike accommodation on the trains is easy, as is access at the stations!)
  18. One Tree Hill ( if you want to ride all the way to the city centre …)
  19. Kersbrook
  20. Chain of Ponds
  21. (via the very scenic Gorge Road to…)
  22. Bike Path on the Torrens River [ not recommended after dark !] …to
  23. City Centre


Approaching Adelaide by Bicycle from the South & East

Grace Newhaven 2007/ Dec 31


As there is NO access across the Murray River except via Wellington (or possibly Murray Bridge), there is in practice only ONE approach from the South AND East  - from the South-East direction, and any traveller will probably cycle to Adelaide via Strathalbyn. (Click here for a map of the area).


Routes to AVOID on the South side of Adelaide  :

a)   the South East Freeway ( M 1), where there is NO bicycle access except a commuter “veloway” from Crafers to the outskirts of the City.

b)   Greenhill Road ( no shoulder, and quite busy) 

c)    the Victor Harbour Road (A13) is very busy and has a bad record for car crashes

d)   Main South Road, to / from Cape Jervis ( busy, narrow, fast traffic)


Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to these bicycle-unfriendly routes !


To / from the SE , a pleasant & scenic route to the City Centre is as follows :

  1. Wellington ( idyllic commercial camp site by the river)
  2. Strathalbyn (a pleasant Heritage town with all services. Divert to the S from here for Victor Harbour & Kangaroo Island )
  3. Macclesfield
  4. Echunga
  5. Mt Barker
  6. Littlehampton ( then, via Junction Rd to …)
  7. Balhannah
  8. Carey Gully ( then, as you like to …)
  9. Norton Summit ( then, spectacular descent on the “Old Road” to ….)
  10.  Magill (then via Magill Rd – with bicycle lanes most of the way - to ….)
  11. City Centre


Camping : while there are plenty of commercial campsites along this route, it would also be possible to “free” camp easily & legally at any number of quiet places along the way !