Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published June 3rd 2013
A while ago, I had the absolute delight to drive the Dares Hill Tourist Drive, a fantastic 128kms dirt road drive that starts and finishes on the Barrier Highway in South Australia. The drive entrances are at Hallett and Terowie - the drive can be started in each of these towns.
The scenery changes an amazing 5 times throughout the drive, there are the historic homestead ruins of Antarctic explorer and aviator Sir Hubert Wilkins, ancient Aboriginal rock engravings and paintings, panoramic views from the summit of Dares Hill, red dirt, salt bush, rocky outcrops and an abundance of Australian native plants and wildlife; it's a photographer's and Sunday drivers paradise.
The road conditions change constantly along the route - going from easy driving, rocky, muddy, rough terrain to long long roads of red outback dust. Great fun!
We collected route notes and a map from the local tourist office in Burra, which disappointingly were last updated in 1989.
We started our drive from Hallett and noticed almost straight away that the signs to direct us through the entire route were faded, in a bad state of repair, with some (I believe) missing altogether. It was no surprise when we discovered that we were very lost in the outback. A kind farmer on a Homestead helped us find our way back to the main road again.
It was fortunate that the map gave exact distances between key sites. My car now has GPS and would find it's way around easily and safely.
The poor signage won't deter me from doing the Dares Hill Drive again. Far from it – I would love to take the drive again in every season of the year. It's a true gem of a tourist drive in South Australia and worthy to be on everyone's "must do" travel list.
If you'd like to experience the full bush experience and sleep under the stars, why not sign up for a fully escorted tour run by one of the land owners.
Safety first though - It's always a good idea to check in at the Tourism Office in Burra to assess the road conditions before heading off on your drive. A four wheel drive isnt necessary if the roads are clear of recent rain.
Hallett is just 187kms from the Adelaide CBD and only 32kms north of Burra; the Dares Hill Tourist Drive would be a fantastic complement to a short holiday/long weekend trip to the mid north of South Australia.
Further, you pass the birth homestead of Hubert Wilkins, explorer meterologist cameraman aviator submariner and film projectionist in early Adelaide, knighted by HM and married a Hollywood star, almost unknown in his sleepy home state.
You wind up at Terowie with its major Institute building from 1879 in good order and usage still.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (score: 2|555) 2154 days ago
Here is Wilkins in fur. No wonder - he essayed submarining under the North Pole and has a stretch of Antarctica named for him too. Simon Nasht's book makes great present for any SA person, ought to be in your local library too..