Adelaide To Coober Pedy: Road Trip Stops, Bus, Flights And More [2021]

Thinking about making the journey from Adelaide to Coober Pedy (or Coober Pedy to Adelaide) and want to know how to travel between the two? I can help!

This journey is not quick at nearly nine hours, but it is amazing in its own way taking you from the coastal city of Adelaide all the way to the Outback town of Coober Pedy. While some people can find driving in the Outback boring, I personally love the subtle changes of scenery and landscape. I never realised how much variety there can be in the desert before driving this.

The Breakaways, Coober Pedy
The Breakaways, Coober Pedy

If you don’t want to drive then I also have good news – below I have details about the bus service between these places as well as Adelaide to Coober Pedy flights.

If you are driving though, I have some places to stop and explore along the way.

However, whether you want to bus, fly, are curious about the train or just want to know the Coober Pedy to Adelaide distance, everything is described step-by-step below so you can easily make your journey. I also describe the reverse journey from Coober Pedy to Adelaide.

Adelaide Coober Pedy Map

Adelaide To Coober Pedy map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Driving Distance From Adelaide To Coober Pedy

The distance Adelaide to Coober Pedy is around 848 kilometres. If you are wondering how long to drive from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, the Adelaide to Coober Pedy drive time is about 8.75 hours.

It’s not a quick journey but I promise, it’s worth it!

BEST OPTION: How To Get From Adelaide To Coober Pedy

The best option to travel from Adelaide to Coober Pedy (or vice versa) is in your own car. It’s a long journey and it can be boring at times but there’s nothing like taking an Outback Road Trip, especially on the epic Stuart Highway. You can also make the journey by bus, train or plane. It is all straightforward.

Option 1: Adelaide To Coober Pedy Road Trip

Stuart Highway just after Pimba
Stuart Highway just after Pimba

The Adelaide to Coober Pedy drive is quite straightforward, just long. Take the A1 out of Adelaide to Port Augusta. Here, there is a turn off to the A87 Stuart Highway towards Coober Pedy (and on to the Northern Territory). This is the main highway through the heart of Australia and you can’t miss it.

Coober Pedy itself is the first major town you will come to on this highway and it’s incredibly obvious.

Between Adelaide and Port Augusta are many places to stop and things to see. Once you enter the Stuart Highway, you are in the Outback and there are very few things to see or places to stop.

A lookout point before Pimba
A lookout point before Pimba

There aren’t many petrol stations or shops on this highway and you should make sure you have a full tank and plenty of water when setting out from Port Augusta. Currently there are petrol stations (where you can also buy food) at Pimba and Glendambo. Glendambo is the last place before Coober Pedy and there is 254 kilometres between them.

The petrol is expensive in Pimba and Glendambo so make sure you fill up in Port Augusta and Coober Pedy. You will still probably need to get petrol in Pimba and Glendambo though – remember this is the Outback and you definitely don’t want to run out.

Otherwise, there is not much to see except desert and the occasional animal. We were excited to see some wild emus! The good part about this is that it’s easy to rarely slow down from the 110km/h. Overtaking is generally easy with most stretches of road having great visibility. There’s regular rest stops but toilets are very rare outside of Pimba and Glendambo. You should take your own toilet paper.

Coober Pedy
By the Stuart Highway when you reach Coober Pedy – so excited to see this!

While the latter part of this drive Adelaide to Coober Pedy may sound boring, there are subtle changes in the desert and an Outback road trip really is something you should do at least once.

I highly recommend breaking the journey as it’s a lot to drive in one day. It’s not recommended to drive in the Outback at night due to the chance of hitting animals – both wild ones like kangaroos and livestock like cattle.

An obvious spot is Port Augusta. We stayed in the Comfort Inn and Suites Augusta Westside. Otherwise Woomera has the decent (but old) Eldo Hotel.

Adelaide To Coober Pedy road train
A road train – and they come bigger than this!

Also beware of the giant “road trains” that ply down this highway. These are huge long trucks with many parts, like long trains. They can be up to 55 metres long! Give them plenty of space.

Do not expect much phone coverage after you leave Port Augusta except at the towns. If you don’t have Telstra, you may struggle to even have this. I had nothing with Vodafone.

Below, I cover some places to stop and things to do as you travel from Adelaide to Coober Pedy by car. They are in the order in which you will find them.

Lake Bumbunga

Lake Bumbunga
Lake Bumbunga

About 134 kilometres out of Adelaide, it’s worth taking a look at Lake Bumbunga, or pink lake as it’s also known. This is because it can look pink although the exact colour depends on how salty it is. It can be white, blue or pink depending on this. It’s most likely to be bright pink in summer.

This lake is right by the highway to the right and there is somewhere to pull over and take a look which also has a picnic area (just no toilets).

Big Blade, Snowtown

The Big Blade, Snowtown
The Big Blade

Just off the main A1 highway is this one of Australia’s BIG objects. The Big Blade is in the centre of the infamous town of Snowtown. Is it just me who finds it weird that this town that’s best known for a serial killer has a big blade as its big thing?!

Anyway, it’s actually because of the wind turbines which you will see around here and it’s a blade from one of them.

It’s easy to find this on the northern end of the main street (Railway Terrace East).

Port Augusta

Port Augusta, South Australia
Port Augusta

Port Augusta is a great place to break the journey. I enjoyed visiting the Wadlata Outback Centre as a way to break the journey and learn more about this region of Australia. There’s exhibits from the time when dinosaurs roamed this land to the first owners, explorers and settlers.

We also learned about the fossils, opals and minerals in this region, the School of the Air, the Royal Flying Doctors Service and much more. It’s a great introduction to the area.

Unless you’re leaving here in time to hit Coober Pedy by dark, I recommend you stay in Port Augusta. We like to break the journey at the Comfort Inn and Suites Augusta Westside here.

Woomera

Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park
Woomera Aircraft and Missile Park

Woomera is about two hours from Port Augusta and this drive is when you are really in the Outback.

Located about eight kilometres off the main highway at Pimba, it’s worth the short detour. Pimba is the first place you will find petrol and Spud’s Roadhouse after leaving Port Augusta. Turn right to visit Woomera, established in 1947.

This town started as  a project between the British and Australian Governments during the Cold War where they developed and tested long-range weapons. The local Aboriginal people were moved off their land to make this happen and the town was closed off to the public.

These days you can visit the mostly empty town and the interesting visitor’s centre which has some displays on the weapon testing programs.

Our room at the Eldo Hotel
Our room at the Eldo Hotel

Here, there are also two accommodation options, Eldo Hotel and Woomera Caravan Park, neither of which could be booked online last time we checked. We stayed at the Eldo Hotel which has old but decent accommodation.

Lake Hart

Lake Hart
Lake Hart

About 39 kilometres past Pimba is this big salt lake. You won’t be able to miss it. There’s a rest area by the side of the road with a good view. It’s quite a sight in the middle of the Outback so take a moment to enjoy it.

Glendambo

Glendambo
Glendambo

While not the most exciting stop along the way, Glendambo may be a necessary one. 112 kilometers after Pimba, this is the next roadhouse and petrol option with two petrol stations and a hotel here. These are the final ones before Coober Pedy, another 254 kilometres away.

There’s also public toilets and a rest area.

If you need petrol, make sure you get it here!

Option 2: Adelaide To Coober Pedy Bus

It’s possible to take a bus Adelaide Coober Pedy or vice versa. Greyhound runs this service.

At the time of publishing, this runs overnight in each direction from Adelaide’s Central Bus Station at 85 Franklin Street to Coober Pedy Terminal at 52-56 Hutchison Street. It takes about 11.25 hours.

The bus is not cheap and you may find it not much different in price to flying.

It should be booked in advance with Greyhound.

You can find more information here.

Option 3: Flights Adelaide To Coober Pedy

Adelaide Airport
Adelaide Airport

Rex Airlines has a few direct Adelaide to Coober Pedy flight options a week. The flights from Coober Pedy to Adelaide take about two hours.

Taking flights to Coober Pedy from Adelaide is a more expensive option but it will save some time. The downside is that you miss out on seeing the start of the Outback and feeling the desolation of Coober Pedy in the way only hours in a car can show you 🙂

Click here to see the latest prices.

Option 4: Adelaide To Coober Pedy Train

The Ghan train, Adelaide to Darwin
The Ghan train

Technically there is a train from Adelaide to Coober Pedy – well the train stops at Manguri, 40 kilometres west of Coober Pedy. However, you can’t just go and catch this train to get to Coober Pedy. It is the Ghan that travels between Adelaide and Darwin and you can only do a short tour to Coober Pedy if you sign up for their Ghan Experience which is a 4 day tour between Adelaide and Darwin.

So this train option will only work if you want to do this whole tour and don’t want much time in Coober Pedy.

Option 5: Adelaide To Coober Pedy Tours?

If you are interested in tours from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, there are some longer tours you can do with companies like Heading Bush Outback Adventures.

However, this is likely to give you very limited time in Coober Pedy and to be very pricey. It’s preferable to hire a car and make your own way here so you can explore.

If you are wondering about day trips from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, don’t. It’s not possible to take a day trip between these places. The road is too long and there are not multiple flights a day.

Coober Pedy To Adelaide

Adelaide
Adelaide

The journey from Coober Pedy to Adelaide is simply made by reversing the above.

There are also overnight bus options going in this direction and Coober Pedy to Adelaide flights.

Final Words

The Big Winch in Coober Pedy
The Big Winch in Coober Pedy

It is a long way from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, but it’s an easy enough drive and it’s fun exploring the Outback especially if it’s your first time in it. If you want to speed things up, you can fly Adelaide to Coober Pedy.

I recommend taking some stops along the way and trying to avoid driving in the Outback at night. Port Augusta is a handy point to stop along the way. Once you get further north than here, your only choice is Woomera, Pimba or Glendambo.

I hope you found this guide to how to travel from Adelaide to Coober Pedy useful. You can find our complete travel guide to Coober Pedy here and to Adelaide here.

You can also read about our journey from Broken Hill to Coober Pedy here.