Planning the Melbourne to Wilpena Pound camping trip

Melbourne to Wilpena Pound Map

Melbourne to Wilpena Pound

My parents had done a road trip to Wilpena Pound and raved about the beauty. There were old buildings and beautiful scenery the whole way. We were looking for a memorable scenic trip as our first real camping trip so this was going to be our destination. We had also heard about the Pink Lakes in Victoria so thought we would check it out on the way to Wilpena Pound. We started planning on where we were going to go in September 2016.

From Melbourne to Pink Lakes was going to take about 6 hours and then another 8 hours of driving to Wilpena Pound.

The plan is to stop at Pink Lakes for 1 night and then go onto Wilpena Pound fornights.

Planning the trip coming back was a bit more difficult. Apart from looking at travel routes from experienced companies we did the chat to friends that had travelled up their way and listened to their experiences.

Googling the maps and working it all out we ended up looking at reviews.

We were looking for powered sites, clean toilet blocks and hot water showers, camp kitchens and as our trip is going to be in January a pool.

We know that the possibility is that it could be really hot in Adelaide and South Australia in January can be hot however our trip to Karijini in Western Australia had taught us that we can do anything. We can sit in a 4wd for hours and hours, withstand 40 degree days and climb advanced hiking tracks ( even though we are not hikers and had never done it before!)

The Map

Once we had mapped out how we were going to take the journey from Melbourne to Wilpena Pound and back it ended up looking like this:

Melbourne to Wilpena Pound camping trip

Depart Melbourne to Pink Lakes (6 hours)*

  • Melbourne Depart Melbourne 4 January

Murray-Sunset National Park is in northwest Victoria, between Ouyen and Mildura and the South Australian border. It is about 550kms from Melbourne and 400kms from Adelaide.

Access to the park from Melbourne is via the Calder Highway, and from South Australia via the Sturt Highway.

Pink Lakes to Wilpena Pound ( 8 hours)*

  • Wilpena Pound ( 4 nights) Arrive 5 January, Depart 9 January Wilpena Pound Resort – Wilpena Road, via Hawker, Hawker, SA, 5434, Australia

A Powered Camp Site in the Wilpena Pound Resort Camping Grounds. Located just a short walk from the entrance to Wilpena Pound, the campground is a perfect base for exploring the area. You will be required to check in at the Visitors Centre and pay your camping fees and National Park permit on arrival.

Wilpena Pound Resort is located approximatley 450km North of Adelaide.

Wilpena Pound to Handorf (5 .5 hours)

  • Handorf ( 2 nights)  Arrive 9 January, Depart 11 January Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park – 145a Mt Barker Road HAHNDORF SA 5245 1300 763 836

Travelling from Adelaide, take the Hahndorf exit from South Eastern Freeway and follow the brown tourist signs. We are located at Bus stop 52.

Travelling from Melbourne, exit at Mt Barker, turn right at the T junction, go through the lights and turn left at the roundabout to Hahndorf. Wind your way through to Hahndorf (approx 6 kms), we are about 1.5km out the other side of Hahndorf @ Bus stop 52.

Handorf to Mount Gambier (4 hours)*

  • Mount Gambier (2 nights) Arrive 11 January,  Depart 13 January BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park -Bay Rd, Mt Gambier, South Australia 5290 Australia

Blue Lake Holiday Park is located next to Blue Lake in beautiful Mount Gambier.

Mount Gambier to Melbourne (5 hours )

  • Melbourne. Home

Once we had a destinations in place we looked at reviews and booked powered sites at caravan parks along the way. We planned our trip in September not knowing how bookings were going to be the following January. We knew that the best time to go to see the wild flowers in and around the Flinders Ranges was in Spring however we could not co-ordinate holidays until January. So it could be very hot, but knew it would be ok. We did Karijini!


Date Destination Hours Driving Nights Stay at Address
4-Jan-17 Pink Lakes 6 1 Murray-Sunset National Park no
5-Jan-17 Wilpena Pound 8 4 Wilpena Pound Resort yes
9-Jan-17 Handorf 5.5 2 Hahndorf Resort Tourist Park yes
11-Jan-17 Mount Gambier 4 2 BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park yes
13-Jan-17 Melbourne 5


*Change of Plans

Our original plan was to stay one night at the Pink Lakes. Once we got there and had a look around the Lake Crosbie Campground we changed our mind.

We had arrived in good time at the Pink Lakes and it was early afternoon and over 40 degrees . It was quite barren and full of flies. There was no shelter from the hot sun and it felt quite isolated. I think this place would be  beautiful  to stay in milder weather.

We decided to drive a bit further to Pinnaroo and stay there one night at the only caravan park. (one night is enough)

This change added another hour’s driving to the day however it reduced the driving time the next day by an hour.

*Via the beach – Hahndorf to Mount Gambier change of plans

We decided to go via the beach instead of inland. We went via Salt Creek, and then 42 Mile crossing to the ocean beach, along the beach then exited at the Granites. We then went via Robe, and Beachport then onto Mount Gambier.

We also went via Ballarat to Melbourne. ( Rather than Warnambool)


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