Adelaide - Sydney via Sturt
and Mid Western Highways
Total Distance 1,400km
All distances measured from Adelaide
Navigate on to the Sturt Highway (Hwy 20) and drive out through Elizabeth towards Gawler (43km). There is a useful and clearly signposted by-pass on the left to enable you to miss the township of Gawler if you wish and continue past the famed wine-growing area of the Barossa Valley as you head for Waikerie (174km) and the Riverland of the mighty River Murray.
The Riverland is a fertile area producing large quantities of fruit and wine. Time spent in the district is very rewarding and there are a number of centres catering for tourists including Barmera, Berri, Loxton and Renmark (248km).
The next stretch is not quite as interesting as you drive through semi-arid Mallee country to the major city of Victoriaís Sunraysia district - Mildura (389km). This is a prosperous area with extensive plantings of citrus and grapes made possible by the irrigation system from the Murray pioneered by the Chaffey brothers. Most of Australiaís dried fruit comes from this district while paddle steamers can still be seen taking tourists for fascinating trips on the broad waters of the river. Sunraysia enjoys a milder winter climate than most of Victoria and because of this is a popular winter holiday destination.
Our route now takes us over the Murray into southern New South Wales on the way to Robinvale (474km). There is exzcellent bush camping to be had in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park near here.
We leave the Murray here as we head west across wide open country for Balranald (551km) and come to the Murrumbidgee at Hay (682km) . Back in the days of the gold rushes, Hay was
an important centre with a Cobb and Co stage despot and a river port. One of the roads that intersect our route here - the Cobb Highway (Hwy 75) - was named to commemorate the role Cobb and Co played in those far off days.
We leave the Sturt Highway (Hwy20) here because our route branches off to the left and becomes the Mid Western Highway (Hwy 24) leading to West Wyalong (938km) where we join the Newell Highway (Hwy 39) for 38km before reverting to the Mid Western Highway (Hwy 24) again at Grenfell (1,042km). Like much of this area, Grenfell owes a lot of its past to the discovery of gold in the district although nowadays wheat is the main crop . A claim to fame for the town is the fact that bush poet Henry Lawson was born here. It was also the haunt of bushranger Ben Hall who had numerous hideouts in the district.
A short run takes us to Cowra (1,096km) where a Japanese Garden now stands on the site of the graves of Japanese prisoners killed during the well-chronicled breakout attempt from the POW camp in 1944 during WW2. Besides crossing the Lachlan River here we also meet up with the Olympic Way (Hwy 41) from Young.
From Cowra the highway traverses some lovely scenic countyside on the way to Bathurst (1,199km) and Sydney ( 1,400km). This final section of the route is covered in the Pt Augusta - Sydney route notes.