Around four hours drive from Adelaide, lies the country town of Quorn. With a looping bike trail, pretty cliffs, snug campsites, and warm cups of tea in cosy cafes, it’s a dreamy escape from the city.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Cosy cafes
- Beginner bike ride loop featuring the Mawson Trail
- Lovely campgrounds
The weekend begins as you head north from Adelaide on Friday night, camping the night at Melrose where there are multiple campgrounds available. (Or if you’re feeling up to it, you could make it all the way to Quorn in one go!)
In the morning, enjoy a coffee in Melrose from the one-stop-shop Over the Edge. Here you can dream up big on the weekend of adventures to come as you wander amongst all their bike gear. Soak up the caffeine and buy a snack for the road before continuing on to Quorn.
Once you arrive in Quorn, set up camp at Warren Gorge, a pretty, neat little camping area. It only costs a few bucks and feels sheltered, safe, and quite snug. We sat here a while and watched some rock climbers on the cliffs.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
There are some nice short hikes near the campground too, and I know they say tents don’t have doors, but the Mawson Trail is quite literally on your tent’s zippered doorstep.
Read more: Best Camping Near Adelaide
With your bike in tow, from here you can ride part of the Mawson Trail. I’m a massive amateur at the biking thing, but it’s pretty cool to say you’ve done some of the Mawson Trail. Rain, hail or shine, it’s a good time.
The trail is along a gravel road with some undulating terrain, through farmlands and gullies. This section of the Mawson Trail can be done on any bike, and is achievable for most levels of fitness.
It’s under 20km and takes you all the way into Quorn where, like me, you feel you’ve earned a well-deserved coffee and toastie from Teas on the Terrace. This cafe is so cute, you might just feel like you’re at your Granny’s house, I sure did!
To link this bicycle ride up, we rode along the bitumen road back to Warren Gorge. This is less exciting but feels good to move at a faster pace through that nice country farmland air.
Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park
Camp the night at Warren Gorge, or carry on a few minutes down the road to the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, where you can camp and wander along some nice walking tracks to finish off your weekend in the outdoors.
If you didn’t drive through Clare Valley on the way up, we highly recommend taking advantage of this wine region on a lazy Sunday afternoon drive back to Adelaide.
- Sleeping system
- Hiking shoes
Read more: Essential Gear for Bikepacking Adventures
How To Get There
Head north from Adelaide for just under 4 hours. We recommend taking the route via Melrose and Clare on the way home.
Warren Gorge campground is about 18km north of Quorn, turn up Arden Vale Rd, and left onto Warren Gorge Access Rd.
From Warren Gorge campground to the Mawson Trail, head back out to Arden Vale Road and turn right, before taking a left at Yarrah Vale Gorge Road – welcome to the Mawson trail!
But for everyone to enjoy
Distance / Elevation / Duration
Drive: 3 hours 55 min drive
Mawson Trail bike loop: 40km / 150m elevation / 2-4 hours (depending on fitness, weather, coffee break)