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Santos Tour Down Under: A Traveller's Guide

December 19, 2016
Santos Tour Down Under: A Traveller's Guide

By now you know what the Santos Tour Down Under is all about but if you’ve never made the trip to Adelaide and are keen to be a part of Australia’s premier cycling race, how do you know where to start and ensure you don’t miss anything?

This brief Traveller’s Guide will give you an insight into the race itself and also the nine-day event that combines world-class cycling with gala dinners, street parties and a festive atmosphere for lovers of cycling.

First, the basics . . .

santos tour down under travel guide People s Choice Classic 1

The 2017 Santos Tour Down Under will travel 879 kilometres around South Australia: that’s a lot of vantage points! Some of the best spots to watch the race are where sprints and climbs are held. This link provides all the information you need for each stage including point-to-point schedules, interactive route maps and the all-important sprint and climb locations.

Some big news is that reigning UCI Road World Champion Peter Sagan will be racing the 2017 edition so make sure you get out and see this living legend of cycling strut his stuff on the roads around Adelaide. And if you really want to get up close and personal, you can hear him talk at the Legends' Night Dinner on Saturday 21 January 2017, where he will be honoured.

To get up to speed with what’s the latest news and events, check out our guide to the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under. We’ll take you through the race itself, the local riding, where you can spot the pros and things to do off the bike.

The heart of the event is based at the Adelaide City Council Tour Village in Victoria Square in the middle of the city, opposite race HQ at the Hilton Adelaide. As the biggest display of its kind in Australia, you’ll find all the latest products to try, food and drinks, big screens showing live racing and a team area where you can see mechanics at work. Keep an eye out: top riders are often in the square, whether just back from racing or being interviewed by journalists.

I hear a lot about Willunga Hill. What happens there?

santos tour down under travel guide Willunga Hill 1

Willunga Hill is the focus of BikeExchange Stage 5, which is taking place on Saturday 21st of January. The peloton will climb Willunga Hill twice during the stage: the first around 2.30pm, 129.1km into their 151.5km journey, and the second as they push for the line at about 3pm. This celebrated ascent is the Santos Tour Down Under’s answer to a Tour de France mountaintop finish with massive crowds, cowbells, banners, flags and parochial home town fans that help make the stage a memorable one. Standing roadside, with a television chopper hovering overhead and thousands of passionate fans by your side, it’s tough not to get swept up in the excitement.

“There are so many people. There are more people here than there are in many races in Europe. It is comparable to some stages of the Tour. For me the Santos Tour Down Under is a great race, and most important are the huge crowds and enthusiasm.” – Christan Prudhomme, Tour de France director, speaking about BikeExchange Stage 5 and Willunga Hill

Be sure to get to Willunga Hill nice and early — by 1pm is ideal. This will allow you plenty of time to find your spot and enjoy the atmosphere of anticipation that builds towards the riders’ arrival. Many also opt to drive and if that’s you, a good spot to park is along Aldinga Road – this will give you the option to watch the riders come through Willunga, but also to walk up Willunga Hill to your vantage point.

If you’d rather leave the logistics to others, book your spot on one of the spectator bus transfers — BikeExchange Stage 5 fans have the option of stopping at McLaren Vale, High Street in Willunga or Willunga Hill.

santos tour down under travel guide Willunga Hill 2

Other things to do

Adelaide’s winding roads and scenic vistas make for exhilarating cycling. Many spectators ride to and from Santos Tour Down Under stages, with their journeys back to the city often taking place alongside the professionals they’ve just watched.

Here are profiles of three of the most popular climbs around Adelaide that you must tick off while at the Santos Tour Down Under; Willunga Hill, Norton Summit and the Corkscrew.

santos tour down under travel guide Corkscrew Road

You can also find a wide range of Adelaide cycling maps here, and Adelaide City Council information on cycling on the city here.

Best of all, you don’t even have to bring your own bike. There are more than 500 bikes available for hire in the Adelaide City Bikes fleet, and you can hire one for free from 14 city locations. Visit Bike SA for more.

How do I get to Adelaide?

Adelaide is easy to access by air from all Australian capital cities, plus many international destinations. Adelaide Airport is only eight kilometres from the city centre, about a 15-minute drive.

Adelaide Airport (ADL) also services regional, domestic and international travellers, with the average taxi fare from the airport to the city centre $20.

International air travel to Adelaide

Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Virgin Australia and Jetstar International fly to Adelaide from various countries. Qantas offers international access to Adelaide through its code share services with Emirates.

Air travel within Australia

Domestic airline travel to Adelaide is easy. Airlines including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tigerair have regular daily services to the city.

Other options

Prefer to take the scenic route? Adelaide is also easily accessed by road and train.

Getting around Adelaide

Once you’ve arrived there are plenty of options for getting around town. Check out this linkfor more.

What else can I do while I'm visiting?

santos tour down under travel guide Free Concert 2

The Santos Tour Down Under is a festival of cycling, and that means the fun doesn’t stop when the peloton crosses the line. Check out our events calendar, which covers the street parties and regional celebrations in addition to the racing schedule. A few highlights . . .

Saturday 14 January 2017

  • Love Velo Seaside, 5pm - A unique and special dining experience at Port Willunga beach.

santos tour down under travel guide Love Velo

  • Team presentation and free concert, 6pm - Head to Victoria Square to see all riders in the Santos Women’s Tour and Santos Tour Down Under presented to fans. A free concert featuring Australian favourites (Birds of Tokyo) will kick off race week in style.

Sunday 15 January 2017

  • People’s Choice Classic Family Day, 1pm - Fun for the family including bubbles, face painters, bike art, gaming trucks, airbrush tattoos and jumping castles!

  • DJ Havana Brown will get the party started with a post-race performance at the circuit, following the People’s Choice Classic on Sunday 15 January 2017 at 8:45pm.

Monday 16 January 2017

  • Unley Gourmet Gala, 4pm - King William Road gets into the Santos Tour Down Under spirit with food, wine, fashion and cycling.

santos tour down under travel guide Unley Gourmet Gala Street Party 1

Tuesday 17 January 2017

  • Tourrific Prospect, 6pm - The sixth edition of this popular street party will feature live music, food, art and plenty of fun.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

  • Glenelg Tour Street Party, 5pm - Cool down after a day of racing with the Glenelg Tour Street Party, where fun, food, fashion and live entertainment await.

Thursday 19 January 2017

  • Victor Harbor Loop de Loop, 11am - Check out the Rotary Art Show at Warland Reserve, the Artisan Markets on Railway Terrace, family activities at the Soldiers Memorial Gardens and a host of activity around the Main Street precinct.

  • Building on the excitement in the lead up to the Bupa Stage 4 tart of the Santos Tour Down Under, The Norwood on Tour Street Party will light up from 5pm the night before the world’s elite cyclists depart from the Parade. This free outdoor event will feature an impressive line-up of live entertainment and plenty for kids including circus workshops, giant games and face painting. Enjoy an abundance of local food and beverage stalls spilling out onto the street to offer a unique dining experience.

Friday 20 January 2017

  • Gear Up @ Campbelltown, 9.30am - Free rides, water play, roving entertainment and an array of food and market stalls right next to the finish line make this an ideal spot to welcome Bupa Challenge Tour riders and the professional peloton.

  • Once you’ve recovered from the Bupa Challenge Tour kick back in the Tour Village after dark for hit107’s World Famous Roof Top performance.

santos tour down under travel guide Rooftop Party Victoria Square 5 JW

Saturday 21 January 2017

  • Fleurieu Community Events, 9.30am - Free family activities across the Fleurieu Peninsula will keep the whole family entertained as the peloton races past multiple times.

Sunday 22 January 2017

  • Family Day – Be Safe Be Seen MAC Stage 6, 8am - Head back to the heart of the city to see racing wrap up for 2017, and enjoy a great range of family activities while you’re at it.

santos tour down under travel guide Family Day

Anything else I need to know?

The Santos Tour Down Under is for everyone: first-timers, veterans, kids and adults alike. Find out more information at the official Tour Down Under Website.

Be sure to visit southaustralia.com when planning your trip to the race — it has all the latest on where to stay, dine and go while you’re in town. See you soon.


This content is sponsored, prepared with the help of the Santos Tour Down Under and South Australian Tourism Commission.

All images supplied by the Santos Tour Down Under and South Australian Tourism Commission.


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