The state of South Australia has been a big secret kept from most travellers – it isn’t automatically a “must-see” for everyone – but the secret needs to come out. The country’s driest state finds ways to enjoy the finer things in life, and from the breathtaking locations to the amazing food, festivals, and wine, the finer things from South Australia are indeed very fine. Of course you can’t visit South Australia without a trip to Adelaide, it’s capital, which remains an important cultural landmark throughout the country, but there’s so many other places to see, from the wildlife-aplenty Kangaroo Island to the vineyard-powered Barossa, and Clare Valleys. It’s obvious that this Festival State knows a thing or two about culture. It also knows a little about relaxation. So dive into South Australia and escape from anything you’ve ever known.
Adelaide is a stylish and cultured city built up from the days of free colonisation, and has changed from an overly stuffy place to a multicultural destination in the last fifty years. The city will constantly keep you guessing. To learn more about this cool city, visit Adelaide.
The city of Adelaide gives way to so many great highlights once you leave the urban environment that you’ll wonder why more tourists don’t come here. Fleeing the hot city for the Adelaide Hills nearby can definitely cool you down in hot summers, and hopping from town to town makes a great day trip. Heading south gets you to the Fleurieu Peninsula, a weekend getaway with a growing wine region at McLaren Vale, and a quick ferry ride from the town of Cape Jervis will have you on Kangaroo Island, a paradise long devoid of tourist traps, and booming with all sorts of wilderness and wildlife. Northwest of the city the wine continues to flow in the long-established Barossa Valley, and further away Clare Valley. If you want to learn more about the amazing KI, feel free to click on its link.
– Where to stay: Adelaide is perfectly positioned to all of these places, with day trips going in and out of the city on a regular basis. If you’re looking to stay on ‘KI‘, however, there is a YHA branch in Penneshaw overlooking beautiful Hog Bay.
• Go from town to town on the Adelaide Hills, stopping for local produce and local wines. Take a look at the many different buildings that make this area a step back in time.
• Head to Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches for some amazing swimming, and then head back inland for some great cycling trails.
• Watch southern right whales swim by Victor Harbor, and visit the South Australian Whale Centre for more information on where to see these majestic creatures.
• Surf and swim in the waters surrounding Kangaroo Island. Swimming is best down in the northern part of the island, while the best surf spots are in the uncrowded beaches to the south.
• Travel up to the northern wine regions, like Barossa or Clare Valleys, and enjoy not only the fantastic vintages but the regional art galleries and historical museums that make this place a cultural wonderland.
The big-sky lands of the Eyre Peninsula to the west of Adelaide do not disappoint with their fantastic cuisine, amazing national parks, and sublime surf spots. Not to mention the opportunity to swim with blue fin tuna, sea lions, dolphins, and great white sharks. The main draw here is Port Lincoln, a somewhat isolated town with a great vibe, but there’s definitely much more to see. From Port Augusta, the entryway into this region, the peninsula is a haven for seafood lovers looking for the best catch at Coffin Bay, and surfers will head to Greenly Beach for the next great surf. Other spots of interest are the little town of Streaky Bay and its kitschy buildings and pioneering history, and the many different national parks, such as Coffin Bay National Park, home to many emus, roos, and fat goannas. If you want to know more about the main town of Port Lincoln then click on its link.
– Where to stay: If you’re looking to stay on the Eyre Peninsula, consider staying at the Coodile Park YHA, a unique 3000 acre rural property and an ideal base for your Eyre Peninsula experience. There’s also the number of accommodations available in Port Lincoln for your choosing.
• Visit the Port Augusta Aquatic & Outdoor Adventure Centre, where you can take lessons and rent equipment for just about any activity you can think of.
• Dive underwater inside a metal cage as sharks swim all around you off the coast of Port Lincoln. Or if you aren’t inclined to be that adventurous, head out for a scuba dive or swim with sea lions and dolphins at Port Lincoln (now with large tuna!), Baird Bay or Coffin Bay.
• Head to Coffin Bay National Park, home to many different types of animals, and some great coastal lookouts and surf spots, much of them isolated from car traffic.
• Surf off the beaches at Greenly Beach and Blackfellows, which has some of the best surf found on the western half of Australia.
• Try the local seafood in Port Lincoln, which is some of the greatest seafood in all of Australia.
The Limestone Coast, located east of Adelaide between the lower Murray River and the border with Victoria, is an incredibly fascinating place. Sure, you can spend only a day in this place looking through the different parts of the coastline by highway, but it’s better to diverge and see just how amazing its details really are. With many lagoons, surf beaches, sequestered bays, wine regions, fishing ports, and underground caverns, the Limestone Coast is an essential attraction when heading to South Australia. From Coorong National Park to Robe, you’ll be able to find yourself entertained for days.
– Where to stay: Adelaide is about four hours away by car, so if you’re looking to spend only the day on the Limestone Coast, consider staying in the city. If you’re planning on staying out in the Limestone Coast area for more time, however, stay in the town of Robe; it’s the largest of all the small towns that line the coast.
• Follow the footsteps of the young boy in the movie Storm Boy by visiting Coorong National Park, walking past salt pans and soaking spots. Detour to the town of Kingston SE and visit the anatomically-correct Larry the Lobster.
• Visit the town of Robe and head out to their swim-safe beaches, or rent some surfboards and head out into the surf.
• Take an acquifer tour of Blue Lake located on georgeous Mt Gambier, heading down in a glass-panelled lift.
• Go for a wine tour of the Coonawarra Wine Region, famous for its earthy wines from grapes that grow in this red-earth region.
• Head for the Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia’s only World Heritage-listed site, where you can see ancient fossils and lifesize reconstructions of extinct animals, just as David Attenborough did on the BBC’s Life on Earth.
The Flinders Ranges are a cavalcade of color – from the red ochre deposits to the multicolored river red gums to the stark desert hue – and no effort has been waisted by Mother Nature to get this beautiful region right. Driving north from the Southern Ranges towns you’ll be able to bushwalk through steep and jaggedy Mt Remarkable National Park, visit the almost-film-set-town of Quorn, and head north through the town of Hawker. The most remarkable site in all of the area, however, is Wilpena Pound inside Flinders Ranges National Park, which rewards your perseverance with an eighty-square-kilometer natural basin surrounded by a ring of ridges. North of the Flinders Ranges, the land really opens up into a vast and empty space; travelling through this harsh outback can be incredibly rewarding, with the out-of-this-world town of Coober Pedy front and centre.
– Where to stay: Travelling north? The Wilpena Pound Resort is an incredibly popular (and amazingly plush) place to hang your hat at the end of the night, with campgrounds and permanent tents the perfect place for backpackers to spend the night. Of course, there’s also a homestead just south of Flinders Ranges National Park with a few cabins at the Rawnsley Park Station run by the YHA.
• Head to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park, taking the Wilpena Pound Resort’s shuttle bus to the lookout point.
• Walk along the picturesque streets in Quorn, which have been seen in iconic Australian films such as Gallipoli and A Sunday Too Far Away.
• Take a scenic flight or helicopter ride over the Flinders Ranges, named one of Australia’s outstanding landscapes.
• Go for a bushwalk along the Heysen Trail, the longest walking trail in all of Australia (1200km), going from Cape Jervis all the way up to the Flinders Ranges.
• Visit the town of Cooper Pedy, where most people live underground, where opal is in large supply, and where the surrounding region is desolate unlike anywhere you’ve ever seen.
The restrained Murray River moves slowly through South Australia, irrigating the fruit trees and the vines along its route, and along the river you’ll also get to see some of the most interesting towns in all of the state. The large river town of Murray Bridge has until recently been overlooked by tourists as a town of little interest, until it became a ‘Regional Centre of Culture’ in 2010. Nearby Mannum’s a haven for houseboats and paddleboat tours, while the town of Berri is the best place in all of South Australia to find a regional harvesting job. No matter where you go up and down this fantastic river, you’ll be able to find something to do.
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