travel south and discover a world of adventure
You’d be forgiven for not knowing too much about Australia’s most southern state. Not the first destination on most folks’ travel itinerary, South Australia has long lagged behind the big hitter states of Queensland, NSW and WA with their iconic sights and vibrant cities. But to miss out on SA is to miss out on some of the most unique and inspiring natural wonders in the country. Oh, and arguably the best wine in Australia.
This beautiful southerly state is home to the wild expanses of the Flinders Ranges, the Limestone Coast with its incredible underground cenotes and a volcanic crater lake with the bluest water you’ll see, and of course the laid back, hip city of Adelaide. Whatever floats your boat, whether it’s a road trip, beautiful wildlife, camping through an ancient mountain range or just kicking back by the Murray river, South Australia is an absolute gem that can’t be missed.
And did we mention the wine?
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in South Australia
The Eyre Peninsula is a travellers dream. Located west of Adelaide, the peninsula offers up once in a lifetime wildlife experiences such as shark cage diving and awesome road trips. The ocean is a prominent feature here, in both spirit and food. You’ll find the best seafood in the state and a few days beach hopping the stunning coastline is a must do. Way west is the Nullarbor, a desert road trip the stuff of Aussie legend. Head to Fowler’s Bay to spot whales birthing their calves or swim with sea lions at Port Lincoln, otherwise known as the puppies of the sea. If it’s great food, legendary road trips and even better wildlife encounters you’re after, you can’t go wrong.
The Flinders Ranges are a rugged mountain range more like Mars than anything more earthly. Huge mountains border deep craters, criss-crossed by red dust covered roads. Splash out on a helicopter ride over Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre or hire a 4WD to camp and hike your way around the area. Rich in Aboriginal cultural history and just 5 hours from Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges are an otherworldly, beautiful expanse of country not to be missed.
Within the Flinders Ranges is Wilpena Pound. Often referred to as the crowing jewel of the ranges, it’s the place to come for a camping adventure like no other. Camp out at Rawnsley Park Station and climb 800-million-year old peaks. Join an Aboriginal cultural tour and learn more about the significance of the area.
The Limestone Coast
The Limestone Coast has some of the most unique and wild swimming spots in the state. A volcanic landscape hides sinkholes, underground caves and cenotes, underground rives and lakes with ancient clear (and chilly) waters. Ewens Ponds Conservation Park is fed by freshwater springs resulting in crystal clear swimming conditions. Base yourself in Mount Gambier and join a guided tour or three and see it all.
SA’s capital has a laid back yet buzzing vibe and is well worth your time. Get your fix of world class culture, fresh and tasty food, festivals and everything in between. Hit up the Central Markets for a bite to eat then head over to the Botanic Gardens followed by the National Wine Centre next door, then watch the sun set by the beach. To name just one awesome day in this friendly, vibrant city.
The Murray River
Another SA natural wonder not to be missed is a few days hanging by the Murray River. Stretching for more than 2500kms from NSW, the Murray is 130 million years old and is rich in both Aboriginal history and culture, and as an industrial lifeline between communities from days gone by. Hire a houseboat and wake up on the water and enjoy the riverside serenity. Around 5-6 hours east of Adelaide towards the Victorian border, the journey to the river is a fun trip in itself.
Ok, it may not be a literal island of roos but Kangaroo Island is a special place nonetheless. Known locally as nature’s playground, quiet and laidback the island is easily reached by ferry just a short drive from Adelaide. Head to Emu Bay for the best beach on the island and Admiral’s Arch for a geological marvel. Vivonne Bay is 6km of pure paradise and nearby Little Sahara Desert is a must do for dune boarding.
You can’t visit SA without a journey through one of its world class wine regions. You’ll never be short of a full glass in the Barossa with its 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, plus plenty of gorgeous spots to stay making it an easy weekend break from Adelaide. Some of the oldest vines in the world are to be found here and the scenery is breathtaking.
There are a surprising amount of pink lakes in SA, five to be exact. One of the best is Lake Bumbunga in the Clare Valley (another beautiful wine region worth a visit). The bubble gum pink hue of the water here is down to high salt levels combined with algae and a bacteria called halobacteria which is itself, pink. Lake Bumbunga is an an eerie and beautiful sight perfect for a paddle and some epic photos.
The Explorer’s Way
If you’re planning on heading up to the top end after your SA adventure, embarking on the Explorer’s Way is the way to road trip it. This 3,000km journey from Adelaide to Darwin takes in the stunning scenery of the outback and the Flinders Ranges. Wild country and endless horizons make for an Aussie road trip to rival all others. Take your time and stop along the way. The Explorer’s Way will earn you kudos from every other traveller and is a once in a lifetime journey.
SA is the driest state in the driest continent on the planet and that’s worth bearing in mind, especially if you visit during the summer months of December to February. The further north you go the hotter it will be during the summer, so keep close to the coast if you want to avoid the worst of the heat. The climate can best be described as mediterranean, with cool but comfortable winters and hot and dusty summers. The best months are the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, September to November and March to May respectively. You’ll have plenty of sunny days without the extreme temperatures.
SA arguably has it all in terms of culture, whether that be the arts, music, food and wine cultural scene of Adelaide or its huge area of outback full of history, stories and a living Aboriginal cultural history. The folks of SA will always be glad to see you.
If you can do it, hire a car or camper and see the whole state on your own time and with plenty of chances to stop and explore its hidden gems. Take in the coastal sights then head inland and traverse the outback, with your own wheels you decide the itinerary. Contact us to help you with your itinerary!
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