From rugged wilderness to elegant cities, vineyard-strewn valleys to the deserts of the Nullabor Plain, South Australia has a diverse range of environments. Home to pristine beaches, emerald-green hills, country villages steeped in European charm and some of the best wineries in the world, this beautiful state has so much to offer.
With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here we have compiled a list of our eight top destinations in South Australia to give you a taste of what this diverse state can provide.
No holiday in South Australia would be complete without a visit to Kangaroo Island. With its rugged beauty that defies description . With over 500km of coastline, crystalline waters lap against towering sea cliffs and pristine beaches as rare sea lions bask in the sun on the rocks. A glorious wilderness of dense native bushland, sand dunes, wetlands and more, Kangaroo Island is a haven for native wildlife. You can walk amongst grazing kangaroos and wallabies, watch wild koalas dozing in the eucalyptus trees and spot the beautiful of native birds swoop across the sky. With fascinating rock formations, beautiful walks and exquisite food this wildly gorgeous destination is waiting for you only 2 hours from Adelaide.
The elegant city of Adelaide is renowned for its rich culture and friendly atmosphere. Although smaller than Australia's other main cities, the 'city of churches' makes up for it with an abundance of charm and a variety of diverse activities to enjoy. Sample cheese, buy fresh fruit and veg and enjoy a delicious slice of cake at the bustling Central Markets. Buzzing with life and colour, the abundance of multicultural food will have your mouth watering in minutes, with plenty of choices available to satisfy your taste buds. The CBD is surrounded by parks and gardens, or you can take the family on a day out to Adelaide Zoo, the hosts of the only Giant Pandas in the Southern hemisphere. Alternatively, hop on the tram to Glenelg to enjoy the beach or indulge your sweet tooth with a tour of the Haigh's chocolate factory.
On the Eastern outskirts of Adelaide lies the Adelaide Hills which make up part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Home to numerous farms and abundant wildlife, the hills are a ruggedly beautiful place to escape to from the city. Popular tourist attractions include the original German settlement of Hahndorf with its quaint shops and German cafes, the perfect spot to pick up a unique gift for a loved one. Aside from Hahndorf, Lobethal is another German settlement and is famed for its display of Christmas lights and decorations. 'The Lights of Lobethal' light up the valley each year and have attracted visitors to the region for over 60 years.
A mere hour out of Adelaide lies the beautiful Barossa Valley, one of Australia's oldest and most famous grape-growing regions. Home to some of the world's best wineries, the fertile soils and gentle climate provide the perfect conditions for the high quality produce that gives the Barossa Valley its reputation. Also renowned for its food, Barossa Valley offers a multitude of award-winning restaurants where foodies can feast on sumptuous fruits, traditional German breads, smoked meats and hand-crafted cheese. With a strong European charm, the heritage buildings, stone cottages, cosy lanes offer more delights for visitors in between their tours of the numerous vineyards.
Boasting beautiful national parks, elegant wineries and stunning coastlines, it's no surprise that the Fleurieu Peninsula is a top holiday destination in South Australia. The combination of a temperate climate and untouched natural beauty makes this region, only 45km from Adelaide, a piece of paradise. With four distinct wine regions, and abundant farming across the region, the Fleurieu Peninsula is a haven for food and wine lovers alike. Proud of their locally-produced products you will feast on fresh, delicious food throughout the region during your visit. One of the most famous attractions is to take the horse-drawn tram across the causeway between Victor Harbour and Granite Island Recreation Park. Characterised by huge granite boulders dusted with orange lichen, this island is home to the magical little penguin and the majestic southern right whale.
Set deep in the heart of the outback, Coober Pedy is famous for its opals and its underground accommodation. An old opal mining town, you can escape the scorching heat in the residential 'dug outs' or with a tour through the underground museums detailing how the opal mining has progressed throughout the years. Take the opportunity of being in the 'opal capital of the world' and peruse the numerous gift shops selling the precious gems.
If you're feeling adventurous, tackle the famous Heysen Trail that stretches for 1200km from Cape Jervis to the Flinders Ranges. Traversing through some of South Australia's most diverse and scenic landscapes, you'll pass through native bushland, rugged gorges, dense forests, beautiful vineyards, and breathtaking coastlines. With sections of the trail suitable for beginners, and other parts only recommended for experienced walkers, the trail is designed to offer something for everyone. Named for an artist, Hans Heysen, who painted ground-breaking depictions of arid landscapes in the Flinders Ranges, this is the ultimate walk for those wanting to experience South Australia in all its glory.
With a dramatic and rugged landscape that is more than 600 million years old, it's easy to understand why the Flinders Ranges National Park is one of the top destinations in South Australia. With abundant wildlife and amazing scenery, this remarkable destination will take you on a beautiful adventure. Go back in time and ride the century-old steam train nicknamed the 'Coffee Pot', believed to be the last of its kind in the World. Visit the Wilpena Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre almost 100km wide. Only accessible by a 11km gorge in, you can trek inside the Pound and even climb up over the rim. Alternatively, you can view the distinctive shape from the air with a scenic flight.
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