Looking for inspiration on what to do on your South Australia holiday? We have you covered! Here is our round up of Top 21 Things to do in South Australia.
This spacious and beautiful city of Adelaide has plenty to keep you entertained. Pretty parks and gardens surround the town centre, creating a truly natural atmosphere. The Adelaide Botanic Gardens are ideal to picnic in, and a stroll down to the River Torrens to watch the paddleboats and cyclists along the rivers edge is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
Other attractions in the city include the South Australian Museum and the Adelaide Zoo, which is great for families, with over 1000 native animals to spot. Popular beaches such as Brighton and Glenelg are also worth a visit and feature the excitement of the Rodney Fox Shark Museum.
2. Barossa Valley
The Barossa Valley is Adelaide’s much loved wine capital, and is the perfect place to get away from the fast paced city life and enjoy wandering around vineyards, cellars and cosy lanes. You can also browse the quaint shops filled with delicacies and fine art. The Lyndoch Lavender Farm is well known throughout the area, as is the Barossa Historical Museum. Take a few days out to just chill and relax while sampling the fine wines or taking a hike in one of the national parks to experience some incredible scenery.
Barossa Valley is an essential for any visitors to South Australia.
3. Port Augusta
Regarded as the South Australian crossroad, Port Augusta is the perfect starting point for a journey across the Nullarbor, north to Alice Springs, south to Adelaide or east to New South Wales. However, this isn’t the area’s only attraction. The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens offers beautiful walks and the Outback Centre closer to the city offers plenty of historical displays. This is the perfect start for an adventure of the outback!
4. Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula is renowned for its wines, beaches and fishing, making it an ultimate holiday destination for families and couples alike. The National Parks here offer some fantastic bush walking tracks and the coastline is just as interesting with the penguins at Granite Island or whales at Encounter Bay offering endless entertainment. There is incredible scuba diving amongst the shipwrecks lining the coast, but the best thing to do here is to simply relax. Stay as long as you want and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of South Australia’s most beautiful peninsula.
5. Heysen Trail
This long and challenging walk is one of the state’s most well known walking trails. It starts at Cape Jervis near Kangaroo Island, and spans all the way to the Flinders Ranges, about 1200 kilometres away. Such a long distance is not for everyone, so you may want to start small and enjoy some of the shorter walks on offer. If you have the time, the long version is the ultimate walk for those who want to see South Australia in all its unique diversity.
This journey will take you through different worlds, offering stunning views of the Fleurieu coastline, plantations of the Kuitpo forest, the heights of Mount Lofty and the vineyards of the Barossa Valley, and then on to magnificent gorges in the Flinders desert.
6. Flinders Ranges
Easily accessible via Port Augusta, this remote and diverse region will simply take your breath away. At least a few days need to be set aside to fully enjoy the ranges and their natural beauty. Begin your adventure at the Wadlata Outback Centre, because it displays the history and best attractions to visit in the area. Then head out to Quorn, which is close to the lovely Warren Gorge as well as the Kanyaka Ruins. One of the best towns to visit is Hawker, which is not far from Wilpena Pound, because the wildlife and scenery there is amazing.
7. Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is probably most famous for its underground accommodation, which is ideal for escaping the heat. The colourful opals here are also a drawing card and make it a unique and interesting place to visit. The shops and art galleries here are so unique that have to be seen to be believed, as do the underground mines. The Old Timers mine is one of the oldest and most popular, displaying opals that were first discovered in the early 1900’s. A definite must-see!
8. Kangaroo Island
Australia’s third largest island is situated just two hours from Adelaide and is accessible via Cape Jarvis on the ferry. No prizes for guessing that the island is full of kangaroos, but you will also find lots of penguins, seals, koalas and much more. Several lighthouses dot the island and there are numerous walking trails that will take you through the uninhabited Flinders Chase National Park. The underground cave systems at Kelly Hill are definitely with a visit and a trip to see the cute penguins playing aorund at Kingscote is sure to please all.
Murray Lagoon is also worth visiting for its prolific birdlife. You can go for a day trip or stay in one of the many campsites on the island.
9. Yorke Peninsula
This peninsula would have to be one of South Australia’s most precious treasures. The serenity, peace, scenic national parks and natural wildlife will make you feel like you are the only person here. The best thing about this peninsula would have to be the fantastic walking trails such as the Standsbury Coastal Trail, Edithburgh and the Port Vincent trails. The lighthouse at Cape Spencer and the Samphire Coast are popular with tourists and bird watchers alike.
There are also a number of camping grounds here to choose from, all nestled on the sands of clear white beaches and offering rugged lookouts.
10. Innes National Park
The Innes National Park is an ideal destination to escape the crowds and hassle of the city and to get in touch with nature. Staying at the campground in the park will allow you to enjoy the carpet of wildflowers and walking trails which wind around and along the coastline.
A visit to Inneston Village will take you on a journey back through time and Chinaman’s Hat island is the perfect place to enjoy some more bushwalking and birdlife. The endless coastlines and abundant wildlife will help create unforgettable memories.
11. Gawler Ranges
Magnificent peaks and lush vegetation provide a stunning setting for a wealth of activities that are on offer in the Gawler Ranges. The national park is located approximately six hours drive north west from Adelaide and is a great place to escape to from the city. There are a number of incredible bushwalks through this wilderness, which is known for its wildflowers and salt lakes. Lake Gairder is a popular place to visit and is home to rare vegetation full of colour, so be sure you bring your camera.
Pildappa Rock and Mount Wudinna are also well known attractions located on the tourist trail. Choose a campsite here to stay in, or head nearby to Minnipa for a bit of luxury.
12. Adelaide Hills
Highly renowned as a retreat for artists, the rolling hills and peaceful country life here are a pleasant change from the fast pace of the city. Take a half hour drive out from Adelaide Hills and you will come across Lobethal, which offers great weekend markets and a costume museum. Hahndorf, known for its German foods and famous Farm Barn, is another unique town of the area and also worth a visit. Pick and eat some fresh strawberries at Beerenburg. This is a great place to appreciate some stunning scenery and a relaxing atmosphere.
13. Mount Crawford Forest
Situated only an hour from Adelaide, Mount Crawford Forest is an ideal getaway. There are plenty of winding roads to travel along and they eventually lead you to some fantastic campgrounds and bushwalking tracks. A popular attraction here is the gem fossicking, with gold, opals and diamonds just some of the hidden treasures. Horse riding and cycling are just as popular with locals and tourists who want to take advantage of the excellent setting here.
14. Mount Gambier
Mount Gambier is most famous for its clear blue lake, which makes it one of South Australia’s most awe inspiring attractions. Situated just over 400 kilometres south of Adelaide, the drive here is simply gorgeous. The best time to visit is between November and March when the water appears bluer than usual. Other lakes in the region include the Little Blue Lake and Valley Lake, and another well known natural attraction is Cave Gardens.
Centenary Tower provides a unique view of the city and surrounding country and is a photographer’s dream. Head to the Mount Gambier Tourist Centre to take part in interactive displays and learn more about the region. You will be glad you did!
15. Birdsville Track
The Birdsville Track is a unique Aussie icon. It spans from Birdsville, Queensland to Marree in South Australia, and is best attempted by 4WD. It is best to travel short sections of it at a time to enjoy scenery such as Sturts Stony Desert, Mungeranie Gap as well as sand hills, coolibah creeks and old homesteads scattered along the way. Marree provides a great base to explore the surrounding area and journey different parts of the track.
16. Murray River
The Murray River is an essential experience of South Australia! Stretching into the state via Renmark, there is so much to see and do up and down its banks. The parks and picnic grounds dotted up its banks are ideal for relaxing and enjoying the scenery and wildlife or for a spot of fishing. An easy drive from Adelaide,the Murray Bridge is a fantastic place to visit where you can enjoy a local cruise on the MV Expedition or PS Murray Princess, or head to Mannum for some shopping.
17. Clare Valley
The Clare Valley has a unique rural flavour that is unlike anywhere else in the country. The main heritage towns of Burra and Kapunda offer diverse country experiences. This ideal getaway provides loads of exciting things for those young and young at heart. For cute farm animals visit Geralka Rural Farm located near Spalding. Burra and Snowtown are home to a number of fantastic art galleries, unique pubs and cosy cafes, allowing you to sample some tasty delights.
A visit to South Australia isn’t complete without dropping in at Hahndorf, a town of history and unique attractions. As it is Australia’s oldest German village, you are guaranteed authentic German foods, beers and wines. Located close to Adelaide Hills, use this unique town as a base to explore the stunning surrounds. Make sure you visit the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm, Hahndorf Farm Barn, especially fun for the kids, and German Model Train Land. There really is something here for everyone.
19. Naracoorte Caves National Park
Located south, not far from Coonawarra and Mount Gambier, Naracoorte Caves are an essential place to visit solely because of their fossil remains and their beautiful cavernous formations.They are the only world heritage listed attraction in South Australia, and for a very good reason. Take a guided tour or visit the Wonambi Fossil Centre, and make friends with the Southern Bentwing Bat that calls these caves home!
20. McLaren Vale
The wine is the main drawcard for a visit to Mclaren Vale, but you will also find here a pretty town with a lot of history. Sitting just outside Adelaide, this township boasts over forty wineries, with plenty of vineyards to wander around and of course enjoy a sample of the local drop and learn a bit more on the wine making process. This town is a definite inclusion for your driving itinerary.
21. Coorong National Park
Located south from Adelaide, Coorong National Park is just past Murray Bridge, and is a great base for exploration of the area. Pelican Point is the perfect spot for bird watching, and Long Point will keep every fishermen happy. If you are after incredible views then Jacks Point is the place to be with an observatory and pleasant walking track.
Camping is permitted here with permits available from nearby Salt Creek or Meningie. The beauty of this park is that it is close enough to the city for a day trip!