From the picturesque vineyards of the Adelaide Hills to the towering peaks of the Flinders Ranges, from the wide open spaces of the arid Simpson Desert to the shipwrecks and bays of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia serves up a diverse mosaic of landscapes. Wildlife and nature experiences around the state are amazing. Here are some of the best places to visit in South Australia.
Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast or epicurean, South Australia has a dazzling platter of experiences to choose from. Visit one of the state’s world-class wine regions (the New York Times lists the Barossa Valley as the only destination on their 2008 “must-see” list) where indulging in excellent wine and delicious gourmet food is a drawcard.
Explore the outback in a four-wheel drive or sit around a campfire listening to colourful outback characters recount wild tales. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the numerous cycling, horse riding and hiking trails as well as the myriad of top fishing spots.
Places to visit in South Australia
Adelaide’s mesmerising sunsets wash the sky gorgeous hues of gold, pink and yellow.
Unlike the east coast of Australia where the sun sets over land, in Adelaide, the sun sets over the Gulf of St Vincent.
One of the best spots to gaze at the setting sun is Henley Beach where some of Adelaide’s trendiest fish and chip cafes are found.
2- Barossa Valley
The Barossa Valley’s rolling hills are home to some of the oldest Shiraz vineyards in the world, dating back to the 1840s.
A premier wine region in the state, the area’s cuisine and wine varieties were influenced by German settlers, who along with many other delicacies brought smoked mettwurst, Lachschinken and bratwurst sausages to the area.
Barossa Valley wine tours are fun and a great way to stock up on boutique South Australian wine.
3- Eyre Peninsula
The Eyre Peninsula has a selection of 4WD and bushwalking tours that offer interaction with rescued native animals, views of stunning coastlines, national parks and local produce tastings.
Taste Coffin Bay oysters and dig into a fresh seafood platter.
The Eyre Peninsula is also a great place to swim with the sea lions and to dive with sharks from the safety of a cage.
The endangered Australian sea lions are agile, friendly and cute. And they make great swimming companions for those seeking a unique nature experience.
Baird Bay on the Eyre Peninsula is also a haven for fishing, bushwalking and bird watching.
The tours raise awareness of the importance of improved fishing practices and sustainable fishery.
Future business plans include carbon-offsetting the construction of their existing infrastructure and changing their main motor to a cleaner burning fuel delivery system.
4- Kangaroo Island
More than half of Kangaroo Island remains as pristine as when British navigator Matthew Flinders first sighted the untamed wilderness in 1802.
More than one-third of Australia’s third largest island is protected by national park.
The rest of the island is peppered with farm doors offering a bounty of fresh produce like wine, cheeses, oysters and lobsters.
Often called Australia’s Galapagos, the island’s diverse landscapes is home to a Noah’s Ark of creatures like sea lions, fur seals, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas and platypus.
Kangaroo Island attractions include wildlife like koalas, western grey kangaroos, Tammar wallabies and more obscure wildlife like brush-tail possums, pygmy possums and heath goannas.
The island’s stunning coastline is one of the best places in Australia to walk among Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals.
Surrounded by nature, Southern Ocean Lodge has spectacular views. The service is faultless and the food top class.
The lodge can arrange for guests to experience Kangaroo Island through a personalised experiential itinerary, with naturalist guides providing expert interpretive experiences.
Produce is locally sourced and the food and views are amazing.
5- Flinders Ranges
The landscape of the Flinders Ranges paints a picture of quintessential outback Australia, a vista that has captured the imagination of artists.
Famous South Australian painter Hans Heysen described it as “the bones of nature laid bare.”
The landscape teems with wildlife and is home to romantic characters who sit around campfires telling stories.
Located 430km north of Adelaide, Rawnsley Park Station is a 3000-hectare station adjoins the Flinders Ranges National Park. The Smith family’s sheep station is now a pristine paradise for nature lovers.
Guests stay in luxury eco-villas designed by Adelaide architect, Paul Downton, a specialist in sustainable architecture.
Constructed from rendered straw bales, the eco-villas feature a host of green design techniques including passive heating and cooling, LED downlights, recycled timber and an innovative Biolytix wastewater treatment system.
The installation of a nine-kilowatt solar array in earlier this year has seen the properties achieve near energy-neutral status.
6- Coober Pedy
Opal was discovered in 1915 but it wasn’t until the 1960s that hundreds of men from Europe migrated to Coober Pedy.
They purchases rights to mine small parcels of land and after decades of mining, Coober Pedy’s opal fields is a moonscape of debris from prospecting shafts.
Beneath the ground is a honeycomb of underground dwellings. Here are some things to do in Coober Pedy.
A fun way to explore the South Australian outback is to go on a tour with the outback postman.
7- Adelaide Hills
Take a wine tasting holiday around the picturesque Adelaide Hills.
The Adelaide Hills is full of lovely towns packed with boutiques, galleries, cafes and cellar doors.
It’s a wonderful place to spend a few days driving around exploring and tasting local food and wine.
There are plenty of B&Bs to choose from and you won’t go hungry in the Adelaide Hills.
8- Gluepot Reserve, Waikerie
Commune with nature at Australia’s largest community-managed and operated conservation reserve.
Gluepot Reserve is run entirely by volunteers.
Situated 64km from the River Murray in South Australia’s Riverland, the 54,000ha reserve has 18 threatened species of birds.
There are also reptiles and bats. Biodiversity conservation is achieved through land management, scientific research, environmental education and sustainable ecotourism.