South Australia

Welcome to South Australia

See a list of destinations in South Australia

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Like most of Australia, South Australia has an incredible wealth of diverse landscapes and natural beauty. However, when it comes to holiday and vacation experiences, South Australia is in some ways seems to be Australia's "forgotten" state. Seemingly never high on the list of tourism drawcards when it comes to wild experiences (although it ran quite a few events such as the Australian Grand Prix for a number of years), the state offers a wonderful variety of contrasting attractions, experiences and scenery.

The state itself was colonised in 1836 when Colonel William Light chose the current site of Adelaide as the state's capital and the city was Australia's first "free settlement" (rather than a convict settlement). The world's first "planned" city, Adelaide is a cultural delight. Known as the "city of churches", the city has wide streets, large public parks and open spaces, and is largely devoid of skyscrapers, retaining a beautiful European charm to the city. In fact there is still a large European influence in and around Adelaide, with an influx of German Lutherans fleeing persecution in Europe in the 1840's bringing with them many of the wine making traditions as well as architectual and social influences which are still prevalent today.

More well known in recent years for it's food and wine, South Australia has arguably the country's best wine regions, with the Barossa Valley just out of Adelaide producing almost 60 percent of Australia's total wine output - much of this earmarked for export worldwide.

Once you get out of Adelaide, the state is an awesome place to get "off the Beaten Track", with the "outback" only an hour or so out of the city. Travelling North, you will come across Port Augusta and the Flinders Ranges (one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth) which are a must see stop - rugged rocky outcrops mixed with hidden creeks and gorges, and beautiful cypress pines make for some awe inspiring scenery. Many Aboriginal "Dreamtime" legends talk about the ranges, with stories and legends intertwined with the creation and formation of the stunning landmarks.

Continue North, you will eventually cross the border into Alice Springs and the Northern Territory, but there are some pretty amazing places to visit in between. The opal mining town of Coober Pedy with it's underground accommodation is an experience not to be missed, as is Lake Eyre - especially after a big flood. Usually bone dry, the Lake has filled a couple of times in recent years after a heavy wet season up north, and the teaming birdlife that follows the flooding is apparently a sight and experience to behold.

A couple of other must see places and experiences to recommend for travellers to South Australia are:-

  • Kangaroo Island - approximately 7 times the size of Singapore, Kangaroo Island is a stunning, pristine wilderness offering protection and habitat to a wide range of birds, seals, kangaroos and other native animals. Located about a 1/2 hour flight from Adelaide or less than 1 hour by fast ferry from Cape Jervis, Kangaroo Island is well worth a few nights. There is a range of accommodation, dining and touring options available, so you certainly won't be left "roughing it"!
  • Great Ocean Road - this is the world famous coastal road between Melbourne (Victoria) and Adelaide, offering some spectacular scenery and experiences along the way. Coming into South Australia at the border town of Nelson, the road makes its way up through the spectacular Limestone Coast and the Coorong, with stunning National Parks, coastal tracks, cave diving, rock lobsters, ancient volcanic landmarks, world class wineries and some of South Australia's favourite holiday playgrounds. And that's before you even reach Adelaide!
  • Nullabor - I think most Aussies have in the back of their mind to do the Nullabor at least once in their life (the name comes from the Latin words 'nullus' and 'arbor' which means 'no trees'). The world famous drive across the Nullabor Plain is arguably one of Australia's great drives, taking you across the Eyre Peninsula along the coast and desert into Western Australia and eventually across to Perth. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to experience some amazing wildlife and natural scenery of the Great Australian Bight, combined with the harshness and remoteness of the Australian outback. If you are doing the drive though, as with any remote drive, make sure you are well prepared with communications, food and water - just in case. The other option here if you are wanting to get from Adelaide to Perth, is chucking the car on the back and taking the Indian Pacific rail journey, tracing a line through the red desert sands across to the outback mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and then across to Perth.


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