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:-