Amazing Day Trips from Adelaide

 

Imagine yourself sitting under the green canopy of a massive olive tree, a glass of shiraz in hand, a massive plate of local produce on the table beyond which the vineyard’s expanse feels almost endless. That’s Adelaide!

Bungaree Station in Clare Valley

Amazing Day Trips From Adelaide

Adelaide is a great base from which to explore South Australia. Thanks to its location, much of the state’s cultural and natural highlights can be explored as day trips from Adelaide. You can bronze yourself on the beach one day, visit the art galleries and museums in the city the next and taste local wine and produce the following day. And all that without ever having to change your accommodation!

We’ve picked some of the best day trips from Adelaide for you, to help you make the best of your visit.

Adelaide Day Trips

Barossa Valley

With 150 wineries, more than 70 cellar doors, high-quality cuisine and luxury accommodation, it’s no wonder visitors from all over the world are drawn to the Barossa Valley. It is in the Barossa Valley where you can taste wine from your birth year (even all the way back to 1878) at Seppeltsfield. It’s also in the Barossa Valley where you can taste Penfolds Grange by the glass, probably the most iconic wine in Australia.

You can get a behind-the-scenes experience at large scale wineries you might recognise from your local supermarket and see how their wine is made. Test your wine making skills at Jacobs Creek winery and blend your signature wine.
If you’re looking for fresh produce and artisanal food to pair with your wine, visit the region’s weekly Farmers Market on Saturday mornings or enjoy a scrumptious lunch in one of the countless restaurants in the valley.

While you can easily self drive to the Barossa Valley, sit back and enjoy one of the high-quality wine tours from Adelaide that include transport, so you can enjoy sampling wines without having to keep in mind the legal limit. Our team is happy to help find the right guide for you. 

If you need more time to explore the Barossa Valley, stay over! Choose from budget-friendly motels or luxurious wine retreats that overlook the vineyards. At The Louise, you can relax in spacious comfort, experience pure indulgent luxury and sophisticated contemporary design.

Distance: approx 80 km, 50mi
Drive time: 1 hour
Best for: Food & Wine Lovers

 

Barossa Valley

Adelaide Hills

Whimsical stone houses with cuckoo clocks and stores advertising Hofbräu beer line up under a leafy canopy, as the sounds of alpine folk music spills onto the street. You might think you found a magic teleporter to Germany. 

This is Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, about 30 minutes from Adelaide. A heritage-listed town, Hahndorf was first settled by Lutheran immigrants from Prussia (which used to be a part of Germany). The typical Fachwerk houses in the oldest German settlement in Australia give the town and Adelaide Hills a distinctive European feel. 

For traditional German cuisine, beer and European culture, a visit to the Hahndorf Inn is a must. But we wouldn’t be in South Australia if there was only beer to be had. The Adelaide Hills are home to some of the most sought-after boutique wine producers and the best cafes and restaurants in the State. 

Taste the latest gin creations in one of the many distilleries, some of which let you try your hand at your own blend. If you’re brave, try the region’s award-winning cheese, Anthill. This quirky cheese is made of goat milk and topped with green ants!

To walk off all the delicacies imbibed, visit Mt Lofty. The view from the summit across Adelaide’s city skyline is absolutely spectacular! A sizeable network of walking trails start and end at Mt Lofty summit, the most popular of these is to Waterfall Gully.

Staying overnight in the Adelaide Hills, you have almost infinite accommodation options. One of the most remarkable being Mt Lofty House, located in an 1852 stone mansion. 

Distance: 30km, 18.5 mi
Drive time: 40min
Best for: Food, Wine & Beer Lovers

Adelaide Hills

Clare Valley

One of Australia's oldest wine regions, Clare Valley boasts heritage towns, trails, boutique wineries, museums, galleries and tops it off with magnificent scenery to boot. 

About 50, mostly boutique wineries are waiting to be explored at Clare Valley. Many are small and family-run. The area is most famous for its Australian Riesling, a white wine that can be either dry or sweet, but is also increasingly known for its Shiraz and Cabernets. 

Only two hours from the city, Clare Valley makes a great day trip from Adelaide. You can easily explore the valley on a hired bike or e-bike. The 35 km (20mi) cycling and walking trail, aptly named Riesling Trail, leads past vineyards and connects many of the region’s wineries.  

Families love Clare Valley because it has something for everyone to enjoy. How about following the kids into the centre of the giant Mintaro Maze and try to find your way out again? 

If you visit the valley from August to September, you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscope of colours. Apart from the juicy green of new spring shoots, the canola fields on the side of the roads explode into full bloom and turn the Clare Valley into a golden patchwork. And after a day of rain, you might be lucky to find the salt lake Lake Bumbunga near Lochiel in the most amazing shades of pink! 

If you’d like to stay for the night, the historic Bungaree Station fits perfectly into the authentic ‘boutique theme’ of the Clare Valley. Built in 1841, this stunning hotel is still family owned with the  5th generation now at the helm. Whether you sleep in the Stallion’s Box (where the property’s stallion was accommodated), the lodge that used to be the gatekeeper’s cottage or the Manager’s House, all rooms tell their own story in the life of the station.

You don’t need to stay overnight for a tour of the property. It’s still home to a working station with sheep, deer and horses and you can take a tour of the farm either self-guided, on a guided tour and on a 4WD tour. 

Distance: 150 km, 97mi 
Drive time: 2h
Best for: Food & Wine Lovers, Families

Clare Valley

Fleurieu Peninsula and Mclaren Vale

The Fleurieu Peninsula is not only the gateway to Kangaroo Island, it’s a destination in itself. It combines the best features of South Australia (fine dining, wine and produce growing as well as nature with wildlife, bush and amazing beaches) on one peninsula. 

Another wine region, Mclaren Vale, best known for its Shiraz, also boasts the giant D’Arenberg Cube towering over the D’Arenberg vineyard! This wacky glass building looks like a Rubik’s Cube and has quickly become the landmark of the region. The winery’s tasting room on the top floor overlooks the vineyard and for more quirkiness, visit the cube’s Salvador Dali exhibition and the ‘Alternative Realities Museum’. 

The Fleurieu Peninsula is also home to stunning beaches! A favourite is Southport, the wide, gently sloping beach is just around the corner from Adelaide. Goolwa Beach, a sand dune at the mouth of the Murray River, is a popular surf beach. Other well-loved beaches are Second Valley, Blowhole Beach or Waitpinga Beach. 

Bring the kids to Fleurieu and board the horse tram from Victor Harbour over the wooden causeway to Granite Island. There, you can search the beach for little penguins and scan the ocean for whales. Afterwards, visit one of the many farmers and art markets on the peninsula. 

Distance: approx 80 km, 50mi
Drive time: 1 hour
Best for: Food & Wine Lovers, Families

Fleurieu Peninsula

Murray River and Riverland

The Murray River flows more than 2500 kilometres from the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales through the Riverland into the Lakes and Coorong in South Australia. The River is around 130 million years old and rich with Aboriginal history, culture and heritage. 

For a day trip from Adelaide to Murray River, visit the quaint towns in Riverland, about a 2-hour drive from the city. Explore the little towns along the water, the historic houses and learn more about the history of the Murray River paddle steamers. 

As you’d expect from South Australia, you can also find plenty of distilleries, cellar doors and farmers markets in Riverland.  

If it’s a cruise on the Murray River you’re after, your starting point will be in the towns of Mannum or Murray Bridge. One and two hour cruises on a charming old paddle steamer with dining options, leave from Murray Bridge on a daily basis. You can drive to the river by car or join a guided day trip from Adelaide. 

The Murray River cruises are so popular and the landscape so spectacular, visitors usually choose one of the many multi-day cruises. Cruises range from 2 to 7 nights, giving you ample choice depending on how much time you have. 

Simply sit on the deck with a glass of wine and let the landscape slowly pass by or explore the lovely towns on one of the many stops along the way. 

If you prefer to be the captain of your own ship, how about a leisurely houseboat holiday? Cruise whenever you feel like it, stop anywhere you please, then spend the rest of the day swimming in the river (there are no crocs in the Murray). Truly a holiday both you and the kids will always remember. 

Distance: 70-100km, 45-60 mi
Drive time: approx. 1 - 2 hours, depending on your destination
Best for: Nature Lovers, Families, Groups of friends
Best season for cruising: Summer

Murray River Steamer

Other day trips from Adelaide

Adelaide’s stunning beaches are just a hop, skip and jump from the city and easily accessible by (free) public transport.

Head to Morialta Conservation Park for some great bushwalks (only 20 minutes and 12km | 7mi from the city). You can find short walks ranging from 45 minutes up to 4 hours.

If you’re short of time and really keen on visiting Kangaroo Island, it’s possible to do this as a guided day trip from Adelaide. However, we strongly suggest you take more than one day to explore this diverse island as there’s just too much to see. 

Travelling on from Adelaide

Do you have more time to explore Australia? Adelaide is a great starting point for a memorable road trip. The Southern Ocean Drive links to the famous Great Ocean Road heading towards Melbourne. Drive north on the Epicurean Trail to the Flinders Ranges and on to Simpson Desert, or into the Red Centre via the mining town Coober Pedy

Are you inspired to explore some of South Australia’s best day trips from Adelaide?

At First Light Travel, we know the best day trips, and we can also plan the perfect self-drive itinerary for you. Have a look at our South Australia itineraries for inspiration.

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Steve Taylor
By
Steve Taylor
: 14 Jul 2021 (Last updated: 4 Aug 2021)

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