Awesome Places in South Australia You Need To See

 

South Australia is Australia condensed into one state.
It’s almost as if someone set out to travel Australia, then took the best things about each state and built similar versions in South Australia. 

Read on to discover the awesome places in South Australia
YOU really need to see! 

Flinders Range

South Australia is blessed with white beaches and turquoise water, surf waves of international standards, croc-free rivers and kangaroo-filled islands. The outback, with its natural wonders and dusty charm is right on Adelaide’s doorstep. Adelaide is a city known for its many festivals and exquisite restaurants. Discover blue lakes, pink lakes, yellow canola and green vines. And last but most definitely not least is the most famous export product, wine! So much heavenly wine is waiting to be tasted all over South Australia! 

It comes as no surprise that there are heaps of awesome places in South Australia waiting to be explored. Are the ones we listed the most beautiful ones? We leave the verdict to you.

Awesome Places in South Australia

Flinders Chase National Park - Kangaroo Island

Compared to the size of Australia, Kangaroo Island seems small. In reality, however, there are over 1500km | 930mi of road to explore on the island! Kangaroo Island is also big enough to host multiple Conservation Parks as well as Flinders Chase National Park!

Flinders Chase NP is located on the western tip of Kangaroo Island. The national park is home to goannas (reptiles), koalas, eagles, kangaroos and echidnas.

The park is a must-do on Kangaroo Island, even (or especially) after the devastating bushfires of 2019 that destroyed 96% of the park. Driving on the reopened roads, you can witness first-hand the miracle of nature as the bush slowly regains its green cloak and the animals return to the park.  

Flinders Chase NP and the rest of Kangaroo Island is best explored on a 3-day guided tour. That way, you can be sure to learn all there is to know about the history of this alluring island. 

Read our Visitor Guide to Kangaroo Island for more information about the island and how to get there. 

If you’d like to explore Kangaroo Island, Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, we recommend this 1-week itinerary:

7 Day Adelaide and Kangaroo Island Itinerary

Flinders Chase National Park Kangaroo Island

Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is the most famous wine region in South Australia, if not in all of Australia. Tasting Barossa Valley’s famous Shiraz is a must while you’re there. You can choose from over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, many of which are internationally renowned. If you’re looking to expand your wine-making knowledge and skills, you can try to blend your own wine at Jacob’s Creek, with the help of their own Master Blender. The blend is yours to take home as a special memento of your time in South Australia. 

Only a one hour drive from Adelaide, you can easily visit the Barossa Valley as a day trip from the city, like in our 5-day Adelaide short break, for example. 

For more information about the Barossa Valley, have a look at our Barossa Valley Visitor Guide

Hahndorf - Adelaide Hills

Located in the Adelaide Hills, only a 30-minute drive from Adelaide lies Hahndorf. The picturesque town is proud to be Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and loves to show off its European heritage. German folk songs blare from souvenir shops that sell cuckoo clocks, the Hahndorf Inn serves traditional German fare along with Hofbräu beer. 

Saunter through town under the leafy canopy and marvel at historic buildings that were built in a traditional German way. You’d be forgiven to feel as if you were transported to Germany. 

The Adelaide Hills with Hahndorf are best visited as a day trip from Adelaide but you can easily stay a night or two to explore the area.

Hahndorf Village Adelaide Hills

Blue Lake Mt Gambier - Limestone Coast

Mt Gambier in the southeastern corner of South Australia is built on the foot of extinct volcanoes. Blue Lake occupies one of the craters of the volcano after which the city was named. Every year in early November, a spectacular phenomenon can be witnessed -  the steel-grey lake turns turquoise overnight! It stays this colour for the summer and, around late March, gradually fades back into its duller colours for the rest of the year.

The explanations as to why Mt Gambier’s Blue Lake vary from ‘blue dye added to the water’ to some intricate chemical formulas we’ll spare you from explaining. Whatever the reason may be as to why Blue Lake changes its colours every year, the lake, its 3.6km | 2.2mi loop track and Mt Gambier are well worth a visit. 

Mt Gambier and Blue Lake are also en-route to the Great Ocean Road, the scenic route past the ‘12 Apostles’, which connects Adelaide with Melbourne. Our 8 Day Great Ocean Road self-drive itinerary stops in Mt Gambier for the night, making sure you have enough time to explore this mysterious lake.

Mt Gambier

Port Lincoln - Eyre Peninsula

Port Lincoln, a vibrant little town on the Eyre Peninsula, is all about seafood and marine life. Lots of restaurants in town serve freshly caught fare from the sea. From Port Lincoln, you can start an expedition to Coffin Bay to visit massive oyster farms, located in the greenish-blue water. 

Book a cruise to see Great White Sharks in their natural habitat. If you’re feeling brave, you can even descend to the dive cage and meet them on eye level as they're being fed from the boat.

For a much less scary and more playful interaction, book a cruise to swim with sea lions. Curiously splashing about in the water, you’ll quickly see why these adorable creatures are also called ‘puppies of the sea’. 

Other, land-themed activities in Port Lincoln are seeing the Railway Museum, a visit to Mikkira Station for a picnic surrounded by wild koalas and kangaroos. And we wouldn’t be in South Australia if there wasn’t a winery nearby to taste the local wine. 

Flaherty Beach -  Yorke Peninsula

If you’re looking to relax on the best beaches in South Australia, you need to visit the Yorke Peninsula! Only about 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Adelaide, the peninsula can easily be explored by car or campervan. 

Yorke’s beaches can absolutely keep up with their famous siblings on Australia’s East Coast! While some are perfect for surfing, other beaches invite families to play in their shallow waters.

One of these beaches is Flaherty Beach. Located in a bay, the beach is sheltered from most of the wind and big waves, making Flaherty a family-favourite.  After a short walk from the car park over a sand dune, the path opens up onto a wide, blindingly white beach. The water is shallow and sparkles in the most fabulous shades of turquoise. White sandbanks create little tidal islands, similar to Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. 

Flaherty Beach Rocks

Wilpena Pound - Flinders Ranges

Wilpena Pound is a 17-kilometre-long (11 Miles) by eight-kilometre-wide (5 Mile) elliptical crown of furiously serrated mountains, with a sunken natural amphitheatre in its centre. The pound, an old English term for a livestock enclosure, is located 429 km | 267 mi north of Adelaide in the heart of the Flinders Ranges National Park

The best way to explore Wilpena Pound is by 4WD car and by plane. There are a range of walking tracks, too, but many are closed in summer due to the extreme heat in the Australian Outback. 4WD tours take you deep into Wilpena Pound, for a couple of hours or on a multi-day camping trip, whichever you prefer.

A scenic flight over the pound makes you aware of how massive this natural wonder really is. You can also fly to nearby Lake Eyre (well, nearby by plane), one of South Australia’s magnificent pink lakes. 

For more information, read our Visitor Guide to Wilpena Pound as well as the guide to the Flinders Ranges

Wilpena Pound

Adelaide City

Adelaide is a shy gal who doesn’t like standing in the spotlight. As a result, the South Australian capital is often overlooked as a destination, with visitors instantly travelling on to more enticing places like the Barossa Valley or Kangaroo Island.

Adelaide has so much to offer! Known as the Festival City, there’s always something on in town. And even if there’s no event happening while you’re there, there are heaps of other awesome Adelaide activities to explore! 

Because Adelaide and South Australia are all about eating and drinking, many Adelaide must-dos embrace just that. Stroll through the massive Adelaide Central Market on a quest to find the most delicious produce in town. Taste your way through the extensive choice of Australian wine at the National Wine Centre. Stroll along Adelaide’s beaches … and blend your afternoon into the evening in Adelaide enjoying a sundowner overlooking the ocean. 

Book yourself an Adelaide getaway to fully experience all the things to do in this awesome city

Murray River

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 is rich with Aboriginal history, culture and heritage. 

If you’re thinking about a river cruise in Australia, Murray River will most definitely appear at the top of your search results. It’s one of the most scenic rivers in Australia to cruise on. And the water is croc-free, bonus!

Most Murray River cruises start 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. 

The landscape surrounding Murray River is so spectacular, visitors usually choose to spend a few nights on the boat. Explore the historic towns along the river during the day. Then spend the rest of your evening on the boat, lazily watching the scenery float past, glass of wine in hand, while the crew prepares your dinner. 

We have two itinerary suggestions with cruises on the Murray River. If you prefer to sleep onshore, have a look at our 7 Day Romantic Getaway. For a multi-day cruise, the 7 Day Adelaide and Murray River Adventure is for you! And if you like neither, just message us for a personalised itinerary.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy is one of the most surreal places you’ve ever seen. Arriving in Coober Pedy, the town doesn’t look like much. Hardly more than a few dusty houses randomly placed onto a moonscape, the true gem (quite literally) of Coober Pedy is found underground. 

Coober Pedy is the world’s opal capital. 95% of the world’s supply of commercial opal stems from Australia and the majority of the precious iridescent stones are mined in Coober Pedy. But a visit to a mine isn’t the only intriguing thing about this desert town. People here live underground! This is partly to escape the hot and harsh weather but also a handy side effect of mining. Once the opal is mined in a so-called dugout, people move in and make it their home. 

In addition to private homes being underground, in Coober Pedy, you can also stay in underground hotels and motels and visit bars and shops. Even a church is built into the rocks!

Coober Pedy is located on the highway to the Red Centre and Darwin. We highly recommend staying in this fascinating town as part of your Adelaide to Darwin itinerary

Coober Pedy

What do you think of these amazing places in South Australia? If you're keen to explore more of this incredibly diverse state, click to Check out our most popular South Australia self-drive holidays.

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Alexandra Diethelm
By
Alexandra Diethelm
: 3 Aug 2021 (Last updated: 16 Aug 2021)

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