South Australia is often the “forgotten state” when it comes to people travelling to Australia. Everyone usually heads to Melbourne or Sydney because they are popular destinations however if you’re planning a trip to Australia, make sure you take a few days out to check out Adelaide and South Australia – it might just surprise you. There are plenty of places to visit in Adelaide and South Australia as a wider region. We have come up with the Top 10 Places to Visit in South Australia why you NEED check them out!
***Updated as of Feb 2019***
Victor Harbor – Fleurieu Peninsula
Victor Harbor aka “Victor” is a small touristy/beach town 82km from the Adelaide CBD. A lot of tourists, as well as locals, will travel here for a quick weekend getaway or a nice relaxing week away from the city. The main attractions here are the Horse-drawn tram that takes you from the “mainland” 600m along a wooden causeway to Granite Island.
Granite Island is home to a number of little penguins which can usually be seen better around sunset, plenty of birds, a dolphin or 2 and the occasional New Zealand fur seal. You can also try out the Kaiki Walk. The Kaiki Walk is a 1.9km circuit of granite island providing you with plenty of different viewpoints and photo ops.
To get a better view over Victor and the surrounding areas then I’d highly recommend the granite headland called “The Bluff”, which is a 6km round trip, depending where you start, or you can try the 800m Rosetta Trail – It’s less of a leisurely walk and more of a hike (maybe an over exaggeration), make sure to wear comfortable shoes and maybe take a jacket in the cooler months as it gets very cold up there.
If all else fails you can always sit on the beach and fish or relax.
A short drive from Victor Harbor is Port Elliot where most Adelaidians head on a long weekend, not only for the mouth-wateringly good pastries at the famous Port Elliot Bakery but the chilled surfer atmosphere that Port Elliot offers.
*Note – Currently the Horse-drawn tram is not operating (as of Jan 2019) due to structural damage to the causeway, making it unsafe for the tram, however, you are still bale to walk along the causeway to granite island. Keep up to date with if the tram is running during your stay here.
Winery regions in South Australia
The Barossa Valley is famously known for its wines and is also the oldest wine region in South Australia. Located 50km out of Adelaide (a fairly short drive – seriously). Some of my favourite wineries to visit are Jacobs Creek, Murray Street Vineyards, Wolf Blass, Seppelt Winery and Penfolds, just to name a few of the more popular wineries.
If you’re planning to try some wines while in South Australia, I would recommend booking a tour – I can see you eyes rolling but I have a good reason for this. Over the the years, South Australian wineries have implemented a “tasting fee” of around $5 to $10 per winery – this is then discounted (in some cases) if you make a purchase, however, if you go to 5 wineries in a day and don’t purchase any wine you are looking at $50AUD for a wine tasting. Most tours are fairly reasonably priced and cover this cost, however, you might end up only going to 2 or 3 wineries of their choosing. Plus you have to consider in the cost of care hire and guys…. It’s also not “cool” to drink and drive in Australia – we don’t want drunks on the road.
Mclaren Vale is another winery region close to Adelaide. Personally i’m more of a fan of the Barossa Valley than the Mclaren Vale as the red wines are more full bodied in the Barossa, however, if you are looking for a lighter red wine or a crisp wine white, the Mclaren vale is for you. Mclaren Vale is also the best place to visit in spring as all the vineyards are starting to flower and show off beautiful shades of orange turning to green.
The Clare Valley is another winery region in South Australia, however, it is 144km from Adelaide city so most people tend to choose the Barossa Valley or Mclaren vale
South Australia produces some of the best wines in Australia (maybe even the world!) Not so sure of my bold statement? Well come and try some out for yourself!
Here are some recommended winery tours:
- Barossa Valley Wineries Tour with Tastings from Adelaide
- Barossa Valley with Hahndorf Tour from Adelaide
- Barossa Valley Full-Day Tour from Adelaide With Maggie Beer Farm Shop Visit
- The Lane Vineyard: Chef’s Table Experience
- St Hugo Winery: Prestige Experience
- McLaren Vale Winery Small Group Tour from Adelaide, Wine Tasting and Lunch
- Barossa Valley Day Trip from Adelaide Including Gourmet Pizza Lunch
- McLaren Vale Wine Tour by Bike
- Ultimate Penfolds Magill Estate Experience
Port Lincoln – Eyre Peninsula
Port Lincoln in approx. 646km from Adelaide by road and ferry although you do have the option to fly via one of the little planes that make everyone nervous. Port Lincoln is known for it’s fishing fleets and water activities, whether it’s yachting, scuba diving, game fishing, swimming with seals (or tuna) or cage diving with sharks!! It’s a great “beachy” town to relax in for a few days or live out some of your crazy bucket list ideas such as swimming with sharks.
Port Lincoln isn’t really a day trip visit from Adelaide so i’d suggest planning to stay for a few days at least.
As Port Lincoln is home to the countries largest fishing fleet that means you’ll get to enjoy some of the freshest, tastiest seafood.Grab a bottle of wine, some oysters and a blanket and head down to the local beach and enjoy the day…. actually make that a bottle of soft drink as most of the beached areas are dry zones. If you want to enjoy a glass or 6 of wine, there are plenty of cute little cafes and bars along the esplanade.
Recommended tours and things to do in Port Lincoln:
- Great White Shark Cruise with Optional Cage Dive and Aqua Sub from Port Lincoln
- Oyster Farm and Tasting Tour with Hotel Pick-up and return from Port Lincoln
- Private Port Lincoln Day Tour: Tasting Eyre
- Port Lincoln Day Tour – Tasting Eyre
- Coffin Bay Day Tour – A Taste of Coffin Bay
- Half-Day Sea Lion Snorkeling Tour from Port Lincoln
Wilpena – Flinders Ranges
Wilpena is 429km from Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges, definitely an area you will want to spend a few days in to make the drive alone worth it. There is no shortage of things to do in the Flinders Ranges such as bush walking, bike riding, 4wd driving, scenic flights, hot air ballooning.
You can camp at Wilpena pound or stay in one of the holiday units. The camping facilities are top of their class with clean toilet and bathroom blocks, washing machines and dryers and powered and unpowered campsites. Wilpena Pound is a great place to stay as a base for some great activities around the Flinders Ranges!
Kangaroo Island (aka KI) is approx. 112km from Adelaide; you can get there either by the driving and taking the ferry or flying in a little plane. Kangaroo Island is one South Australia’s biggest attraction. The island itself is fairly small and easy to drive around in 1 day, however, I’d recommend spending a few days here otherwise you’ll but then you’ll miss all the highlights!
Some of the highlights are Seal Bay, the Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, Prospect hill lookout and the little Sahara where you can go sand boarding!
There is a heap of places to stay on Kangaroo Island to meet each and every budget, from camping to staying in the luxury of the Southern Ocean lodge!
Recommended tours for Kangaroo Island
- Kangaroo Island Quad Bike Tour
- Kangaroo Island Shore Excursion: Food and Wine Trail Tour
- Kangaroo Island 75-Minute Ocean Safari
- 2-Day Kangaroo Island Food and Wine Package
- Kangaroo Island Half Day Food and Wine Trail Tour
- Flinders Chase Focus – Full Day Kangaroo Island Wildlife Tour
- Full Day Kangaroo Island Wildlife Tour
Innes National Park – Yorke Peninsula
Innes National Park is located on the tip of the Yorke Peninsula, you can even see Kangaroo Island from here. Here you are able to see stunning viewpoints and beautiful, secluded beaches. It’s approx 300km from Adelaide, making it ideal for a weekend away. Innes National Park is popular for camping, bush walking, wildlife spotting and of course fishing! A lot of families come up here during the school holidays because it’s such a beautiful spot to relax.
You can camp in Innes National Park or stay at the caravan park at Marion Bay. There are several lighthouses such as Cape Spencer Lighthouse to visit and even a shipwreck on the beach called “Ethel”. Please be careful if you are visiting Ethel and wandering through the shipwreck as the waves can be fairly rough at times and the currents and riptides can drown even the strongest swimmers.
Innes National Park used to be an old gypsum mining town from 1913 until 1930 when the “Great Depression” made it uneconomical, the town was abandoned by its inhabitants to find work and in 1970 the town and surrounding land was sold to the South Australian government to create Innes National Park. There are a few dedicated walks through this old town, I’d highly recommend dedicating an afternoon to wondering around – it might sound boring but it is really interesting.
Mount Gambier is 450 km south-east of Adelaide and only only 17km from the Victorian border, it’s the second biggest city in South Australia. There are several attractions in Mt Gambier including the Blue Lake which is a part of the Volcanoes discovery trail/Crater lakes (which includes the Blue Lake Crater, the Valley Lake Crater and the Leg of Mutton Lake Crater). A few other attractions are the giant sinkhole and cave gardens which is famous for it’s rose garden.
I’d highly recommend hiring a car and driving from Adelaide to Melbourne via Mount Gambier and the Great Ocean Road, we’ve done this a few times, once you get past Mount Gambier the toad goes closer to the coast and the scenery is incredible.
Naracoorte is 336km from Adelaide in the limestone coast region. Here you can get down and dirty with some bush walking or caving, fossil viewing or just sit back and relax with some wine tasting in the close by Coonawarra winery region.
Naracoorte is a fairly small country town and makes for a good stop on your way to Mount Gambier, which is only 100km away.
Hahndorf is a small town 28 km south-east of Adelaide, making it perfect for a day trip from the city. It’s acknowledged as Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Hahndorf has a lot of great German food and beer of course as well as the German Migration Museum, tracing back the local history.
There are also a few wineries (surprise suprise) you visit to have a taste of the area or you can visit the Beerenberg strawberry farm, where you can go pick your own fresh strawberries (if in season). Adelaide is often refereed to as the city of churches however I personally think its the city of wineries!
You can easily spend a day wondering around Hahndorf, it has a very relaxed atmosphere and has lots to do and eat and drink!
- Barossa Valley with Hahndorf Tour from Adelaide
- Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf Tour From Adelaide With Wine and Cheese Tasting
- Full-Day Hahndorf and Adelaide Hills Hop-On Hop-Off Tour from Adelaide
- Adelaide Highlights and Hahndorf Tour with Optional River Cruise
- Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf Half-Day Tour from Adelaide
Adelaide Central Markets
The Adelaide Central Markets are well known with the local Adelaidians for its very fresh foods. Most of the cafés and restaurants in the city go to the markets first thing in the morning to get fresh produce to prepare for the day.
It’s funny because what I remember about the Central markets is it used to be known for its terrible hours! However, as it has become more popular they have made the hours a little more regular, now open from 7am/9am til 5:30 pm and later on Friday’s. The Adelaide Central Markets is on Gouger street right next to China town, Gouger-street also has a great selection of great restaurants, mostly Chinese or Asian influence!
So when are YOU coming to South Australia?
Want to learn how to travel on a Budget? Check out our dedicated “Budget Conscious Travel Guide”
Recommend budget tours in South Australia
- Barossa Valley Wineries Tour with Tastings from Adelaide
- 2-Day Kangaroo Island Tour from Adelaide
- McLaren Vale and Glenelg Tour with Wine Tastings from Adelaide
- Adelaide Oval Stadium Tour
- Small Group Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf Hideaway Tour from Adelaide
- Cleland Wildlife Park Tour from Adelaide Including Mount Lofty Summit
- 5-Day Adelaide and Kangaroo Island Tour Including Barossa Valley Wine Tasting (extremely affordable)
- Murray River Lunch Cruise by Paddle Wheeler from Murray Bridge
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