SOUTH AUSTRALIA, A PLACE OF 'WORLD-FIRSTS' AND 'ONLY INS'
Have you got a bucket list you are just itching to scribble on? South Australia is the spot to start - at least if you are considering a trip down under. Whether you are an international traveller looking for that world first, once in a lifetime experience or a local hoping to rediscover your own state - South Australia will reward your wonder. Only in South Australia could you find a lush city filled with parks, within driving distance to an outback mountain range and rugged coastlines. SA is a place that boasts Australia's darkest night sky, where hot springs silently bubble in the depths of the outback and gardens grow under water. Read on to discover what South Australia is known for and the things you can't see or do anywhere else.
1. Visit Australia’s largest outback mountain range, the Flinders Ranges
If you’re looking for an Adelaide road trip idea, the Adelaide to Flinders Ranges road trip is a brilliant way to get up close and personal with the ancient landscapes found in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National park. Once you get to the Flinders, the outback isn’t too much further. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is a fabulous sight-seeing spot - during the rainy season when the lake fills, it's the largest lake in Australia and is considered an in-land sea. When you’re feeling thirsty after a day behind the wheel, stop off at one of the Outback pubs like Prairie Hotel or William Creek. The Explorers Way is the first leg of the Adelaide to Darwin drive and could be the beginning of an unforgettable journey.
2. Shark cage diving
Confront your fears and swim with the ocean’s apex predator. South Australia is famous for the invention of shark cage diving, becoming the first place in the world that you could safely observe great white sharks in their natural habitat. Local man Rodney Fox survived an attack by a great white shark in 1963 and it was this experience that sparked the idea. Mr Fox invented a metal cage that allows divers to be lowered safely below the surface and come face to face with these mammoth creatures. Based in Port Lincoln, shark-diving is provided by Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions and Calypso Star Charters, with staff trained to act with the utmost care for both the sharks and divers. Visit the Eyre Peninsula for this uniquely South Australian experience. Here, you can encounter an abundance of wildlife- from swimming with sea lions, koala sanctuaries and whale watching.
Want to hear the story of Rodney Fox's infamous shark attack in his own words? check out the Stories Of The South episode, White Shark Whisperer.
3. Sip wine in a giant Rubik's Cube
McLaren Vale is a place where rolling vines tumble into azure blue waters and is a true mecca for vino-lovers. This famous coastal wine region is nestled less than a 40 minute drive from Adelaide’s city centre and provides an extraordinary chance to taste a drop of shiraz in a giant rubik's cube. The d’Arenberg Cube is one of Adelaide’s must-see attractions. Visitors are treated to five levels of wonder: a wine sensory room, a virtual fermenter, the Alternate Realities Museum and wonderful art installations that create perfect selfie opportunities. Enjoy a morning swim at one of Australia's famous beaches before drying off and hitting the road, winding your way through a patchwork of vineyards to stop at some or at some of the best cellar doors and restaurants in the region!
4. Arkaroola's International Dark Sky Sanctuary
Get lost in the cosmos without ever leaving earth. Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is an official International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only 18 worldwide. Located eight hours from Adelaide, a trip to Arkaroola will reward you with one of the best quality starry nights and astronomical conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. Become acquainted with Arkaroola’s beautiful dark sky by sleeping underneath it, on the ridgetop sleep out experience. Climb aboard their safari Landcruiser, and get ready for a four-wheel drive track that will see you weave through creek beds, between valleys and over mountain crests before arriving at arguably the most scenic campsite in the world. Nothing really compares to waking up to a 360 degree, panoramic view of densely packed mountains and craggy peaks dusted with ochre red dirt.
5. Kangaroo Island
Ever wondered where Kangaroo Island is? It’s a short ferry-ride from Cape Jervis, at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula. And yes, there are roos, and lots of other incredible Australian wildlife. This unique island sanctuary has every part of Australia nestled in one place – it’s a true taste of Australiana. At Oceanview Eco Villas, open your door to wandering kangaroos. Watch sea lions sunbathing on the beach. Travel to the Remarkable Rocks, granite boulders carved into curious shapes by millions of years of water and wind. Or visit the Enchanted Fig Tree and dine under at 100 year old fig tree for a dining experience you’ll never forget. There is only one Kangaroo Island, and it’s right here in South Australia.
6. River Murray Dark Sky Reserve
Stargazers, this one’s for you. A dark sky reserve is a national park in the sky - one of the few places in the globe where you can see so many stars and a unique experience to South Australia. The only Dark Sky Reserve in Australia is located on the Murray River, and provides an area of land protected from light pollution. With the help of scientists on the ground during guided tours, you might even spot some constellations only visible in Australia. With lots of options for camping, or nearby town accommodation, this is a perfect short trip. If you’ve been wondering what to do near Adelaide, strap yourself in for this galactic adventure.
7. Swim with Giant Cuttlefish
The annual migration of the 'chameleons of the sea,' the Australian giant cuttlefish is a natural wonder that attracts crowds to the historic town of Whyalla every May to August. This is an excellent stop on one of the best road trips in South Australia - the Seafood Frontier journey. A world-class natural phenomenon only seen in South Australia from May to August, glass-bottom boat tours are now available and provide a perfect viewing platform for this colourful encounter. A great stop on an Adelaide to Eyre Peninsula road trip, you could even finish the trip with a shark dive!
8. Spend time in Australia’s only National Park City
Adelaide is the world’s second National Park City and Australia’s first, thanks to our city-centre being encircled by gorgeous parklands and a generous amount of suburban green space. It's not the only accolade our city boasts - with Adelaide also getting a nod in 2021 as the world's third most liveable city, moving up seven places to take the nation’s top spot from Melbourne. If you’re wondering what to do in Adelaide, Linear Park is an Adelaide must-see, complete with a walk by the River Torrens that snakes its way through the heart of the capital. Belair Conservation Park is just a train ride away and Morialta Conservation Park is a waterfall paradise. With such a commitment to rewilding, it’s no surprise Adelaide was also named by National Geographic as one of seven sustainable destinations for 2022. Who knows, the green lifestyle might make you want to stay a little longer.
Get a taste of South Australia...
South Australia boasts some of the greatest produce and flavours in Australia. Why not eat your way through Adelaide with our guide to the best restaurants in Adelaide for 2023.