The rugged wilderness, dramatic coastline and desert outback of South Australia stands out as a destination that is full of natural wonder and wildlife. But apart from capturing the hearts of adventurers and outdoorsy types, the region is also home to world-class wineries, historic towns, and a sophisticated art and culinary scene. These places to visit in South Australia show that it offers a little something for everyone. There’s even a fossil site appealing to history and archeology buffs. Wherever your interests lie, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. Here are some of the top attractions and places to visit in South Australia!
1. Kangaroo Island
If you want to see wild native animals like koalas, kangaroos and sea lions, Kangaroo Island off the Fleurieu Peninsula is one of the top places to visit in South Australia. Seal Bay is a must-see, as it’s home to the third largest colony of sea lions in the world. Visit Little Sahara for some thrills and spills sliding down a sandboard or toboggan. While you’re here make sure to check out the island’s incredible natural features, like the Remarkable Rocks. And don’t miss Admiral’s Arch, a sea cavern where fur seals play, and the beaches like Stokes Bay.
2. Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley is one of the world’s most acclaimed wine-growing areas, with over 150 wineries. Seven generations of winemakers have shaped this fertile land to become one of the top wine regions. You can tour the Barossa by bicycle, motorbike, car, or even take to the skies with a hot air balloon or helicopter. Check out wineries such as the 170-year-old Seppeltsfield and Shobbrook Wines, a renegade winery specialising in natural wine. Eat and drink your way through some of Australia’s best restaurants, wineries and cellar doors.
Adelaide sits on the brink of many South Australian natural wonders and it’s a great place to base yourself. It’s big enough to be fun, but small enough that it lacks the larger city vibes like Sydney or Melbourne. It is quiet and culturally diverse with a thriving arts and culinary scene, and consistently ranks as one of the most livable cities in the world. Make sure to check out its festival calendar to see what’s going on! It seems like there’s always something fun: music festivals, culinary showcases, sports events and more.
4. Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is a mining town and the opal capital of the world. The summers are so hot and the winters so cold here, many of its residents live in underground homes. Don’t worry – they’re a lot more comfortable than they sound. Tour Faye’s Underground Home, a dugout that was built forty years ago by three women. It even has a swimming pool! You can even stay in an underground hotel, or eat and drink at an underground restaurant and bar, making Coober Pedy one of the most unique places to visit in South Australia.
5. Eyre Peninsula
Eyre Peninsula is one of Australia’s least crowded and most ravishing coastal stretches. Here, you can snorkel with giant cuttlefish, go cage diving with white sharks or swim with sea lions at Baird Bay. It is also Australia’s major seafood hub, with 65 percent of the nation’s seafood coming from here. After your wildlife encounters, refuel with the freshest local Bluefin tuna, oysters, abalone, scallops, mussels, crabs and more.
6. Mount Gambier
Along the Limestone Coast, Mount Gambier is an extinct volcano with four beautiful crater lakes and amazing caves. Explore South Australia’s only World Heritage Site, Naracoorte Caves, which has preserved the world’s most complete fossil record for at least 500,000 years. Choose your adventure here. If you have young children, start with Stick-Tomato Cave or Alexandra Cave and check out Wonambi Fossil Centre. If caves make you nervous, you can do the Roof Top Loop Walk, where you can glimpse into the cave interior from strategic viewing platforms.
7. Flinders Ranges
Experience a taste of the true blue outback in Flinders Ranges. It hosts some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes, rich in Aboriginal history and a vast array of wildlife. Stay on a farm or cattle station, go camping in the desert and observe the arid landscape’s play of colors from pink to red to gold to orange. If you have a taste for the adventurous (literally), this is also a great place to try some bush meat and grills such as kangaroo, emu or even camel.