Explore Regional South Australia
Kangaroo Island, which lies across the mouth of Spencer Gulf to the south of Adelaide, is one of the best places in Australia (and without doubt the best place in South Australia) to see Australia’s native wildlife and flora. On land there are kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypus, goannas and birds of every shape and size (255 species, many rare or endangered); in the surrounding ocean there are seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales (in season) and little penguin. The coastal scenery is superb and the island is big enough to never feel crowded, even in peak holiday season.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island (after Tasmania and Melville Island). It has become a popular holiday place for South Australians and its main settlement, Kingscote, on Nepean Bay, is linked by a regular air service to Adelaide and a vehicle/passenger ferry service to Cape Jervis at the foot of Fleurieu Peninsula.
Though Australia’s first wineries were located on the outskirts of Sydney, NSW, it was the wineries started by 19th Century German settlers in the Barossa Valley that put Australia on the world map as a producer of fine table wines. All the big name brands have wineries there – Seppelts, Penfolds (producers of the iconic Jacobs Creek wines), Orlando, Yalumba, Wolf Blass and Peter Lehmann – among lesser known brands, offering winery tours, tastings and cellar door sales. A bi-annual week-long Vintage Festival draws visitors from all over the world and has entertainment for all tastes including a huge street parade, concerts and gourmet dining.
Location: 70 km north-east of Adelaide. How to get there: by road, either Main North Road (A20) to Sturt Highway via Gawler and the Barossa Valley Way, or via Lower North East Road (A10) through Chain of Ponds in the Adelaide Hills to Williamstown in the southern Barossa.
The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s leading wine regions. The most important white variety is Riesling, with the Clare Valley regarded as its Australian home. Principal red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
The Clare Valley Region today hosts a vibrant, diversified rural community and economy. The delightful rolling hills create beautiful landscapes, dotted with wonderful stone buildings. The Region attracts many discerning tourists, both domestic and international, who delight and relax in the friendly environment. Major attractions include the unique, boutique wineries and cellar doors, treed landscapes that can be easily accessed on The Riesling Trail (walk or cycle), the fine stone buildings and homes, and the excellent local cuisine. Regular markets create opportunities to mix with the locals and immerse yourself in unique activities.
The picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula is located 30 minutes south of Adelaide in South Australia. With its central highlands and coastal fringes, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers wine, wildlife and water in delightful abundance. Wildlife presents itself to the visitor throughout the year. Little Penguins return to nests on Granite (Penguin) Island every evening of the year.
Being a peninsula, water plays a major part in the recreational activities of locals and visitors alike. Long sandy beaches, rugged cliffscapes, and sheltered coves introduce a range of year round holiday activities that include fishing, surfing, scuba and snorkelling, sailing and swimming. Winter migrations of the Southern Right whales are seen along the coastlines of the Peninsula, particularly along Encounter Bay. Winter and springtime wildflowers and orchids delight the keen observer.
The area known as The Riverland is located on the Murray River in South Australia, and extends from Renmark to Waikerie. The river, which flows 650km through South Australia, is central to the success of the region, it provides a natural resource for irrigation, a playground for tourists, and a natural environment for the native flora and fauna. The major horticultural products grown are in the Murray Riverlands are wine grapes, oranges, lemons, stone fruit, almonds, with increasing plantings of olives. Berri boasts the largest winery in the Southern Hemisphere, oranges and other fruit are juiced and stone fruit are dried using the natural heat of the sun.
Whether your idea of fun is to relax on a leisurely cruise (by canoe, paddlesteamer or houseboat), explore the backwaters and by-ways of Australia’s greatest river or simply drop a line and enjoy the fishing, the Murray is one of Australia’s best inland destinations for a holiday. The region is sprinkled with historic river towns which can be explored either by car or on the river itself.
The area to the south east of Adelaide is often referred to as the Limestone Coast. Forged over 26 million years by the primal forces of the ocean and the movement of tectonic plates, the area’s landscapes are diverse – from coastal lagoons in the north, to volcanic craters and mountain lakes, such as the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier in the south, to the terra rossa’ soils of the Coonawarra inland, which have provided the ideal environment for producing world class wines.
The limestone after which the region is named not only visible in the jagged coastal seascape, but inland in the spectacular caving sites at Naracoorte. The region has gained a reputation in recent years as a culinary delight which is complemented by a relaxed, friendly lifestyle enjoyed by the locals.
The Central and Mid North region takes in the Clare and Barossa Valleys, the central wheatbelt, the eastern section of South Australia’s Copper Belt and the Southern Flinders Ranges. With the exception of Burra’s copper mining heritage and the region’s two major wine regions – the Barossa and Clare Valleys – the points of interest in this area are not well known and in the main are less obvious. But for those willing to take to the intricate network of back roads that criss-cross the region, there are some wonderful villages, ruins and abandoned settlements with long-forgotten stories to tell, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Contained within approximately 563km of coastline to the north west of Adelaide, Yorke Peninsula stretches officially some 241kms, from Cape Spencer in the south through to Port Broughton in the north and separates the Spencer Gulf (to the west) from the St. Vincent Gulf to the east. At its widest (at Arthurton), the Peninsula is only 48km from coast to coast and this narrows to 32km down south. Around 12,000 people live on Yorke Peninsula in 12 main towns and 33 townships.
It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch – but such is not the case on Yorke Peninsula. Here you can stroll in the shallows to catch blue swimmer crabs by the bucket-load, dive for crayfish and scallops just off-shore, or throw out a line for garfish, tommy ruffs and King George whiting.
With a landscape that varies from harsh semi-desert in the north to pretty seaside towns on the rugged west coast and southern parts, Eyre Peninsula offers visitors the opportunity to savour the Australian outback without leaving good paved roads, or having to travel too far away from the comforts of civilisation.
The peninsula boasts some 1600 km of spectacular coastline, much of it on the Great Australian Bight and open to the Southern Ocean. The scenery here changes dramatically as one travels south, from quiet beaches in the north, to stark, wind and wave-eroded red cliffs near Streaky Bay to the dramatic crevasses of the peninsula’s tip where the Southern Ocean pounds the headlands.
South Australia’s Outback is one of the world’s truly unspoilt areas. The region is easily accessible from Adelaide and features vast dramatic landscapes; deserts as far as the eye can see, gleaming salt lakes and endless red sandhills. The Outback beyond the coastal strip is very hot for more than half the year and rainfall is uncertain. However there are permanent springs, palm trees and, when it does rain, a riot of wildflowers spring to life.
Stopping for a cold beer and a chat with the locals in an Outback pub is a truly Australian experience. Many of the pubs date back to the nineteenth century, when they played an important role in the lives of the early settlers who opened up the interior of Australia. Most Outback pubs serve more than beer, many offering good, basic meals and hospitality. Some are now famous for their more sophisticated and imaginative Outback cuisine.
The Flinders Ranges is Australia’s most accessible Outback area. Being only three hours drive north of the state’s capital, Adelaide has the easiest access of any capital city to the Australian Outback. The Flinders Ranges, a major part of the South Australian outback experience, has been named one of Australia’s outstanding national landscapes – recognised as an emotionally uplifting destination, where adventure, spirituality and tranquility co-exist. The Flinders Ranges and Outback provides a dramatic departure from the hectic pace of big cities.
Most notably, the region features the majestic natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound, a lost world located inside a giant stone crater. Surrounding the northern Flinders Ranges is a series of vast lakes which fill only after heavy rain, normally appearing as shallow depressions with salt or clay encrusted surfaces. The largest of these, Lake Eyre, is 15 m below sea level and is fed by intermittent rivers flowing from the north-east, creating one of the largest areas of internal drainage in the world. Lakes Gardiner, Frome and Torrens are to the south of Lake Eyre.
When the Industrial Revolution was in full swing in 19th century England, machinery was at a premium and this meant a shortage of metals. Major English, Scottish and Welsh companies turned their sights on South Australia after a rich belt of copper was found. Its exploitation not only satisfied the demands in England, but brought much needed revenue to a colony close to bankruptcy. The legacy of those activities lives on in the former mining towns of Yorke Peninsula and the South Australian Wheatbelt.