South Australia and Adelaide
There is so much to see and do when you travel to South Australia. With an area larger than Texas and over 21% of the state dedicated to National Parks and Conservation areas, there is an amazing diversity of landscape. From the stark red soil of the Outback in the north and west, to Kangaroo Island in the south, and with 2,300 miles of coastline, wine producing areas, opal mines, and rivers and lakes in between, it is easy to find something to interest you.
The capital of South Australia, Adelaide, surrounded by parklands, was built in a grid pattern, with wide boulevards, large public squares and the joke is that nothing is more than 20-minutes away. A walking city, it is easy to explore the sights and smells of the Central Market, the cricket grounds at the Adelaide Oval, the trendy North Terrace, the arcades of Rundle Mall, the zoo, Botanical Gardens and much more. Take a 20-minutes tram ride to the beach town of Glenelg where you can enjoy a delicious fish meal overlooking the ocean. Twenty minutes in the other direction will take you to the quaint Adelaide Hills, where you can look for arts and crafts in the small country towns. Adelaide is said to have more restaurants than any other city in Australia. With everything from modern Australian cuisine to Russian, Argentinean, Middle Eastern and Malaysian food, the choice is endless with over 700 restaurants.
The wine regions are one of the main reasons why people travel to South Australia. Adelaide Hills is a newer wine area, whereas the Barossa Valley, the most famous, has some of the oldest Shiraz vineyards dating back to the 1840’s. McClaren Vale, with 45 vineyards, produces some of the best Chardonnay in Australia. While small in size, the Coonawarra wine region produces some of the most famous Australian labels with red wines constantly being ranked among the best in the world. The Clare Valley originally developed by Jesuit priests making altar wine and the original vineyard is still around. Even with all these vineyards there are over 600 pubs in South Australia. They are as popular for the drink as the historic architecture, the food and conversations at the bar.
The Flinders Ranges is an area of dramatic beauty – peaks and gorges strewn with gorgeous wildflowers and amazing species of wildlife - that is said to be one of the oldest landscapes on earth. The well-photographed and stunning natural landmark, Wilpena Pound, is popular for scenic flights, bushwalking, 4 wheel drive adventures and rock art. Nearby, in the town of Arkaroola, you will find a huge telescope for viewing the brilliant night time sky.
For those who like Opals, Coober Pedy is where 70% of the world’s opals are produced. Situated in the middle of the desert, it is possible to stay in the world’s only underground hotel.
For being the driest state in Australia, it is an anomaly that there are a large number of lakes and rivers. Whether Lake Eyre which becomes an instant lake when it rains, remote waterholes surrounded by date palms, or a river boat steaming down the scenic Murray River the choices are yours. Plus with 2,300 miles of coastline, you can dive to see the elusive sea dragon, swim with sea-lions, enjoy whale watching, charter yachts, or just relax on the gorgeous beaches.
Kangaroo Island, the third largest island in Australia, is also known as Australia’s Galapagos. A short distance from Adelaide, this popular destination might be the highlight of your South Australia vacation. Kangaroo Island is home to some of the most pristine wilderness areas, spectacular scenery and abundance of native animals.
With no shortage of culture activities, Adelaide offers many great museums and galleries. With the huge commitment to Aboriginal culture, you will want to visit the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute or the Art Gallery of South Australia with the impressive collection of Aboriginal dot painting. South Australia is also known for its large number of festivals and events. From Arts Festivals, Music Festivals, major Sporting Events, to, naturally, Wine Festivals there is something all year.
The diverse landscapes with an amazing variety of activities to experience, the abundance of native animals and the influence of the wine industry, makes travel to South Australia a highlight on any itinerary.