Do you have a bucket list you’re just itching to write on? South Australia is the place to start – at least if you’re considering a trip downstairs. Whether you are an international traveler exploring that world first, once in a lifetime experience or a local hoping to rediscover your state – South Australia will reward your surprise. Only in South Australia can you find a green city full of parks within driving distance to an outdoor mountain range and rugged beaches. SA is a place that boasts Australia’s darkest night sky, where hot springs quietly bubble up into the depths of the outskirts and gardens grow underwater. Read on to find out what South Australia is known for and the things you can’t or won’t see anywhere else.
1. Spend Time in Australia’s Only National Park City
Adelaide is the second national park city in the world and Australia’s first, thanks to our city centre, which is surrounded by gorgeous parkland and a generous amount of suburban green space. This isn’t our city’s only honor – Adelaide has also been approved as the world’s third most livable city in 2021, up seven places from Melbourne to take the nation’s top spot. If you’re wondering what to do in Adelaide, Linear Park is an Adelaide must-see, complete with a stroll along the Torrance River, which winds its way through the heart of the capital. Belair Conservation Park is just a train ride away and Morialta Conservation Park is a waterfront paradise. With such a commitment to rebuilding, it is no surprise that Adelaide was also named by National Geographic as one of the Seven Sustainable Destinations for 2022. Who knows, the green lifestyle might inspire you to live a little longer.
2. Shark Cage Diving
Face your fear and swim with the top predator of the sea. South Australia is famous for the invention of shark cage diving, becoming the first place in the world that you can safely see great white sharks in their natural habitat. In 1963 local man Rodney Fox survived a great white shark attack and it was this experience that gave rise to the idea. Mr. Fox invented a metal cage that allows divers to safely descend below the surface and come face-to-face with these giant 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 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? Watch Stories from the South episode, White Shark Whisperer.
3. Drink Wine in a Giant Rubik’s Cube
McLaren Vale is a place where rolling vines fall into azure waters and is a true mecca for vino-lovers. This renowned coastal wine region is located less than a 40-minute drive from Adelaide’s city center and offers an exceptional chance to taste a drop of Shiraz in a giant Rubik’s Cube. D’Arenberg Cube is one of the must-see places in Adelaide. Visitors are treated to five levels of wonder: a wine sensory room, a virtual fermenter, an alternate reality museum and wonderful art installations that create opportunities for the perfect selfie. Enjoy a morning swim at one of Australia’s famous beaches before it dries up and hit the road as you wind your way through a patchwork of vineyards.
4. Kangaroo Island
Have you ever wondered where Kangaroo Island is? It is a short ferry-ride from Cape Jervis to the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula. And yes, there are rosés, and lots of other incredible Australian wildlife. This unique island reserve has every part of Australia in one place – it’s the real taste of Australia. At Oceanview Eco Villa, open your door to wandering kangaroos. Watch sea lions sunbathe on the beach. Tour the remarkable cliffs, granite boulders carved into curious shapes by millions of years of water and wind. Or visit the Enchanted Fig Tree for a dining experience you’ll never forget. There is only one Kangaroo Island, and it is right here in South Australia.
5. Visit the Flinders Range, Australia’s Largest Outback Mountain Range
If you are looking for Adelaide road trip ideas, the Adelaide to Flinders Ranges road trip is a great way to get up close and personal with the pristine landscapes found in Wilpena Pound National Park. Once you get to Flinders, the Outback isn’t much. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is a great sightseeing spot – when the lake fills up during the rainy season, it is Australia’s largest lake and is considered an inland sea. When you’re feeling thirsty after a day behind the wheel, stop at the Prairie Hotel or an outback pub like William’s Creek. The Explorers Way is the first leg of the Adelaide to Darwin Drive and can be the start of an unforgettable journey.
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 world where you can see so many stars and an experience unique 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 can even see some constellations that are only visible in Australia. With plenty of options for camping, or accommodation in a nearby town, it’s a perfect short trip. If you are wondering what to do near Adelaide, then prepare yourself for this galactic adventure.
7. Swim With Giant Cuttlefish
The annual migration of the Australian giant cuttlefish ‘Chameleon of the Sea’ is a natural wonder that draws 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 Tour. A world-class natural phenomenon only seen in South Australia, boat tours under the glass are now available and provide a perfect viewing platform for this colorful encounter. A great stop on the Adelaide to Eyre Peninsula road trip, you can even end the trip with Shark Dive!
Get a taste of South Australia…
South Australia boasts some of the greatest produce and flavor in Australia. Why not eat your way through Adelaide with our guide to the best restaurants in Adelaide for 2022.
/Courtesy of SA Tourism. This material from the parent organization/author(s) may be of a periodic nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).