Things to Do in South Australia
Glen Forest Tourist Park is a 400-acre outdoor playground with activities for the entire family. The main attractions are of the four-legged variety; kangaroos, wombats, dingos and koalas are just a few of the many species at home in the extensive animal park, along with abundant bird life that resides in the area’s many natural spring-fed waterways. In the animal nursery, it’s hands-on fun as kids learn to feed and cuddle the newborn wildlife.
Other family activities include an 18-hole mini golf course, off-road Segway rides and widespread picnic areas. There are also 80 acres of vineyards, which produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay varieties for the Lincoln Estate label.
People come to America to watch baseball and they go to Australia to watch cricket. The Adelaide Oval, located in the parklands between city center and North Adelaide, has been home to two teams, as well as the South Australian Cricket Association. Built in 1871, lights were not added to this 54,500-seat stadium until 1997.
The Adelaide Oval is an ideal spot for catching both international and domestic cricket, as well as Australian rules football games, rugby and soccer. The stadium has also proved a successful music venue, with acts like Paul McCartney, Madonna and Michael Jackson taking the stage.
A scenic boardwalk leads to the viewing platform for Admiral’s Arch – the naturally formed rock bridge that towers above colonies of New Zealand fur seals.
Originally an ancient cave, Admirals Arch has been shaped by the intense winds and surf that pound the coast of Kangaroo Island. Stalactites still hang from the rocky ceiling whilst the floor has been eroded to a smooth finish. The Arch has been designated a geological monument, and is one of 27 geological monuments on the island.
The boardwalk runs along the cliff face, providing uninterrupted views of the ocean. Dolphins can often be spotted, and whales migrate along the coast from May to October. Year round entertainment however, is provided by the colony of fur seals that live and play on the rock platforms beneath the cliff. Pups are born in December, and remain with their mothers for a year, playing in the rock pools under the Arch.
McLaren Vale is an area just outside Adelaide towards the coast which is renowned for the wine it produces. With 76 cellar doors to visit, it's worth spending at least a day exploring, if not a weekend. And it's not just wine, the local foodies are passionate about what their kitchens produce.
When you've eaten and sipped your fill, there are many other things to do including bushwalking, heading to the surf beach, following the Art Trail, going fishing, horse-riding, cycling or just sitting on a cliff watching the sunset.
One of the major attractions of Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay Conservation Park is the home of the rare Australian Sea Lion.
The Conservation Park contains numerous attractions, such as the Bales Bay Picnic Area, which provides the perfect lunch spot with picnic and barbeque areas. A short walk from the Picnic Area is a lookout offering views of Cape Gantheaume where migrating whales can be seen swimming offshore from May through October. A short drive from the Picnic Area is the Bales Bay beach.
The true attractions of the park however, are the sea lions. A tour is the best way to learn about the sea lions, and to see them up close. Guides take visitors to the colony, relating information about the sea lions, their behaviour, and their conservation. The Seal Bay Experience tour is run several times a day, allowing visitors to walk among the sea lions and marvel at these amazing animals up close. Be sure to bring a camera to capture every moment!
Covering the Western end of Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park is one of Australia’s most diverse wildernesses. Boasting an intricate network of trails and boardwalks, the park showcases both natural and historic sights. Popular experiences include visiting the wind sculpted Remarkable Rocks, or the Admirals Arch which stretches over the powerful ocean that shaped it. Also located along the coastline is the Cape Borda Lightstation. Explore by yourself or take a guided tour of the lighthouse and cemetery – the midday tour includes the firing of a restored signal cannon.
The Flinders Chase Visitors Centre provides extensive information about the park, including the best places for wildlife viewing. A colony of New-Zealand fur seals lives on the rocks surrounding Admirals Arch. The Breakneck River Hike offers prime bird watching opportunities, whilst the shorter Platypus Waterholes Walk crosses the habitats of platypus, wallabies, geese, echidnas and goannas.
Sure, Kangaroo Island might be a “zoo without fences” thanks to the abundant amount of wildlife, but to guarantee sightings of these curious critters, the Parndana Wildlife Park is your best bet for viewing these animals in action. Set smack in the middle of Kangaroo Island, visitors are able to cuddle with koalas or get up close and personal with wombats, or marvel at rollie-pollie, spiny echidnas as they curl into little brown balls.
There are over 1,500 animals on this 10 acre compound—many of which have been orphaned—and visitors to the park have the chance to witness these animals being nursed back to health. Grab a coffee from the park’s café after playing with a baby koala, or photograph the bright, brilliant blue feathers of a flightless cassowary. Families with children have the opportunity to hand feed kangaroos, and the park is a playground of wildlife adventure on one of Australia’s wildest islands.
More Things to Do in South Australia
The highest point in the aptly named Mt Lofty Ranges, Mt Lofty is a luxurious place to get sweeping views of Adelaide and out onto the Indian Ocean.
The views aren’t all there is to Mt Lofty. A comprehensive visitors centre, shop, and fully licensed café are situated on the mountain’s summit, giving visitors information on the area, a place to shop for souvenirs and a beautiful place to eat lunch. Mt Lofty isn’t just about views – even if you can see all the way out to Kangaroo Island on a clear day. Though only a short drive from the CBD, the area around Mt Lofty is covered by bushland. Mt Lofty is surrounded by the Cleland Conservation Park on one side, and hosts its own botanic garden in which visitors can see a host of native Australian plants and the wide variety of birdlife that is drawn to them. Getting off the summit, hiking and mountain biking are popular ways to take advantage of the mountain’s relative wilderness.
Lighthouses hold a romantic allure that regular buildings can’t muster, and the blinking light on the cliffs of Cape du Couedic is about as romantic as lighthouses come. Squired away on the southwestern cape of rugged Kangaroo Island, this light was commissioned after two passing ships met their ultimate doom on the rocks.
When visiting the windswept Cape du Couedic, you’re likely to be sharing the wave-battered rocks with colonies of wriggling fur seals. The Cape is part of the Flinders Chase National Park that occupies the western tip of the island, where shipwrecks, seals, and the sound of silence form the coastlines history and future. It’s only a short drive to Admiral Arch and the rock formations along the coast, and oceanfront boardwalks invite a relaxing stroll along the cliffs of the salt-battered coast.
500 million year old granite has been shaped by the elements to create the intriguing formations that are the Remarkable Rocks. Perched on a large granite dome that drops abruptly to the crashing surf, the Remarkable Rocks are changing even today. Information boards display pictures of the rocks from the 1800s alongside current photographs, as well as detailed information on the weathering process.
The Remarkable Rocks have been weathered into strange and unique shapes – many visitors enjoy picking out familiar objects in the formations, such as giant chairs and hooks. Enhancing their beauty are the colours in the granite uncovered as the rocks are worn down – blues, blacks and pinks play across the surface of the rocks.
The first Aboriginals to walk Australia’s forests discovered the power of eucalyptus oils. In addition to its trademark, earthy aroma, the oils contained in the eucalyptus leaves can naturally bolster health. Once the Australian continent was settled, eucalyptus oil became the nation’s first export and the global source of the product. Today, however, diluted sources from other nations dominate the global market, and the original eucalyptus oil industry has seen a steady decline into obscurity.
Here on Kangaroo Island, however, South Australia’s only eucalyptus distillers still operate out in the bush. With rusting relics scattered about the property and an eccentric taste of the outback, the family-run Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery still churns out the sweet-smelling elixir. Learn the ways that the oil is extracted from the narrow mallee leaves, and the healing benefits the oils can have for aiding wounds or illnesses.
One of the most popular scenic overlooks in the Barossa Valley, visitors to Menglers Hill Lookout can take in bird's-eye views of the region’s expansive vineyards and rolling hills. The nearby sculpture park, which sits at the foot of Menglers Hill, offers travelers a whimsical, playful look at the works of nine artists who visited the area in 1988. Visitors say this picturesque peak is the perfect place for snapping scenic photos or escaping into the quiet and quaint rural countryside on a trip to Barossa.
Since 1844, Penfolds Barossa Valley Winery has been offering travelers access to a wide variety of wines, luscious tastings and idyllic vineyard views. And while strong pours of favorite vintages are a treat for visitors, it’s the Make Your Own Blend Tour that lends this age-old vineyard the air of something new. After touring the grounds and exploring the Cellar Door, travelers enter the winemakers’ laboratory and use popular grapes, like Grenache and Shiraz, to blend their own wines to bottle and take home.
Kangaroo Island is known for its wildlife, but honeybees usually aren’t part of it. At the fascinating Clifford’s Honey Farm, however, hives of pure blood Ligurian bees create a strain of honey that is so tantalizingly sweet it has becomes a staple of Kangaroo Island. Sample honey that has been carefully collected from the world’s only purebred Ligurians, and savor the famous honey ice cream that draws visitors from the mainland and beyond.
More than just pleasing to the taste buds, however, a visit to the farm provides an intriguing insight to the complex social structure of bees. Learn the way they interact in the hive and the intricacies of the honeybee hierarchy, and watch as honey is collected from hives and bottled for visitor’s enjoyment. And while it might not have the same level of “wilderness” as the rest of Kangaroo Island, the swarms at Clifford’s Honey Farm might become your favorite animals of the trip.
This favorite mid-size South Australian vineyard was built in just five months back in 1980. Since then, its luscious red and white wines have been celebrated both locally and internationally, and its true family farm feel has been welcoming visitors for generations.
After learning touring the grounds and learning about the practice of wine making, travelers can saddle up to the Weighbridge—now known affectionately as Peter’s Bar—for a taste of Peter Lehmann’s bold Shiraz. Growers have been gathering at the Weighbridge after a long day’s work since the vineyard first opened. Today visitors can join them in the same age-old tradition, too.
Remember the days of buying your fresh fruit and vegetables direct from the people who grow it? The thrill of bargaining, and buying according to what's in season, with a recommendation of what's best tasting at the moment and how you should eat it? You can still experience that at Adelaide Central Market.
For 140 years this market in the heart of the city has been providing residents with fresh produce. Over 80 stalls selling direct from the producers, include fruit and vegetables, meats and seafood, bakeries, cheeses, small goods and plants and flowers. There are cafes to rest in with a coffee or snack after an invigorating session of bargaining.
The mighty Murray River as it is known, is the longest river in Australia, rising in the alps of the Great Dividing Range, and forming the border between Victoria and New South Wales before entering South Australia and finally emptying into the Indian or Southern Ocean. It is 1,476 miles long and passes through several lakes, some of them now quite salty due to drought and the intensive farming all along the river's length.
Once a major route for trading, it is now a favourite place for recreational boating and fishing, but the river is in danger from salinity and drought. In recent years it has carried less than 40% of its natural flow. Near the river's mouth in South Australia is a beautiful lagoon area called The Coorong, a national park and sanctuary for birds, animals and fish. Nearby is Lake Alexandrina, a fresh water lake where Hindmarsh Island has salt water from the sea on one side and fresh from the lake on the other.
Around 1,800 exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish reside at the 8-hectare Adelaide Zoo, comprising 300 species. Major attractions include the Southeast Asian rainforest exhibit, Immersion, a walkthrough jungle environment where tigers and orangatuns feel within reach. Also the giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi!
Opened in 1883, it is Australia's second-oldest zoo and the only not-for-pro fit zoo in the country. Many of the structures are National Trust registered although these, such as the elephant house, these days are used for educational exhibits while the animals have moved to more natural environments. There is a Children's Zoo where you can pet animals including kangaroos and koalas, and the Envirodome, an education/interactive center.
- Things to do in Adelaide
- Things to do in Victoria
- Things to do in Tasmania
- Things to do in New South Wales
- Things to do in Ballarat
- Things to do in Great Ocean Road
- Things to do in Melbourne
- Things to do in Yarra Valley
- Things to do in Burnie
- Things to do in Queensland
- Things to do in Northern Territory
- Things to do in Western Australia
- Things to do in South Island
- Things to do in North Island
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