Things to Do in South Australia - page 2
Established in 1844, Penfolds is perhaps Australia’s defining wine brand, and these Adelaide Hills vineyards are where it all began. Besides cellars, wine-making operations, and tasting rooms, the site is home to the original Grange cottage where the founders lived, an award-winning fine-dining restaurant, and an informal eatery.
This small island, just a short walk from Victor Harbor, gets its name from the huge granite boulders that dot its landscape. Granite Island (Nulcoowarra) may be of significance to geologists, but the island is perhaps most important to the indigenous Ramindjeri people, who believe it was formed by spears thrown into the water.
Today, visitors come to Granite Island to ride the horse-drawn tram and wander the hills in search of the tiny penguins that call this place home. An informative Penguin Center is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with twice-daily public feedings. The well-marked Kaiki Walk lets visitors loop around the island’s edge in an easy 40 minutes, and a handful of ocean lookouts prove also ideal for whale watching.
When most people think of chocolate they think European. Belgium, Switzerland—these are nations known for creating smooth and creamy pure cocoa treats. But Aussies know some of the most decadent chocolate pleasures are made at their very own Haigh’s Chocolates. Since 1915 this fourth generation, family owned company has been churning out candies that are worth the trip. From classic dark chocolates to new salted caramels, travelers can find a taste of Australia at one of the company’s retail stores—or watch production in action at the Haigh's Chocolates Visitor Centre.
This pleasant trail can be reached from city center, but its waterfront views, open fields and quiet surroundings lend a country feel that’s hard to find in most urban settings. Linear Park offers visitors an ideal setting for afternoon sunbathing, relaxing picnics, or even a dip in the River Torrens. The trail, which wraps past the Adelaide Festival Center, Convention Center and the local zoo, is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a recreational bike ride.
Home to the Parliament of the state of South Australia, Parliament House is a landmark of downtown Adelaide. Behind grand columns it houses the state’s two legislative chambers: the House of Assembly (lower house) and the Legislative Council (upper house). Designed as early as 1872, it wasn’t completed until 1939.
Some 400,000 customers flock to this shopping Mecca every week—including 85% of Adelaide’s international travelers. With 700 retailers it’s no surprise. Make a stop at the Adelaide Visitors Information Center, where friendly staff and a library of brochures offer up advice on what to do, where to go and what not to miss in the area. Next walk through Adelaide and Gays Arcade, where beautiful skylights line the ceiling. Retailers here were the first in the country to have electric lights, and locals believe six ghosts live in the arcade, including a caretaker who fell to his death repairing the generator that powered the lights.
Browse the shelves at one of the mall’s dozens of books stores before heading to Haighs for a famous chocolate frog. The fourth generation family owned business is an Australian staple, and has been whipping up its famous cocoa treats since 1915.
Enjoy local shopping at Raw Space and It’s a Gift (two of the mall’s most-visited stores) before heading taking some final photo ops with the Silver Balls (also known as the Malls Balls) and the bronze pigs. These two quirky works of public art have become Rundle Mall institutions.
Tucked away in the Adelaide Hills, the tree-lined lanes and historic taverns of Hahndorf have a distinctly Bavarian feel; so much so that the village has dubbed itself “Australia’s oldest German town.” Founded by German settlers in the early 19th century, Hahndorf displays its heritage in its culture, architecture, and cuisine.
Set in the Cleland Conservation Park, just 20 minutes outside Adelaide, Cleland Wildlife Park is home to a wealth of Australian animals, most of them roaming free. It’s possible to hand-feed native fauna, including kangaroos, wallabies, and emus, while the park offers up-close experiences with koalas, wombats, and more.
Urban areas aren’t usually known for their close proximity to waterfalls, but Adelaide offers a pleasant surprise with popular Waterfall Gully. Just 25 minutes outside the city, Waterfall Gully has hiking trails that lead to multiple waterfalls, the first of which, First Falls, is a very short walk from the parking lot. Continue up toward the second falls, and take in the scenery where koalas lazily hang in the canopy of gum trees.
The most popular hike in Waterfall Gully is following the trail for 2.5 miles up to the top of Mt. Lofty, where the mountaintop lookout has sweeping views of Adelaide and the coast. By joining a self-guided hiking tour, transport is provided from the center of Adelaide to the Waterfall Gully trailhead, where you’re free to make the climb to Mt. Lofty and enjoy the walk at your pace.
For a taste of new-world Adelaide, travelers make a stop at Rundle Mall. But for a look at the city’s historic past and contemporary culture there is no place better than North Terrace. The mile-long avenue passes by the art center, parliament house, national library, university and Botanical Gardens, as well as an iconic church from 1838 and a restored 1920s railway station. Large grassy fields and tall shade trees provide the perfect resting place for an afternoon picnic, while a number of pubs mean travelers are always within reach of a cold, refreshing drink.
More Things to Do in South Australia
The Art Gallery of South Australia showcases around 45,000 works of art spanning 2,000 years. Expect to see works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and a diverse array of art from around the world, including Rodin bronzes and contemporary pieces. The museum occupies a landmark neoclassical building in the heart of Adelaide.
Telling the stories of the migrants who came from all over the world to make South Australia their home, the Migration Museum provides fascinating insight into Adelaide’s rich history and cultural heritage. With respect for the indigenous people of this region, the museum also illustrates the impact of immigration on native Australians.
Australia’s longest river and a sacred place to indigenous communities, the mighty Murray River winds its way 1,558 miles (2,508 kilometers) through three Australian states. There are multiple ways—both on and off the water—to experience the river that runs through several Victoria towns and past striking South Australia landscapes.
The National Wine Centre of Australia introduces visitors to Australian wine, with a focus on South Australia. The outer shell of the building resembles wine barrels. Inside, visitors can take a wine discovery journey or an educational class, or indulge in food, a wealth of tastings, and one of the southern hemisphere’s best cellars.
One of the principal attractions of Adelaide’s Cultural Precinct, the South Australian Museum is devoted to the region’s natural and cultural history. The museum is best known for its impressive collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural items: the largest collection of its kind in the world.
Occasionally overshadowed by neighboring Adelaide Oval, the Gothic Revival spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide are an architectural landmark. The leading place of worship for the city’s Anglican community, it was built between 1869 and 1911 from local sandstone. English craftsmen contributed much of the stained glass.
Covering more than 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) and featuring more than 500 free-roaming animals, Monarto Zoo is Australia’s largest open-range zoo. Along with Aussie favorites such as wallabies and Tasmanian Devils, the zoo is home to Australia’s largest herd of giraffes, as well as lions, rhinos, cheetah, and meerkats.
Covering more than 124 acres (50 hectares) between the North Terrace and Botanic Park, the Adelaide Botanic Garden are among the city’s most stunning green spaces. With tree-lined walkways, water lily and lotus ponds, and flower gardens blooming with roses and dahlias, this is an idyllic place for a walking tour.
Set on North Terrace, the grand boulevard that forms Adelaide’s cultural heart, the State Library of South Australia (SLSA) occupies three spectacular buildings from different eras. Besides the architectural splendor of the Mortlock Wing, the library offers the full range of reference library resources, as well as exhibitions, free Wi-Fi, and a café.
A pocket of wilderness located at the western end of Kangaroo Island, the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places on the island to view native Australian wildlife in its natural habitat. The 247-acre (100-hectare) reserve stretches along the coast and offers ample opportunities for bushwalking, as well as beachside cabins to rent, a visitor center, and cafe.
Visitors can enjoy guided or self-guided walks, the most popular of which is the Koala Walk, a leisurely trail through the Eucalyptus forests, where it’s possible to spot wild koalas and enjoy a rare opportunity to admire the adorable creatures from afar in their natural environment. Guided nocturnal walks are also available and common sightings include kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, possums, and bats.
You would think that a beach voted “Best in Australia” would be a little more crowded than this. Serenely set along the southern coast of Australia’s Kangaroo Island, Vivonne Bay is one of the most scenic—and famous—beaches in all of Australia. White sand stretches out to the horizon and simply begs to be walked at sunset, and consistent waves crash on the shoreline in a fusion of turquoise and white. Playful dolphins and migrating Right whales can occasionally be seen swimming offshore, and the scent of the ocean wafts on the breeze as children splash in the surf. Even with all of its beauty, however, the long drive to the southern coast keeps the bay relatively empty, with long weekends and school holidays being the few exceptions to the rule.
Travelers staying in Vivonne Bay can pitch a tent just steps from the ocean at the popular Vivonne Bay campground, or share a romantic balcony with a view from the handful of coastal lodges. Watch as fishermen haul their catch from the rustic boat ramp and jetty, and for an up close encounter with island wildlife, stroll down the beach with dozens of sea lions along the neighboring Seal Bay shoreline.
In addition to being one of Australia’s most luxurious hotels, the Barossa Chateau sits on what is perhaps the country’s most well-known (and well-kept) rose garden, too. With some 25 acres of estate land, including 22 acres of gardens and five kilometers of scenic pathways, the Barossa Chateau offers travelers the perfect country escape.
Visitors can spend the morning wandering the beautifully landscaped grounds, then tuck into traditional high tea at the hotel’s classic restaurant. After stroll through the rose gardens, visitors can stop at the art and antiques gallery before sipping on a glass of fine wine from the Cellar Door. Finally, visitors can sink into lush beds with high thread counts after a long day filled with some of Australia’s most classic natural beauty.
Central Adelaide’s most important square, Victoria Square is known to the Kaurna people as “tarntanyangga” (red kangaroo dreaming). A special-events space and popular lunch spot for local workers, it’s home to statues, lawns, gum trees, and the 1960s Three Rivers Fountain. Nearby landmarks include St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.
Linking Adelaide city center to the historic beachfront suburb of Glenelg, the Glenelg Tram is a relic of a public transport network that once spanned the entire city. Attractive red heritage trams are available for charter and occasionally during special events, but almost all trams that run the scenic route are modern.
- 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 Melbourne
- Things to do in Yarra Valley
- Things to do in Hobart
- Things to do in Sydney
- 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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