South Australia is filled with spectacular natural attractions and pristine lands. You can cellar hop in Barossa Valley or cycle between vineyards and churches in the Clare Valley. Lose yourself in Adelaide's sprawling green parklands and visit the picturesque German village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. Dive into shipwrecks and Aboriginal history on the Yorke Peninsula, and explore the fossil-rich Naracoorte Caves on the Limestone Coast.
See pink pelicans wheeling through the sky at Reeves Point and sea lions lying on the rocks at Cape du Couedic. Seal Bay is home to a colony of Australian sea lions that can be observed from a boardwalk or up close with a ranger. Watch packs and pairs of little penguins make their nightly pilgrimage to the shore in Penneshaw or from Kingscote Wharf. Fish from the historic jetty at Emu Bay or join a fishing tour from American River. Load up on fresh produce—from Ligurian honey to free-range chickens and eggs—and wine produced by 30 growers from Cape Willoughby to Kingscote. Stay in a restored lighthouse keeper's cottage at isolated Cape Willoughby on Dudley Peninsula. Swim on secret beaches at Stokes Bay and surf at Vivonne Bay. Dive through shipwrecks and with leafy sea dragons from American Beach. Take a scenic drive to the underground caves of Kelly Hill Conservation Park and the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park.
Admire the elegant colonial architecture and browse museums and libraries along North Terrace. Shop up a storm at Rundle Mall or sample the fresh produce from Adelaide Central Market. Embrace the alfresco ambience of Rundle Street in the East End or explore the exotic, bustling food halls of Chinatown. Swim with dolphins in vibrant Glenelg and fish from the jetty in Henley. Bike ride in Elder Park and row past rose gardens in Rymill Park. Picnic in sprawling Botanic Park, where the international music festival WOMADelaide is held. Explore the museums, markets and historic harbor of Port Adelaide or see heritage buildings and colorful summer sideshows in family-friendly Semaphore. Browse the world's largest collection of Aboriginal antiquities at the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery or take a cultural tour of Adelaide Botanic Gardens with a local Kaurna guide.
Visit world-famous vineyards such as Yalumba, Seppelts, Penfolds and Two Hands and sample quality, local produce on the Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail. In the nearby heritage town of Gawler, you’ll find stone churches, galleries and museums set against rolling hills and manicured vineyards. Take a tour of historic wineries and boutique breweries. See artisans at work in one of the many studios or buy some of the region’s famous handicrafts. Of course, nothing beats a long lunch under the gum trees with a bottle of one of the region’s flagship wines, Barossa Shiraz or Eden Valley Riesling.
Drive to the Adelaide Hills, where the picturesque farmlands and charming villages have inspired many generations of artists. Stay in Bavarian-inspired chalets and browse the bakeries, craft shops and galleries of Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German village. Visit The Cedars, once the gracious old home and studio of famous landscape artists Sir Hans Heysen. Sample jams, pickles, chutneys, mustards, marinades and sauces at the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm or buy fresh-fruit and vegetables from a roadside stand. Then hit the markets of Lobethal, a fairytale town which celebrates Christmas with miles of colorful lights.
Walk or cycle the 25-kilometer Riesling Trail between vineyards and restaurants, past green hills, churches and classic stone buildings. Taste sacramental wine made by Jesuit priests at the cellar door in Sevenhill. Drive the Heartland Heritage Trail to lovingly-restored heritage towns such as Burra, Kapunda and Mintaro, where you can tour the stately Georgian mansion of Martindale Hall. Learn about the region’s pastoral history with a stay at Bungaree Station in Clare. Explore the Aboriginal history of Two Wells or see old steam trains in Gawler, South Australia’s oldest country town. Explore the restaurants, cafés and pubs of the gourmet haven of Auburn. Buy country produce from the colorful markets in Sevenhill or take a cooking course at Thorn Park.
Swim with sea lions at Baird Bay and snorkel with giant cuttlefish near Whyalla. For a real adrenaline rush, go cage diving with a great white shark south of Port Lincoln. Spot southern right whales in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park between May and October and sea-lions on the rocks at Point Labatt Conservation Park all year round. Visit the natural salt lakes of Lake Newland Conservation Park, a haven for hundreds of wetland birds. Visit an oyster farm in Cowell, fish from Ceduna and Coffin Bay or join a deep-sea fishing charter from Whyalla. Head inland for the colorful volcanic rock, shimmering salt lakes, wildflowers and native wildlife of Gawler Ranges. Four-wheel drive further into the Nullarbor Plain—the vast, treeless plain that fascinates anyone with an explorer's spirit.
Stay in the outback town of Hawker and spend your days exploring the rugged, majestic Flinders Ranges. Walk to the rim of Wilpena Pound, a huge natural amphitheater, or soar over it on a scenic flight. Hike to the top of Parachilna Gorge on part of the Heysen Trail. See fossils in ancient sea beds at Brachina Gorge and Aboriginal art at Arkaroo Rock. Explore the area’s pastoral past at Wilpena Pound Station. Deeper in the desert, you can search for opals in the quirky underground town of Coober Pedy or in the frontier town of Andamooka. Drive the Oodnadatta Track along a traditional Aboriginal trading route and the old Ghan railway to salty Lake Eyre. Or take the Strzelecki Track past awesome desert landscapes and scenic wetlands such as Coongie Lakes and Dalhousie Springs. Keep in mind this is remote country, so a four-wheel drive and thorough preparation is essential.
Dive or snorkel with leafy sea dragons from the jetty at Rapid Bay. Swim through the sunken engine room and turrets of the ex-HMAS Hobart in a dive off Yankalilla Bay. Watch migrating whales and waddling little penguins in Victor Harbor. Swim and boogie board from Horseshoe Bay in Port Elliot, where you can also bike ride or walk the top of the cliffs. From Goolwa, you can chug down the Murray River or canoe past wetland birds in the Coorong’s shimmering, shallow lagoons. Walk on the white sand of Goolwa, Cape Jervis, Christies and Middleton Beach, where you’ll also find great fishing and surf breaks. Visit wineries, almond orchards and art and craft galleries in the McLaren Vale wine region.
Hire a slow-moving houseboat from Mannum or Renmark. Or take in the sandstone cliffs, giant red gums and weeping willows on a luxury cruiser or historic paddlesteamer. Stop for a picnic at Sturt Reserve at Murray Bridge or a pub meal in Tailem Bend or Swan Reach. Go waterskiing, jet skiing, canoing and sailing at Lake Bonney, near Barmera. In Murray River National Park, you can stay in Berri or Lyrup and canoe through the bird-filled backwaters of Loch Luna, Chowilla/Ral and Katarapko Creek. Cycle along the scenic East Front Road and follow the Rail and River Walk from Murray Bridge. Four-wheel drive and spot endangered malee fowl in Ngarkat Conservation Park. Visit the Loxton Historical Village, peek into the past at Morgan Wharf or see the birthplace of the Black Duck Dreaming with a Nganguraku Aboriginal guide.
Marvel at the Blue Lake of Mount Gambier, which in November changes from steel-gray to a brilliant turquoise blue. Discover the fossil deposits and spectacular scenery of the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves, where you can view a bat cave under infra-red. Get up close to hundreds of wetland birds and learn about Aboriginal history as you canoe or sail along the lagoons and waterways of the Coorong. Snorkel and cave-dive in the spring-fed limestone ponds of Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, or in the crystal-clear water of Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park. Walk down Australia’s longest jetty and float in the salty Pool of Siloam in the pretty port of Beachport. You can fish, dive, windsurf and sail from the picturesque crayfishing town of Kingston and holiday haven of Robe.