Welcome to South Australia

3 friends dancing and laughing in the South Australian wineries

Dance, sing and laugh your way around the South Australian wineries. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

South Australia is known as the food and wine capital of Australia. It’s Australia's largest wine producer, with more than 16 wine regions and over 200 cellar doors to choose from. Each region produces its own unique and notable wines. Discover your favourite vineyards on your own or book a winery tour to the different wine regions.

South Australia is also renowned for its home-grown produce, cheeses, premium jams and preserves, and traditional delicacies like wood-oven breads, smoked wursts and olive oils. Be sure to visit the many farmers' markets dotted all over the state, and eat the freshest and most delicious produce straight from the vines and trees.

And before you think food and wine is all that's on offer, I promise you there's so much more. There's beaches, bushlands and all kinds of wildlife adventures. Each day is dramatically different from the last. Yesterday you were quaffing wines at the cellar doors. Tomorrow, you’re in the vast desert outback of the Flinders Ranges, and the day after, you’re swimming with dolphins and sea lions on Kangaroo Island.

 

a map of South Australia

Getting there: Get to Adelaide by plane, train or car. There's plenty of flights to Adelaide, and once you arrive, getting from town to town is easy. 

Adelaide has good public transport to get around the city. However, I recommend having a car to explore the rest of South Australia.

 

Visit Adelaide

a woman looking at the beach at Glenelg in Adelaide

Head to Glenelg in Adelaide. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and is like an abstract piece of art. If I had to describe Adelaide in three words, they would be ‘traditional’, ‘breathtaking’ and ‘quirky’. Breathtaking because of the gorgeous gardens and seaside towns;  traditional because of its architecture, museums and galleries in North Terrace; and full of quirky festivals such as Adelaide Fringe or WOMADelaide.

Adelaide is the perfect spot to base yourself so you can explore the many nearby and world famous Australian wineries such as the Barossa Valley, Claire Valley and Adelaide Hills.

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Visit Adelaide Hills

two little children picking apples at Beerenberg Farm in the Adelaide Hills.

Pick your own apples at Beerenberg Farm in the Adelaide Hills. Photo: Dan Schultz
 

Getting there: Adelaide Hills is 45 minutes drive east from Adelaide.

Welcome to food heaven. Munch your way through the Adelaide Hills. There’s apple and cherry orchards, all things berries, cheese and chocolate plus traditional German foods. Wash it all down with the local wines, beers, ciders or gins.

When you’re ready to walk it off, take a hike up Mount Lofty or wander through the gorgeous Botanic Gardens.

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Barossa Valley

2 friends sipping some of the world's best wines in the Barossa Valley.

Sip some of the world's best wines in the Barossa Valley.
Photo: Ian Routledge, South Australian Tourism Commission

 

Getting there: The Barossa Valley is one-hour drive North of Adelaide.

The Barossa Valley has European charm, 150 vineyards that produce some of the world's best wines, rolling hills and great open spaces.

A few ways to enjoy the Barossa are:

  • Wine tasting
  • Feasting on the Barossa's cheeses, smoked meats, and traditional German breads and pastries. 
  • Visiting the farmers market or Booking a cooking class
  • Checking out the local art galleries
  • Hiking, bushwalking or cycling through the vineyards
     
a man and woman enjoying a picnic at Maggie Beer's Farm.

Enjoy a picnic at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop.
Photo: Sven Kovac, South Australian Tourism

 

people sampling strawberries at the Barossa Farmers Market

Visit the Barossa Farmers Markets. Photo: Sven Kovac, South Australian Tourism

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Visit the Clare Valley

a couple cycling around the Clare Valley.

Cycle around the Clare Valley. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: The Clare Valley is 2 hours drive North from Adelaide. Hire a car or book a tour to the Clare Valley.

Head to the Clare Valley for some R&R. This is the perfect mix of quaint country towns, rolling hills, great food and wine, and a bit of adventure. The Clare Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine-producing areas, and has 50 wineries waiting for you to sample. Even better, many of them are small family-run wineries so you’ll get to meet the people who actually make this liquid gold.

  • Go wine tasting. There’s more than 50 wineries to choose from which means you’ll definitely find something to tickle your tastebuds. The Clare Valley is so world-renowned for its Rieslings, it has a 35 km Riesling trail. This Riesling trail has been converted from an unused railway line and leads to 32 different cellar doors. This is 100% car-free, so the only way to enjoy this magical trail is by walking or cycling. (It’s a 4.5 hour bike ride or 7.5 hours walk). That said, you can do shorter sections and loops.

My advice is to hire a bike, book accommodation along the trail, and enjoy three days of cycling through the vineyards, eating fresh produce from farm gates, and having a tipple at the cellar doors. A few wineries you may want to check out are Annie's Lane, Shut the Gate, and Crabtree. 
 

a short-beaked echidna in the national park in the Clare Valley.

Meet the local wildlife, including echidnas. Photo: Chris Bray
 

  • Visit Red Banks Conservation Park, which is the Clare Valley’s version of Jurassic Park. If you’d have visited here 65,000 years ago, you would have seen all kinds of megafauna (which is paleontology talk for really big animals.) 

  • Do the 'Landscapes of Change' walking trail which is a 5km loop and takes about 2 hours. But it’s not just about extinct animals. This is a great place to see the local wildlife including short-beaked echidnas, wombats, birds and western grey and red kangaroos.

  • The Arts Collective has 20 South Australian artists creating beautiful ceramics, sculptures, paintings, jewellery, and more, and all under one roof. The Clare Valley Art Gallery has gorgeous contemporary Indigenous art. 

 

Visit Fleurieu Peninsula

A couple who have stopped to have a picnic while cycling around the Shiraz Trail

Cycle your way around the Shiraz Trail. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: Fleurieu Peninsula is a 45 minute-drive South of Adelaide. 

This holiday spot has beaches, coastal towns, vineyards and farms. Go surfing, sailing or snorkelling, and meet the local wildlife - kangaroos, dolphins, seals, pelicans, sea lions and whales. 

Fleurieu Peninsula is the halfway point between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. I recommend spending a couple of days at Fleurieu Peninsula before driving 45 minutes to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island.
 

Taste the Fleurieu Peninsula 
  • This is where you’ll find the award-winning McLaren Vale wine region, breweries, distilleries, and all kinds of foody adventures.

  • McLaren Vale has over 100 cellar doors including Wirra Wirra, Primo estate, Down the Rabbit Hole, Doc Adams, and d’Arenberg. You can’t miss d’Arenberg, it has a huge rubiks cube in the vineyard. Apart from being an incredible outdoor art piece, it symbolises how complex winemaking is. Go inside the cube and discover a five-level wine experience that includes a tasting room, museum and restaurant.

  • Sample the local craft beer breweries. As far as the local brewers are concerned, making great beer is a vocation not a job.  Why not visit Goodiesons, Shifty Lizard Brewing, and the Steam Exchange Brewery.

  • There’s a few distilleries in the area so check out Fleurieu Distillery for a single malt whiskey in Goolwa. For a locally made gin, visit Encounter Coast Spirits or Settlers Spirits. 

  • Why not book one of the quirky food and wine adventures. If you love seafood, book an oyster farm tour and shuck your own oysters.

  • Walk or ride a bike down the 35 km Shiraz Trail. This trail is flat and uses an old railway corridor to take you past vineyards, paddocks and cellar doors. If you’re feeling fit, take the 35 km trail. Otherwise, enjoy the 8 km one-way walk that takes about 2.5 hours. For the ultimate foodie adventure, do the Epicurean Way road trip.
     

the d'Arenberg Cube in Fleurieu Peninsula

Visit the d'Arenberg Cube in Fleurieu Peninsula. Photo: Jason Watson
 

All things outdoors in the Fleurieu Peninsula

Swim, surf, fish or lay on the sand at one of the Fleurieu Peninsula beaches. For a little inspiration, we suggest:

  • Aldinga Beach, Sellicks Beach and Second valley for scuba diving and snorkelling.

  • Go surfing at Goolwa Beach or learn to surf at Middleton Beach. 

  • Go Horseback riding on the sand at Normanville

  • Enjoy swimming, fishing and water-sports on the family-friendly Horseshoe Bay or Maslin Beach. Heads up, Maslin Beach has a section dedicated to nudists.

  • Head to Coorong National Park and wetlands (at Goolwa) for bushwalking, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, 4 wheel driving and bird watching.

people horse-riding on the beach

Go horse-riding on the beach. Photo: Ockert le Roux

 

Visit Kangaroo Island 

Sea lions and seals lounging around on the beach at Kangaroo Island.

See sea lions and seals lounging around on the beach. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: Kangaroo Island is 30-minute flight from Adelaide. Otherwise, drive 2.5 hours south from Adelaide to Cape Jervis, followed by a 45-minute ferry ride to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. NOTE: You can take your car across on the ferry or hire a car when you reach the island.

You can do a day trip to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide but I recommend spending a few days there. Kangaroo Island is your chance to relax, get back to nature, and indulge in all kinds of delicious food, small-batch wines, beers and spirits. 
 

Sea lions lying on the sand at Seal Bay Conservation Park

See the sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park. Photo: Chris Bray
 

Explore nature’s wonderland
  • Kangaroo Island is the ultimate wildlife sanctuary to see native Australian animals and birds in their own habitat. There's no fences or enclosures, just colonies of penguins, fur seals, black swans, pelicans, koalas, kangaroos hanging out on the beaches, bushlands and cliffs.

  • Stroll along the boardwalk at Seal Bay and see the Australian sea lions basking on the white sandy beaches. If you’d like to swim and snorkel with the sea lions (also known as the "puppies of the sea"), book a cruise to Seal Cove. Seal Cove is where these gorgeous, inquisitive and very social animals live and play. 

  • Nearby (at Admiral Arch), you’ll see a colony of about 7,000 long nosed fur seals frolicking in the surf and basking in the sun. 

  • Wander through the bushland and you’ll see koalas sleeping in eucalyptus trees, short-beaked echidnas, Tammar wallabies, kangaroos, possums, birds and frogs.
     

the stunning birdlife at Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island

See the stunning birdlife at Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island.
Photo: Benjamin R Mitchell

 

Kangaroo Island food, wine, breweries & distilleries 
  • Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s youngest wine regions. It has 12 boutique wineries, a couple of microbreweries, and a gin distillery. Just a few winery suggestions are Bay of Shoal (try their Rosé or late-harvest Riesling); Dudley wines which is one of the first Kangaroo wineries; or Springs Road which is the newest kid on the block. As for microbreweries, visit Kangaroo island brewery and Drunken Drone to see how honey can create a unique flavoured beer. Up the road is King Island Spirits distillery that makes gin, vodka and a few liqueurs.

  • If gourmet food is your thing, you’ve hit the jackpot. There’s farm gates selling locally grown fruit and vegetables, honey, hand-crafted cheeses, ice cream and more. 

  • Head to the Oyster Farm Shop and see how they are farmed, shucked and served up on a plate for you. Feast on the southern rock lobsters, King George Whiting, snapper, and Giant King crab.
     

Art galleries

Kangaroo Island is a magnet for artists which I assume is because its beauty and tranquillity inspires creativity.  Visit the Kangaroo Island Gallery, Fine Art Kangaroo Island, or watch artist Neil Sheppard at work at Shep’s Studio.

Visit the Limestone Coast

a family touring the stunning Naracoorte Caves

Tour the stunning Naracoorte Caves. Photo: Mike Haines
 

Getting there: the Limestone Coast is 3.5 hours south-east of Adelaide.
 
Head East from Adelaide to the Limestone Coast. Enjoy beaches, caves, cliffs and irresistible local food and wine on the Limestone Coast.

A few things to add to your itinerary are:
  • swimming in the world-famous Blue Lake at Mount Gambier. This lake naturally turns a stunning blue every November to February. Afterwards, walk the 3.6km circuit around the Lake. 

  • Float around in the Pool of Siloam (near Beachport) - literally. This lake is seven times saltier than seawater so you can’t help but float on the top of the water. This water is also said to be therapeutic.

  • Go snorkelling or diving the crystal-clear waters of the Kilsby sinkhole, Ewens Pond or Piccaninnie Pond.

  • Take a guided tour through the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves, and see fossils that are 500,000 years old. There’s 24 caves but only four are open to the public. If you are craving more limestone caves, go cave diving at Engelbrecht Cave in Mount Gambier.

  • Taste the local wine. The Limestone Coast is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon, and there are over 40 cellar doors including Padthaway, Coonawarra, Mount Benson, and Mount Gambier.
     

the Big Lobster

Visit the Big Lobster. Photo: John Montesi, South Australian Tourism
 

  • Check out the Big Lobster – just because you can. Larry the Lobster has been standing in the same spot at Kingston since 1979, and joins the other BIG icons around Australia such as the Big Banana and the Big Prawn (NSW), the Big Pineapple (QLD), or the Big Crocodile (WA).

Visit the Murray River & Riverlands

 a paddle steamer going up the Murray River

Take a paddle steamer up the Murray River. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Getting there: the Riverland is 2 hours east of Adelaide.

The Riverland is full of outdoor adventures including camping under the stars, kayaking and fishing, bird watching and bushwalking.

Explore the mighty Murray River on a classic paddle steamer, houseboat, or for the more adventurous traveller, paddle a kayak or canoe. Why not drop a line and try your luck at catching a Murray Cod. This is just sport though...you have to catch and release to protect the fish population and regeneration.
 

three men fishing along the Murray River.

Go fishing along the Murray River. Photo: John Montesi

Bird watchers have the chance to see over 200 species of birdlife including White-plumed Honeyeaters, Fairy-Wren and Red-capped Robins. Chances are you'll also see koalas, kangaroos and the occasional echidna.

When you're done with adventure activities, enjoy the wineries and fresh produce. (The Riverland is Australia's third-largest growing area, with an abundance of oranges, limes, mandarins and lemons, olive oil and more).
 

local koalas on the Riverland

Meet some of the local koalas on the Riverland. Photo: Cathy Edmonds

 

Visit the Eyre Peninsula

a woman snorkelling and swimming with seals at Neptune Islands Conservation Park

Swim with seals at Neptune Islands Conservation Park. Photo: Tourism Australia


Getting there: The Eyre Peninsula is a 7-hour drive west of Adelaide.

If you haven’t guessed already, South Australia is abundant with fantastic food, wine and nature. So you’re not going to be surprised when I say that Eyre Peninsula follows the same theme except it adds diving with sharks into the mix.

The Eyre Peninsula has 2,000 km of coastline for you to explore which means you’ve got plenty of activities to include in your itinerary including:

  • swimming with playful sea lions and dolphins just off Port Lincoln

  • snorkelling or dive with giant cuttlefish at Whyalla

a person doing a shark cage dive with great white sharks at Port Lincoln

Dive with great white sharks. Photo: Calypso Star Charters
 

  • doing a great white shark cage dive at Port Lincoln.  Don’t panic – we don’t just throw you in the ocean and hope for the best. You board a cruise to the Neptune Islands. Before long the Great Whites start circling the boat. For the brave (or crazy), you climb inside a viewing cage and get lowered into the water to come face to face with Great Whites.

  • whale watching. Head to the Great Australian Bight Marine Park between July-October to see humpback whales frolicking in the ocean on the annual migration north. 

  • devouring the world-famous Coffin Bay Oysters. You can also do an oyster farm boat tour and see first-hand how they’re grown and shucked before meeting your plate.

​​​​

a couple learning to shuck oysters at Coffin Bay

Learn to shuck oysters. Photo: Jonathan van der Knaap, SA Tourism

  • exploring the Eyre Peninsula national parks.  Go hiking, mountain biking, 4-wheel driving or camping in the beautiful national parks. A few must-visit parks are:

    • Gawler Ranges National Park and hike the Organ Pipes Walk (1 hour) or the Waganny Campground Trail (1.5 hour).

    • Lincoln National Park where you can swim, fish, bird watch, whale watch and boat. Try beach fishing for salmon at Millers Hole or Salmon Hole. There’s also plenty of fishing charter boats to join while you’re in the Peninsula.

Yorke Peninsula & Flinders Ranges

a woman and her child fishing on Browns Beach

Go fishing on Browns Beach. Photo: John Montesi, South Australian Tourism
 

Head north from Adelaide and you'll find the Yorke Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges.

Getting there:

  • Yorke Peninsula is a 2-hour drive north of Adelaide
  • Flinders Ranges is a 5-hour drive north of Adelaide

The Yorke Peninsula has national parks, pristine beaches and coastal towns, making it a very popular holiday destination. You'll also be spoilt for choice with an abundance of locally grown foods and freshly caught seafood to feast on.

Head further north and you’re in the Flinders Ranges which is South Australia's outback.  Finders Ranges are over 540 million years and the state's largest mountain range. Explore the stony creeks, old mining towns, country pubs and abandoned farms owned by pioneers who escaped a harsh landscape. 
 

a family exploring the Remarkables in Mount Remarkable National Park

Explore the Remarkables in Mount Remarkable National Park.
Photo: Tourism Australia

 

Things to do in South Australia's outback
  • The “bling you” will need to visit the opal mining town of Coober Pedy. This is Australia’s mining capital. 

  • The “adventurous you” can trek, mountain bike, ride a camel, four-wheel drive out on the red dusty roads or national parks.

  • The “intrigued you” can meet the local Aboriginals – the Adnyamathanha people - and learn about their culture, see ancient rock art and enjoy some bush tucker. I highly recommend taking a tour with one of the local guides along the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail. 

  • The “nature-loving you” can explore the endless caves, gorges and forests, and the native wildlife including the rare yellow-footed rock wallabies and echidnas.

  • Add Wilpena Pound to your itinerary. This is a naturally created amphitheatre caused by millions of years of erosion. You can’t miss it – it’s a whopping 80 km2.

  • Another stunning feat of nature is the Remarkables (rocks) in the Mount Remarkable National Park. What can I say other than, they are remarkable!
     

people enjoying an off-road tour in South Australia's outback

Go off-road in South Australia's outback. Photo: Tourism Australia

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