7 Reasons to Visit Adelaide and South Australia

Published 01 July 2016

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin

Everyone’s got Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru high on their Australia wishlists, but what about South Australia? Inexplicably, this less-visited state and its capital Adelaide remain something of an enigma to many of those heading Down Under. But believe me, add South Australia to your itinerary and you’ll soon fall in love with the varied wildlife, top-class wines and the wild and wonderful scenery that graces the so-called Festival State.

Here are my top seven reasons why you should visit:

Rundle Mall pigs, Adelaide

Me and Oliver the pig

Shopping in Adelaide

The funky city of Adelaide is seriously underrated. There are pigs in the street: what more could you want? Seriously though, it’s a buzzing shopping haven, with markets and boutiques galore and some stylish architecture to boot. Foodies will be in their element on the famous ‘Eat Streets’, entire avenues dedicated to food. And those pigs aren’t actually real. No, Oliver, Augusta, Horatio and Truffles are the adorable porcine bronze statues found on Rundle Mall shopping street. And very cute they are too.

Glenelg, Adelaide, Australia

Ice creams on the beach in Glenelg

A short hop from Adelaide on a 1920s-style tram brings you to the charming seaside suburb of Glenelg, packed with galleries, museums and ice-cream parlours, reminiscent of a British seaside town. Quirky cafés and fish and chips shops line the golden-sand beaches, so, understandably, the prime activity here is grabbing a deck chair and a cold beer, ready to watch the sun sink down over the ocean. Glenelg is also home to a pod of wild bottlenose dolphins, so take a cruise out into the bay to see if you can catch a glimpse of these inquisitive creatures.

Barossa Valley, South Australia

Wine tasting in the Barossa Valley

A far cry from the hustle and bustle of Adelaide (although still within day-tripping distance), the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s most famous and iconic wine-producing regions. Churches and quaint farmhouses fleck the hillsides and neat rows of vines carpet the countryside, inviting you to sip Shiraz in the sunshine and learn more about the complex wine-making process. The legacy of the German settlers who first came here in the 1840s remains – you’ll find sausages, pretzels and sauerkraut popping up on the menus, while the brassy notes of oompah bands fill the air.

Clare Valley, South Australia

Wine tasting in the Clare Valley

Continuing the wine theme, the delightful Clare Valley is smaller and a little more personal than the Barossa Valley, and with fewer visitors it manages to retain an idyllic rural feel. Here in one of the country’s oldest wine regions it’s all about the Riesling. See what all the fuss is about on a cycling tour of the 40-or-so wineries, passing by old cottages, colonial mansions, art galleries and countless sheep as you go.

Remarkables Rocks, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Wildlife watching in Kangaroo Island

There’s a reason this wildlife-rich paradise is called Kangaroo Island – its resident Kangaroo population of course! Not only are plenty of the bouncy marsupials found here, but the island is also home to echidnas, wallabies, koalas and cockatoos, as well as over 260 species of bird. Furthermore, seals, sea lions and southern right whales frolic in the surrounding seas, and the island plays host to two colonies of the adorable little penguin. To top it all off, Kangaroo Island’s undulating surface is dotted with numerous intriguing geological formations, with the highlight being the iconic Remarkable Rocks (pictured), which visitors use to pose for imaginative holiday snaps.

Wilpena Pound, South Australia

Hiking in Wilpena Pound

A spectacular natural amphitheatre, Wilpena Pound is best appreciated from the air. For it is only on a scenic flight over the escarpments and gorges that you can appreciate the true scale of this geological wonder, formed by folded sedimentary rock. But if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, a hike among the ochre-red landscapes and jagged peaks of the Flinders Ranges National Park is the next best thing. If you keep your eyes peeled you might even spot a wallaby or an emu.

Coober Pedy, South Australia

Going deeper underground in Coober Pedy

The town of Coober Pedy, 525 miles north of Adelaide, is famous for two things: opals and dugouts. Opal mining has been a source of income for Coober Pedy since 1915 but, more recently, fascinated visitors have dropped by to see the aforementioned dugouts – deep holes built into the ground where the residents can escape the blistering heat, which can reach up to 45°C in the shade during the height of summer. Check into an underground hotel, tour the ornate underground Serbian Orthodox Church and dine in the underground restaurants for an insight into desert life.

Inspired to visit South Australia? Check out our South Australia in Depth Journey or chat to your Expert about adding South Australia and Adelaide to your Australia holiday.

You might also like:

All-Time Grapes: Discover Australia’s Ultimate Wine Regions

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Australia

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