The Best time to visit South Australia

Kangaroo standing near vineyards in South Australia
Barossa Valley

Adelaide & South Australia by Season

South Australia’s climate varies considerably across the state, ranging from hot and dry weather in the north to wet and mild in the southern coastal regions and Adelaide. Despite Adelaide being the driest state capital in Australia, it still receives 540mm of rain per year on average, so it’s important to know the best times to visit so that you can plan your holiday accordingly. Here are our seasonal suggestions:

Jacaranda trees blooming in Adelaide

September - November

South Australia’s spring brings an explosion of new life and colour to the state. The sun’s out and temperatures begin to warm up again after the winter, making it a pleasant time to hike in Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges, or to try a nature walk in the Barossa Valley. The kangaroos, wallabies and koalas of Kangaroo Island start to give birth at this time, making for rather cute wildlife encounters.

Go for:

Barossa Gourmet Weekend: in early September, celebrate the first week of spring at a series of parties held across the Barossa Valley, serving up the very best of the region’s food and wine. 

Lower Lakes Stockman’s Challenge: in mid-September head to Strathalbyn for this three-day riding event involving whip cracking, stock handling, horse-shoeing and cross country.

A platter of seafood by the beach in South Australia

December - February

Don’t forget your sun hat because it’s hot hot hot here in summer. Although showers do occur, for most of the time the sun shines brightly in the sky and temperatures often hit 30°C and above, making this the perfect time to grab your swimmers and head for the beach. Al fresco dining takes off across the state, and is particularly appealing in the Barossa Valley, where you can spend those long summer evenings lingering over a bottle of wine.

Go for:

Australia Day: on 26th January, join the locals for various concerts, fireworks displays and a colourful parade through the city of Adelaide to celebrate Australia’s National Day.

Lights of Lobethal: the largest community Christmas display in the southern hemisphere, held since the 1950s, is filled with lights and festive family fun.

Autumn leaves in the Adelaide Hills

March - May

Autumn is a lovely season to explore Adelaide and the surrounding Mount Lofty Ranges . The leaves turn various shades of red at this time of year, days are bright and sunny and temperatures hover between 13 and 25°C. In the Barossa Valley, look out for the beautiful colours on the vine leaves and get yourself to Kangaroo Island to see the nesting fairy penguins.

Go for:

Tasting Australia: celebrate the abundance of fresh local produce at this annual event featuring food and wine masterclasses and held in various locations across South Australia.

WOMADelaide: held in March as part of a series of music festivals held all over the globe, WOMADelaide features arts, crafts, food, bars, music and dance from around the world.

Winter mists in the Adelaide Hills

June - August

With temperatures rarely dropping below 8°C, it never gets that cold in South Australia. Rainfall is more prominent in winter, especially in the Mount Lofty Ranges around Adelaide, and it may be a little misty outside, but you can always warm up with a glass or two of full bodied red in front of a toasty log fire in the Barossa Valley. Kangaroo Island is lush and green at this time, with plenty of animals to spot, including migrating southern right whales.

Go for:

Adelaide Beer & Barbecue Festival: in mid-July, this three-day event showcases the best of South Australia’s beers and serves them up with plenty of live music and a whole barbecued pig.

Whale watching: head down to Victor Harbor between May and October and look out for southern right and humpback whales, which come in close to the shoreline to feed. 


Top South Australia and Adelaide Journeys

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Round the World Expert Rachel Graves

Kangaroo Island is such a special part of Australia. I recommend not just visiting but staying overnight at the remote Flinders Chase Farm, cooking a meal around the camp fire and sitting under the stars.

- Rachel Graves, Expert