Best Places to Visit in South Australia

Best Places to Visit in South Australia

South Australia features dramatic coastlines, vast wine lands and gorgeous beaches. Here are the top places you definitely must visit in this region.

South Australia is Australia’s most arid state. That said, it is also home to no less than 3,800 kilometres of coastline, vast wine regions and gorgeous beaches. All those places are located in the very south of the state, though, around Adelaide, its capital city, and along the coast. A couple-hour drive north from anywhere in South Australia will bring you to the outback—a place where red sand, rock formations and mountains ranges extend beyond a horizon vibrating from the heat.

With a couple of exceptions, most of South Australia’s major attractions are in the very southern regions of the state, as you will see in the following list of 10 top destinations in South Australia.

1. Flinders Ranges National Park

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Arguably one of the most impressive national parks in Australia—and that says a lot—Flinders Ranges National Park is a place of tall mountain ranges, arid plains, dried up riverbeds, Aboriginal heritage and huge numbers of classic Australian wildlife, from kangaroos and emus to brightly coloured parrots.

Also read: Top 10 Majestic National Parks in Australia

2. Adelaide

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Laid-back Adelaide is a city of parks, wide streets and a lively and energetic atmosphere. It is dotted with historic buildings and fantastic museums and flanked by hills in the east and beaches in the west. Unlike Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide wasn’t founded as a convict settlement and therefore not built by criminals. It prides itself for its history of freedom.

3. Nullarbor Plain

south australiaImage credit: Chris Fithall

An absolutely enormous semi-arid plain in the southwestern corner of the state, squeezed between the colossal cliffs in the Great Australian Bight and the Great Victoria Desert, the Nullarbor Plain is the largest limestone karst landscape in the world. Covering an incredible 200,000 square kilometres, the plain is crossed by only one road and one railroad, both offering remote journeys of epic proportions.

Also read: Top 10 Scenic Road Trips in Australia

4. Barossa Valley

Image credit: Graeme Churchard

The Barossa Valley, one of the world’s finest wine regions, lies only a two-hour drive outside of Adelaide. This vineyard-dotted region is home to more than eighty wineries, rolling hills, spectacular panoramic views and award-winning restaurants. It’s the perfect day trip from South Australia’s capital.

5. Port Lincoln

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Port Lincoln is on the coast of the Eyre Peninsula, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘seafood frontier’ of Australia. Many fine seafood restaurants are found all over the area, including Port Lincoln. However, what brings most visitors to this coastal town is its shark-infested waters. This is arguably the best place in Australia – or the world for that matter – to go shark cage diving, which is a fantastic and safe way to get up close to great white sharks. Additionally, you also want to go swim with sea lions or fish for bluefin tuna.

6. Fleurieu Peninsula

Image credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn

A relatively short drive from Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula summarises the best that South Australia has to offer. There are fantastic beaches suitable for both surfing and swimming, impressive coastal cliffs, pretty historic villages and the world-renowned McLaren Vale, a huge wine valley that is famed for its Shiraz.

7. Coorong National Park

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The 130 kilometre-long Coorong is a region on the South Australian southeastern coast. It includes the mouth of the mighty Murray River and is made up of lagoons, inlets and lakes, salt flats, and sand dunes and beaches. This is a less-visited destination, making it ideal for people who want a quiet vacation—and excellent place to go for head-clearing walks on the beach, or to go fishing, canoeing, bird watching and off-road driving.

8. Coffin Bay

Image credit: Robyn Jay

Coffin Bay is famous for two things: oysters and beaches. Located at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula, Coffin Bay offers astonishing views of white sandy beaches, expansive bays, picturesque waterways, sailboats bobbing in the calm ocean and long sand dunes. A rather quiet destination, it makes for the perfect beach getaway.

9. Kangaroo Island

Image credit: Peter

Australia’s third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island, Kangaroo Island features pristine wilderness areas, abundant wildlife and fun activities a short ferry ride from the South Australian mainland. The perfect place for a day trip, it is home to beautiful coastal scenery, rolling hills and bushlands.

10. Coober Pedy

Image credit: Benjamin Jakabek

Coober Pedy is one of the world’s unique towns. Situated in the heart of the outback in the far north of South Australia, this town is almost entirely underground. To escape the blistering desert heat, the town’s inhabitants have sought refuge in underground dwellings—there are churches, shops, houses and even hotels below ground level. Additionally, Coober Pedy is renowned for its precious opals. It is the self-proclaimed ‘Opal Capital of the World’, a title that’s most likely not far from the truth.

Also read: Amazing Day Hikes in Southeastern Australia

About Author

Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.