South Australia is dotted with utterly breathtaking sights. Incredible natural formations and modern creations beckon at every turn, and pristine beaches like Rapid Bay and Second Valley dish up priceless photo ops against a backdrop of soaring hills.
Tuck into a fresh feed at a beachside restaurant. Discover why Eyre Peninsula is dubbed ‘Australia’s Seafood Frontier’ and sample oysters, fish, crabs, and more.
Located just 25 minutes by tram from Adelaide’s bustling city centre, Glenelg sits prettily along the coast and promises visitors a soothing dose of seaside charm. It’s a popular beach town for locals and tourists alike, where people come to relax on a soft sandy beach, browse boutique shops or dine at sidewalk cafes.
The area’s history is also evident in the many landmarks and attractions scattered throughout the suburb. For instance, the Wigly Reserve is home to a blowhole that shoots water into the air up to 60 metres high and is thought to be named from the Aboriginal word ‘kiaram-a’ (meaning ‘where the sea makes a noise’). Similarly, the heritage-listed row of timber terrace cottages in Collins Street have been restored and are now filled with craft and antique stores.
One of the most well-known attractions is Glenelg Beach, which sits beside a marina and offers an array of activities for families, couples and solo travellers. This includes swimming, surfing and sailing, as well as walking on the beach, building sand castles, eating lunch at a sidewalk cafe and playing games with the kids.
During the warmer months, this beach is the place to be, and you can expect it to be busy. During this time, deck chairs and cane lounges are set up around the foreshore and groovy tunes play on the stereo. There’s even a children’s playground for the little ones to enjoy.
If you’re hungry for some fresh seafood, head to Sammy’s at the Wharf. Here, you can enjoy 270-degree views of Glenelg Beach and Holdfast Marina while eating some of the most delicious seafood on offer in the state. The menu is packed with mouthwatering options including chilli crab pizza, grilled octopus and prawn saganaki, as well as seafood platters.
If you’re a photography buff, book a night time workshop with Adventure Art Photography in Glenelg to learn how to capture the stunning long-exposure water photos that are often seen on walls. This is an ideal way to add some extra flair to your Glenelg holiday photographs.
A sunny and inclusive city since King George fell in love with it in the 18th Century, Brighton offers an intriguing blend of modern culture and exotic architecture. You’ll find the iconic Royal Pavilion and a host of historic squares and crescents to discover in addition to an impressive array of restaurants serving everything from colossal bacon cheeseburgers to freshly caught seafood.
The town is positioned on the edge of the Fleurieu Peninsula and has the beauty of a classic seaside resort with cafes, antique and gift shops along The Strand. Feel the sand between your toes at Horseshoe Bay and Boomer Beach where swimming is permitted, or head to the cliff-top walking path for sweeping views of the ocean below.
Explore the fascinating history of the area at the Sea Life Centre, which is home to a vast collection of marine creatures including sharks, seals and penguins. Then, take in the natural spectacle at Wilpena Pound, a huge sandstone amphitheatre that’s as captivating at sunset as it is when the sun rises.
Located in the region’s heart is the UNESCO Heritage Site, Naracoorte Caves National Park, where you can walk through a series of limestone caves that hold an incredible collection of fossils. The park also hosts a number of specialty tours, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in paleontology and natural history.
South Australia’s beaches are a little different from those you might expect back home, with long stretches of soft white sand and crystal clear waters that glisten in the sunshine. And with plenty of recreational activities to enjoy on and off the water, it’s no wonder that this is one of the country’s most popular coastal destinations.
A quaint country town perched on the Fleurieu Peninsula’s southern coast, Port Elliot was built in the 1850s to be a major ocean port for shipping goods up the Murray River. Today, it’s a laidback holiday hotspot with postcard-worthy beaches and a collection of charming historic sandstone buildings surrounded by Norfolk Island pines.
Picture yourself lying back on a sun-drenched beach with the sound of waves crashing over your head. It’s the soundtrack to a million holiday dreams and the perfect way to fall asleep at night. At Boomer Beach in Port Elliot, the name is fitting – it’s a place where you can hear that whoosh of water as it rushes onto the white sand and crashes against the rocks.
The beach here is popular with surfers and those who like to spend the day poking around in rockpools. You can also swim in the clear waters or go fishing off the jetty. Alternatively, you could explore the rugged headlands and long sandy beaches in nearby Newland Head Conservation Park. The coastline is ideal for scenic walks, especially along Wiatpinga and Parsons beaches, or you could take on the Heysen Trail with its magnificent views of Kangaroo Island, The Pages and the Waitpinga cliffs.
Upon your return to Port Elliot, wander the streets lined with picture-perfect cafes and homeware shops. Take the opportunity to sample a few of the local wines from the region. You’ll find cottages, seaside abodes and modern apartments available for your stay, or you could pack up the car and hit the road to discover some of the region’s other highlights.
A short drive southwest from Port Elliot and you’ll reach Goolwa, which is renowned for its water sports and excellent beach or river fishing. Further south, the Byron Bay-esque Victor Harbor is a hedonistic seaside destination known for its restaurants, boutiques and cellar doors. You could even jump aboard the Cockle Train to travel between these destinations or to reach the stunning McLaren Vale wine region.
The third largest Australian offshore island, Kangaroo Island lies southwest of Adelaide and is a true natural treasure. With a richly diverse coastal environment, it is home to an abundance of native wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas. Over a third of the island is protected in nature reserves, offering visitors the chance to see native animals in their natural habitat.
The pristine landscape also hosts 45 plant species that are exclusive to Kangaroo Island, as well as endemic invertebrates and fungi and distinct island subspecies of birds and mammals. Visitors can explore the rocky coastline of the Remarkable Rocks at Flinders Chase National Park and admire the wild beauty of Seal Bay, where Australia sea lions surf the waves and bask on the sands, or watch penguins in their colony at Kingscote and Emu Bay.
Other natural wonders on Kangaroo Island include the soaring cliffs and arches of Admirals Arch, the rock pools at Kingscote and Emu Beach, and the tidal pools and lagoons at Pennyroyal. The rugged hills and gulleys of the Flinders Chase National Park are also home to wildlife, including the rare Australian savanna-fired lizard and the biome-restricted hooded plover and bush stone curlew.
For a unique experience, join an expedition inside the Flinders Chase National Park to spot the wonky semi-aquatic platypus. Originally hunted to near-extinction on the mainland, this strange mammal thrives in two Kangaroo Island rivers and is sure to be a highlight of any visit.
The island is also renowned for its cool climate wines, with several wineries open to the public. Dudley Wines overlooking Backstairs Passage is a great place to sample some local drops, and the new tasting room at The Islander Estate Vineyard at Cygnet River is open all winter.
Enjoy a glass of KI spirit at the Lodge Bar with a sunset drink, or relax with a glass of wine on the terrace at Grassdale, an historic island property where kangaroos and wallabies gather to graze and soak up the island ambience. Or take in the intriguing natural heritage of this wild island at Baudin Lounge, where a visual presentation hosted by resident naturalist staff offers insight into the discovery and natural history of Kangaroo Island.