The state’s lush wine regions, rolling hills, pristine ocean and sultry laneways inspire epicurious adventures. From the slick dining venues that earn big thumbs up from Masterchef judges (George Calombaris for Shobosho and Gary Mehigan for Africola) to artisanal farm shops and cellar door experiences.
Discover how a blessed landscape and climate, culinary legends and world-leading research are putting the state on the global food map.
South Australia has a well-deserved reputation as an epicurious destination and it’s easy to see why. From luscious wine regions and crisp clean seafood to soft tangy cheeses and fine chocolates, there’s something for everyone in this diverse State.
The Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s most historic and renowned wine regions. The first vines were planted here in 1836, only two years after the establishment of South Australia as a colony. The Barossa has an international reputation for vibrant and intense red wine, particularly Shiraz. Its wines are full of dark fruit flavours and rich chocolate notes and are often highly structured, with hints of pepper.
Visitors can experience the Barossa Valley at many different places. Wineries such as Wolf Blass and Penfolds offer a range of experiences including wine tasting, cellar door tours and guided food and wine pairings. Other wineries have a family friendly vibe and are great for kids, with large lawns and playhouses as well as plenty of kangaroos. The onsite restaurants are also excellent and serve local produce.
A must-visit attraction in the area is the Whispering Wall, which has a peculiar effect – two people can stand at opposite ends of the wall, more than 100 metres apart, and talk to each other clearly. It’s a really strange sight and a fun thing to do for the whole family.
The region is also home to a variety of breweries and distilleries. At Maggie Beer’s Farm you can learn how to craft your own gin and take a tour of the distillery. Or you can sample some of the brews at Henkell Winery, which has an extensive collection of over 200 different wines.
There’s a thriving seafood industry in South Australia, with rock lobster and tuna among the world’s most sought-after ingredients. The State’s grain production is used to make high-quality pasta and beers, and its olive oils are popular around the world.
South Australia’s enviable reputation for quality products helps to drive tourism, which in turn benefits the local economy. To help support the industry, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) has a dedicated team that conducts trade missions all over the world.
South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is a nature’s playground of tranquil beaches and historic townships, world-class wine experiences, gourmet produce and charming hospitality. Only forty minutes from Adelaide, it’s the perfect spot to slow down and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, including tasting your way through one of Australia’s famous wine regions – McLaren Vale – or getting up close to local wildlife in Victor Harbor.
The town of Willunga is home to the Willunga Farmers Market and is a great place to stop for breakfast, lunch or a glass of wine before continuing along the trail. Stop at Bulahdelah’s Yeo Farm for organic lamb, Wootton’s Great Lakes Paddocks for wine and Angus beef or Palms Artisan Bakery for sourdough before finishing your self-drive tour at the Coastal Brewing Company in Forster.
There’s also plenty of accommodation in the area, from a variety of cottages and lodges to hotels and resorts. If you’re bringing the kids, there are a number of family-friendly activities, including a range of parks and playgrounds. The sweeping sandy beaches along the south coast are popular for swimming (although beware of hazardous rocks) and there’s a range of beachfront activities like kayaking, boating and fishing.
If you’re up for something a little more adventurous, take on the Onkaparinga Gorge Walk and see the region from a different angle. The dramatic cliffs of the National Park offer stunning views, and you’ll be likely to spot some local wildlife like kangaroos and birds.
A short drive from Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is the gateway to Kangaroo Island and offers a mellow Mediterranean ambiance. There are a series of scenic bays and rocky beaches, as well as rolling hills and vineyards with a stunning rural landscape. The coastal towns are all very picturesque, and there’s a range of attractions including wildlife parks, heritage centres, museums and galleries. Thrill seekers can take on the rugged coastline by walking, mountain biking and rock climbing, while there are also opportunities for horse riding, Coorong cruising, whale watching, and golfing. And of course, there are plenty of winery tours, cafes, restaurants and iconic pubs.
Located just 40 minutes from Adelaide, McLaren Vale is a wine region that couldn’t be further removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is home to a forward-thinking wine community that has helped to propel South Australia on the world stage of wine, and it is where you will find a variety of unique culinary experiences.
The area’s complex geography and climate make it a diverse grape growing region, able to produce many styles of wine from its vineyards. While Shiraz is its signature grape, the region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. More recently, Italian migrants discovered that the region’s Mediterranean conditions were perfect for producing their native grape varieties, so you can expect to taste some outstanding Barbera and Nero d’Avola alongside your wines.
With more than 88 cellar doors, it’s easy to find a winery that fits your tastes. A favourite is d’Arenberg, where you can sample an 11-course degustation menu with matching wine at the d’Arenberg Cube Restaurant, which is modelled after an unfinished rubik’s cube to represent the complexities and puzzles of winemaking!
If you’re looking for something less formal, head to the historic township of Willunga. Here you will find a small selection of boutique wineries and eateries. For instance, Hither & Yon is a cellar door set inside an 1860s butcher shop while Chalk Hill Wines has stunning views and a pizza oven. The Willunga Farmers Market is a good place to stock up on fresh local produce, while the McLaren Vale Wine Museum is home to an exhibition of artifacts from the region’s rich winemaking history.
The museum is also home to a fascinating photograph of Hartley Bagshaw, a former soldier who served in New Guinea during the First World War. The photo, which was taken when he returned home, is an amazing reminder of what McLaren Vale was like in the early days of its winemaking history.
The city of Adelaide is a treasure trove of culinary delights. You can find world-class restaurants serving up exquisite meals, boutique winery cellar doors that offer tastings of their renowned wines, and fun food and wine events like blending your own bottle or learning about vertical or library tastings. In fact, at any given time there are nearly a billion bottles of South Australian wine on tables and in cellars around the world with the state’s iconic logo on them.
The food and wine industry is one of the State’s most significant economic contributors – it employs one in five working South Australians and generates $18.2 billion annually. It is also globally recognised for its cutting-edge biosecurity standards, and high-quality fresh produce sourced from a pristine environment free of pests and diseases.
South Australia’s abundant harvest is a major part of what makes it such a thriving destination for foodies, with the State’s chefs and producers able to produce top-quality products thanks to a combination of a rich climatic and geographic setting, and centuries of hard work and innovation.
Embark on a culinary adventure with the State’s best chefs and producers to discover the very best local foods. Take a seafood safari on Kangaroo Island to sample freshly harvested oysters, or enjoy a scrumptious lunch of gourmet fare paired with wines from the Eyre Peninsula. You can even join an exclusive dining experience amidst the lush foliage of a giant fig tree in McLaren Vale.
South Australian food producers are at the forefront of innovation, with world-leading research by a range of government bodies and institutions boosting the quality and value of produce. The State’s flagship science and technology institute, SARDI, is a major player in the industry, producing research into crop and animal breeding, sustainable agriculture, winemaking and land management.
With so much to see and do, there is always something new to try on your South Australian food trail. Whether it’s an award-winning brew in a vineyard, fine dining in the heart of the city or a ‘tastestruck’ stroll through a region, you can experience the finest culinary heritage of the State with these great Adelaide food tours and trails.