The Top Ten South Australia Tourist Destinations

Adelaide

The state capital is an unhurried metropolitan centre characterised by grassy parks, heritage architecture and a very laid back and friendly atmosphere. Built on the banks of the Torrens River, Adelaide has a diversity of attractions to offer tourists. Its beaches are pristine, and the sights and sounds of the Adelaide Hills are just a stones throw away.

The pick of the park is probably the Botanic Park, which abuts the Adelaide Zoo and runs alongside the river. Every year in the Botanic gardens next door the WOMADelaide Festival is held in March, so try and combine your trip with this stunning display of world music.

Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is the chief wine growing region in the state, and lying just over sixty kilometres from Adelaide it is an easily accessible tourist destination. A drive through the beautiful countryside will take you past some of the big name vineyards such as Yalumba and Wolf Blass.

Its a fun day spent touring the cellar doors and sampling the local produce, and there are plenty of restaurants in the valley too. Call into the Stuhl Conservation Park, and on the weekend dont miss the Barossa Farmers Market.

Every April the Barossa Vintage festival is held to celebrate the grape harvest.

Fleurieu Peninsula

Over the large expanse of this peninsula you can enjoy a diversity of landscapes and recreational activities. The fertile soils make it perfect wine country, and this can be seen at the wineries of Mclaren Vale.

The coastline has some beautiful beaches and rocky outcrops, with the town of Victor Harbour being the popular coastal resort.

Enjoy the beaches here, keep an eye out for migratory whales, take a tram across to Granite Island, or visit the Below Decks Oceanarium.

Wherever you go on the Peninsula, you wont be bored!

Coober Pedy

One of Australia's weirdest towns, Coober Pedy is known for a number of reasons. Its the opal mining capital of the world for a start, which explains its remote placement in the desert 850 kilometres from Adelaide.

Its also unique because to escape the heat 80 per cent of the population live underground in specially built dugout houses. Tourists can check into underground hotels and have a drink in an underground bar!

Coober Pedy is a great place to experience the wonders of the outback.

Kangaroo Island

Just a short hop from Cape Jarvis on the ferry, Kangaroo Island is a place full of natural beauty and wildlife.

Visit beautiful beaches such as D'Estrees and Pennington, and enjoy staying in one of the numerous camping spots or in towns such as Kingscote, Penneshaw or American River.

A tour around the Flinders Chase National Park is essential, and will take you to amazing spots such as Remarkable Rocks and Snake Lagoon.

There are a number of lighthouses worth visiting too, such as the one at Cape Willoughby.

Flinders Ranges

200 kilometres inland from Adelaide lies the ruggedly beautiful ancient landscape of the Flinders Ranges. Hop into your hirecar and head up to Port Augusta, the gateway to the Ranges.

The most beautiful town in the Flinders is Hawker, and from there you can enter the National Park and visit such attractions as the Wilpena Pound and Rawnsley Buff. If you fancy an adventurous walk then the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail is just for you!

Wherever you go, the break from civilisation will refresh and invigorate.

Mt Gambier

400 kilometres south of Adelaide, Mt Gambier has some beautiful geological features in its surrounding limestone landscape. It is most famous for its lakes, especially Blue Lake, which during the months of November and March turns a vivid blue through a chemical reaction.

There are other limestone features in the town such as the Umpherston Sinkhole and Engelbrecht Cave, and nearby lie the Naracoorte Caves. Here you can visit the aptly named 'Bat Cave' home to thousands of bent-winged bats.

Clare Valley

This is the ultimate rural getaway, your ticket to picture perfect country Australia. Its abundance of wineries produce an Australian Riesling that is world renowned, and why not pop into the Sevenhill Wine Cellars to sample a drop.

It is run by Jesuit priests and has a unique history. You can also visit old copper mining towns such as Burra and Kapunda, the latter which is now famous as the set of TV show Mcleods Daughters.

To embrace the fresh country air go for a walk or a cycle down the Riesling Trail, a famous 25 km track.

Yorke Peninsula

A picturesque ninety minute drive from Adelaide and you get to the Yorke Peninsula, a destination with a very Mediterranean feel to it. Kadina is the largest town here, and a good place to base yourself and explore the sandy coastline from.

To experience natural beauty in its element visit the Innes National Park on the South West of the Peninsula- its a bushwalkers paradise.

Troubridge Island is also worth a visit, as is Leven Beach. Fishing, surfing and bird watching are some of the most popular pastimes in this region.

Adelaide Hills

Just outside Adelaide, the quiet beauty of the Adelaide Hills has been the inspiration for many an artist over the years, and its easy to see why. The thick bush and the stunning views have made it one of the favoured tourist destinations in the state, and the distinct German flavour of small towns like Hahndorf make it a diverse and interesting region.

There are numerous artist galleries around, such as 'The Cedars', the original studio of Hans Heysen. Accommodation is plentiful as well, ranging from the budget to the luxurious.

Gavin Wyatt

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