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10 Unique Getaway Gems to Discover around South Australia

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, South Australia. Photographed by hlphoto. Sourced via Shutterstock

South Australia, it’s time to explore your own backyard!

How does a holiday under a rock sound? Or picnicking in a sink-hole? If you’re wondering what to see or do in South Australia, then these are just some of the unique experiences you could enjoy.

These 10 unique experiences are unmissable for anyone visiting South Australia – but the locals may also be missing out, too. And considering the past few months of adversity, it’s high time to love your own state.

So, come on! Pack up the car and let’s set out on a worthwhile holiday.

Sampling the Explorer’s Way

You can still have an epic and unique Australian road trip through the heart of South Australia without making the full 3000-kilometre journey to Darwin. Along the famed Explorer’s Way, travellers will be able to step outside the confines of Adelaide city to Clare Valley and onto the Flinders Ranges via Port Augusta. This road trip takes you past a few of the other unique experiences on this list if you fancy ticking off a few, but in itself is an unforgettable journey for any tarmac adventurer.


Sip on Adelaide’s finest wine

It’s locally termed as “The Epicurean Way,” a road trip that seamlessly links together the four iconic wine regions of McLaren ValeAdelaide HillsBarossa and Clare Valley – it’s a journey not available anywhere else in Australia! A superb array of wines, picturesque scenery and local produce all come together harmoniously on this four-day food and wine drive. For your visit we’d recommend visiting some of Adelaide’s most world-renowned wineries including d’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield, Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, St Hugos, The Lane Vineyard and Wirra Wirra.


Picnic in a sinkhole

While Mexico is well known for its cenotes (or sinkholes), you can also find them right here in South Australia. Head down to Mount Gambier along South Australia’s limestone coast and find the Umpherston Sinkhole. Also known as “The Sunken Garden”, this beautiful oasis is definitely something that has to be seen to be believed. Other notable ‘sinkholes’ include Hell’s Hole, Caroline Sinkhole and Kilsby Sinkhole. More than just holes in the ground, these plunging gardens and aquatic formations each have their own distinctive features and plant life, unlike anything else in Australia.


Stay underground

If you’re after a one-of-a-kind outback experience, head to what may be Australia’s most unusual town: Coober Pedy. With much of the opal-finessed city built underground, you’ll find many attractions hidden beneath the hot surface of the South Australian desert, including local homes (some have even been used as movie sets), an opal museum, a Serbian church and even the Desert Caves Hotel. There’s plenty to discover above ground too such as the vivid colours of Painted Desert!


Hop across to Kangaroo Island

No other Australian state or territory has an island off the coast that is large enough to be its own country. And thankfully, on Kangaroo Island there are a plethora of activities to sink your teeth into, from vineyards and distilleries, honey farms, predatory bird sanctuaries and even a wildlife park. On top of this, there are many wonderful retreats to sleep in, including Cliff House and Mercure Lodge. But while you’re here, be sure to offer some much-needed economy to the locals who have braved the recent bushfires!


Enjoy Adelaide from a gondola ride

One unique attraction in South Australia doesn’t require a road trip to get to. Experience a Venice-style afternoon with Adelaide Gondola, traversing the River Torrens. Packages can include a fancy glass of bubbles while you and your lover sink into the stunning backdrop of Adelaide. There are various pickup points along the river, and it’s a perfect alternative date night idea. Or even an accompaniment to a future wedding!


Climb over the Adelaide Oval 

For a truly one-of-a-kind experience in Australia, climb atop the sails of the Adelaide Oval. Gain a wondrous birds-eye perspective of one of Australia’s greatest stadiums, whether by day, twilight or under the twinkles of starlight. On top of this, you could even have some of the best seats in the house to an upcoming game all whilst perched 50-metres above the turf. The tour atop Adelaide Oval also comes with expert commentary, telling you the vibrant history of this daredevil stadium experience.


Eat true wildlife at the Prairie

Australia might be the only country on the planet that actively eats its national emblems, the kangaroo and emu. And that’s not because we’re silly, but because there’s A LOT of them. Most especially kangaroos. Which is why, at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, you can feast on unique wild animals while sipping tasty locally-made wine or beer. We recommend their FMG (feral mixed grill), featuring kangaroo fillet, emu mignon and camel sausage with red wine native pepper leaf jus and a chef’s choice of vegetable matter.


Camp on the Yorke Peninsula

Innes National Park is a three-and-a-half-hour scenic drive from Adelaide and is located at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula. Reclaim the family-fun and pitch a tent at the Cable Bay Campground to watch the sunrise over the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park. Nearby are the rusty remains of the wreck of the Ethel for an educational experience, as well as the glorious Cape Spencer Lighthouse.


Witness desolate beauty

There is no greater feeling than standing at the edge of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and gazing out at the vast expanse of near-nothingness. A powerful perspective that will make you feel very small in comparison to the size of the country! This salt lake gleams in various colours throughout the year, with its water levels bobbing up and down regularly. Interestingly, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre fills up completely only twice in a century.


Are you ready to explore more of what this beautiful Australian state has to offer? Take a road trip to South Australia’s bushfire-affected towns. And if you’re not keen on long road trips, check out our top 10 must-visit places in Adelaide.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land mentioned in our article and we recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

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