It’s been several months since my 3 month journey around Australia by completely overland means, but I still havn’t even finished writing about half of it! I experienced so much, and in so little time.
People often ask me, what was my favourite part of the trip? It’s really difficult to answer that question. Australia is a pretty big country, and each state/ territory has it’s own unique identity and culture. So when asked that question, I usually break down my highlights by state.
South Australia Highlights
South Australia, like Western Australia, is one of those states which a lot of travellers to Australia miss. But for those who make it out here will be rewarded with a bunch of unique travel experiences, some of which are truly “off the beaten path.” Read more to find out what awaits you in South Australia….
Kangaroo Island is the best place to go if you want to visit an untouched area of Australia, which is full of wildlife and natural beauty, but also easily accessible from a major urban centre.
Kangaroo Island is accessible from Adelaide, and is a short bus and ferry journey away. You can rent cars on the island, which is the easiest way to get around. Highlights of the island include the sheer number of kangaroos you will see everywhere, local boutique wineries, rugged scenery, and amazing geological sites. Other wildlife that are easy to spot on the island include pelicans, little blue penguins, and seals.
South Australia is home to two of Australia’s fantastic wine regions. You have probably heard of the Barossa valley if you are a wine fiend. It is primarily known for its Shiraz, and is a short drive from Adelaide. A lesser known wine region in South Australia is the Coonewarra wine region which is famous for its full bodied Cabernet Sauvignons. This region is a little further away from Adelaide, and may not be day trippable, but it is a good place to rest your legs when driving the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide.
To read more about Australia’s lesser known wine regions, see our post here.
This is one place that I really want to visit, but haven’t yet had the opportunity. Coober Pedy is famous for its opal mining industry, and is located in the South Australian outback. We wanted to do a road trip out here, but just couldn’t find the time. One of the quirks of this small mining town, is that the majority of the buildings are actually built underground in order to escape the desert heat…. underground hostel? Sounds awesome right!?!
Port Lincoln is famous as being the best spot in Australia to go cage diving with Great White Sharks. These giant man eaters love the cooler water off South Australia, and can regularly be found in large numbers near Port Lincoln.
I get incredibly sea sick, and after my Western Australian whale shark experience, I decided to send my intern Lauren to visit the Great Whites.
Check our Laurens experience cage diving with Great White Sharks here.
Adelaide of course has to make the list, as the capitol city of South Australia. Adelaide is known for its genteel nature and has the reputation as the “city of churches.” Other than the large amount of large stone churches, another quirky thing about Adelaide is its wide streets. The reason for this is that the streets had to be built wide enough to allow a camel train to turn around – something that other Australian cities didn’t have to consider!
Some of the highlights of a visit to Adelaide include visiting the large permanent indoor markets. This is a great place to stock up on supplies or grab a quick bite.
Another great attraction is the Adelaide Zoo. This zoo is famous for its panda exhibit. This zoo is one of the few zoos in Australia which features foreign animals more predominately than Australian ones, and it was nice to see some more exotic “creatures” after getting overwhelmed by koalas at some other zoos.
And of course, Adelaide is your jumping off point for a visit to Kangaroo Island, the Barossa valley, and the famous Great Ocean Road.