South Australia

If you spend too much time in the Australian Outback, you might end up a bit gone, which is polite way of saying you are insane.

South Australia is the south central part of the Australia. It covers an area of 984,377 sq. km (380,070 sq. mi.). South Australia is referred to the Festival and Wine State. (Over half of Australia’s wines come from South Australia.) South Australia became a British colony in 1836 and joined Australia in 1901.


Adelaide started out as a planned capital for South Australia and, in its design, focused on stone architecture and parkland, making for a elegant city today.

In keeping with South Australia’s reputation for festivals, Adelaide hosts The Adelaide Festival of Arts, held every second year, focuses on opera, classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance and more. The Adelaide File Festival is a recent edition in 2002. The Adelaide Fringe started in the 1970s in reaction to the then overly conservative Adelaide Festival of Arts. The Adelaide Festival of Ideas was first held in July 1999 and explored the themes of reconciliation; ethics and the law; democracy, survival and cooperation. The Royal Adelaide Show features everything from carnival rides to attractions to handicrafts to cookery as well as a wide variety of champion livestock and animals.

Museums in Adelaide include:

  • South Australian Museum, which is famous for its natural history
  • The Migration Museum, which covers the history of various cultures that have made Adelaide their home.
  • The Maritime Museum
  • Investigator Science & Technology Centre raises the awareness, understanding and appreciation of the role of science and technology.
  • Old Adelaide Gaol, where you can learn about penal history from 1841 to 1988.

Glenelg is a Scottish name that happens to be a palindrome (spelled same backwards as forwards). It is also a suburb of Adelaide with the city’s favourite beaches. Key attractions include:

  • A nostalgic 1929 Tram from Adelaide, the only operational city tram in service.
  • HMS Buffalo is a majestic replica of the sailing ship that brought the early settlers to Holdfast Bay.
  • Proclamation Trail: an historic walking trail noting historic sites between the Bay Discovery Centre and the Old Gum Tree.
  • Partridge House: a Tudor style home built in 1899.
  • The Pioneer Memorial: a tribute to the early settlers of South Australia.

Fleurieu Peninsula

This is south of Adelaide – worth a day trip – noted for the McLaren Vale wine region. Cape Jervis is the southern point, from which Kangaroo Island can be reached by Ferry. Kangaroo Island was the original landing point that preceded the forming of the colony of South Australia. It is Australia’s third largest island and is home to a sub species of the western grey kangaroo.

Barossa Valley

The region’s appeal derives from European peasant farmers and English free settlers who selttled in Barossa Valley in 1850s. Make sure to try German wursts and cakes in heritage bakeries while following the Barossa’s Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail. There are about 500 grape growing families, which include tiny boutique wineries as well as the more globally known Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass. A peculiar activity is the Whispering Wall, near Williamstown. The wall is a perfect ellipse (built in 1902) and allows whispered words at one end to be heard 140 m (about 400 ft.) away at the other end.

Adelaide to Port Augusta

This mid-north part of South Australia is the agriculture area for the state and known for the three w’s of South Australia: wheat, wool and wine. The Clare Valley produces good wine. Small towns that have kept their centuries old layout can be ‘discovered.’ Burra is an example of a copper mining town from the 19th century with Burra Mine and Enginehouse Museum, which includes the world’s only reconstructed Cornish engine house and an excavated tunnel with access to the pumping shaft.

Adelaide to Melbourne

The scenic route in the south-east section of South Australia is the Princes Highway, which runs along the coast. Check out Coorong National Park. It is The 50,000 ha (123,500 acre) Coorong National Park was declared in 1966 to conserve the distinctive coastal dune system, lagoons, wetlands, coastal vegetation and diverse birds, animals and fish that live in or visit the park. The Coorong is also an archeological site with middens (a fancy term for trash left behind) and burial sites that provide evidence of Aboriginal occupation over thousands of years.

Naracoorte is a large-ish rural town famous for its Museum and Snake Pit, which is privately owned, and includes a diverse collection of exhibits: a butterfly collection, a coin collection, a bottle collection, a display of gemstones and fossils and, of course, a large collection of snakes and reptiles.

The Murray River is the largest river in Australia and forms the boundary between New South Wales and Victoria. It provides drinking water for Adelaide and shares a similar history to the Mississippi River in the U.S.A. Before train lines were built, The Murray River provides routes for paddle wheelers to pick up and deliver supplies. Small towns such as Berri, Loxton, Barmera and Swan Reach all owe heritage to The Murray River.

Yorke Peninsula

This popular holiday destination is a 90 minute drive from Adelaide. The Yorke Peninsula is home to historic lighthouses, including the Troubridge Island lighthouse (1855) – the first cast iron Australian lighthouse. Museums cover nautical and agricultural history. The Yorke Peninsula is good for scuba diving and snorkelling because of unspoilt ocean waters and varying habitats (sandy beaches, reefs, islands) that provide a lot of and diverse species of fish and crustaceans.

Eyre Peninsula

This triangular peninsula is contained by the Gawler Ranges in the north, the Great Australian Bight to the west, and Spencer Gulf on the east. The main towns are: Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta and Whyalla. The area is noted for its rugged coast and opportunities to see the endangered southern right whale, sea lions, eagles and other of natures’ wonders.

Flinders Ranges

Although only 220 km (136 mi.) from Adelaide, this mountain range inspires the Outback feeling. The best way to orient yourself to this huge part of South Australia is to visit the Wadlata Outback Centre. This centre helps you understand the origins of the Outback, the Aboriginal Dreamtime, and pioneer settlement.

The balance of South Australia is true Outback and this is the home to opal mining, which is biggest in South Australia. Opals are made of silica (a silicon and oxygen compound) and water. Their not-quite crystalline nature allow for light to reflect in desireable ways. Coober Pedy, which is 535 km (332 mi.) north of Port Augusta and situated on the Stuart Highway, is a well known Outback town. Coober Pedy is best known for its unique underground living. You can explore and stay in authentic underground homes as well as underground museums, potteries, opal shops, an art gallery and mines.