SOUTH AUSTRALIA – WHY GO?
Lifestyle is king in South Australia. Just north of Adelaide is the Barossa Valley –renowned as Australia’s wine capital – where you can stay in a relaxed country homestead and enjoy the best of the region’s wines and food.
In fact there is a great drop to be had which ever way you head in SA. Clare Valley is where the bush meets the vines and the Rieslings are hard to beat. Picturesque McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills are home to talented young wine makers, while Coonawarra country has more big reds to try as well as million-year-old limestone caves.
South of Adelaide, a short ferry ride from the mainland takes you to Kangaroo Island – Australia’s answer to the Galapagos. KI is literally heaving with wildlife. You’ll see koalas snoozing in the trees, seals on uncrowded beaches and wallabies (not to mention kangaroos, of course) hopping around in the bush. And that’s not to mention the goannas, echidnas, penguins and elusive duck-billed platypus, who all thrive here. More than a third of Kangaroo Island is not surprisingly a wildlife-protected zone.
Heading north from Adelaide along the Stuart Highway, the old mining town of Coober Pedy has its underground dug-out houses (the best way to stay cool in the old Gold Rush days) and is quite an outback gem – the opal capital of the world, in fact.
Further east, and a five-hour drive from Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges bring the Outback to your doorstep. After passing mile after mile of dusty red-earth bushland and vast sheep farms, these moon-sculpted ranges and rocky escarpments rise up magnificently from a fringe of acacia bushes and eucalyptus trees. Rawnsley Park – a working sheep station on the edge of crater-like Wilpena Pound – is the place to stay, in eco-friendly lodges where you can star-gaze through your ceiling window.
With thousands of miles of coastline stretching around the state, swimming, surfing and fishing are big. Heading west will take you across Eyre Peninsula’s grazing country to the Great Australian Bight where whale watching is an annual attraction.
SA is a place for the great outdoors. Swim with the seals at Baird Bay, take a camel trek through the Flinders Ranges, noodle for opals, dawdle on a boat along the River Murray or saddle up for the Outback Cattle Drive.