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Day Trips From Adelaide
South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide is one of Australia’s most interesting cities. Small enough to feel personal and welcoming, but large enough to have a huge range of activities and attractions, Adelaide is renowned for its beaches, churches, culture, and lifestyle. It’s well worth spending several days here, exploring the city and enjoying its offerings. But there’s plenty to see and do outside of Adelaide as well! With astonishing natural features, impressive history, and some of Australia’s best wineries, there’s a huge array of excellent destinations for short trips from Adelaide. So if you’re thinking of taking one or more day trips from Adelaide, read on to discover the best Adelaide day trips!
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Day Trips to Adelaide Hills
One of the easiest and most impressive day tours from Adelaide is a visit to the Adelaide Hills, located just east of the city. Although it’s only a 30 minute drive from central Adelaide to many parts of the Hills, it feels a world away from the bustling city. The Adelaide Hills can be roughly split into two sections: the southern area, around Hahndorf, and the northern area, around Gumeracha. Both areas have interesting options for Adelaide day tours, so let’s have a closer look.
Hahndorf & Surrounds
Heading southeast out of the city, along Glen Osmond Road and the M1, your day trip starts by climbing into the Mount Lofty Ranges. Be sure to take the turnoff for Mount Lofty, the highest point in the area and home to spectacular views back across the city. Under the peak is Cleland Conservation Park, with gorgeous walking trails and curious wildlife, while there’s also nearby Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens for those who prefer a little more manicure in their nature!
Further along the M1 is historic Hahndorf, settled by German migrants in the 1830s and still home to a significant German influence. Chow down on a pretzel, pork knuckle, sausage, and bier, or head to lovely Beerenberg Farm for homemade jams and chutneys. Just out of town, art lovers should definitely visit The Cedars, where Sir Hans Heysen, a renowned Australian artist lived and worked.
The Adelaide Hills is also famous for its produce, particularly wine. No Adelaide Hills day trip would be complete without visiting a winery (or several), such as Cobb’s Hill, Shaw & Smith, Hahndorf Hill, Bird in Hand, and Sinclair’s Gully. There’s plenty of craft breweries, gin distillers and whiskey distillers in the Hills as well, plus chocolate factories, and cheesemakers too!
Gumeracha & Birdswood
At the northern end of the Adelaide Hills is the Gumeracha and Birdwood area. Under an hour’s drive from central Adelaide, this area is a great spot for day trips from Adelaide. Gumeracha’s biggest attraction (quite literally!) is the Big Rocking Horse, apparently the world’s largest rocking horse! You can climb to the top for a small fee, while there’s also a wooden toy factory nearby, plus a petting zoo and picnic area.
Slightly further east in Birdwood, petrol heads shouldn’t miss the National Motor Museum. Home to hundreds of cars, this museum tells the story of motoring in Australia, with a particular focus on Australian designed and manufactured cars. There’s a huge variety of exhibits here, from early cars, to classic muscle, and an ultra-modern Bugatti Veyron (valued at well over a million dollars!).
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Day Trips to Barossa Valley
The Barossa Valley has a well-deserved reputation as one of Australia’s best wine regions. Located about an hour north of Adelaide, and centred around the towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, and Lyndoch, the Barossa Valley is home to some of Australia’s most famous wine brands. Yalumba, Wolf Blass, Orlando (makers of Jacob’s Creek), Peter Lehmann, Seppeltsfield, and of course Penfolds all hail from the Barossa.
Spending a day trip from Adelaide travelling around the Barossa and tasting wine is one of life’s great pleasures, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone with more than a passing interest in wine! Although visiting the Barossa as a self drive day trip from Adelaide can be good fun, taking an organised tour to Barossa Valley might be an even better idea, as it removes both the worry about bookings, and about Australia’s strict drunk-driving laws.
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Day Trips to Clare Valley
Located just two hours’ drive north of Adelaide, the beautiful and charming Clare Valley is a great spot for a day trip from Adelaide. Another of South Australia’s phenomenal wine regions, Clare Valley has a beautiful environment and some intriguing history to go with its outstanding wineries. Let’s have a look at some of the best day trip destinations in the Clare Valley.
Clare & Surrounds
The Clare Valley itself is centred on the town of Clare, which is about two hours drive from Adelaide. The area is renowned for its excellent rieslings, and some of the standout wineries include Taylors Wines, Jim Barry Wines, Annie’s Lane, Sevenhill Cellars, and Kilikanoon. One of the highlight attractions here is known as the Riesling Trail, a 35 kilometre bike and walking trail that runs between Auburn and Clare. It passes many cellar doors along the way, so be sure to bring your bicycle or your walking shoes. For a break from wine tasting, consider heading to Spring Gully Conservation Park, with beautiful rolling hills, bushlands, epic sunsets, and plenty of Australian animals too. And there’s the spectacular Cascades waterfall, which is a great sight when in full flow.
On the eastern side of the valley is Burra, a picturesque and historic little town. There’s plenty of heritage buildings here to enjoy, like the Town Hall, St Mary’s Church, and the Railway Station (all of which have been impeccably restored), while just outside of town sits the iconic Midnight Oil House. This abandoned cottage became famous after featuring on the cover of Midnight Oil’s smash hit album Diesel and Dust. Burra is also a former mining town, and there’s plenty of historic mining related buildings in the area which are well worth checking out, along with the surprising amount of art at the Regional Art Gallery and the Clare Valley Art Trail.
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Day Trips to Fleurieu Peninsula
Fleurieu Peninsula is just 45 minutes drive south of Adelaide, and is home to several fantastic short trips from Adelaide. With endless coastlines of pristine beaches, incredible wineries, and huge areas of undisturbed nature, a day trip from Adelaide to Fleurieu Peninsula should be near the top of every visitor’s bucket list.
The highlight of Fleurieu is undoubtedly the McLaren Vale with its outstanding wineries. One of Australia’s premier wine regions, McLaren Vale is internationally renowned for its Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Although there’s many wineries in the area, some of the best known include Hugh Hamilton, d’Arenberg, Mitolo and Hardy’s. A day trip from Adelaide to McLaren Vale just for wine tasting is a must-do for any serious wine connoisseur. Be sure to stop by d’Arenberg and marvel at their restaurant, built inside a three-storey glass Rubik’s Cube!
Victor Harbour & Goolwa
Located just over an hour’s drive south of Adelaide is the town of Victor Harbor. With a fantastic spot right on the coast, Victor Harbor offers plenty of day trip entertainment. There’s excellent surfing and fishing just near the town, while the historic Cockle Train steam railway puffs across to nearby Goolwa. Whales, seals, dolphins and sea lions are common sights near Victor Harbor, and there’s frequent cruises from the harbour to get a closer look. And for something unique – the causeway from Victor Harbor to Granite Island features one of the world’s last horse drawn trams and not to mention penguins!
Just east of Victor Harbor is Goolwa, an historic river port located at the mouth of the Murray River, Australia’s longest. Be sure to add Goolwa to your Victor Harbor day trip from Adelaide, and be sure to check out the heritage paddle steamers, the beautiful old sandstone buildings, and the appealing art galleries. There’s even a few antiques shops, which definitely adds to the charm, not to mention the great cafes.
Deep Creek Conservation Park
Nobody should consider their Fleurieu Peninsula day trip complete without visiting one of the spectacular parks in the area. Although Onkaparinga National Park is closer to Adelaide, Deep Creek Conservation Park is a real underrated gem. Home to 15 separate walking trails, with excellent coastal views, plenty of classic Australian animals, and lots of native plants too. It’s one of the best bushwalking spots on Fleurieu Peninsula, and a must-do for anyone visiting the area.
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Day Trips to Kangaroo Island
Clocking in at four hours each way (including a ferry!), a Kangaroo Island day trip from Adelaide is definitely at the longer end of a day trip. But it’s absolutely worth it. Kangaroo Island is a mostly undeveloped island just off the coast, a few hundred kilometres south of Adelaide. Separated from the mainland by a small strait, Kangaroo Island is renowned for endless wilderness, rugged coastlines, iconic lighthouses, and of course famous Australian animals.
Highlights on the island include Flinders Chase National Park, featuring Remarkable Rocks and Admiralty Arch. There’s also Seal Bay Conservation Park, with its huge colony of Australian sea lions (guided tours are required here), and the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, formerly known as Parndana Wildlife Park. And while on your day trip, don’t forget to check out the surprising produce – there’s several great wineries on Kangaroo Island, and it’s also renowned for excellent honey!
Due to the distance and time involved, perhaps consider doing an organised Kangaroo Island day tour. It’s a long day, so you might as well relax and let someone else do the driving!
More Info on the Kangaroo Island
Day Trips to Murraylands
Located about an hour south-east of Adelaide, Murraylands is the region located around the banks of Australia’s longest river, the mighty Murray. Many of the local attractions involve getting in and on the river, including paddle steamers, cruises, skiing, fishing, and swimming, but there’s some fantastic things to see and do in Murraylands that are worthy of a family day trip in themselves.
Monarto Safari Park
Monarto Zoo (officially known as Monarto Safari Park) is the world’s largest open-range zoo, and is located just outside the town of Murray Bridge. Featuring a mixture of animals, from safari giants like giraffe, rhinos, lions and cheetah, to Australian favourites like wallabies, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils, Monarto Zoo is a great family day out and perfect for curious young minds. Close-up, interactive experiences are also available for an extra cost, which can be a real genuine thrill.
The Bend Motorsport Park
Just down the river from Murray Bridge is The Bend Motorsport Park, located outside the town of Tailem Bend. One of Murraylands’ great attractions, this near-new racing track and motorsport complex is a petrol head’s dream. With plenty of adrenaline-fuelled activities like hot laps, go-karting, off-roading, gymkhana, and even BYO car time trials, it’s a great place to visit for anyone even vaguely interested in motorsport. There’s also a hotel in the pit lane building, just in case the drive back to Adelaide is going to be too slow!
At the southern end of Murraylands, as the river empties into the sea, are two enormous freshwater lakes: Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. Any Murraylands day trip from Adelaide should definitely include these beautiful areas on the itinerary. They’re a perfect spot for water sports: fishing, kayaking, swimming, skiing, and boating. Many spots of the lakes are very peaceful and relaxed, making them excellent locations for getting out of the city and truly enjoying a self drive day trip from Adelaide.