For a summary of all the REGIONS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, you are in the right place. Including things to do, road trips and a summary of the best accommodation, this article summarises all your needs for the REGIONS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
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Information On South Australia
South Australia is located in the central south of mainland Australia. Covering a vast area of almost a million square kilometres, South Australia is home to around 1.8 million people, of which nearly three quarters live in the capital city, Adelaide. Inhabited for at least 20,000 years by numerous indigenous tribes and peoples, European settlement of South Australia began in the 1830s as a colony of free settlers, rather than a convict colony.
Most of South Australia’s populated areas have a Mediterranean-style climate, with hot dry summers and mild wet winters. Things can vary slightly, such as cooler elevated areas in the Adelaide Hills, or the scorching hot outback, but generally speaking the coastal fringes (and the best tourist areas!) have a warm, sunny climate.
When heading to South Australia, it’s important to remember that South Australia time is Australian Central, so it’s 30 minutes behind the Australian Eastern time zone of New South Wales and Victoria. So always double-check the time in Adelaide when you arrive!
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Getting To South Australia
Getting to South Australia essentially means getting to Adelaide, which is the jumping-off point for all of the places to visit in South Australia. Adelaide’s airport has frequent flights to all other Australian capitals and several other cities, along with international services to New Zealand, various Asian hubs, and even to Qatar in the Middle East. There’s also long-distance train services to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Alice Springs, and Darwin.
Regions of South Australia
First up, let’s have a look at the different regions of South Australia, so grab a map of South Australia and follow along! Starting with the capital city of Adelaide, it’s renowned for its relaxed lifestyle, leafy green belt, and quirky beachside suburbs. Just to the east of the city, you’ll find Adelaide Hills with its beautiful German heritage towns. North of the Adelaide Hills is the famous Barossa Valley, one of Australia’s best-regarded wine regions, while further north again is the Clare Valley – another of Australia’s best wine-growing areas.
The Clare Valley is bordered on the west by the boot-shaped Yorke Peninsula, which features hundreds of kilometres of pristine beaches, while east of the Clare Valley is the Riverland, centred around the mighty Murray, Australia’s longest river. South of the Riverland area is the Murraylands, home to the pristine Coorong where the Murray empties into the ocean. West of the Murraylands is Fleurieu Peninsula, with its sparkling beaches and of course the famous McLaren Vale wineries. And just off the farthest point of Fleurieu Peninsula lies the wild and rugged Kangaroo Island, home of gorgeous national parks and animal habitats.
In the far south-eastern corner of the state is the Limestone Coast, home to South Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site (Naracoorte Caves), along with the famous Coonawarra wineries, and the state’s second-largest city: Mount Gambier. Moving back to the north-west, across the Spencer Gulf from Yorke Peninsula is the Eyre Peninsula, a large triangular peninsula famous for seafood, sharks, and scuba diving. And finally, taking up the majority of the state, there’s the Flinders Ranges and Outback. This huge, largely desert area covers most of the state, though it’s also home to some fascinating attractions like the underground town of Coober Pedy and the beautiful Flinders Ranges.
So let’s dive in, and explore things to do in South Australia, the best accommodation in South Australia, and the best South Australia road trips.
Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, and by far the largest city. There’s plenty of fantastic things to do in Adelaide, such as visiting the beachfront suburbs of Glenelg and Henley Beach. Art and museum aficionados shouldn’t miss the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the Migration Museum. Nature lovers will enjoy the huge green belt around Adelaide’s CBD, known as the Parklands. There’s also the famous Adelaide Zoo and the Botanic Gardens, while a trip to Haigh’s Chocolate Factory is a must-do for chocolate lovers.
Adelaide Road Trips
As a city, Adelaide doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the typical road trip. However, driving Adelaide’s entire coastline, from Seacliff in the south to North Haven in the north, can be a great way to see different parts of Adelaide. The drive itself is quite short, only about 30 kilometres, and should take under an hour even in traffic. But that just gives you more time to enjoy the various beaches and suburbs along the waterfront! Highlights include Brighton Beach, Glenelg, Henley Beach, and West Lakes.
Most upmarket hotels are located in central Adelaide near Victoria Square, including Hilton Adelaide and Adina Grand Adelaide Treasury. For Airbnbs, Darling’s Cottage in North Adelaide is a wonderful choice, along with this private room in Glenelg. With caravan parks, there’s the BIG4 Adelaide in Hackney just near the city centre, while BIG4 West Beach is a great beach option.
Located in the hills just to the east of Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills is a fantastic little spot to get away from the city. One of the highlights here is Hahndorf, which was settled by German migrants in the 1830s and has retained its character over the years. There’s plenty of great German-themed pubs, restaurants and cafes, plus several artisan food businesses like chocolatiers and cheesemakers. Elsewhere in the Hills, highlights include Mount Lofty Lookout, Cleland Wildlife Park, and the National Motor Museum.
Adelaide Hills Road Trips
A two night road trip from Adelaide is the best option for fully exploring the Adelaide Hills. Take road B26 up into the Hills, stopping first at Mount Lofty and then Cleland Conservation Park. Explore nearby historic Stirling and its market, then Bridgewater and on to charming Hahndorf. Stay overnight here before heading north in the morning through Woodside up to Birdwood. There’s great wineries along this route so be sure to drop in! From Birdwood, head westwards through Gumeracha and the Big Rocking Horse, before following Gorge Road back down into the suburbs of Adelaide.
Adelaide Hills Accommodation
Mount Lofty House is one of the best hotels in the Adelaide Hills, though for something a bit cheaper consider checking out The Studio by Haus in Hahndorf. There’s a great selection of Airbnbs, including this charming farmhouse suite in Hahndorf. For an authentic country stay, check out Wyndbourne B&B in Forest Range. But if you prefer a classic Aussie caravan park, Discovery Hahndorf Resort in Hahndorf and the Mount Barker Caravan & Tourist Resort have got you covered.
Of all the famous wineries South Australia, the Barossa Valley is by far the best known and most highly-regarded. Most of the wineries here are renowned for their shiraz, so be sure to focus on that while visiting the best vineyards, including Wolf Blass, Peter Lehmann, Orlando (makers of Jacob’s Creek), Yalumba, and Penfolds, Australia’s most prestigious wine brand. Elsewhere in the Valley, the towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Angaston and Lyndoch have retained their German heritage and are worth a visit for some classic German treats. There’s also Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, run by Australian TV chef Maggie Beer; her jams, chutneys, sauces and verjuice are all worth a detour!
Barossa Valley Road Trips
The Barossa Valley is a great spot for a multi-day road trip, exploring all of the treats the region has to offer. Drive in a rough loop from Lyndoch to Tanunda, then to Angaston and to Nuriootpa and back to Adelaide. Take as many days as you like, and visit as many wineries as you can! Note that many cellar doors require bookings, so it’s best to double-check to avoid disappointment. And of course: never drink and drive.
Barossa Valley Accommodation
The Louise at Marananga is one of the best luxury hotels in the Barossa as well as the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, while Lanzerac Country Estate amongst the vines at Tanunda is also a great choice. For Airbnbs consider Elders Office in Angaston, while Tanunda Apartment in Tanunda is a gorgeous modern option. If you prefer caravan parks, the BIG4 Barossa Tourist Park at Nuriootpa and Discovery Parks Barossa Valley in Tanunda are the pick of the bunch.
The Clare Valley is another one of the great South Australia wine regions, located just north of the Barossa Valley. It’s quite small, only about 30 kilometres from end to end, but the area is packed with fantastic wineries including Taylors Wines, Annie’s Lane, Sevenhill Cellars, Kilikanoon, and Jim Barry Wines. Rather than driving around, taking a guided Clare Valley wine tour is a great way to explore the region, while the Clare Valley Riesling Trail is perfect for those who like their wines with a dash of cycling. Elsewhere, Spring Gully Conservation Park is a great spot to relax, bushwalk, or have a picnic.
Clare Valley Road Trips
A two night road trip in the Clare Valley gives you ample time to explore. Drive up from Adelaide in the morning (it’s only about two hours!), taste some wines and slowly work your way northward before staying the night in Clare. Cycle the Riesling Trail the following day, dropping into any wineries you may have missed on the previous day.
Clare Valley Accommodation
For hotels, it’s hard to go past the Clare Valley Heritage Retreat in Clare, while the Clare Country Club is another superb choice. If you prefer Airbnb, consider Tumbleweed Cottage Watervale, while for a large group Jaeschkes Country House at Polish Hill River has a beautiful setting among the vines. With caravan parks, Discovery Parks – Clare is the main option just near Clare, though Leasingham Village Cabins in Watervale has great cabins and powered sites.
Eyre Peninsula is a large triangular peninsula on the southern coast of South Australia, and it includes the towns of Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Augusta and Ceduna. Renowned for wild ocean encounters, one of the main attractions on the Eyre Peninsula is cage diving with great white sharks at Port Lincoln. If you’re not keen on going face to face with one of nature’s greatest predators, cuttlefish diving in Whyalla is slightly more laid back! There’s also the option of swimming with dolphins and sea lions around Baird Bay, while if you’d prefer to stay dry you can always go whale watching from a boat.
Eyre Peninsula Road Trips
With its large triangular shape, Eyre Peninsula lends itself quite readily to great road trips. The best option is a coastal loop from Port Augusta to Whyalla, Lucky Bay, Tumby Bay and eventually Port Lincoln. From here, follow the coast north to Coffin Bay, Streaky Bay and eventually on to Ceduna. Take as much time as you like, enjoying the famous coastline, its activities and the fantastic seafood on offer – Coffin Bay oysters are a real favourite! Return to Adelaide from Ceduna via Port Augusta.
Eyre Peninsula Accommodation
In Port Lincoln, the Marina Hotel and thePort Lincoln Hotel are both great choices, while Quest Whyalla is another solid option. In Streaky Bay, the Streaky Bay Hotel Motel is very comfortable. For Airbnbs, this Self-Contained Studio Apartment in Whyalla has great reviews, and in Port Lincoln The Little House is a lovely modern retreat for couples. If you’re in need of luxury, check out The Boathouse at Coffin Bay. And of course, there’s plenty of caravan parks to choose from, including Discovery Parks Whyalla Foreshore, Port Lincoln Tourist Park, and Discovery Parks – Streaky Bay Foreshore.
Fleurieu Peninsula (pronounced FLOO-re-ooh) is located just south of Adelaide, and includes the towns of Victor Harbor, Goolwa, Cape Jervis and Normanville. One of the highlights here are the wineries in McLaren Vale, one of the most prestigious South Australian wine regions and home to d’Arenburg, Hugh Hamilton, Hardy’s, Mitolo, and many others. As a peninsula, there’s also great opportunities for swimming, surfing, and snorkelling, particularly at Carrickalinga Beach, Horseshoe Bay, and Second Valley Beach. Onkaparinga National Park is also on Fleurieu Peninsula, and among the most impressive national parks in Australia with excellent opportunities for hiking and bushwalking.
Fleurieu Peninsula Road Trips
A road trip across the Peninsula is definitely a great way to explore the area. Start by driving down from Adelaide and visiting Onkaparinga National Park before spending the rest of the day wine tasting in McLaren Vale. Spend your second day relaxing on the beach at Carrickalinga or Normanville, before exploring Victor Harbor, Goolwa, and the Currency Creek wine area.
Fleurieu Peninsula Accommodation
Anchorage Seafront Hotel in Victor Harbor is a fantastic choice for beachfront accommodation in Fleurieu Peninsula, while Hotel California Road Inkwell Wines is a beautiful luxury Airbnb among the vineyards. For further Airbnbs, check out Carrickalinga Beach Retreat, while if you’re a fan of glamping you’ll love Pear Tree Hollow Glamping Tent at Inman Valley. There’s plenty of caravan park options too, such as NRMA Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park, Jetty Caravan Park in Normanville, and the McLaren Vale Lakeside Caravan Park.
Flinders Ranges & Outback
The Flinders Ranges & Outback region covers the majority of South Australia. It’s a hot, dry, dusty area, full of deserts, dry lakes and endless red soil. But there are some interesting things to see out here as well! The absolute highlight is definitely Flinders Ranges National Park, located on the eastern side of the state. There’s great hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking options out here, as well as the magnificent Wilpena Pound area. Elsewhere, the town of Coober Pedy where almost all 3500 residents live in underground houses is worth a visit. And of course, in the state’s far west is the start of the Nullarbor Plain, one of the hottest and driest expanses on earth.
Flinders Ranges & Outback Road Trips
There’s a couple of great options for road trips, particularly considering the size of the region. One option is a 2-3 night trip from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges; it’s about five hours drive between the two. For much longer trips, the Birdsville Track runs from Adelaide through the Flinders Ranges, right up to Birdsville in Queensland over 500 kilometres away. Another option is driving to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory via Coober Pedy, or of course you could tackle the multi-day drive westwards across the Nullarbor to Perth. All four road trips require a lot of driving, mostly in remote and uninhabited areas so make sure you’re well prepared with food, water and fuel before setting out.
Flinders Ranges & Outback Accommodation
Arkaba Station in the Flinders Ranges area is a beautiful luxury property on a former sheep station, while in Coober Pedy there’s several choices of underground hotels including the Mud Hut Motel, and Desert Cave Hotel. Out on the Nullarbor, the Nullarbor Roadhouse is an iconic stop and good place to rest up for the night. Caravan parks are available in most towns including Wilpena Pound Resort and Hawker Caravan Park at the Flinders Ranges, or Oasis Tourist Park in Coober Pedy. And of course, don’t neglect camping! The stars are magnificent in the outback, and camping in South Australia can be an unforgettable experience.
Kangaroo Island lies just off the coast of South Australia, not far from Fleurieu Peninsula. Sparsely populated, Kangaroo Island is home to only 5,000 people and more than a third of the island is given over to national parks and nature reserves. Flinders Chase National Park, located on the western end of the island, is absolutely stunning, while Seal Bay Conservation Park is also great. Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park (formerly known as Parndana Wildlife Park) is also a great spot. Kangaroo Island is also renowned for its honey, so be sure to drop by one of the many apiaries and grab some fresh honey!
Kangaroo Island Road Trips
A three night road trip around the island is about the right amount of time for exploring. Be sure to check out some of the wineries like Dudley Wines at Cuttlefish Bay, plus the beautiful Cape Willoughby Lighthouse on the eastern coast, along with nearby Penneshaw Maritime Museum. Relax along the beaches of the northern coast, and take a guided tour with the sea lions at Seal Bay before heading to Flinders Chase National Park and enjoying the environment.
Kangaroo Island Accommodation
In Penneshaw, consider the Penneshaw Oceanview Apartments or the Beach Stay Motel, while in Kingscote the Aurora Ozone Hotel is a lovely spot. For luxury stays, Sea Dragon Lodge & Villas is a magnificent choice. There are three caravan parks on Kangaroo Island, including Western KI Caravan Park, Kingscote Caravan Park, and Kangaroo Island Shores. Plus of course, you’ve got the option of camping in Flinders Chase National Park, home to some of the best campsites in South Australia, or with Airbnb check out some epic glamping.
The Limestone Coast area covers the far south-eastern corner of South Australia, and includes the second-largest city in the state, Mount Gambier. One of the highlights here is South Australia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, Naracoorte Caves, just out of Naracoorte. The fossil beds here at Naracoorte are packed with long-extinct species like giant kangaroos and hippo-sized wombats. Elsewhere, Mount Gambier is home to the gorgeous Blue Lake, a large volcanic lake that’s a striking shade of cobalt blue. Also in town is the Umpherston Sinkhole, a sinkhole with neatly manicured gardens at the base. And of course, there’s the fantastic wineries of the Coonawarra, featuring some of the best South Australian wines like Patricks, Wynns, and Zema Estate.
Limestone Coast Road Trips
You’ve got two great options for road trips here on the Limestone Coast. Option one is a three day loop from Adelaide, exploring sights like Larry the giant Lobster at Kingston SE, historic Robe, fascinating Mount Gambier, the Coonawarra wineries, and Naracoorte Caves before returning to Adelaide. Alternatively, you can follow much the same route but continue from Mount Gambier across into Victoria. It’s not far to reach picturesque Port Fairy, Warrnambool, and the incredible Great Ocean Road, before finishing in Melbourne.
Limestone Coast Accommodation
Some of the nicest hotels in Mount Gambier are Colhurst House and the Park Hotel. In the Coonawarra, Alexander Cameron Suites is a beautiful spot, and Robe House in Robe is very luxurious. If you prefer to stay in Airbnbs, Banella Loft Apartment in Mount Gambier is a great option right next to Blue Lake, while the Coonawarra Experience is a lovely spot in Coonawarra wine country. For caravan parks, in Mount Gambier, you’ve got Pine Country Caravan Park or BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park. There’s also a BIG4 Holiday Park in Naracoorte, while Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park has gorgeous glamping options.
Located in the south-east of South Australia, the Murraylands is the area surrounding the final stretches of the Murray River, Australia’s longest and most important river. Home to many towns including Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, there’s plenty to see and do in the Murraylands. A particular highlight is the Coorong, a lagoon ecosystem that stretches 130 kilometres along the coastline from the mouth of the Murray. With national parks and nature reserves, it’s a great spot for fishing, camping, hiking and kayaking. Elsewhere, consider taking a river cruise on a paddle steamer, getting out on Lake Alexandrina, burning some rubber at Tailem Bend Motorsport Park, or going on safari at Monarto Zoo.
Murraylands Road Trips
Three days is the ideal amount of time for a Murraylands road trip. It’s about 90 minutes from Adelaide to Goolwa, home to Murray Mouth lookout where the river meets the ocean. Go cruising around Hindmarsh Island, then head for Coorong National Park to explore and camp overnight. Head north to the Motorsport Park for a hot lap or two, then head north to see the magnificent Big Bend on the river. For the third day, explore Monarto Safari Park before heading home.
In Murray Bridge, Adelaide Road Motor Lodge and Parklane Motel are both great choices. Halfway to Tailem Bend is ultra-modern The Cube Murray River, floating on the river! For petrolheads, be sure to stay at Rydges Pit Lane Hotel located in the pit lane complex at Tailem Bend Motorsport Park. Salt Creek Holiday House in the Coorong is a great spot for accessing the nearby national park. For caravan parks, check out Murray Bridge Tourist Park, Avoca Dell Caravan Park, or Milang Lakeside Caravan Park.
The Riverland covers the upper stretches of the Murray River in South Australia, a beautiful fruit-growing area located around the towns of Renmark, Loxton, and Berri. Getting out on the water is the biggest attraction here, whether it’s houseboating, kayaking, or taking a guided cruise. There’s plenty of houseboat companies in Renmark and Paringa, while there are also local guides renting kayaks and including a packed lunch! The Murray River National Park has three wonderful areas at Katarapko, Lyrup Flats and Bulyong, all of which are worth exploring. And be sure to check out the wineries and orchards in the area, especially the stone fruits.
Riverland Road Trips
Your best option for a road trip is essentially following the Murray River. Take the A-20 north from Adelaide before arriving at Kingston-on-Murray. Do some wine tasting and bird watching at Banrock Station before heading to Lake Booney at Barmera. Check out the magnificent fresh produce in Glossop, and stop off to visit different areas of the Murray River National Park. Grab a drink at iconic Berri pub before heading for Renmark and boarding a houseboat! They’re surprisingly easy to drive and don’t require a specialised boat license, and are a fantastic way of seeing more of the Murray.
The Frames Luxury Accommodation across the river in Paninga is magnificent. Renmark BIG4 Caravan Park is a great spot for setting up the caravan, as is Discovery Parks Lake Bonney. If you’d prefer camping, there’s plenty of fantastic spots in Murray River National Park though many need to be reserved in advance. For houseboats, there are plenty of providers in Renmark, including Houseboat Heaven, Customs House, Quality Houseboats, and Renmark Houseboats.
Last, but certainly not least, is Yorke Peninsula, a long boot-shaped peninsula located between Eyre Peninsula and Adelaide. With over 700 kilometres of coastline, Yorke Peninsula is home to some of the best South Australia beaches, including Shell Beach, Brown’s Beach, Berry Bay, and Tiddy Widdy Beach. Yorke Peninsula is also home to Innes National Park. The famous surf break at Pondalowie Bay grabs the headlines, but Innes is also an excellent place for swimming, hiking and camping.
Yorke Peninsula Road Trips
A two night road trip is definitely the best way to explore Yorke Peninsula. Starting at Port Wakefield, head north-west to the major towns of Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta for a look around. Moonta is home to historic Moonta Mines which are well preserved and quite interesting. Try your hand at fishing off the Port Hughes Jetty, then head south along the coast, stopping at beaches as you go – highlights include Second Beach, Parsons Beach and Flaherty Beach. Spend your second day at Innes National Park, surfing, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, or whatever else takes your fancy! The third day of your road trip travels along the Peninsula’s eastern coast, via Coobowie and Stansbury and back to Port Wakefield.
Yorke Peninsula Accommodation
In the north, Kadina Gateway Motor Inn at Kadina is quite nice, while down south the Stansbury Holiday Motel is a solid option. For Airbnb, consider Temples Holiday House in Marion Bay or the Sunset Lodge at Hardwicke Bay. There are some excellent caravan parks on Yorke Peninsula including Moonta Bay Caravan Park, Marion Bay Caravan Park and Edithburgh Caravan Park. And of course, camping on Yorke Peninsula is highly recommended; the best spots are inside Innes National Park at Poondalowie Bay, though you could also consider Cable Bay Campground and Stenhouse Bay Campground.
Overall, South Australia is home to many great and varied regions. With excellent beaches, stunning national parks, world-class wineries and fascinating cities. Be sure to check out this glorious state on your next road trip.