South Australia

South Australia Accommodation and Travel Info

Whalers Way (Port Lincoln) Stunning cliff-top drive near Port Lincoln

Other Oz State Destination Information

South Australian Destinations

Adelaide Hills Fleurieu_Peninsula North of Barossa
Barossa Valley Mid North South East
The Outback Coming Events Kangaroo Island

This state is located in the central south of mainland Australia. It was founded by English Captain Light, when he came ashore and laid out a plan of the proposed city in 1837, naming it after England's Queen Adelaide. It later became the capital of this State, which now has a population of around two million people. South Australia stretches from off-shore, unspoilt Kangaroo Island in the south, the mouth of the mighty Murray River and its Coorong National Park at the south east coast, through undulating valleys a little further north, where some of the world's finest wines are produced. Further north again are the scenic and very ancient Flinders Rangers, some of the oldest land on earth, the fascinating old Copper Triangle and, in the far north of the State, the vast salt lakes and outback opal mining towns, principally Coober Pedy, where more good opal is found than anywhere else on earth.

ADELAIDE: as can be expected, there are many grand old buildings that have been well preserved in this city and a tour of some of them is always a delight for history buffs. It is known in Australia as 'the City of Churches', as those early settlers were zealous in building fine places of worship for each branch of their faith. Adelaide is blessed with a fine length of beaches, a grand river and is ringed by beautiful hills. Those to the south east of the city are known as The Adelaide Hills and this is the most prestigious part of the State in which to live, or where to stay in gracious surroundings. Adelaide has all the finest shopping you can expect of a major city, the hub of which is the Rundle Mall. There is a grand Casino in the old railway station and numerous beautiful parklands for recreational purposes, in one of which are the much admired Japanese Gardens. The river flows through the city and gracious old trees line its flanks, which gives a pleasant air of relaxation on balmy days.

Accommodation: Many of the world's most famous four and five star hotel chains have a property in Adelaide's CBD. There are also plenty of one and two bedroom apartments available by the night, along with motel and bed and breakfast accommodation. Four tourist parks of high standard also offer caravan and camping sites, as well as self contained, fully furnished cabins. One of the most popular of these is the beachside Marineland Holiday Village, at West Beach. These large cabins on stilts overlooking the beach are really first rate and are just a 10 minute tram ride from Glenelg, down the road apace, to the heart of the city.

Attractions: There is a ferry to offshore, unspoilt Kangaroo Island and bus tours available on the island to the Remarkable Rocks, highly popular Seal Rocks, Seal RocksAdmiral's Arch and the superb national park, with all its tame wallabies, Cape Barren geese etc. This island can also be reached in 30 minutes by air. At West Beach there are superb golf courses, in some of the public parks there are tennis courts and at the airport there are skydiving opportunities. For those who enjoy historic walks, the old port and its lighthouses, ships, grand old pubs and other buildings should definitely not be missed. There's a very good Migrant Settlement Museum, the botanic gardens, Torrens Lake and a grand lookout over the city from Light's Vision. Then there's Urrbrae House estate, Carrick Hill is another nearby grand estate, with a grand art collection and beautiful old English gardens.

IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS:
There is so much to see and do in the Adelaide Hills, it is really worth stopping over there for several days. First there are the delightful villages of the Hills, each with their own historic characteristics. On a drive around one should get to the old Birdwood Mill and the National Motor Museum at BIRDWOOD, the world's largest Rocking Horse and toy factory at GUMERACHA, the Gorge Wildlife Park at CUDLEE CREEK and the CLEELAND Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as the BEL AIR National Park and the Fairyland Village and Fauna Park at LOBETHAL. There is a great guest house on MT LOFTY that is very elegant and which has spectacular views, in which to stay or just to enjoy a meal.

HAHNDORF is a pretty old Hills village, settled by Germans a century and more ago. It retains a German atmosphere, as well as the language in many places. There is a lovely old art gallery, pubs, great German style eateries, arts and crafts shops, a strawberry farm, a windmill and more.

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THE FLEURIEU PENINSULA
Heading south from Adelaide, one soon reaches Mclaren Vale, a prosperous winegrowing district, with many famous wineries offering free tastings at the cellar door. In SECOND VALLEY is the Wirrina Cove Paradise Resort, with top notch accommodation available at beachside, as well as first class sporting facilities of a very wide range. It has heated swimming pools, a spa, a mini zoo, a restaurant, bar and gaming machines. Continuing south, one comes to VICTOR HARBOR, a popular seaside holiday township. It has a great whaling museum and horse drawn, two storey, open air trams, plodding out along the causeway to Granite Island, where folk can climb the rise or visit the very informative interpretive Centre. There are also good eating opportunities in Victor Harbor. The Urrimba Wildlife Sanctuary is well worth a visit, with its big open pens and caring rangers. Between May and September each year, Southern Right Whales can be seen in Encounter Bay with their new calves. Visitors can take the old Cockle Train (often steam hauled) between Victor Harbor and Goolwa, and from here go out on a cruise, or visit the old semaphore station's museum and shop.

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THE COORONG
At the mouth of the mighty Murray River is the Coorong National Park, where many ancient Aboriginal middens can be seen. This is a rather mysterious, unspoilt area, beloved of waterbird life, particularly hundreds of pelicans (it is also where the film 'Storm Boy' was sited and filmed). The sand dunes are a scenic place and this is a good fishing area.

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THE BAROSSA VALLEY
A leisurely hour's drive to the north east of Adelaide will take you into the heart of one of Australia's most famous winegrowing regions - the Barossa Valley. Many Germans settled the towns of this area, but there were also a few Britons who did the same thing very successfully. All these wineries are still going from strength to strength, with a world wide reputation for the excellence of their product. And all welcome visitors to their tasting cellars and restaurants or barbecue areas for leisurely picnics. The better known Barossa townships are TANUNDA, LYNDOCH, BETHANY, SEPPELTSFIELD, ROWLAND'S FLAT, ANGASTON and NURIOOTPA. There is an excellent range of accommodation available in this area, from hotels and motels to caravan and tourist parks and bed and breakfast farm stays. These are a number of cottages and cabins too, a couple of the most popular being Lawley Farm cottage and Seppeltsfield's self contained log cabins. Collingrove Homestead offers grand colonial style bed and breakfast hospitality, as well as tours of the house, museum and gardens, featuring all the Angus family memorabilia. Additional attractions include the Angus Park Fruit Company in Murray Street, Anguston, where visitors are offered a wide variety of dried fruit tastings and produce. A brochure giving a guided tour to the historic buildings around Angaston can be obtained free of charge from the Fruit Company. At Nuriootpa, Kev Rohrlach's Technology Museum is the largest collection of its kind in Australia, with over 3,000 exhibits. It is certainly a very fascinating place and doesn't cost much to enter and browse at will. Then there's Norm's Coolies - on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays - when Norm Keast puts his team of well trained working sheep dogs through their paces. If you want to see a dozen highly intelligent dogs show how well they work with man and beast, this is the place to be. There are parks galore throughout the valley. Many have picnic and toilet facilities. Others, such as Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park, are nature conservation areas with no facilities at all - the two marked walking tracks have been provided for the observation of remnant native plants and animals

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NORTH OF THE BAROSSA
Not far north of the Barossa Valley is KAPUNDA, a very interesting, small old copper mining township. There is good accommodation available here, from a very pleasant caravan park to some top notch bed and breakfast establishments. The old mining tailings are most intriguing, as is the terrific mining mural and gigantic statue of a Cornish Jack (named Map Kernow), which was what they called all the miners who came from Cornwall in England tMap the Miner - Monument to Cornish Minerso work here in the past century. The mines operated from 1844-1912 and produced 14,000 tons of copper. A one and a half kilometre walking track takes visitors past the old mine and the town's significant buildings. Call into the visitors' information centre in the main street to pick up the free leaflet. Notice all the lovely old Kapunda iron lace decorating the veranda's of some of the elegant old homes too. Historic Ford House in the main street offers excellent B&B accommodation, as well as morning and afternoon teas. There is much to see in the township evocative of that era and it is wise to set aside half or a full day or more to explore this interesting area. Proceeding a little further north again, 136 kilometres from Adelaide one reaches the pretty CLARE VALLEY, renown for its famous wineries and hospitality. It lies amid the wooded hills of the northern Mt Lofty Ranges. It was first settled in 1840 and has many historic buildings in fine condition. By 1844, large merino wool studs had been established in the area, but these days the valley is more famous for all its prosperous wineries. There is a wide variety of accommodation available, from the Christison Caravan & Camping Park to motels, hotels, guesthouses, cabins and bed and breakfast establishments. A particularly excellent place to stay is on BUNGAREE STATION, 12 kilometres north east of Clare, on the Port Pirie Road. This is a stud wool property established in 1841 by the Hawker family and still going strong in the same family's hands. Here, they offer historic cottage accommodation, spread about on the property, at a variety of prices, depending on how many need to sleep there, from one to four or five bedrooms. Each cottage or cabin has its own distinct character and all are very comfortably appointed. There is a delightful church on the property, St Michaels, which is still popular for weddings. It was built by the first owners for theirs and their staff use. There's also an old world country store, the old Stallion Box, which is now ideal honeymoon accommodation, plus a great gymnasium, swimming pool, playgrounds, bushwalking trails and any guest is able to join in the day to day work on the property, if they choose to do so. Guests can get a 'guide yourself' tape, headset and booklet to wander around learning about the history of the place and each cottage, if they wish. Guests may cater fully for themselves, choose bed and breakfast accommodation, or sample Sally Hawker's superb cuisine for dinner as well. Not far from Clare township is MINTARO, long declared a State Heritage area, with many building made of locally quarried slate. It is a unique hamlet, with old world shops and antique galleries, an old pub and just outside it. Martindale Hall, where 'Picnic at Hanging Rock" was filmed. This grand old Georgian manor, built by a young English settler as befitting his bride, has been totally restored and furnished and now provides top range guest accommodation. Unfortunately, the young lady did not want to live in this isolated spot, so they returned to England and the property passed through a number of hands until it came into the possession of the National Trust. Tours of the Martindale Hall are available daily from noon to 4pm. Also not far from Clare, on the road to Spalding, is the Geralka Rural Farm, with caravan park accommodation, a very good restaurant, mine and farm property tours. Also in the Clare Valley, one can find the tiny hamlet of Blyth, where Ian Roberts' Medika Gallery, in a former church, is really worth a long and happy browsing. The local artwork and crafts to be seen here are of the finest quality and are especially attractive and well priced.

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THE MID NORTH
In the State's mid-north can be found more old copper townships, with plenty of historic interest. First, there's BURRA, found out is the bush and which should not be missed. Then there's the 'Copper Triangle' of KADINA, MOONTA and WALLAROO. All four of these townships now survive on the tourist industry and all have preserved the old mine shafts and chimneys, the old miners' cottages (now great bed and breakfast accommodation) and all offer tours, museums and much more to keep the traveller staying another day or two.

The Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is one of Australia's most famous wine producing regions and a fascinating place for connoisseurs of both wine and history to spend some time. Settlers from England, Ireland and Poland first moved into the region in the 1840's and left a rich heritage of villages and architecture which remains largely intact. Many of these buildings are now used the abundance of B&Bs, premium restaurants and galleries in the area.

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YORKE EYRE PENINSULAS
Both the Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas have much to offer tourists and these seaside areas are very popular with Adelaide holidaymakers. They offer all the delights of ocean beaches, along with a wide variety of accommodation from caravan parks to bed and breakfasts, two and three bedroom units and hotels. All the water sports are available along these shores.

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THE FAR NORTH OF THE STATE
There are three main areas in the far north of South Australia, each with distinct Outback appeal. THE FLINDERS RANGES are some of the oldest and most rugged on earth. They are spectacular and enormously popular with bushwalkers and campers. The main highlight of the ranges though is the massive old crater known as Wilpena Pound. Access to the area is from HAWKER, PETERBOROUGH, WILMINGTON, or PORT AUGUSTA. The Ranges are particularly popular with people who have four wheel drive vehicles. COOBER PEDY, ANDAMOOKA and ARKAROOLA are the Mecca's for fossickers and opalmining, especially the Coober Pedy opal fields. At all three of these places people live and work underground because of the extreme summer heat. Each has campgrounds and other types of accommodation and CooberAccommodation at an underground dormitory in Coober Pedy Pedy boasts the underground Desert Cave motel, which is very luxurious and a great place in which to stay while exploring this most unusual township in the middle of nowhere. Naturally there are a number of town and environs tours available, usually from the opal shops in town. The other northern region of this State that attract the more adventurous traveller are the huge salt lakes such as Lake Eyre and Lake Frome, which are as dry as a bone most years and then, every few years, they become flooded when river waters pour down from Queensland during prolonged and heavy rain and that is when they are covered in bird life, particularly pelicans.

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THE SOUTH EAST
In the south east of the State can be found the Riverlands region, along the banks of the Murray River - towns such as RENMARK, BERRI and WAIKERIE - and here are all the citrus growing farms, many wineries and a variety of river cruises available, from an hour to several days. Houseboats can be hired to explore these waters from MANNUM. Here too river boats can be boarded for extended cruising. At Mannum can be found the floating paddle steamer museum and the old pumping station. There is plenty of accommodation from tourist parks to hotels and cottages available in the Riverland. Almost on the Victorian border is MOUNT GAMBIER, famous for its ancient crater lakes - and the most famous of these is the Blue Lake, which turns from a dull colour to a brilliant blue from November to February each year. Scientists are still arguing why this happens. There is an excellent tourist information centre in the township, easily spotted because the sailing ship 'Lady Nelson' is in dry dock alongside. Access to the interior of the ship is from inside the tourist centre. There are mysterious caves to be explored, first class pot holing opportunities, lovely public parks and gardens with spectacular views, many historic pubs and buildings and a very wide range of tourist accommodation available at all prices. North of Mt. Gambier is the COONAWARRA region, very famous for its many top wineries. Several of these offer first class Padthaway B&Baccommodation as well as free wine tastings and winery tours. The township of PENOLA in the Coonawarra has strong associations with Mother Mary McKillop, beatified by the current Pope and expected to be granted sainthood within the next few years. The school in which she taught, her church and a museum to her memory can be found here. PADTHAWAY ESTATE is one of the most elegant and oldest wineries, where champagne and other quality wines are produced. The elegant old homestead provides superlative accommodation too, if you can afford a little over the average.

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KANGAROO ISLAND
Sixteen kilometres off the coastline of South Australia is one of the most splendid, unspoilt holiday destinations in Australia, Kangaroo Island. With its secluded beaches of white sand and crystal blue water and spectacular rugged coastlines. It offers visitors the best in native wildlife, natural scenery, bushwalking, fishing, diving and relaxation.

There are several reasons why Kangaroo Island has become known for its abundance of wildlife. Almost half the island has never been cleared of vegetation and about one third is conserved in National and Conservation Parks, including significant Wilderness Protection areas. Much of the wildlife is uncommon or extinct on mainland Australia. Kangaroo Island is one of the few places visitors are likely to see koalas in the wild.

One of the foremost attractions on Kangaroo Island is Seal Bay, located on the southern coast that is home to 500 rare Australian sea-lions. Seal Bay has the second largest breeding colony in Australia. A guided walk with a National Parks Ranger provides the unique opportunity to walk on the beach and see these creatures close-up, swimming in the surf or basking on the sand.

Flinders Chase National Park occupies the western third of the island and is one of Australia's oldest national parks. Flinders Chase is a sanctuary is numerous Australian animals including wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypus and Cape Barren Geese and is home to spectacular Remarkable Rocks and Admiral's Arch where New Zealand Fur Seals revel in the waters below.

Kangaroo Island SeaLink, the only passenger and vehicle ferry service to Kangaroo Island, offers the flexibility of regular departures to the Island."

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FORTHCOMING EVENTS in SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Sep 11-12 Riverland Field Days, Berri
Sep29 Water Bay to Birdwood Run, Glenelg
Oct 2-6 Australian University Games
Oct 4-13 Internat. Music Festival, Barossa Valley
Oct 5-7 Oysterfest, Ceduna
Oct 25-27 Bartercard Jazz Festival, Glenelg
Oct 31-Nov 3 Rose Festival, Adelaide Botanic Park
Nov 1-3 Scale Soaring Regatta, Bordertown
Nov 7-10 Adelaide Horse Trials
Nov 9 Christmas Pageant, Adelaide
Nov 16-17 Brass Bands Festival, Mt Gambier
Nov 23-24 Village Fair, Robe
Dec 30-Jan 3 Tennis Championships, Adelaide
2003
Jan 21-26 Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under
Feb Barossa Under the Stars
Mar 14-16 Wooden Boats Festival, Goolwa
Mar Golf Open Championship, Adelaide

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