More Than Just Sydney and Melbourne
I talk to people headed to my home country quite a bit: friends, acquaintances, exes, and even students who want to quiz me about where they should go and what they should do.
I recently had a student tell me ‘two weeks should be enough’ and I couldn’t help but shake my head. I guess, like so many countries, Australia is often reduced to a few of its more obvious tourist locations. If you’ve seen Melbourne and Sydney and gone to at least one beach, you’ve done Australia justice. I guess a case could be made that seeing iconic sights such as the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, the Great Ocean Road, and Melbourne could be ‘enough’ in the same way that coming to China and only seeing the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Warriors, and Shanghai is ‘enough’.
Sure, if you’re pressed for time or only want the same photos as everybody else, it is ‘enough’. But like every other country on earth, there’s a lot more to Australia than just its prominent eastern cities. I’ve spoken in the past about Australia’s 10 Best Kept Secrets, but now it’s time for a slightly more in depth look at an often overlooked spot in Australia.
Here are five reasons to visit South Australia.
#5 – Drink!
Let’s start with the obvious. South Australia’s most famous destination would have to be the Barossa Valley wine growing region. Famous around Australia and the world for the wine it produces, there are innumerable wineries to tour and fine drops to sample – all just a short drive from Adelaide, the state capital.
What you may not know is that South Australia also has a developing microbrew culture. If wine isn’t your speed, then sample everything from an amber to an IPA, from a hefe to a stout, and everything in between! Here’s a handy list of South Australian breweries for you. My personal favourite would be the McLaren Vale Beer Company, but let your tongue make up your mind for you!
#4 – Live Underground in Coober Pedy
If you want to see the real Australian Outback, Coober Peedy is a great introduction to Australia’s harsh red centre. Coober Pedy isn’t just any outback town, though, it’s a town where the residents live underground. Better than that – you can live underground too by staying at an underground hotel.
Coober Pedy is perhaps most famous as one of Australia’s opal mining Meccas, and you can try your luck at opal mining while visiting as well. It’s a lengthy trek from Adelaide, but Coober Pedy (and any part of the Aussie outback) is definitely not something you want to miss if you’re in Australia’s south.
#3 – Explore the Murray River
Australia is most definitely not a country known for its rivers and lakes, but the iconic Murray River is right in your back yard while in South Australia, and there are a number of ways to take in Australia’s longest river. Whether you’re feeling like the outdoor activity of some canoing or would rather spend an idyllic few days relaxing on a houseboat, the Murray River and the Coorong National Park it flows through offer endless adventures for the outdoor enthusiast.
#2 – Take in Adelaide
South Australia’s capital is often overlooked for the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, and perhaps also takes a back seat to Brisbane and Perth in the national pecking order; but Australia’s City of Churches is every bit as charming and cosmopolitan as its larger cousins, with the advantage of doing away with much of the hustle and bustle that can cause headaches in the bigger big smokes.
Adelaide offers an abundance of things to do, including:
- Beautifully sculpted gardens such as the Adelaide Botanical Gardens & Hemeji Garden.
- Wildlife experiences at the Cleland Wildlife Park & The Adelaide Zoo.
- A dose of culture at the South Australia Museum & The Art Gallery of South Australia.
- The iconic Adelaide Oval and its regular AFL and cricket matches.
- Beautiful walks such as the Waterfall Gully walk and the River Torrens Park Trail.
As you’d expect from any sizable city, there’s also no shortage of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bars, and pubs to occupy the hungry traveler. Adelaide’s beaches and nearby parks are a welcome break from busier locations in Sydney or Melbourne as well.
#1 – Visit South Australia’s Natural Beauty
Like much of Australia, South Australia has been blessed with some truly remarkable natural sights including, surprise surprise, The Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. In fact, stunning Kangaroo Island is considered one of Australia’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Home to fur seals and plenty of Australia’s unique indigenous fauna, nature enthusiasts will remember their trip to Kangaroo Island for the rest of their lives.
Lush and green isn’t your speed? The Flinders Rangers and Outback region offers up smorgasbord of mountain canyons, red desert plains, and intriguing rock formations such as The Dutchmans Stern. This region is also home to Australia’s largest lake, the often dry but always beautiful, Lake Eyre.
Much like Australia as a whole, South Australia offers a diverse range of landscapes for any would-be explorer to take in. Deserts and forests, windswept coastlines and mountainous hiking trails – South Australia has it all.
What are your favourite spots in South Australia? As somebody who has only been to its very north, I’d love some extra insights into what to take in next time I’m back in Australia.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own.