If you’ve ever wanted to take the time to really explore your own backyard, now with restrictions easing, we have the best opportunity to show our home state some love and appreciation. With so many incredible experiences available here in SA, it’s the ultimate time to start planning your next local adventure.
We’ve rounded up the best camping, beach, river, hiking, 4WD and road trip adventures going around, so read on for some inspiration and guidance on your next south Aussie getaway.
If you just want to read up on certain activities, then you can skip ahead here:
Camping & sightseeing
The three South Australian peninsulas are just bursting with memorable experiences and landscapes, that there really is something on offer for everyone.
It’s home to McLaren Vale, one of the world’s finest wine regions. Or there’s the quiet seaside town of Goolwa, the family-friendly Victor Harbour, and the pristine beaches of Port Elliot – so the Fleurieu Peninsula provides activities for all.
The calm waters of Rapid Bay. Image: Faye Martin
Producing some of the most highly sought after seafood in the world, Port Lincoln is also prized for its pristine ocean and marine life. Local businesses love to showcase the natural assets to visitors and offer experiences such as fishing charters, shark cave diving and swimming with sea lions.
With so many activities on offer such as fishing charters, shark cave diving and swimming with sea lions. Or, you can just take it easy by the water and head down to the picturesque September Beach, Memory Cove, or Tractor Beach.
Relax and unwind on Tractor Beach. Image: Faye Martin
The Yorke Peninsula is a beach and water lover’s dream come true. Go crabbing at Port Julia, camp out right next to the secluded beaches and shipwrecks at Innes National Park, grab your snorkel and check out the marine life at Point Turton. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to stretch your legs and take in the fresh sea air, then why not also try the Walk the Yorke Trail.
Camp out at Innes National Park. Image: Faye Martin
Kangaroo Island is without a doubt one of the most incredible places to visit in South Australia, if not the world. It is also home to the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail which is a 5 day 61km hike that allows you to experience the stunning scenery and unique biodiversity of the island, which will hopefully re-open in the future.
Having been ravaged by the fires earlier in the year, this Island desperately needs its beloved visitors back so check this map for all the details on exactly what is open and available for visitors.
The famous Admiral’s Arch at Kangaroo Island. Image: Faye Martin
Coorong National Park
If you’ve got a weekend up your sleeve, then why not head down to the Coorong National Park. Just over three hours from the Adelaide CBD, this area of wetlands provides ample opportunities for fishing, camping, 4WDing, walking, boating and bird watching.
Camp out at the Coorong for the weekend. Image: Chris Newman
Murray River National Park
If you like the sound of serene wetlands, plenty of wildlife, birdwatching, hiking, canoeing and camping then the Murray River National Park will have you covered. Approximately three hours drive from the Adelaide CBD, this park is the perfect distance for a weekend getaway or a longer stay.
Camp and canoe to your heart’s content. Image: Chris Newman
If you’re itching to get the kayaks out for a couple of days of paddling, then Katarapko Creek should be on your list. Aside from kayaking, you can head out and walk the trails in the area, jump on your bike and explore the roads within the park, or perhaps casting a line into the water is more your thing? Either way, you’ve got plenty of activities to keep you occupied.
Cruising through Katarapko creek. Image: Chris Newman
Chowilla Game Reserve
If you want to disconnect from the world and paddle all your worries away, a trip to the secluded Chowilla Game Reserve won’t disappoint. With diverse wildlife, a huge bird population and limited phone reception – you can immerse yourself in what nature has to offer without those pesky notifications interrupting the tranquillity.
The relaxing ebb and flow of the water will soothe your soul. Image: Travel Notes
Day hikes & overnighters
If thoughts of getting away from it all and surrounding yourself in nature are what’s been pulling you through, then why not lace up your hikers and hit one of the many spectacular trails our Southern state boasts?
Mount Remarkable National Park
If you’re interested in a choice of hikes ranging from day trips to overnighters, Mount Remarkable National Park offers all that and more. With spectacular scenery and a rich prehistoric landscape plus excellent camping facilities if you’re keen to pitch the family tent, this popular spot provides terrific walks and hikes for people of all ages and abilities.
Pack your rucksack and head to Mt Remarkable. Image: Kelly-Anne Burgess
Victor Harbour day hikes
Another great spot for a weekend away is to drive down to Victor Harbour and spend your time exploring all the scenery on offer. For a couple of hours walk, try the Bluff and Granite Island, ride your bike along the Encounter Bikeway, or walk along the Waitpinga Cliffs while taking in the incredible view.
Victor in general is a fantastic place for families to visit and the range of activities available to entertain both kids and adults, have been enjoyed for generations past, present and undoubtedly all those to come.
Explore Victor Harbour on foot. Image: Chris Newman
Heysen Trail day hikes
Despite current circumstances keeping the overnight huts closed, you can still make a day of walking a section of the legendary Heysen Trail. In terms of half day and full day hikes, you could check out the Tanunda loop walk which conveniently take you past two wineries if you want to have a cheeky stop over, or take on the classic Mt Lofty loop walk which winds through the stunning Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, Cleland Conservation Park and finally the Mt Lofty Summit.
Hike a section of the Heysen Trail. Image: Chris Newman
4WDing & road trips
If you have a week to spare, then there are plenty of adventures that will give you view of the endless horizon that you’ve been craving.
The iconic Flinders Ranges offer something for everyone whether it’s bushwalking, family camping, mountain biking or 4WDing. This huge national park includes the Heysen Range, Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges, plus Wilpena Pound. It’s around 5 hours drive from the Adelaide CBD and presents plenty of various accommodation choices – from camping and glamping, to hotels, pubs and resorts.
There is truly an option for every type of traveller who wants to scratch the itch and explore this region.
Take the whole family to the Flinders for your next camping trip. Image: Dave Leslie
Gawler Ranges NP
If you want a 4WD escape that is perhaps a little less travelled, then the Gawler Ranges is the place you need to check out. Take your 4WD or 2WD and settle yourself in for a seven to eight-hour drive from Adelaide via Port Augusta and Kimba. It features extensive tracks and roads throughout the park, as well as rolling hills and magnificent ochre sunsets that you can experience without the crowds.
Enjoy the 4WD tracks and the picturesque scenery of the Gawler Ranges. Image: Chris Newman
If you enjoy longer drives then head to Coober Pedy to check out the mines, opals, underground churches and other quirky offerings that you can check out in the town.
Coober Pedy is a uniquely South Australian destination. Image: Sputnik
For those who are interested in a dedicated road trip, why not take on the iconic landscape of the Nullarbor Plain? Located along the Great Australian Bight Coast, start from Adelaide and make your way west along the Eyre Highway to truly experience solitude, open spaces and the chance to clear your head.
Nothing but the open road ahead of you. Image: Emma McPherson
For travellers who like adventures with a healthy dose of history, the Oodnadatta Track is the ultimate outback expedition. You can immerse yourself in the rich indigenous culture of the area, while checking out the Overland Telegraph Line, the Old Ghan Railway line and Lake Eyre – there’s so much to interest you along the way.
History, bush camping and outback adventure – the Oodnadatta has it all. Image: Barry Peters
If you’ve always wanted to attempt a desert crossing, then the Strzelecki Track should be on your list. It starts out in Lyndhurst and ends in Innamincka with the best time to visit being from April to October. It’s a fairly remote track so you will need to carry enough supplies to last you most of the journey, and a 4WD is recommended.
If a desert crossing excites you, the Strzelecki Track won’t disappoint. Image: Top Wire Traveller
Another one of the great outback tracks for those who love a challenge is the Birdsville Track. This popular route originally opened all the way back in the 1860s, to transport cattle from the NT and Queensland down to South Australia. The track is well maintained so it’s possible navigate with a 2WD, however a 4WD is the best option. It starts in Maree which is 700km north of Adelaide, so best to allow the better part of a day to get there. Once on the track, your destination will land you in Birdsville.
Experience the arid desert landscape of the Birdsville Track. Image: Top Wire Traveller
What’s your favourite local spot in South Australia?