Best of South Australia – Camping, Hiking, 4WDing & More

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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 

Fleurieu Peninsula

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.

If you’re more keen to camp, then book a couple of nights at the Deep Creek Conservation Park. Or grab your kayak or SUP and head to Rapid Bay, Second Valley or Carrickalinga.

Woman on beach at Rapid Bay in SA

The calm waters of Rapid Bay. Image: Faye Martin

Eyre Peninsula

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.

Deserted beach and ocean on a cloudy day

Relax and unwind on Tractor Beach. Image: Faye Martin

Yorke Peninsula

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.

People walking down boardwalk steps towards a remote beach

Camp out at Innes National Park. Image: Faye Martin

Kangaroo Island

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 view of the ocean through the natural rock arch

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.

People unloading their fishing gear from a 4WD parked on the sand at a beach

Camp out at the Coorong for the weekend. Image: Chris Newman

River adventures 

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.

A kayaking group's campsite set up by the river

Camp and canoe to your heart’s content. Image: Chris Newman

Katarapko Creek

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.

View from a kayak on the river

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.

View of the river and a large tree from the riverbank

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.

A hiker stands at the top of a gorge looking out at the view

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.

People walk across the jetty that links the island to the mainland

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.

A view of the ocean and rugged cliff face from a clifftop

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.

Flinders Ranges

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.

A man relaxes in a chair by a campfire with his camper trailer and hills in the background

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.

The bonnet of a 4WD with a signpost behind it

Enjoy the 4WD tracks and the picturesque scenery of the Gawler Ranges. Image: Chris Newman

Coober Pedy

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.

A sign at the unique golf course reads 'Keep off grass' despite it being made of crushed rock

Coober Pedy is a uniquely South Australian destination. Image: Sputnik

Nullarbor Plain

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.

A sign on a dirt road in the outback that reads 'NULLARBOR PLAIN EASTERN END OF TREELESS PLAIN'

Nothing but the open road ahead of you. Image: Emma McPherson

Oodnadatta Track

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.

A 4WD is parked on the dirt next the railway tracks, with a train on the tracks and mountains in the distance

History, bush camping and outback adventure – the Oodnadatta has it all. Image: Barry Peters

Strzelecki Track

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.

On the desolate dirt road with the large blue open sky

If a desert crossing excites you, the Strzelecki Track won’t disappoint. Image: Top Wire Traveller

Birdsville Track

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.

A cattle crossing along a dirt road next to a sign that reads 'South Australia'

Experience the arid desert landscape of the Birdsville Track. Image: Top Wire Traveller

 

What’s your favourite local spot in South Australia? 

About the writer...

Joined back in December, 2016

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