The Top 7 South Australian Getaways

By Cat Lever

Near and far, South Australia is home to some of the best getaways for all interests and ages. Here are seven must-see locations you should consider when planning your next break.

Adelaide Hills

The picturesque Adelaide Hills is known for it’s cool climate wines, sumptuous food, rich culture and breathtaking views. An ideal getaway would certainly have to include a visit to one (or more) of South Australia’s world-class wineries. Lenswood offers a range of nearby choices; you can head to Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard for a very special long lunch, Pike & Joyce for something slightly quicker, or further up the road to Anderson Hill if you have kids in tow- the friendly owners are more than happy for the little ones to climb the trees and play hide-and-seek in the vineyards!

– How to get there
The Adelaide Hills is just a 20 minute drive from the Adelaide city centre, but it feels a world away.

– Where to stay
Award winning Thorngrove Manor in Crafers is uniquely romantic and artistic, and for a relaxing experience the Cladich Pavillions Bed and Breakfast in Aldgate is nestled amongst towering eucalypts. Adelaide Hills Country Cottages is a gorgeous preamble to country living, and there is of course Mount Lofty House, a premier destination for luxury escapes.

– What to do
The Cedars (home, studio and property of Sir Hans Heysen) is a must do for art lovers, The Mt Lofty Botanic Garden is perfect for a walk around the lake and a shady picnic, and you can’t forget Strawberry picking at Beerenberg in Hahndorf.

– Food and drink
Lost in a Forest wood pizza and wine bar is renowned for its quaint decor and outstanding produce, and you can count on FRED Eatery for a decent breaky. Hahndorf Hill Winery and The Lane Vineyard boast stunning views, and Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, established in 1852, is fine dining at its best.

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The Lane Vineyard, Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

Limestone Coast

The Limestone Coast is one of the most diverse regions in South Australia, boasting beautiful beaches, caves, beautiful coastline, and delicious food and wine. The much-loved seaside town of Robe is centrally located in the Limestone Coast and is ideal for day trips to the Naracoorte Caves, Bool Lagoon, Coonawarra and Penola. Mount Gambier is 1.5 hours to the south, and you can investigate Millicent and the Tantanoola caves on the way. Beachport is half an hour to the south of Robe also, with Kingston half an hour to the north.

– How to get there
You can drive up via the Murray River by taking the South Eastern Freeway through the Adelaide Hills and turning right at Tailem Bend, drive via the Fleurieu Peninsula by turning off at Callington/Strathalbyn, or you can enjoy a bus service such as the Premier Stateliner Coach Group.

– Where to stay
Accommodation in Robe is sorted with four caravan parks, two hotels, six motels, and numerous bed and breakfasts and self-contained options – with some pet friendly and disable friendly… the list goes on.

– What to do
Relax by fishing, surfing, walking the gorgeous beaches, or investigating the waters in a kayak. Robe’s main street is delightful for cafes and boutique shops, or venture out to Flint Street and discover Mahalia Coffee and Robert Roach’s Limestone Carving (where you can make your own masterpiece for the garden).

– Food and drink
Karatta Wines, Governor Robe Wines, Woodsoak Wines, Robetown Brewery, and Sky Seafoods in Robe Street, which is a must for your freshly cooked crayfish and an array of other seafood and goodies.

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The Obelisk, Robe

Riverland 

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A houseboat is the ideal way to explore the Riverland. There is nothing quite like grabbing a bunch of mates and spending a long weekend meandering along the Murray River, and this is a very popular and unique experience to the region.

– How to get there
The Riverland is roughly a 3 hour drive from Adelaide, up the National Highway.

– Where to stay
If not a houseboat, the Big 4 Riverfront Park in Renmark is a great family destination.

– What to do
If you’re cruising on a houseboat hired from Morgan or Waikerie, you can head towards Lock 2 and call into Caudo Vineyard, a riverfront cellar door, at Hogwash Bend. If houseboats are hired from Customs House (head downstream) or Renmark/Paringa (head upstream), pop into the Woolshed Brewery – a riverfront microbrewery. Both venues cater for houseboats to temporarily moor, and they are a great way to touch base with dry land. Another point of interest for houseboats making this trip is to cruise past the incredibly red Headings Cliffs.

– Food and drink
The Murray River Queen paddle steamer is renowned for its Thai food and regional cellar door, where you can taste almost every Riverland beverage. Backyard Bread is a celebrated tasting provodore in Barmera, and the 23rd St Distillery, originally built in 1914, is a must for a tour and tasting.

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Amazon Star, Wilkadene Houseboats, Renmark, Riverland

Fleurieu Peninsula

There are so many amazing things to do and on the Fleurieu Peninsula, but something very unique to the region is exploring the Coorong on an award wining eco tour with Canoe the Coorong, or hire a kayak and explore the Coorong at your own pace.

– How to get there
The Coorong is roughly 87km from Adelaide (or almost an hour and a half drive), but there are plenty of places to stop along the way so you can make a real road trip out of it.

– Where to stay
The Mulberry Lodge Country Retreat hosted accommodation was the winner of the 2016 South Australian Tourism Awards, and is luxurious and indulgent. Other recommendations include the Middleton Beach Huts, Lush Pastures, and the Port Elliot Big 4.

– Things to do
You can feed your inner adventure seeker with the Waitpinga Quad Bike Tours or by learning to surf at any of the great surf schools along the beaches between Goolwa and Victor Harbor. The Big Duck is a fantastic boat tour of Victor Harbour, and there is also sky diving and historic fighter plane flights for any adrenaline lovers. You mustn’t forget the famous Cockle Train, and there are great walking and cycling trails around Middleton and Victor Harbor all the way through to Deep Creek Conservation Park. There is fantastic wine tasting, food and fresh produce throughout McLaren Vale, and Goolwa has a thriving art scene.

– Food and drink
The Flying Fish (Port Elliot), The Australasian (Goolwa), Russell’s Pizza (Willunga), and of course the Port Elliot Bakery.  There are simply too many wineries to list in McLaren Vale, but you can find a comprehensive list here to help plan your next day trip.

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Canoe the Coorong on Fleurieu Peninsula

Kangaroo Island

The world famous Kangaroo Island is not only known for its stunning landscapes, but also its quality produce and beverages.  Consider stopping in to see Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS) for a late morning cocktail, before heading to American River for some fresh oysters at The Oyster Farm Shop. Dudley Wines for an early lunch and wine tasting is also a special treat.

– How to get there
Take the SeaLink ferry – however don’t think of the 1.45min drive as a chore, break it up with a stop (around half way) to have early lunch at the fantastic Salopian Inn just out of McLaren Vale. Then meander down to Cape Jervis to take the short ferry ride to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. Make sure you book the early afternoon ferry so you avoid driving at dusk and have time to get some KI getaway goodies – stop off at Kingscote for supplies and local seafoods to cook up back at your accommodation.

– Where to stay
LifeTime Private Retreats villas, located about half way down the island on the north coast. Sky house for the romantics, Sheoaks for the larger families, or Cliff House for the indulgent!

– Things to do
If you have kids check out Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action for sandboarding and quad bike rides. If you want to get up close and personal with majestic eagles, owls and pythons, book into the Raptor Domain show! Be sure to drop into Rustic Blue gallery and café on the way – they have a great outdoor garden setting.

– Food and drink
Rockpool Café is a casual seafood cafe next to a hidden beach with a cave entrance. Bay of Shoals for wine (just out of Kingscote), and Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafoods for fish and chips.

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Family fun at Snelling Beach, LifeTime Private Retreats, Kangaroo Island

Outback

The beautiful rugged landscape of the Outback is truly unforgettable. The 540 million year old Flinders Ranges is a remarkable mountain range, with many camping spots and walking trails to enjoy this iconic South Australian environment. Coober Pedy boasts fun, underground accommodation, and William Creek and Marree are located along the iconic Oodnadatta Track – offering a place to stop and take a flight over Lake Eyre (Kati Thanda).

– How to get there
It’s roughly a five hour drive from Adelaide to Wilpena Pound, or there are direct flights from Adelaide to Wilpena via Roxby Downs with Alliance Airlines.

– Things to do
Coober Pedy, the “opal capital of the world”, is a must-see. Activities include a tour of Blinman Heritage Mine, a working copper mine between the years of 1862 and 1907, and Old Timers Mine, a fantastic insight as to the history and labor that the first opal miners endured back in the early days. Also recommended is the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, the Umoona Mine and Museum, and Wrightsair for a scenic flight over Lake Eyre.

– Where to stay
The Wilpena Pound Resort is the only accommodation located within the spectacular Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park, where you can go glamping at Ikara Safari Camp. The Desert Cave Motel is also a unique accommodation experience, with a choice of above ground or dug-out style living.

– Food and drink
Andamooka Yacht Club is an innovative tourism hub featuring a café, gallery and community space. Emily’s Bistro (Quorn) is a blast from the past in an iconic building from the 1920s, the Prairie Hotel (Parachilna) is renowned for innovative dishes with Australian native and ‘Flinders Feral Food’ twists, and William Creek Hotel on the Oodnadata Track is perfect for a good pub meal.

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‘Glamping’ at Ikara Safari Camp, Wilpena Pound, Outback

Eyre Peninsula

From stunning beaches to high yield fishing grounds and unspoilt wilderness, Coffin Bay is the ultimate seaside escape on the Eyre Peninsula.

– How to get there
If not the 8 hour nature-getaway drive, a short flight with Rex from Adelaide to Port Lincoln will leave you with only a short 30 minute drive to Coffin Bay. Other options include the Sea SA ferry from Wallaroo to Cowell, which is a 60km sea journey across the Spencer Gulf, taking roughly 2 hours.

– Things to do
The Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience is a must for an Australian Sea Lion and Dolphin Swim, and don’t miss the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tour! Almonta Beach is ideal for a picnic, fishing (salmon), beach exploring and bird watching, and west of the beach, between Golden Island and Point Avoid, is a sea lagoon protected by a reef in low tide. Long Beach is popular for families and shallow waters can be explored for hours – crabs, cockles to collect, colourful shells, sea sponges.

– Where to stay
Coffin Bay Caravan Park has camp sites, van sites and cabins, and there are dozens of holiday homes including beach front, secluded homes and shacks available. Camping is also an option in the Coffin Bay National Park.

– Food and drink
Oysters, oysters, oysters! Grab a dozen with a wedge of lemon from Beachcomber and eat them on the beach. Also recommended is the 1802 Oyster Bar & Bistro, where you can relish in over 13 varieties of oysters.

Fresh oysters from the sea at Coffin Bay on Eyre Peninsula

Fresh oysters from the sea at Coffin Bay on Eyre Peninsula