South Australia Travel Guide

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Barossa Valley - Take a drive into the Adelaide Hills and you can drive though gum covered valleys, steep hills, tiny villages, wildlife sanctuaries and apple and pear orchards, with plenty of refreshments stops at tea houses, hotels and wineries. The Coonawarra, the Clare Valley, the Riverland and Adelaide's northern suburbs are also districts which produce superb wines and have their own individual character. There are a number of festivals to exhibit these wines, and each district holds a festival to herald a new vintage. The celebrations are intended to toast the marriage of good food, wine and music.

Kangaroo Island - To thousands of Australians the sea lions are the main attraction here, and they can be clearly viewed from Seal Bay where you can walk close to them. The Flinders Chase National Park can be explored at the island's south-western end. Kangaroos can be found here in large numbers, along with Cape Barren geese, koalas, nocturnal brush tailed possums and tamar wallabies. Not so easy to find is the glossy black cockatoo which can occasionally be spotted amongst the she-oak trees. Kingscote is the arrival and departure point to Kangaroo Island and the perfect place from which to explore the island. It is 110km from Adelaide and was the first settled part of South Australia.

Port Lincoln - The rugged indented coastline here attracts many fishing charters, cray fishing and other boating pastimes. Bareboat charters operate in the area. The third largest breeding population of sea lions in Australia is supported by the dangerous reef. The reef also attracts the white pointer shark and there are many sightings in these waters. There are regular charters from Port Lincoln and an underwater observatory and viewing platform for visitors to sample these delights.

Tumby Bay - Numerous grassy picnic spots along the foreshore make Tumby Bay a popular spot for tourists. There is a National Trust museum and several jetties for fishing. Other interesting spots in the area are the beaches of Poonta and Cowley, where there is wonderful scenery, with good swimming and fishing opportunities. Boat trips may be taken out to the Sir Joseph Banks Conservation Park to observe the dolphins, sea lions and birdlife.

Beaches

Port Germain Beach - The longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere can be found just 24klm north at Port Germain Beach. There are water sport activities in the area to please everyone along with the bushwalking, horse-riding, golf and tennis.

Outdoors

Mount Gambier - The famous poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon, lived here at Dingley Dell in the mid 1860's. He wrote some of his best work from this house and it has been preserved in his memory. There is a plaque on the spot where he took a daring leap on horse back across a high fence on to a very thin ledge overlooking Blue Lake some 60 meters below. This amazing feat made him instantly more famous than his poetry. The interesting collection of historic buildings are mostly built of local limestone and the National Trust has established a museum, along with other places of interest for the visitor. The gardens are always ablaze with colour and are planted in an open cave.

Naracoorte - The Naracoorte Caves Conservation Park are famous for its limestone caves. There are in total about 60 of these caves in the area, 16 in the park and 4 which are open to the public, and fitted with electric light. Fossil cave has one of the richest fossil deposits in the world including specimens of animals of the Ice Age. There are several lakes in the area providing good swimming and water sports.

Tantanoola - A visit to this region is not complete without a visit to the Tiger Hotel to see the 'Tantanoola Tiger', the story is almost folklore and the remains of the tiger remain to this day. Another worthwhile spot is the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, which contain two caves hollowed out of the marine cliff overlooking the highway. The main cave is said to be 500,000 years old. Delicate columns split thousands of years ago by volcanic eruptions have still not joined. Access is easy, there are even suitable pathways for wheelchairs.

Coonalpyn - The area is host to many interesting wildlife sanctuaries, including the nearby Mt Boothby and the Carcuma, Conservation Parks. Here you will find kangaroos, echidnas, emus and mallee fowl. Activities in the district include horse riding, bowls, swimming and tennis.

Moving around

South Australia, at four times the size of the United Kingdom, has a lot of empty space between places of interest. The best way to see it is by car, though a limited rail service connects Adelaide with some areas. The Stuart Highway bisects the state from south to north; it runs from Adelaide through the industrial center of Port Augusta (gateway to the Flinders Ranges), and through Coober Pedy to Alice Springs in the Red Centre. The Eyre Highway travels westward along the coastline and into Western Australia, while the Barrier Highway enters New South Wales just before the mining city of Broken Hill. The Princes Highway takes you east to Melbourne. You should seek travel advice from the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia.

Adelaide's public bus network is divided into three zones, and fares are calculated according to the number of zones traveled. The city center is classed as Zone 1. The CityLoop bus operates free bus service every 15 minutes around the city center, along North Terrace, East Terrace, Grenfell Street, Pulteney Street, Wakefield Street, Grote Street, Morphett Street, Light Square, Hindley Street, and West Terrace. Another free bus, the Bee Line runs along North Terrace, down King William Street to Victoria Street. Routes are well signposted. All city free buses are wheelchair-accessible.

National festival and holidays

The Adelaide Festival - Adelaide is home to Australia's largest performing arts festival, the Adelaide Festival, which takes place over 3 weeks in March during even-numbered years. The festival includes literary and visual arts as well as dance, opera, classical music, jazz, cabaret, and comedy. The festival encompasses Writers' Week and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Womadelaide Festival - Held in March each year. It is part of the Womad festival circuit, featuring world music, folk, blues and jazz. This is a must-see festival for visitors who enjoy good music.

Barossa Valley Vintage Festival - This is a biennial (odd years), Germanic festival set in the country's viticultural heart. it takes place in April.

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