Check Out These Lesser-Known Places For A One-Of-A-Kind Holiday In South Australia

Forget about the typical touristy stuff!

Cover image via @chloektodd (Instagram) & South Australian Tourism Commission / edited by SAYS

This Spotlight is sponsored by Tourism Australia.

Think that Australia is all "been there, done that"? Don't write it off just yet.

Image via Tenor

While many of us have probably already travelled to popular tourist destinations in Australia like Melbourne and Sydney, we might not have even considered going to lesser-known places like South Australia. As a rising destination in recent years, South Australia is filled with all kinds of hidden gems that makes it THE place to visit.

So if you think you know Australia, think again!

It's time to forget about the typical stereotypes of koalas, kangaroos, the Outback, and other well-known Aussie icons, and instead discover how there's so much more to the Land Down Under!

Here's how you can have a truly unique holiday experience in South Australia:

Misconception #1: Australia is all about koalas and kangaroos

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Tbh the iconic cute and cuddly animals are probably the first thing that pops into our minds when we think of Australia but there's so many much more wildlife to discover. Think sea lions, echidnas, great white sharks, emus, and more. You can even have absolutely unforgettable experiences that allow you to get up close and personal with them!

Places to check out:

  • Kangaroo Island - Get up close to a colony of approximately 1,000 Australian sea lions at Seal Bay on the island’s south coast and keep an eye out for echidnas, the island’s small and spikey residents at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. You can also see several species of birds ranging from kookaburras to kestrels at Raptor Domain.
  • Eyre Peninsula - Sharks, whales, dolphins, and more swim just off the shore, so you can observe, dive, and swim with the many marine animals. Swim with friendly sea lions in their natural habitat or head underwater and scuba dive with giant cuttlefish and leafy sea dragons. Take on the Adventure Bay Charters cage diving tour if you dare, to view great white sharks from the safety of an eco-certified cage.

  • Yorke Peninsula - Home to an abundance of local wildlife, you’re almost guaranteed to see animals such as emus, wallabies, dolphins, and sometimes even seals come close to shore.
  • Fleurieu Peninsula - First, visit the South Australian Whale Centre in Victor Harbor for interactive activities and whale watching tips from the pros. Then, grab your binoculars and head to one of the peninsula’s whale watching hot spots, including Encounter Bay, Port Elliot, Middleton, and The Bluff at Victor Harbor. For a closer look, set out to sea on a whale and wildlife tour with The Big Duck Boat Tours.

Misconception #2: Australia isn't a foodie destination

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While many seem to think that Australia doesn't have a rich foodie culture of its own, you'll actually find many great culinary adventures awaiting you in South Australia. As it is home to some of the freshest and most inspired ingredients in the country, South Australia's food and wine opportunities are endless!

Places to check out:

  • Adelaide Central Market - With over 80 market stalls, you’ll find everything from fruit and vegetables to seafood and smallgoods. Take your time to browse around before making your purchases or trying out one of the nearby cafés or eateries. You can even go on a guided market tour to find out more about South Australia's freshest ingredients.
  • Barossa - Wine lovers will absolutely adore the Barossa where you can do everything from blending your own bottle perfectly suited to your tastes at Jacob's Creek to tasting your own birth year vintage straight from the barrel at Seppeltsfield. Don't forget to drink and dine at some of the region’s best like Hentley Farm, Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, and Appellation at the Louise.

  • Kangaroo Island - Head to The Oyster Farm Shop, an iconic blue shop front, offering ocean-to-plate seafood. Stop by Kangaroo Island Spirits to sip beautifully crafted local gins before enjoying a range of wines and ocean views at Dudley Wines Cellar Door. Finally, a tour with LifeTime Private Retreats will grant you access to The Enchanted Fig Tree, a magical dining experience within the branches of a 100-year old fig tree.
  • Eyre Peninsula - Follow the Seafood Frontier Road Trip Map, which takes you from Whyalla to Streaky Bay, to sample not only oysters but a range of specialty seafood like abalone, prawns, and rock lobster. Try the oyster farm experience at Coffin Bay where you shuck fresh oysters straight from the ocean, and don't miss out on the fabulous celebrity chef designed dining experience at The Line & Label restaurant.

Misconception #3: Australia is all about amazing beaches

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Australia may be home to some truly pristine and gorgeous beaches but that's not all - you're sure to come across all kinds of wonderful experiences just beyond the coastline. Whether you prefer to explore the city or lose yourself in nature, South Australia has something for everyone.

Places to check out:

  • Lake Macdonnell - This stunning lake's vibrant pink hue is actually caused by a high salt concentration. Experience a drive like no other as the dirt road you're on splits the lake in half with its pink water on one side and green water on the other. Other pretty pink lakes in the region include Lake Bumbunga, Lake Albert, Lake Hart, and Lake Eyre.
  • Umpherston Sinkhole - This other-worldly natural attraction lies deep beneath the ground in Mount Gambier. What was once an underground limestone cave is now a striking sunken landscape, complete with a stunning garden. Explore the underground wonder on your own, or embark on a tour with local guides. Plus, Kilsby Sinkhole is only a short drive away, and this one is filled with perfectly clear water. View it from a viewing platform or take a plunge into the glass-like waters for an unbelievable snorkel tour.

  • Adelaide Rooftop Bars - Top picks for a great night out in the city include Rocket Rooftop Bar with its vibrant party lights and tropical decor, 2KW Bar and Restaurant which overlooks the iconic Adelaide Oval and North Adelaide precinct, Hennessy Bar which sits atop the luxurious Mayfair hotel, and Gallery Adelaide where you will find a top selection of local labels.
  • d’Arenberg Cube - Built in the shape of a twisting cube, each of the five levels of this restaurant has been designed to entice and excite the senses with unique experiences like a wine sensory room and virtual fermenter. Choose from an impressive selection of over 400 world-class wines before tasting the degustation-only menu which changes daily.

Excited to start planning a one-of-a-kind trip to South Australia? Check out Tourism Australia's website for more information to help with planning your itinerary - it's time to UnDiscover Australia!

For more suggestions on what to do in Australia:

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