Best places to visit in South Australia – Happy Days

Best places to visit in South Australia – Happy Days

Map of South Australia

South Australia is the fourth largest state in Australia and the fifth largest in population, with over 3/4 of the entire population living in Adelaide or its direct surrounding areas and the majority of the rest of the population spread out along the fertile areas of the River Murray. It is the only state that shares borders with all other inland states and ends with the Great Australian Bight to the South. Mining, manufacturing and agricultural industries mainly make up the state’s economy, but South Australia is also known for its fine wine and cultural festivals, so we’re are going to get freaky there.

Depending on where you live, flight tickets can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred pounds or dollars for one of those leg-cramping economy seats and all the way up to £50k, flying in your own private jet. It all depends on how much you would like to spend. You can find the best deals here at Expedia.

Adelaide

Adelaide

After touching down at Adelaide Airport, we need to sort you out a hire car. Just follow the signs to where it says ‘Hire Car’ and you’ll be fine. Be sure to pay the extra few dollars and spring for one with an aircon, because we are in Australia after all. Hire cars have all different prices and it depends on the type of car and the duration you would like to hire it for. If money is tight, a small sedan will do and if you are Leonardo Dicaprio looking for a limo and driver, call me and I’ll be your chauffeur.

Situated north of the Fleurieu Peninsula on the Adelaide Plains, this city was founded in 1836 and is around 1,260 sq mi big. Various measures throughout the last millennium, has ranked Adelaide’s quality of life, high, which means that it’s a place worth seeing.

Next we need to find you a place to stay. In a city like this, it will be no problem. Again, it all just depends on your budget, so please click here to book your accommodation. Once you have sorted the accommodation and your hire car, we can explore this city.

The Adelaide Zoo

Giant Panda

As with most cities throughout the world, Adelaide also has a zoo. We had already visited a zoo in Perth, so I’ll just give you the gist. There are over 3,000 animals on site, you will see anything from Sumatran Tigers and orangutans to sun bears and giant pandas. Little ones can enter for free, children between the ages of 4-15 need to pay £17 or $20.50 and adults can enter for the price of £31.50 or $38 each. Full details can be found here.

Adelaide Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Garden

We’ve seen a botanic garden when we were in South Africa, but botanic gardens are not that common. Each continent has its own native plant species, which should be viewed on that specific continent and botanic gardens are a great way to do that. Situated at the north-east corner of the city centre and adjacent to the zoo, you won’t have to walk that far to visit both attractions. Two birds. But I think that you will need more than just the one day to visit both, so it might be worth checking out accommodation in the area if you don’t already have one. Find your accommodation here and your entry tickets here.

Botanic Garden Adelaide

This 130-acre garden officially opened on the 4th of October 1857, around the same time my better half was born, and has a collection of historic buildings, various gardens, displays and even wetlands. The Bicentennial Conservatory opened in 1989 and is the largest conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere. So even if you are not that into flora, you can still say that you have seen a hemisphere’s best. At 328 ft long, 154 ft wide and 89 ft high, it is big enough that even my mother-in-law was able to enter. She had a whale of a time.

So much to see

Botanic Garden

Housing over 2,300 plants from 257 species, you will even be able to do a 90-min taste tour, sampling the finest macadamias to muntries and other native plants growing in this oasis.

The following gardens will keep you entertained:

  1. First Creek Wetland – shows how essential a wetland can be to maintain a healthy environment.
  2. Dahlia Garden – Bright-coloured flowers to admire.
  3. Australian forest – View plants discovered a 150 years ago as well as trees from across Australia.
  4. Economic Garden – Various fibres, herbs, oils and spices in their plant form. No devil’s lettuce.
  5. Garden of Health – Houses over 2,500 plants used in everyday medicines and remedies.
  6. SA Water Mediterranean Garden – Plants from across the 5 Mediterranean zones of the world.
  7. National Rose Trial Garden – A selection of various roses not for sale yet in Australia to see how they cope with the environment.
  8. Cactus and Succulent Garden – Cacti from South America and Africa.
  9. International Rose Garden – A huge selection of more than 5,000 roses from across the world.
  10. Australian Native Garden – Indigenous plants from across the state.
  11. Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden – Children’s space to learn about everything flora with group discussions and storytelling.
Botanic Garden in Adelaide

Everyone can enter for free, because the South Australian Government provides the funding, but if you had a good time, any donations are welcome and your money will help to keep this magnificent garden going. Foundation membership fees cost £410 or $500 per year and if you want to make larger donation, you can include them in your will. That will be duly noted.

Once you have made your way around the garden and bid your free guide a farewell, you can relax and have some food and drink in the cafe and if it was a really hot day, some ice cream, or even if it wasn’t.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

Adelaide Fringe

Above I mentioned that we are going to get freaky and this is that time. As always, I find you only the best and this festival is the second biggest arts festival in the entire world. If you don’t mind more than five people in a crowd, then this is the place for you, because last year 2.7 million people attended throughout the month-long event. Starting in mid-February, this festival gets bigger and bigger each year and over 7,000 artists from across Australia and around the world performing in 2019.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

The festival usually starts with free opening night celebrations and then you need to buy tickets, but don’t worry, there are some more free events throughout the month if you are on a budget. With over 1,300 events in hundreds of different locations, you would need to do your homework to make sure that you don’t miss your favourites. As of 2019, the festival opened with a ceremony, which probably shows that this really is a big deal. You can find all the info that you would need, right here.

What to expect

You can look forward to enjoying a wide range of art forms including the following: Comedy, film, theatre, cabaret, circus, puppetry, dance, music, visual art and magic, just to name a few.

Adelaide Festival

March Madness, as the locals like to call it, boasted 517 venues in 2019, which included any building or place that they could get their hands on, from established venues like bars, clubs, pubs, cafes, art galleries and hotels, to pop-up venues in disused buildings, parks, closed lanes and warehouses and were spread throughout three main venue hubs, because the city centre is quite compact and housing 2.7 million people is no easy task. I would suggest that you go there with a military grade tracking device, implanted under your skin, which transmits to everyone’s phone every five seconds and a bell around your neck with a name tag in case you get separated from your group.

Adelaide Arts Festival
Fringe Festival in Adelaide

This festival is a great economy boost for the city and in 2019, it brought in over A$95 million; I think that 99.8% of that was spent on booze, mainly wine. Just don’t get hammered and try to join one of the events as an uninvited guest star. It’s a great way to be sent back to your room without food.

With lots of alcohol, people tend to lose their inhibitions and sometimes their minds. Do take care when you attend this festival and make sure that you return back home in one piece.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Beach

The reviews about this island are pretty great, so I think that we should make visiting this island, once in Adelaide, a priority. Also known as Karta (island of the dead), it’s Australia’s third largest Island after Tasmania and Melville Island, which we will visit as well. Lying just 70 mi southwest of Adelaide, this 45-min tour costs around £160 or $185 per person for the day tour, which departs from Adelaide Central bus station and takes you to the ferry departing from Cape Jarvis.

To be honest, the middle of the island looks pretty bleak. It’s not a tropical island full of palm trees, but instead it kinda looks like The Outback. But saying that, we came here for the animals and the island has beautiful beaches with turquoise water that makes up for the dry inland.

Kangaroo Island

Covering around 1,700 sq mi, this island has around 4,700 residents and around 180, 000 visitors each year. Almost half of the entire island’s population live in the biggest township, called Kingscote. With 30 wine growers and 12 wineries, I’m sure that the residents there never have a dull moment. We also have another world’s best. The Ligurian honey bee there is the only disease-free, pure-bred bee of this type in the entire world and the island is noted for its honey as well as the export of pure-bred queen bees.

A day full of fun

Seal Bay Conservation Park

On the itinerary, there are three stops and opportunities for you to take some photos and the first stop would be Seal Bay Conservation Park where you can get nice and close with the Australian seals swimming in the water or catching a few z’s in the sun. As always, I do worry about you guys, so when you have tasted the island’s wine, don’t try to catch a seal for a ride. They are not horses.

Included in the price is a two-course meal, so you’ll get to sit down and eat what they have to offer. Might be some fruit or vegetables, baby seals or kangaroo, I really can’t tell you, but after some exercise, anything will taste good.

Remarkable Rocks

Second stop will be Remarkable rocks. Home to a few geological phenomena, this protected area is a sanctuary to endangered species as well as some huge corroded boulders.

Admirals Arch

The last stop of the day before you head back, is at Admirals Arch; a natural arch, shaped by the weather and sea erosion. And plenty more seals to see as well.

Little Sahara

One day is definitely not enough to visit the island, because there is much more to see and do. You can either do the two-day tour or just go there yourself with the freedom to do what you want and when you want. At Little Sahara, you test your skills by surfing the dunes, but be sure to wear goggles or glasses. Zooming down those dunes will blow sand in your face and eyes and that will not be pleasant. At £30 or $37 for two hours, you will have a lot of fun.

Fauna and flora

Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

At Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, you will see roaming kangaroos and koalas. You can get up close and personal with these wonderful animals, but be sure not to scare or hurt any of them, otherwise the park’s big boxing kangaroo that moonlights as the bouncer, will get you. Wallabies, possums, echidnas and a whole lot of different bird species are also bound to cross your path, so keep an eye out.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Sticking with animals, Kangaroo Wildlife Park opens at 09:00 and has even more animals where you can even hand fed some of them. Costing just £22 or $28 per adult and £13 or $16 for children between the ages of 3-16, you will get to interact with the animals and attend various displays throughout the day from dingo and penguin feeding to wombat and koala holding. Full details can be found here.

Koala Bear
Wombat

Before they get Bruce, the Red Boxing Kangaroo, to show you the door at 17:00, you will have the opportunity to adopt one of the animals in the park. The money will go towards feeding and taking care of them. I would suggest adopting one of the cute cobras. No one wants them and you get to take your baby home once a month. Your family will be so happy; I can see them jumping for joy.

Everyone loves a lighthouse

Kangaroo Island Lighthouse

Our last stop is this beauty above; The Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse. Constructed just after the turn of the previous century, this lighthouse was built with 2,000 local stone pieces and also consists of cottages where the head keeper, two assistants and their families used to stay. Today, visitors can stay in the cottages as the lighthouse is now automated. It flashes twice every 10 seconds at a height of 338 ft, so if you want to stay over in one of the cottages, make sure that you wear a sleep mask. That constant flashing light will drive you nuts and before you know it, you will turn into Jack Torrence from the Shining and if you have seen the movie or read the book, I’m sure that you know what will happen. Book your Kangaroo Island adventure here.

Jacob’s Creek

Jacob's Creek

If you are a wine drinker, chances are that you have heard of Jacob’s Creek. If you are a wine lover, chances are that you have drunk Jacob’s Creek and if you are a wine connoisseur then chances are that visiting Jacob’s Creek will be like Disneyland for you. Located just 40 mi northeast of Adelaide, this vineyard grew its first vine in 1847 and never looked back. One of the most well-known brands in the world, exported to over 60 countries, you’ll be able to explore this farm to your heart’s content. Back in the early 1900s, someone had fallen into one of those huge wine barrels. Legend has it that he had gotten out twice to pee, before he drowned.

Full details can be found here.

Jacob's Creek Accommodation
Jacob's Creek Cottage

If you are doing a day trip from Adelaide and you have accommodation, you can skip this part, but if you feel like spending the night, Jacob can sort you out. For £370 or $450 per night, per couple and £84 or $90 extra per person, this three-bedroom cottage will be the perfect family retreat. You can spend your day sampling every single wine that they have to offer and then crawl not too far for a well-deserved nap in luxury accommodation. This cottage also boasts two bathrooms, a kitchen, air-conditioning, flat screen TVs, a gas BBQ and your very own VIP parking.

Accommodation at Jacob's Creek

Then lastly, this cottage also comes with free wi-fi, toiletries, bathrobes like Hugh Hefner used to wear, hair dryers, fresh sheets, your own personal winery and even an ironing board in case you passed out in your best clothes. Outside you can BBQ your own food in the sun or under the bright night sky while admiring the billions of stars and thank Jaco for showing you the way. Book your cottage here.

At Jacob’s Creek you will never have a dull moment and can choose between four experiences:

  1. Introduction to wine with lunch included – £80 or $100 for 2.5 hours.
  2. Food and wine masterclass with four-course meal – £110 or $140 for three hours.
  3. Cooking class – £160 or $195 for four hours.
  4. Wine tasting – £8 or $10, minimum eight people and a couple of designated drivers, because trust me, you’ll need them.
Jacob's Creek Vineyard

Open daily from 10:00 – 17:00, you can enjoy great tasting wines with friends and family with the Barossa Ranges and breath-taking vineyards as your backdrop. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

I would caution you to please make sure that you do not throw your cigarette buts on the ground, because they burn the other guests’ hands and knees when they go home.

And this is it for South Australia. Safe travels and as always, please feel free to share this post with everyone that you know; it will show them that you care.

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