Travel to South Australia


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Encompassing some of the most arid parts of the country, it can feel tough to get to grips with South Australia at first. 75% of the region's population lives in vibrant, cosmopolitan capital city Adelaide on the south coast, leaving the rest of the state temptingly empty. It practically begs visitors to head out into the wilderness to explore.

South Australia shares a border with every other mainland state, meaning many visitors arrive with the intention of passing through. Plenty begin or end a journey along the iconic Great Ocean Road here. There's plenty to keep a traveller in the region, from mining town Coober Pedy, famous for its underground 'dugout' homes, to Kangaroo Island, an island packed with - you guessed it - kangaroos.

Much of the region might be barren, but Adelaide buzzes with life. The city is well known for its program of cultural events and attractions, as well as bars, restaurants, and backpacker friendly accommodation. If you were planning on passing through, you'll find countless reasons to stay.

Flights to Adelaide

Return flights from: £514

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Adventure Tours

3 days from: £279

Looking for the perfect Aussie adventure? Check out our Australia tours visiting South Australia.

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Our Favourite Adventure Tours

Most tours in Victoria will kick off from Melbourne, but from there there’s a huge choice about where in the country you head and what you’ll do there. You could head west along the Great Ocean Road toward Adelaide in South Australia, cut straight up into the forbidding Red Centre region, or go toward Sydney via the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Here are a few of our favourites.

Great Ocean Road East

3 days tour from £279

The Red Centre to Adelaide

8 days tour from £749

Outback to the Red Centre

9 days tour from £929

The Red Centre to Melbourne

10 days tour from £1,049

Australia North to South

14 days from £1,379

Australia Encompassed

25 days tour from £3,299

Swim? Actually, don’t. Most people arrive in South Australia by flying into Adelaide Airport. It’s only around a 10-15-minute drive into the city centre. You have a few options if you’re driving into the region: the Stuart Highway traverses the entire country north to south, starting in Darwin and ending in Adelaide; the Outback Highway cuts down from Queensland, the Barrier Highway visits from New South Wales, and the Eyre Highway sidles in from Western Australia. Multiple driving routes are available from Victoria.

South Australia isn’t home to any of Australia’s most famous sites, but there is still plenty to see. You shouldn’t be too quick to leave Adelaide, at least not before you’ve toured its galleries and museums, particularly those dedicated to indigenous culture. Kangaroo Island off Adelaide’s coast is unmissable, and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, the lowest point and largest lake in Australia, turns pink with algae at certain times of year.

If you’re not an Aussie or a kiwi, you will need to get a visa. There are a few available depending on why your intentions while visiting. If you’re being a tourist, you need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This costs around £15. If you’re planning to settle for a while and work, you can apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa. These can't be acquired once you're in Australia, so make sure to apply well ahead of your departure date.

South Australia is hot year-round, so you can abandon your coat and wellies at home. That leaves more room for your best pairs of sunglasses and flip flops. If you're planning on exploring the Outback, a pair of decent walking boots might be sensible. Don’t bother packing sun cream or mosquito repellent with you – it’s much cheaper to buy it once you’ve arrived.

The heat means it can be worth avoiding South Australia during its summer months, especially December to January, when temperatures can push towards fifty degrees Celsius. April to August are the cooler months, though if you’re sticking to Adelaide and the southern coast it does mean you can expect a little rain. Don’t worry, in this heat it’s usually a relief!

A couple of weeks should comfortably be enough to see most of what South Australia has to offer, assuming you’re driving most days with time for frequent stops. If you’re not in a hurry, sticking around in Adelaide to experience its numerous seasonal festivals is well worth it, and there’s plenty to explore along the coast.

You’re going to need to get yourself some wheels. It is possible to take domestic flights within South Australia, but it’s not common, and won’t be practical for most places you’ll want to go. Driving is the best way to experience the region, whether you’re following the picturesque coast or heading inland. There are also plenty of group tours that kick off from Adelaide, many heading north towards Alice Springs and Uluru in the centre of the country.

South Australia isn’t famed for its wildlife, but it does have Kangaroo Island. We know these iconic critters are prolific across the country, but there’s little more downright Australian thsn watching them hop along a sun-baked beach. Along the coast there are also opportunities for dolphin and whale-watching trips.

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