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South Australia is one of the states in Australia, located in the central southern part of the country. It is home to some of the greatest wine regions in the world and surely one of the best in Australia. But there is much more to explore, from cities like Adelaide to outback towns as Coober Pedy. And of course there is a fair share of wildlife, both on land as well as underneath the surface of the ocean. Still, South Australia is a little less visited compared to its famous neighbours to the east, but if you are deciding to travel from the south towards the north through the central parts, you will inevitably travel through this magnificent piece of land.
South Australia is located (unsurprisingly) in the south of Australia, with Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to the east, Western Australia to the west and the Northern Territory to its north. It has a land area of 983,482 km² and a total area of 1,043,514 km², making it Australia's fourth largest state/territory. Almost 80% of the people live in Adelaide, the state's capital, while around 75% of the landmass mostly is arid or semi-desert like, or outback as it is called randomly as well. The more fertile areas are in the southern portion of the state, with agriculture and vineyards. The Murray River is the great source of water in this part, and most of the human life is located around it as well.
South Australia covers a vast amount of area, from coastal towns to arid desert. The more settled areas are in the south east of the state, hence the smaller regions around that area.
South Australia is the driest part of the Australia, especially more inland in the Outback. Summermonths are between November and March with hot and dry weather and temperatures up to 45 °C or even a bit more. Even Adelaide reaches 45 °C sometimes. In winter, temperatures are still mild, generally around 20 °C on average during the day. It can be downright cold at night though more inland, with freezing temperatures during the wintermonths from June to August being a real possibility towards the border with the Northern Territory.
Although most rain in the south (Adelaide for example) falls during winter, more inland heavy outbursts of rain can happen during the summermonths on the other hand.
Adelaide Airport (ADL) is located about 8 kilometres from the city centre of Adelaide and is the main gateway to South Australia. The airport has international connections with Auckland, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Several domestic and regional carriers operate flights to Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Sydney and several regional centres. A few budget airlines like Tiger Airways, Virgin Blue and Jetstar operate budget flights on the Melbourne-Adelaide route as well as services from several other cites.
To/from the airport
The The Indian Pacific train crosses the Nullabor Plain connecting Adelaide west to Perth and east to Sydney. Trains run twice weekly in both directions, the trip to Perth taking the longest.
The Ghan travels north between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin.
It runs twice weekly, taking 2 nights in either direction.
The Overland links Adelaide with Melbourne 3 times a week in both directions.
You can enter South Australia on good tarmac roads from Victoria (for example near Mildura), New South Wales (towards Broken Hill), Northern Territory and Western Australia (Ceduna). Although South Australia also borders Queensland, this crossing is only undertaken with good preparations, meaning a 4wd and enough food and water to be selfsufficient. This route (The Birdsville Track) crosses near Birdsville, Queensland.
Greyhound is the main bus operator with destinations across the country, including Melbourne and Sydney. Services to Perth nowadays are suspended because of cheap airtickets. V/Line and Firefly Express are other bus companies, mainly serving Victoria and New South Wales destinations.
No public services go to and from South Australia, but having your own yacht might help you prove otherwise.
A number regional airlines are flying to and from Adelaide. Destinations include Coober Pedy and Kangaroo Island, among others. Airlines include Regional Express and Airlines of SA. Emu Airways is the main operator to Kingscote, Kangaroo Island.
Three trains stop between various cities and towns in South Australia:
Renting a car is a great way of seeing as much as possible of South Australia. There are good roads going north, east and west in the state, but some if you like, some nice tracks are available for you, mainly in the northeastern part, like the Birdsville Track. Note that you can't take your rental car to Kangaroo Island, you have to rent another car on the island itself.
There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.
Greyhound has an extensive network across South Australia, with most main cities and towns having connections with Adelaide and also with Melbourne or Sydney.
Sea Link Kangaroo Island provides ferry services between mainland South Australia and Kangaroo Island.
South Australia has a good reputation for high quality fresh food and produce.
The Adelaide Central Market is in the city centre just to the west of Victoria Square and has an enduring reputation for fresh market produce as well as cheeses, smallgoods, fresh seafood, fresh butchered as well as processed meats and a huge range of culinary speciality items bearing an Australian, European and Asian food heritage. The Central Market precinct is the location of Adelaide's small Chinatown and has many Asian food outlets and restaurants. Many cafes, restaurants and retail food outlets line the streets around the Market complex.
The state produces citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, stone fruits such a nectarines, peaches and plums, apples, pears, and table grapes such as sultana and muscatel.
Wheat, barley and oats are staple grain crops, legumes such as peas and many bean varieties are also produced. The state has an extensive market garden industry growing a wide range of vegetables in all seasons. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are grown near Adelaide and the state has a vibrant high quality olive oil industry.
Seafood is both farmed in sea-water pens, grown in onshore tanks and caught in the wild by line fishing, trolling and trawling. South Australia has a well developed tuna, scale fish, oyster, craysish (lobster) and abalone industry. The cold fresh waters of the Southern Ocean and the two gulfs has historically been bountiful but due to overfishing stringent controls have been brought to bear upon both commercial and recreational fishing. Historically, inland waterways such as the Murray river and the Coorong were also highly productive but have declined drastically due to environmental impacts and degradation.
The state also has a highly developed viticulture and wine making tradition and the industry produces many wine varieties for local, national and international markets.
South Australia also has a good reputation for rearing beef cattle for veal and beef meats, dairy production including milks, yoghurts, fresh and matured cheeses. The state has a strong history of sheep meat production including mutton and lamb. Local game meats include kangaroo and rabbits, which are wild harvested, normally in the mid-north and far north of the state. The poultry industry is well developed and provides both battery farm, free range and 'organic' eggs, chicken, ducks and turkeys.
Adelaide especially has a good reputation for restaurant and cafe dining. Other areas, including the Clare Valley, Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island have strong regional cafe and restaurant industries that exploit the high quality fresh produce available in those areas.
The ethnic culinary influences and production skills borne by many generations of immigration has helped the development of the food and produce industry in South Australia. Italian, Greek, Polish, German, Malaysian, Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants to the state have had particularly strong influence on the development of the states food culture.
South Australia is home to several of the the largest wine regions in Australia including the Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Clare Valley. There are well known wineries like Torbreck, Peter Lehmann and Angoves. South Australian wine is sold throughout the world.
Beer measures in South Australia are the schooner and the pint. A schooner is a smaller measure, known variously as a middy or a pot elsewhere in Australia. A pint isn't a pint at all, and is a larger size known as a schooner everywhere else in Australia. In most pubs in SA a pint of pale will return you a reasonable measure of Coopers Pale Ale.
There are countless options in South Australia, with Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and the wine region having the most diverse range. From camping to luxurious hotels and smaller accommodations. To the north, options are limited and you have to travel long distances before another town appears with a pub and a room or two. Make sure to make reservations once you venture into less populated areas, espcially during holidays and weekends.
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