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South Australia

Photo © dyakhnov

Travel Guide Oceania Australia South Australia

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Introduction

On the road to Coonawarra South Australia

On the road to Coonawarra South Australia

© All Rights Reserved sunraybret

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.

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Geography

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.

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Regions

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.

  • Adelaide and surrounds (Adelaide, Adelaide Hills) - Adelaide, the state's capital and its surrounds have plenty to offer for tourists and travellers. The Adelaide Hills surround Adelaide on the eastern side and have small villages with lots of history and lots of natural wonders.
  • Winery areas (Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale) - The home of some of Australia's best wines, the Barossa Valley, the McLaren Vale and the lesser-known Clare Valleys are the reason why many travel to South Australia. Besides wines, there's lots of history to see here too.
  • Fleurieu Peninsula - South of Adelaide, the gateway to Kangaroo Island and home to coastal villages where you can escape to.
  • Limestone Coast - The south-eastern part of the state, home to the city of Mount Gambier. Also home to the well-renowned wine region of Coonawarra.
  • Murray River (Riverland, Murraylands) - The area surrounding the winding Murray River; South Australia's fruit-growing areas.
  • Kangaroo Island - Off the coast of mainland Australia, Australia's third-biggest island contains a vast amount of natural beauty unique to this part of Australia.
  • Yorke Peninsula - Where South Australians go for their holidays. Enjoy beaches, national parks, and more.
  • Eyre Peninsula - Where 2,000 kilometres of coastline and spectacular scenery meets treeless plains and desert. Home to the cities of Port Lincoln and Whyalla.
  • Flinders Ranges and Outback - The Flinders Ranges are home to Wilpena Pound, a spectacular natural amphiteatre and a great base for walking and exploring. The Southern Flinders Ranges extend down toward the east of the city of Port Augusta and include the 6,000 hectare Mount Remarkable National Park. In the north the Simpson Desert also presents its own adventures and opportunities.

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Cities

  • Adelaide, the state's capital
  • Coober Pedy - opal mining and underground houses
  • Gawler
  • Mount Gambier - in the southeast of the state, home to the famous Blue Lake
  • Murray Bridge - centre of South Australia's farming area
  • Oodnadatta - desert frontier town, the old Ghan railway use to pass through here
  • Port Augusta - at the top of Spencer Gulf at the very east of the Eyre Peninsula, gateway to the Flinders Ranges
  • Port Lincoln - at the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula and a good base for seeing this part of the state
  • Port Pirie - city centred on the mining economy, but centrally located to most attractions in the state
  • Victor Harbour - coastal playground to the south of Adelaide
  • Whyalla - mining town halfway down the Eyre Peninsula

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Sights and Activities

  • Kangaroo Island
  • The Flinders Ranges
  • Victor Harbor and Granite Island
  • Yorke Peninsula
  • Eyre Peninsula
  • Coober Pedy, discover (underground) life in the world's opal centre
  • The Great Australian Bight, great for on shore whale watching from June to October
  • Wine Regions - McLaren Vale, The Barossa Valley, The Clare Valley
  • Adelaide's Central Market
  • The Murray river which flows down through the southeastern part of the state
  • Pick your own cherries and strawberries in the Adelaide hills
  • Hiking in the Mount Lofty Rangers and Norwood Morialta National Parks.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

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

  • Catching the public transport bus is the cheapest option for getting into the city. The local public transport system, Adelaide Metro, includes a service called JetBus connecting the airport to Glenelg, West Beach, and the North Eastern suburbs. You can either by a single pass for the journey or a daytrip or multitrip ticket if you intend to make more trips on Adelaide's public transport system. A standard single ticket costs $4.10 at peak hours and $2.50 between peak hours, from 9.01am till 3:00pm Mon-Fri.
  • The Skylink Airport Shuttle (tel: (08) 8332 0528) runs every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday and every 60 minutes on Sundays and public holidays. A trip to the city centre costs $7.50 one way and takes about 35 minutes to reach the final stop. Both JetBus and the Skylink Airport Shuttle leave from the southern end of Level 2 at Terminal 1.
  • Taxis are another option, costing about $20 for a one-way trip taking 15-25 minutes, depending on traffic.
  • It's also possible to rent cars at the airport and there are numerous options with companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar.

By Train

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.

By Car

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.

By Bus

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.

By Boat

No public services go to and from South Australia, but having your own yacht might help you prove otherwise.

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Getting Around

By Plane

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.

By Train

Three trains stop between various cities and towns in South Australia:

  • The Overland between Adelaide and Melbourne
  • The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin
  • The Indian Pacific between Adelaide and Perth and Sydney.

By Car

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.

By Bus

Greyhound has an extensive network across South Australia, with most main cities and towns having connections with Adelaide and also with Melbourne or Sydney.

By Boat

Sea Link Kangaroo Island provides ferry services between mainland South Australia and Kangaroo Island.

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Eat

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.

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Drink

Wine

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

  • Coopers Beer, is an icon of South Australia. It is often described as the biggest small brewery in Australia. It is still family-owned. All Coopers products claim to be made by "natural" methods. There is a range of products from crisp lager styles to dark stout. South Australian pubs will often have Coopers Pale Ale on tap, which while not as distinctive as a craft beer, certainly gives the beer aficionado a tasty beer option not widely available in other states.
  • West End, is the local mass-produced lager, on tap just about everywhere.
  • Southwark Premium, is also produced by mass-produced Lion Nathan, but at a smaller brewery in Thebarton. Arguably one of the best brews produced in Australia by the mega-brewers.

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.

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Sleep

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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References

  1. 1 December 2006 estimate. Source: ABS

Quick Facts

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Capital
Adelaide
Population
1,575,700 [1]
Timezone
UTC +9.5 (+10 DST)

Contributors

as well as Peter (10%), MiniAli (6%), sheds141 (2%), Sander (1%), johncrane (1%)

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This is version 40. Last edited at 9:23 on May 3, 16 by Utrecht. 31 articles link to this page.

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