Recently I travelled to South Australia for a short holiday. I actually lived in Adelaide about 10 years ago and it is amazing just how much you forget about a place once you have left. Of course everyone knows about The Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills, but there is so much more to see and do in Australia’s third largest State, writes Steve Kay.
With the idea of finding attractions to suit those of us still young at heart, I asked Tourism South Australia to provide me with some answers. Here is that list, and as you will find out, there is something for everyone, whether you are looking for holiday ideas to take the grandkids or you just want to relive the fun of being a kid.
Cleland Wildlife Park
Visit Cleland Wildlife Park and feed kangaroos as they laze, wander wetlands, hold a koala, and surround yourself with over 130 species of Australian wildlife, all just 20 minutes from Adelaide.
The award-winning Cleland Wildlife Park is one of South Australia’s must-see attractions. Located in a beautiful natural bushland setting, Cleland offers visitors many memorable opportunities to discover South Australia’s captivating wildlife. Many animals are free-roaming in the 35-hectare park, creating wonderful impromptu opportunities to touch and interact with them. You can even hold a koala and have this special experience captured with a souvenir photo (fees apply).
Engaging interpretation, daily educational keeper talks, and self-guided discovery trails, all enhance the visitor’s experience. Personal encounters with South Australian wildlife, combined with a licensed cafe and souvenir shop, ensure that Cleland has something for everyone.
Adelaide Zoo is just a 15 minute walk from the central business district and is home to more than 1,800 animals and almost 300 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish exhibited in over eight hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings.
Adelaide Zoo is also home to Wang Wang and Funi, the only Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere. The zoo’s other major exhibits include the Immersion South East Asian Rainforest, Seal Bay, Australian Rainforest Wetlands walk-through aviary, Nocturnal House, Reptile House, Bug Barn, Children’s Zoo and the Westpac Envirodome, and environmental education centre.
Zookeepers provide daily animal feeds and keeper talks. You can join an Adelaide Zoo free walkabout tour throughout the day – tours depart from various locations every half hour between 9.45am and 3.30pm.
The Big Duck Boat Tours
The Big Duck Boat Tour is Victor Harbor’s spectacular ocean adventure experience. Explore inaccessible areas of coastline, islands, and beaches in our 7.3 metre expedition-style rigid inflatable boat. Spot seals, dolphins, seabirds and whales (in season) in their natural environment.
Small group size is guaranteed (maximum 10 passengers) and spray jackets and lifejackets are provided. Choose between half-hour boat rides or one-hour sightseeing tours. Both tours depart from the Granite Island Causeway and offer passengers a unique aquatic experience on the beautiful south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Boat charters are also available.
SteamRanger Heritage Railway
SteamRanger Heritage Railway operates a number of different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains between Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills, up over the crest of the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, down to Strathalbyn and on through the coastal holiday towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot to the tourist resort town of Victor Harbor. Our trains include the Cockle Train that travels along the south coast from Goolwa to Victor Harbor and return, Highlander from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn, Strathlink from Goolwa to Strathalbyn and Southern Encounter from Mount Barker to Victor Harbor. Trains also operate during special events.
One of Australia’s oldest family-owned jam, condiment and sauce producers, Beerenberg is run by the sixth generation of the Paech family in Australia dedicated to enriching people’s lives through taste.
Open all year round Monday to Sunday, except on Christmas Day, the recently renovated farm shop is open 9am to 5pm. Bring the family down and pick your own strawberries in season (late October to early May). Patch entry is $4.00 per adult. Children 14 years and under are free. Additional payment required of $9.50 per kilo of strawberries picked. Beerenberg is a must visit for all fine food lovers visiting Hahndorf.
Beerenberg sits at the eastern end of the main street of Hahndorf, among the beautiful scenery perpetuated by the paintings of Sir Hans Heysen. The Paech family continues a horticultural tradition which began in 1839. Beerenberg kitchens produce jams, pickles, chutneys, mustards, marinades and sauces to old Hahndorf recipes.
“One of Australia’s oldest familyowned jam, condiment and sauce producers, Beerenberg is run by the sixth generation of the Paech family in Australia dedicated to enriching people’s lives through taste.”
Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tramway
Take a ride on the only horse-drawn tramway in Australia, and one of the few services to run throughout the year worldwide. Magnificent Clydesdale horses draw you along the causeway from seaside Victor Harbor to Granite Island.
Comprising four two-storey heritage trams, the tram travels across the causeway throughout the day, and is also available for group bookings and twilight tours. More than 135,000 visitors annually enjoy this experience. It has carried more than one million passengers from all parts of the globe, and the horses particularly fascinate the children.
The tramway connecting Granite Island with Victor Harbor over a 630 metre causeway opened in 1894 and a horse-tram service operated until 1956. During winter the operating hours may vary – please telephone to confirm. Group bookings, weddings and special functions are available.
Melba’s Chocolate and Confectionery Factory
Melba’s famous chocolate factory is housed in an historic cheese factory and visitors are able to view through the different production areas where a variety of confectioneries are made.
Melba’s operates old heritage chocolate and confectionery making machinery – this continues today, and you can experience the old techniques.
The factory shop in the Adelaide Hills has a huge range and variety of sweets and chocolates. When you visit, you can choose from hundreds of difference products. Melba’s most popular range includes Rocky Road and liquorice block.
Temptation is a 58-foot colossal sailing catamaran that operates from Holdfast Shores Marina, Glenelg, South Australia, only 15 minutes from the Adelaide central business district. Temptation Sailing operates three-and-a-half-hour dolphin swim or dolphin watch cruises. Charter cruises for functions of up to 50 people can also be arranged.
South Australian Maritime Museum
Climb aboard a full-scale copy of a sailing ketch at the South Australian Maritime Museum. Take the helm, listen to the seagulls wheeling towards the shore ahead of the approaching storm, touch the ropes and smell the tar and salty sea air.
In the basement, experience the conditions under which early settlers sailed out from Europe. Look at the sun, sea and surf antics of yesteryear in the interactive exhibition. Play the slot machines in the Penny Arcade.
The magnificent Bond Stores in Lipson Street, built in 1850, act as the museum’s main gallery. Just a short walk away, you’ll find the Lighthouse, built in 1869. Climb the spiral stairs and view Port Adelaide, the Adelaide Plains and the Mount Lofty Ranges. Not 100 metres from the Lighthouse, see the museum’s floating vessels, the Steam Tug Yelta, our last working steam tug, and the historic police launch, Archie Badenoch.
South Australian Whale Centre
The South Australian Whale Centre is South Australia’s largest marine focused interpretative centre and has the only marine focused three-dimensional theatrette in South Australia.
Visitors can experience the natural wonders of the deep, explore the world heritage listed railway building, and gain further knowledge about Victor Harbor and South Australia’s marine treasures. The centre provides whale sighting information, education and research support services through a range of mediums. The centre brings together a unique collection of historic treasures, marine, cultural, and aboriginal heritage to deliver an inspiring and enjoyable experience for every visitor.
Captain Jolleys Paddle Boats
In the heart of Adelaide, Captain Jolleys Paddle Boats are a must for the visitor or family outing. These boats are fast and easy to paddle and are a fun way to enjoy the River Torrens and its spectacular birdlife and surrounding RiverBank Precinct.
A pretty diversified list, don’t you think?
We often rave about the cafes and restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, the beaches and the sunshine in Queensland, but we really do forget that South Australia has all of these in abundance as well.
With the revamp of the Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide has again become the place to grab a meal or a latte. There are plenty of hotels and motels close to and in the city so getting around is a breeze. And unlike the bustling metropolis of Sydney, you may actually enjoy driving through the laid back streets of Adelaide and surrounds.
So if you would like to bring out the big kid in you or you just want to settle down into a peaceful retirement then give South Australia ago. Oh, and they do produce a nice wine or two.