Up for some South Australian adventure? While the state is internationally famous for its line-up of fantastic festivals, what you may not yet know is that it also offers an array of exciting outdoor adventures. Aside from the fact that getting into nature can be really fun, there are lots of other benefits offered by the outdoors. Studies have shown that it can relieve stress, reduce inflammation, improve your energy levels, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boost your ability to concentrate.
So, with that in mind, there’s really no excuse not to get outside. From exhilarating surf breaks to leisurely bike-rides, let’s dive in and explore some of the best outdoor adventure spots around South Australia.
Cycling through the vines of McLaren Vale
Located an hour south of the city, McLaren Vale is famous for its pristine vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see. If you’re keen to explore the area and try a few wines along the way, there are countless trails leading you through McLaren Vale’s most scenic routes.
Cycle, walk or even run the Shiraz Trail, which is praised for its natural beauty, and get lost in the magic of the surrounding grapevines (don’t worry, there are plenty of spots along the way where you can catch your breath!). Alternatively, if you fancy a beachside ride overlooking the sand dunes, the Coast Park Trail at nearby Sellicks Beach is ideal for beginner cyclists, at a modest 1km-long.
Once you’ve completed the routes around McLaren Vale, there are even more vineyards to explore in the Barossa Valley.
Conquering Mount Lofty
Conquering Lofty is a rite of passage for any true South Australian. It’s one of the state’s premier hiking destinations and Adelaide’s highest peak, so you can challenge your friends to a hiking race to get to the top.
Mount Lofty is situated just east of the central business district, a stone’s throw from central Adelaide. Because of its location, Lofty provides a spectacular view of the city. Be sure to take a photo at the iconic Mount Lofty Summit and refuel at the charming cafe.
Seeing the wonders of the Limestone Coast
Right near the South Australian/Victorian border lies a truly unique experience. The Limestone Coast is a perfectly preserved treasure trove of underwater delights, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place quite like it.
Examine the marine life by snorkelling in the Kilsby Sinkhole or Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park. See Mount Gambier’s appropriately named Blue Lake, formed within the crater of a dormant volcano – a location that demands a photo. While you’re there, check out the famous Naracoorte Caves that have formed over millions of years. The sprawling cave network sits on the World Heritage list due to the fact that it contains so many incredible and valuable fossils.
Surfs up at Port Noarlunga Beach
There’s no shortage of awesome surfing destinations in South Australia.
To start off, look no further than Port Noarlunga Beach, just a 40-minute drive from central Adelaide. A little more relaxed than some of Adelaide’s other beaches, this is a hotspot for beginner surfers offering modestly sized waves. And, with a selection of good cafes right near the beach, you can easily make a day of it. Hire equipment from Preece’s Surf Shop, which is one of the best surf shops in Adelaide.
Want to head out on a road trip? If you’re a more ambitious surfer, keep heading south to Goolwa Beach in Middleton for a more challenging experience. Here, you’ll find numerous breaks along a very wide surf zone, offering the best conditions during a moderate swell and northern winds.
Footsteps of fun through the Flinders Ranges
An outdoor adventure list wouldn’t be complete without the Flinders Ranges. Located around five hours from Adelaide by car, the Flinders Ranges are fantastic for bushwalking and exploring.
Along your walking route, enjoy views from dazzling heights and see the rugged monolithic structures. Wilpena Pound, a massive natural amphitheatre in the centre of Flinders Ranges National Park, is a must-visit during your trip here.
If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, you’ll also find rock climbing at the cliffs of Moonarie, along with 4WD tracks scattered throughout the region.
Sightseeing on Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is an awesome place, with plenty of great activities on offer. You can simply relax and soak in the island’s picturesque scenery, or you can head out on an adventure. Bring your walking shoes and visit iconic sites like the Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, the Little Sahara (sandboarding, anyone?) and more with a range of activities and guided tours. The island is also home to lots of native animals (sea lions, penguins, echidnas, koalas, wallabies and, of course, kangaroos) and has more than 500km of coastline to explore.
While the recent bushfires tore through the western region of the island, the landscape is fire-adapted and already showing signs of regrowth. Now, more than ever, is a great time to visit the region, as providers start their rebuilding, the landscape shows a side of itself rarely seen, and the visitor numbers are slightly down. This means a greater chance of seeing wildlife up close and personal and having that pristine coastline all to yourself!
Earth Adventure has been operating nature based adventure experiences for over 25 years and part of The Wilderness Group works with over 15,000 students each year in Australia as well as overseas. With a number of accreditations and industry specific qualifications you are sure to be in good hands on an Earth Adventure program. For more information and to see the Earth Adventure programs available please visit our website to book. As a bonus, all bookings from Insider Guides are eligible for a 10% discount so make sure you contact us before hand.