South Australia travel guide

It’s a mystery why sun-soaked South Australia is so often overlooked by travellers. Endowed with generous helpings of culture, vitality and natural beauty, not to mention some of the best wine in the Antipodes, it’s a region that waylays those who do visit for far longer than they anticipated. It’s packed with variety too, from the wildlife-clustered greenery of Kangaroo Island to the harsh desert outback of the north.

Arty state capital Adelaide is the natural focal point. Consistently ranked among the most liveable cities in the world, it’s renowned for its festivals, museums and live music scene. Locals still semi-jokingly take pride in the fact that it was founded by free settlers (there’s no convict past here) and it’s a genuinely cultured city, from its characterful cricket ground to its boulevard-style streets.

It is the wider state, however, that holds the most surprises. Visitors can stay in houseboats on the Murray River, hike the mammoth folds of the Flinders Ranges, visit subterranean houses in the wild-eyed desert town of Coober Pedy or take their time evaluating the wines of the Barossa Valley. South Australia’s long coastline draws everyone from naturalists to surfers, while the region’s much-lauded seafood includes specialities such as oysters, crayfish and prawns.

And while leaving the state isn’t likely to be a priority, when you do have to depart it’s worth knowing that Adelaide sits on two of the country’s most fabled train lines – catch the Indian Pacific east to Sydney, west to Perth or hop aboard The Ghan and venture through the Red Centre to Darwin. Or just stay a bit longer.