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South Australia

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Australia : South Australia
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View over the Barossa Valley
South Australia [1] is a state of Australia in the south of the country between Western Australia to the west and Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria to the east, and south of the Northern Territory. It was first proclaimed a colony in 1834 and unlike other states in Australia was settled entirely by free settlers from Britain from the 1830s onwards. With nearly 1.6 million people, however, the state comprises less than 10% of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the states and territories. However, the state covers a vast amount of land area, including some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories. The state also includes Kangaroo Island, Australia's third largest island which lies off the coast of the mainland in the south-east of the state.

South Australia is a state that has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant throughout its history. It is known for its festivals and fine produce. While South Australia is not the tourist magnet that its northern neighbour is, South Australia offers a different perspective on Australia from many of its different parts. With world-class wine and other produce, friendly people, unspoilt environment and a very relaxed pace of life, it offers the break in Australia that you may have been looking for.

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
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 2000 kilometres of coastline and spectacular scenery meets treeless plains and desert. Home to the cities of Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Whyalla.
Flinders Ranges and Outback (Flinders Ranges, Outback)
The Flinders Ranges are home to Wilpena Pound, a spectacular natural amphiteatre and a great base for walking and exploring. The Simpson Desert also presents its own adventures and opportunities.

Cities

  • Adelaide - the state capital
  • Mount Gambier - in the south-east of the state, home to the famous Blue Lake
  • Murray Bridge - centre of South Australia's farming area
  • 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 Harbor - coastal playground to the south of Adelaide
  • Whyalla - mining town halfway down the Eyre Peninsula

Other destinations

Itineraries

  • Highways and tracks:

Understand

Time Zone

South Australia is 9 hours & 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 17 hours & 30 minutes ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Daylight Saving is observed from the first Sunday of October to the first Sunday of April the following year.

ACST - Australian Central Standard Time UTC+9.5

ACDT - Australian Central Daylight Saving Time UTC+10.5

Get in

Quarantine

South Australia, particularly the eastern part of the state, contains some of Australia's fruit-growing areas. It is therefore illegal under State law to carry any fruit or vegetables into the state unless they have been certified free of disease. This includes any fruit from other states. You can be fined up to $2,500. More detailed information can be found by contacting Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) [2].

Part of South Australia is covered by the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone [3]. This zone also covers parts of New South Wales and Victoria, but the area covered in South Australia encompasses most of the Riverland area in the east of the state. Fines apply for taking fruit or vegetables into the FFEZ of up to $20,000.

South Australia is one of three states which uses compulsory roadblocks for quarantine when entering the state. These locations, the main routes from New South Wales and Victoria and Western Australia into the State have roadblocks. You must stop and have your vehicle searched. Officers have the power to seize any prohibited item. Roadblocks are found in the following locations:

  • Sturt Highway at Yamba between Mildura and Renmark
  • Eyre Highway at Ceduna
  • Barrier Highway at Oodla Wirra
  • Mallee Highway between Murrayville and Pinnaroo

Other minor roads have disposal bins and random roadblocks, so don't think that by taking a back route you can avoid taking your fruit into the state. Checks also occur at airports and on trains into the state.

By plane

South Australia's main air gateway is Adelaide Airport[4], which has most domestic and all international flights direct into the state. International flights direct into Adelaide include those from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and New Zealand. There are regular domestic flights into Adelaide from all Australian capital cities.

Mount Gambier Airport in the far south-east of the state has services from Melbourne, flown by Regional Express (REX).[5]

By train

Adelaide is a major hub for Great Southern Railways [6] which runs long-distance train services. Note that GSR's services are aimed at tourists and are are a trip in themselves rather than something to use to get to places. All GSR's services pass through or depart from Adelaide. Train services include:

  • The Indian Pacific (between Perth & Sydney, normally twice a week in each direction)
  • The Ghan (between Darwin and Adelaide, twice a week in each direction)
  • The Overland (between Melbourne and Adelaide, three times a week in each direction)

From Adelaide, Brisbane can be accessed by the Indian Pacific to Sydney and changing for the CountryLink XPT service to Brisbane.

By car

There are main road connections through to the other states and territories. The main routes are:

  • From New South Wales:
    • via the Barrier Highway (A32), west of Broken Hill
  • From Victoria:
    • via the Sturt Highway (A20) east of Yamba
    • via the Mallee Highway (B12), east of Pinnaroo
    • via the Dukes Highway (A8), east of Bordertown
    • via the Princes Highway (A1), east of Mount Gambier (coastal road)
  • From the Northern Territory:
    • via the Stuart Highway (A87)
  • From Western Australia:
    • via the Eyre Highway (A1)

Note that South Australia has a very large land area with most settlements in the south-east of the state. Driving to the Northern Territory and Western Australia are very long drives. From Adelaide to Perth is 2,700km and will take at least 2 days, probably 3. It is the sort of trip that even most locals only do once or twice in their lifetime. Driving from Adelaide to Darwin is just over 3,000km and travels through some very remote parts of Australia. A minimum of 4 days is recommended. Sydney to Adelaide takes about 18 hours drive (allow 2-3 days), and Adelaide to Melbourne is around 10-11 hours depending on the route taken. Allow 2 days to admire the towns on the way.

By ship

Adelaide's Overseas Passenger Terminal is at Outer Harbor on the LeFevre Peninsula in the north of Adelaide. Visiting cruise ships often dock here.

Get around

See

Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island

South Australia is home to Kangaroo Island , an internationally renowned wildlife haven.

It's also known for its wine. The Barossa Valley is here - Australia’s richest and best-known wine region. Premium wines, five-star restaurants and cellar doors abound among the hills and vineyards. Local winemakers include household names such as Seppelt, Penfolds and Peter Lehmann.

South Australia also offers other world-class wine regions, including the Clare Valley [7], McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.

Visit the world-heritage listed Naracoorte Caves, or awesome Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges – one of Australia's first official national landscapes.

Swim with wild sea lions at Baird Bay on Eyre Peninsula , dolphins at Glenelg, and Great White Sharks at Port Lincoln.

South Australia is also known for its exciting events, like the international cycling race Tour Down Under [8]. Lance Armstrong made it his comeback race in 2009. Adelaide hosts the Clipsal 500 [9], a thrilling V8 race through a city circuit. The Adelaide Fringe [10] is an annual feast of comedy, music, theatre and fun. And the fabulous and captivating Adelaide Festival of Arts [11]takes place every second year.

In Adelaide, South Australia's capital city, you will find stylish architecture, boutique shopping, sandy swimming beaches, fabulous arts events, nightlife, fine dining, and some of Australia's best café strips.

It is easy to navigate your way around South Australia, with most of the regions just an hour or two drive from Adelaide.

Do

Eat

Drink

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.

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.

Stay safe

Get out

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