The wilderness, astonishing coastline, and stark desert beauty of South Australia have captured the imagination of artists and explorers for centuries. Our sparsely populated state has a trove of other tourist attractions.
To help you plan your next camping trip, we have created this two-part series with what we think are top South Australia locations that every Australian should visit. To see part one, click here
5. Eyre Peninsula
Rimmed by a rugged and ravishing coastline of cliffs and sheltered beaches, the triangular-shaped Eyre Peninsula is one of Australia’s least crowded coastal stretches, and one of its most beautiful. It is located east of the Great Australian Bight, and cage diving with great white sharks scores top billing on the list of tourist adventures. You can also snorkel with giant cuttlefish near Whyalla, or swim with balletic sea lions at Baird Bay. Whale watching is another popular activity during May through October when southern right whales migrate along the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.
Coffin Bay is known for its superb seafood and stunning national park. Occupying the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula, Lincoln National Park offers spectacular scenery with rugged cliffs and abundant birds, while Port Lincoln is becoming an increasingly popular holiday resort. Its fishing fleet, the largest in Australia, produces some of the country’s best seafood.
Inland, you can explore the bushland and wildlife of the Gawler Ranges or venture into the outback across the legendary Nullarbor Plain for a serious 4WD adventure through the scorched desert.
6. Murray River
Australia’s longest river, the mighty Murray flows from its source in the New South Wales Alps to the Southern Ocean in South Australia. Sandstone cliffs and tall eucalyptus trees fringe the river, and its wetlands are important habitats for many water birds. Once home to the Ngarrindjeri and Nganguraku people, today the river irrigates a vast citrus-growing industry and agricultural region and provides a wealth of water-based activities, from fishing, boating, water-skiing, and swimming to gliding along on a paddle steamer.
Another popular place to visit is Loxton, the “garden city” of the Riverland region, with galleries and historical sites. Here, on the banks of the river, the Historical Village takes visitors back in time with its faithfully recreated late-19th century buildings and artifacts. Northwest of Loxton, the little town of Waikerie is a popular spot for gliding and offers a pretty cliff-top walk.
7. Mount Gambier
Along the Limestone Coast, Mount Gambier is an extinct volcano with four beautiful crater lakes, as well as sinkholes and gardens. A curious natural phenomenon occurs on the Blue Lake annually in November, when the colour of the lake transforms from dull grey to a brilliant cobalt blue. A scenic drive with spectacular views runs around the crater.
While you’re in the area, stop by the Umpherston Sinkhole. Created when the roof of a cave collapsed, this popular tourist attraction was transformed into a beautiful “sunken garden” by James Umpherston in the 1880s. Ferns, hot pink hydrangeas, and calla lilies flourish in the gardens, and lush plants cascade over the lip of the sinkhole, imbuing the space with a magical feel. In the evenings, lights illuminate the gardens, and friendly possums congregate here looking for a meal.
South of Mount Gambier, you can explore South Australia’s only World Heritage Site, Naracoorte Caves, with fascinating fossils, colonies of bats, and haunting subterranean scenery. Other attractions on the Limestone Coast include the bird-rich lagoons and coastal dunes of the Coorong, a chain of lagoons and salt lakes between Lake Alexandrina and the sea; the grape-growing region of Coonawarra; pretty Beachport, a former whaling station; and the historic beach resort of Robe.
8. Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
Sitting at the tip of the spectacular Yorke Peninsula, about a three-hour drive from Adelaide, remote Innes National Park is an under-rated and refreshingly uncrowded raw slice of nature. If you look at a South Australia map, the Yorke Peninsula is the boot-shaped claw of land jutting out to the west of Adelaide, and it makes a wonderful weekend getaway from the capital.
Rugged seascapes, wildlife, and windswept white-sand beaches lapped by dazzling blue seas are the prime attractions. You can explore the park on hiking trails or by car, stopping at the empty beaches along the way. To learn more about the region’s fascinating shipwreck history, visit the rusted hull of the Ethel, and follow the maritime interpretive trail along the coast.
Wildlife is abundant. Emus and kangaroos are among the most frequently spotted animals in the park, and you might also spot southern right whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions off the coast. The park is also home to more than 150 species of birds, including ospreys, malleefowl, and hooded plovers.
9. Coober Pedy
The opal-mining town of Coober Pedy lies in the heart of the South Australian outback. The name of the town comes from an Aboriginal phrase meaning “white fellows in a hole,” since most of the inhabitants live in underground dwellings (dugouts) to escape the fierce heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter.
In 1911, gold miners found valuable white opals here. Since then, opal mining has converted the desolate countryside round Coober Pedy into a lunar-like landscape. You can still try your luck looking for these pearlescent beauties after obtaining a prospecting permit from the Mines Department in Coober Pedy. The Old Timers Mine and Museum displays exhibits on the history of prospecting for precious stones. Sightseers can also tour underground homes and the subterranean Catacomb Church.
The Next Steps
A camper trailer could be what you need to add more adventure to your weekends, contact the Maverick Campers team today. We’d be happy to help and answer any enquiries you have about our Campers and Caravans.
When travelling the Queensland outback, often there isn’t much to break up the long drives between towns, and there isn’t usually much in the cities themselves except a pub. These watering holes have become much more than local social hubs. They are where travellers refuel, cool off with a Goldie, meet the locals and share road condition advice.
According to some people in South Australia and Victoria, Queensland is known for its beauty, plentiful natural resources, and a somehow questionable taste for beers.
Another interesting Queensland trivia is that sometimes there isn’t much to break up the long drives between towns, and there isn’t usually much in the cities themselves except a pub.
There are 9 camping zones behind the foredunes and close to the beach that spread along the eastern coast from Dilli Village north to the gorgeous Sandy Cape. Each zone has 2-3 designated and clearly signposted camp areas.
*The following Fraser Island camping zones breakdown are as shown on the QLD Government NPSR website.