In the middle of South Australia lies Coober Pedy. Several hundred, almost a thousand kilometres from the nearest metropolis. This is the definition of “in the middle of nowhere”. The landscape is made up of a rust-red desert. Powdery sand is swept up by the wind, drifting over the landscape where annoying flies are just waiting to blight someone’s existence. The name Coober Pedy is derived from one of the Aboriginal languages and means white man’s holes in the earth. It is an apt description. For the town is no more than a main street with large pits on its sides. The temperature is so high that the population had to seek shelter under the ground. Homes, churches and shops have been built underground, which gives some relief during the hottest days of the year. The walls and roofs made from sandstone ensure that the temperature never rises above 25 degrees Celsius. You will certainly encounter the mining town of Coober Pedy if travelling between Darwin and Adelaide. It is one of the larger towns along the monotonous Stuart Highway that runs through the country’s centre.
In Northern South Australia, desolate plains await. Dead-straight roads and a horizon that never seems to end. The emptiness is what makes the northern part of South Australia so special. The space between the cities is like a gap of eternity. A gap filled with a scorching sun, fine-grained dust and annoying flies. Signs welcoming you to the communities, proudly telling you that the population is just over the thousands. Here, the land is dry and extremely hot. Only the toughest dare defying the laws of nature, calling the northern part of South Australia their home. It truly is the Outback. The journey is not for those who find it difficult to cope without a shower and a soft bed. It is a solitary and deserted place that requires determination and patience of its visitors. But such a different and strange landscape do invite you to epic car journeys and discoveries. A trip of over one-thousand kilometres can take you from Port Augusta on the southern coast through the opal town of Coober Pedy, to the wide Simpson desert before reaching the next state, the Northern Territory. Secluded, desolate, and bare. This is what most of the journey would look like. But then suddenly, something pops up that makes the long journey worthwhile. Small oases lie hidden in the most unexpected of places. Without warning, the amphitheatre shaped mountains of Flinders Ranges pop up and the vegetation return, colouring the ground in a welcoming green. In Flinders Ranges, there are deep ravines and lukewarm lakes among mountain gorges with Wilpena Pound as the National Park’s main attraction.
South of Adelaide, two peninsulas stretch out into the sea. The names are Fleurieu and Yorke Peninsula and they are two popular holiday destinations in South Australia. The two half-islands are two proven exciting excursions from the state capital. And it does not take long to reach them. Within one hour you are in Fleurieu, and Yorke is an hour and a half from Adelaide. Boot-shaped Yorke Peninsula has good fishing and surfing areas. Yorke is very simple and peaceful. Small wooden cottages line the coastline that is caressed by the blue waves of the sea. The laid-back lifestyle here is excellent for a relaxing stay. A large part of the peninsula is used in agriculture. The northern part has a history within the copper industry. In 1859, copper was found in the vicinity of Kadina and it was the start of a long-time extraction. People from Cornwall in southern England emigrated for this work which made the area known as Little Cornwall.
When you land on Kangaroo Island you’ll be greeted by desolation. The island is surrounded by a mystique not found on the mainland. You might get a bit of a Jurassic Park-feel when you are on Australia’s third largest island. Kangaroo Island is in short known as KI, and it belongs to the state of South Australia. The island is located a little more than 100 kilometres southwest of Adelaide, a short ferry ride from Cape Jervis at the Fleurieu Peninsula. The British explorer Matthew Flinders gave the island its name after his crew ate kangaroo meat on the island at the beginning of the 1800s. And the name is really fitting. There is an abundance of animals, and especially kangaroos. But also, wild, windswept nature and an intense greenery, rough boulders and inviting sandy beaches. Kangaroo Island measures 155 km from east to west and is 90 km wide at its widest point. The island is now an obvious holiday destination for both tourists and locals. Every year, more and more visitors come to the island, attracting both outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of luxury. Just under 5,000 people live permanently on the island with this fantastic wildlife. The koalas that feeds on the eucalyptus leaves rests in the tree canopies. Skipping kangaroos and Wallabies stroll freely on the grounds. And there are also a variety of bird species to see, such as the curious pelicans and the laughing Kookaburra. To this, add sea lions that sunbathe on the beaches, furry seals and waddling penguins.
A trip to Barossa Valley is done in the name of the wine. Just over an hour’s drive northeast of central Adelaide, another world reveals itself. Rolling hills, stray cows and well-kept farms. The extensive fields are adorned with lush vines that are impossible to miss. It was immigrants from Germany who founded the South Australian wine industry and planted Barossa’s first vines in the early 1800s. The state escaped the devastating grape lice of the 1860s and the vines planted by the Germans survived. Today, winegrowers in the area are proud to have the world’s oldest plantations of Shiraz. This has made the Barossa Valley world famous.
Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are some of the grape vines that are intermingled on the 80 different vineyards that stretch out over more than 13,000 hectares that make up Barossa Valley. Many of the vineyards have for centuries looked like they do today. The historic buildings in stone would fit in any southern European town and goes very well with the hilly surroundings. Barely 100 kilometres north is South Australia’s other major wine region, the Clare Valley, which also is one of the oldest in the country. Unlike Barossa, the Clare Valley is primarily known for its exquisite white wines, especially Riesling. It is believed that it was the Englishman John Hill who discovered the area at the end of 1839 and saw the potential to grow crops and fruit here. The first European settlers who settled down here were members of the Christian Jesuit Order. They would later be the first winegrowers in Clare Valley. Today, they still own Sevenhill, the district’s oldest vineyard from 1851 which welcomes visitors.
Adelaide, a place for all the body’s senses. The city of festivals. Where art, food and cultural events come together. The festivities run over several weeks and attract long-distance visitors. And it is not difficult to understand where the inspiration comes from. The region has several powerful assets. The rolling mountains with their world-famous vineyards and sun-drenched sandy beaches westwards, all just waiting to be explored.
Perhaps it is the climate that brings out the artistic vein of the population, with a never-fading sunshine resulting in a golden tan. Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate with dry and hot summers. The average temperature is about 30 degrees Celsius but can rise above 40 degrees Celsius during the occasional heat waves. The city is flat and ideal for walking and cycling tours. It is said that Adelaide has the most restaurants per capita in the country, so you don’t have to go hungry for very long. At Gouger Street, Peel Street and Leigh Street and the North Adelaide area, it is full of exciting eateries to try. As the sun starts to descend towards the horizon, a wave of inhabitants moves towards one of the city’s many rooftop terraces to enjoy the last bit of sunlight.
Adelaide is a metropolis located among the sun-bleached plains of South Australia, one of the country’s hottest and driest states. The city was carefully planned and designed by Colonel William Light. His idea was for Adelaide to have open squares and wide avenues. Finally, he acted, and the city started growing along the river Torrens. Surrounded by the lush Mount Lofty Ranges and blessed with clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine, this was a perfect place for vineyards. Today, the city is surrounded by several vineyards with a clear European ancestry. During the 1800s, many Germans came, putting their mark on the state. The many wine districts are embedded among South Australia’s rolling hills. Some of the more well-known areas are the Shiraz-producing Barossa Valley, as well as Clare Valley which is most famous for its Riesling. Adelaide lies far from the east coast and has often been overshadowed by more prominent cities despite being the country’s fifth-largest city. One could say that Adelaide for long has suffered from an inferiority complex. But in recent years, the city’s development within fine cuisine and not least its picturesque surroundings, has put Adelaide on the map as a destination worth a visit. The city is known for its many festivals, good food and its flowing wine.