Anyone familiar with South Australia will testify that there is never a shortage of interesting and fun things to explore in the region. The diverse culture and history are a great background for the sights and sounds which the region has to offer. And with the addition of a mean January temperature of 29 °C, or 84 °F, no wonder people from all over the world head for South Australia as their destination to ring in the New Year.
Innes National Park
Innes National Park is full of a wide variety of activities. The park is 300 kilometers from Adelaide on the southern York Peninsula. The park offers lengthy white sandy beaches and over 9,000 hectares of vegetation. It is the home for a humongous collection of diverse wildlife. Surfing at Chinamans beach or Pondolowie Bay is many popular activities. Explorers enjoy bushwalking to West Cape Headland Hike to get a peek at the magnificent views. Fishing is available in abundance at any of the beaches which surround the park.
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Innes National Park is the home of 9 camping grounds. The Pondalowie Campground, the park’s main site, offers campers a choice of 50 coastal sites surrounded by lush vegetation. Jollys Beach campground is a small area within the park with no provided facilities and only 4 campsites for serious campers. Casuarina is a tranquil family campground with beach access and consists of eight sites in a secure locked gated area. Indoor accommodations include several heritage listed lodges, Stenhouse Bay Hall and Shepards Hut on Shell Beach, which accommodates four people.
Coober Pedy is referred to as the world’s opal capital because the gem was first found there in 1915. Since that time, Coober Pedy has been the major opal supplier in the world. The rich history of Coober Pedy includes stories of the Aboriginal people who walked across the desert environment attending traditional ceremonies and searching for food and water. Today, the area still relies upon the opal industry but its economy is equally sustained by tourism of some of the most distinctive attractions in the world.
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The Catacomb Church, built in 1977, is fashioned in a unique cross shape. It is made from mulga wood found in the area and designed to fit naturally with the landscape of the opal fields in the outback. The Underground Art Gallery features some of the finest artists in Australia and around the world. It also has an impressive variety of opals on display. The Moon Plain is an attraction located about 15 kilometers northeast of Coober Pedy. The expansive landscape is made of rocky plains which resemble the surface of the moon. As such, the plain has been in several movies including The Red Planet, Pitch Black and Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, to name a few.
There are no words to describe the beauty of the transformation of rugged mountains, plains and gullies to a desert rainbow filled with wildflowers. South Australia is filled with wildflower areas that provide a delightful rejuvenation of the senses. The flowers bloom at various times of the year depending on the location. The Flinders Ranges go from a brown landscape to dazzling yellows, whites, purples and reds. Guided four wheel drive tours are available for up close viewing. Visitors can also get a bird’s eye view of the splendor in a hot air balloon ride.
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The list of wildflowers which bloom by the billions in South Australia is exhausting. In one area or another, the landscape is coming to life throughout the year. Visitors can visually inhale the royal purple mulla mulla and other unique flora, including the fabulous variety of orchids.
Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience
Family owned Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience was established in 1992 and is the first dolphin and sea lion interactive tour in Australia. As two tours in one, guests get the incredible opportunity to swim with Australian sea lions and Bottlenose dolphins. The wild water adventure has been a hit with travelers across the globe for the nearly twenty years it has been in operation.
The owners go to great lengths to make sure each visitor is able to live their dream. Guests are provided with equipment including wetsuits, masks and snorkels. Accommodations are made for all age groups and assistance for disabled visitors who desire to get in the water is available. Other fun and educational attractions include animal viewing, dolphin watching and cruising. Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience is accredited by the national tourism program.
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Port Dock Brewery Hotel
For adults with a taste for the brew, the Port Dock Brewery and hotel is the place to go quench that thirst. The brewery is in the area of historic Port Adelaide. Port Dock came on the South Australian hotel scene in 1855 and joined a growing colony of other hotels providing refreshments on demand. The brewery is known for its brewer’s tasting paddle; which lets guest sample a total of six beers in 100ml portions. The beers are ranked bitter to sweet to avoid palate shock.
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Ale is not the only delicious temptation served at the hotel. The menu is specially designed to cater to a wide range of tastes, budgets and medical restrictions. Fresh ingredients from South Australia are used as much as possible. In addition to a myriad of items unique to Australia, kangaroo filets are but for the asking.
A trip to South Australia is not complete without a stop at the Adelaide Zoo. The 8 hectare zoo houses over 1,800 animals. Exotic birds, reptiles and fish are included among the interesting native creatures at the zoo. Adelaide Zoo exhibits include a walkthrough aviary named the Rainforest Wetlands and an environmental education center. Famous celebrity Giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi currently live at the Adelaide Zoo. Visitors are allowed to watch zookeepers feed the animals and engage in a free walking tour throughout the day.
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Kristy is a digital nomad and freelance travel writer for Drive My Car Rentals a unique car rental community, where you can save up to 80% on the cost of hiring a car. Whether you’re looking for car hire in Melbourne or Broome, DriveMyCarRentals.com.au have something for everyone.