South Australia is almost embarrassingly rich in scenic delights and exciting activities. Get in on the action with these top-shelf experiences.
FLY OVER WILPENA POUND
From the ground, it’s really something, but from the air you get the whole picture. A flight over Wilpena Pound reveals the full scale of this massive natural amphitheatre. It’s jaw-dropping stuff as the plane sidles up to the towering quartzite bluffs that form the pound walls. To the north, the multi-peaked spine of the ABC Range ripples off into the distance. Nature’s handiwork at its most awesome.
RAPTOR DOMAIN, KANGAROO ISLAND
Raptor Domain has provided a second chance for injured, rescued and orphaned birds that are no longer suited for release into the wild. See owls, eagles and other birds of prey in full flight, and watch how the clever black-breasted buzzard opens an emu egg. Get up very close and personal with Australia’s unique reptiles and, if you have the nerve, check out the action in the Venom Pit – home to some of the country’s more toxic denizens.
SEGWAY IN THE BAROSSA VALLEY
With its handsome stone buildings, sprawling lawns and groves of date palms, Seppeltsfield winery is a worthy attraction in its own right. Adding Segways to the mix just makes the whole experience a giddy delight. Tour this historic winery and head deep into the vineyards aboard one of the world’s coolest forms of transport. These two-wheeled marvels are so easy to ride that, after a short training session, you’ll be scooting around like a pro. It’s even more fun than it looks.
SPEND THE DAY AT MONARTO ZOO
For a slice of the African savannah at Monarto, take a bus ride among giraffes, rhinos, lions, hyenas and more. Change continents as you’re transported among Indian antelopes, a bison herd and Przewalski’s horses – wild ponies that are usually found grazing on the steppes of central Asia. And check out Aussie favourites like Tassie devils and the skittish yellow-footed rock wallaby. For the more energetic visitor, there’s a network of walking trails leading to viewing platforms. For a real thrill, upgrade to an Animal Experience and find yourself mingling with meerkats, or even being a keeper for a day.
SWIM WITH SEA LIONS AT PORT LINCOLN
Imagine being underwater with a dozen excited puppies. That’s what swimming with sea lions is like. As curious as they are playful, they’re always up for a face-to-face encounter with the weird bug-eyed strangers on their turf. The way these zippy little sea mammals twist and turn, surely they must be boneless. With bursts of speed of up to 40km/h, it’s probably best not to get caught up in a game of chasey.
VISIT MOUNT GAMBIER’S BLUE LAKE IN SUMMER
Summertime photos of the Blue Lake always look photo-shopped, but no, it really is that blue! A greenish-grey during the cooler months, this volcanic crater lake goes through its dazzling summer makeover around November each year. It may be pretty as a picture now, but it was probably less appealing when it blasted into existence around 5000 years ago. For a close-up look, take a tour to the lake surface via the old pumping station and well shaft.
QUAD BIKING AT WAITPINGA FARM
Take a spin on the practice track before heading off across this south-coast farm. A scenic tour takes in glorious views of the Southern Ocean and the pounding surf at Waitpinga Beach. An adventure tour really gets the heart pumping, as you weave among gum trees on sandy tracks, tackle rocky creek crossings and scoot across grassy plains.
CAMP AND 4WD IN THE FLINDERS RANGES
So many choices! From the craggy ramparts of the Gammon Ranges in the north, to the valleys and canyons of the southern Flinders, there are remote campsites and rugged 4WD trails galore. For high adventure and low-range action, tackle the tracks on one of the station properties that have opened their doors to visitors. Head deep into the Ranges through rocky gullies and along ridgetops to find your own patch of secluded camping paradise.
TAKE A HOUSEBOAT TRIP
There are few things more relaxing than drifting along the Murray River on a houseboat. Watch the orange cliffs and bird-filled billabongs pass by from your on-board spa. Pull into a different riverbank beauty spot each night and take in the sunset while planning the next day’s scenic cruise. Toss in a yabbie net, wet a line, or just soak up the rays on the sundeck while pelicans and hawks ride the updrafts overhead.
WHALE WATCHING AT HEAD OF BIGHT
They’re big… really big! Between May and October, the southern right whales arrive at Head of Bight on the far west coast of SA to mate, calve and frolic. In the middle of the season, there can be over a hundred putting on a show beneath the Bight’s mighty cliffs. The best place to catch all the action is from the viewing platforms at the Head of Bight Visitors Centre.