In a day and age of cheap products, fast fashion, and excess clutter, people’s desire for experiences is on the rise. We are tiring of ‘stuff’ and consumers are opting away from screen-based entertainment, choosing experiences instead.
With so many incredible things to do in South Australia, making a bucket list is no easy task but here’s a list of some of our favourite, unique South Australian experiences to get you started.
While most of us are across some of the amazing events and festivals that South Australia is famous for, we thought we’d give them a quick shoutout before we launch into the bucket list. Adelaide is the UNESCO listed City of Music, so get out and experience the live music scene.
In addition to that, our state is home to the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe, OzAsia Festival, SALA, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Cabaret Fringe, WOMADelaide, Samstag, The Art Gallery of South Australia, Tarnathi, Feast Festival, Umbrella City Sounds, and so much more. Check out our events calendar to keep an eye on what’s coming.
1. Visit Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island has always been one of the jewels in South Australia’s crown. While the destinations on the island have changed since the recent bushfires, an area three times the size of Singapore is still unaffected, beautiful, and open to tourists.
Book a tour with one of the island’s tour operators who will be able to show you spectacular coasting views, abundant wildlife, pristine beaches, ocean safaris, dolphin adventures, wineries, conservation parks, and local produce that Kangaroo Island is known and loved for.
We recommend staying 2-4 days to explore the 25,000 hectares of the Eastern side of the island.
This is something we’ve experienced and absolutely loved. Australia’s first inner-city aerial adventure park features over 70 obstacles, incorporating zip-lines, ladders, log-walks, Tarzan swings, rock climbing and much more.
3. The Wine Train
The South Coast Wine Train tour travels along the Steamranger Heritage Railway from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn and onward to the South Coast and Murray River Port of Goolwa on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Along the journey, guests have the opportunity to tour the nearby cellar doors and vineyards at Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek and the Southern Fleurieu wine regions
These regions are home to award-winning, family owned and boutique wineries, and vineyards, dating back to the 1850s, and responsible for producing premium wines highly regarded in national and international wine circles.
4. Eat Oysters Straight From The Ocean In Coffin Bay
Head to one of the most beautiful parts of South Australia, Coffin Bay, and prepare yourself for an amazing experience.
Oyster HQ is a tourism centre that sits right over the water in the bay, and is also where the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tours depart from. You’ll don waders and head out into the water, where you’ll sit partly-submerged on their salt water pavilion.
Then and there, you’ll be treated to a fascinating tour about oysters, the industry, farming techniques, the area, and all-importantly, an oyster-shucking lesson. Eat amazingly fresh oysters straight from the ocean accompanied with a wine or beer.
Be sure to book ahead as spots are limited.
5. Hot Air Balloon Across The Barossa Valley
Experience the breathtaking views and serenity of the beautiful Barossa Valley as you float high above the ground with Barossa Valley Ballooning.
Peaceful, yet exhilarating, your sunrise hot air balloon adventure will give you a perspective like no other of this world-famous wine region. Followed with a champagne breakfast, it’s sure to be a gift to be remembered.
6. Feed A Lion At Monarto Zoo
Experience Australia’s only 360 degree lion encounter for a prey’s eye view into the world of these awe-inspiring predators.
You can even book one of six exclusive opportunities to hand feed the majestic lions.
7. Make Your Own Wine
Treat someone to an experience they’ll never forget. The opportunity to play winemaker for the day, to blend and bottle their own wine.
The Blending Bench at d’Arenberg is where the craft of winemaking becomes an art form. Three distinctive barrel samples of single vineyard wine are blended to create a personalised Shiraz, something truely unique. The final blend is then bottled and given a quirky name, in true d’Arenberg fashion. The experience is $90 per person, and goes for approximately 90 minutes.
While you’re there, why not check out the d’Arenberg Cube – it’s beyond amazing.
9. Learn To Cook
Across SA, there’s a stack of great cooking schools, which are not only great for team building and Christmas parties, but also fantastic to do solo or with your partner.
From Sticky Rice Cooking School in the Adelaide Hills, where you can take Spanish, Thai, Moroccan, Asian and other cooking classes, to the Port Lincoln Seafood Cooking School, which is brilliant for mastering seafood dishes, you’re spoilt for choice. The inclusive Scoffed Cooking School is perfect for burgeoning foodies and kids with their entertaining and social cooking classes and parties.
The Cooks Pantry in Grange is not only a gorgeous little cafe, but the chef there also teaches some amazing cooking classes. Some past classes have included Fabulously French, Moroccan Spice and Vietnamese & Cambodian Cooking Delights.
You also can’t go past Adelaide’s most renowned cooking school, Sprout. Headed up by Themis and Callum, there are kids classes, adults classes and private group bookings available. Classes include ‘Gin, Tonic & Tapas’, ‘Summer Seafood’, ‘Summer Grills’ and ‘Quick, Easy & Healthy’.
10. Drink & Paint
What better way to bring our your creative side than a glass of South Australia’s best? There’s plenty of art and wine classes popping up, particularly at Pirie Street’s Studio Vino.
The Studio Vino paint and sip experience is a fun and unique way to uncork your creativity. Enjoy a glass of wine while re-creating the featured painting of the night. Paint, canvas and brushes are provided, and an experienced local artist leads the group step by step through the process.
11. Gin Cruise On The Popeye
Head out on one of Adelaide’s iconic Popeye boats, and chug down the Torrens while you enjoy a gin flight.
Prohibition Liquor Company has joined with The Popeye to offer monthly gin masterclasses and signature Prohibition Gin cocktails while attendees cruise the scenic river.
These are generally sold out so planning ahead is the name of the game.
12. Adventure Room
Adventure Rooms challenges you and your friends or colleagues to complete each adventure by solving puzzles, cracking codes & escaping in under 60 minutes.
13. Holey Moley Mini Golf
Located in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, this is mini golf with cocktails and DJs. There’s a whopping 18 themed holes over two courses. You can play the standard nine holes or make a night of it and play all 18.
After you’re done golfing, you can grab a themed cocktail (think Teeyoncé Holes) at the bar or sit down for a bite to eat.
14. Adelaide Oval Roof Climb
Whether you choose a day climb or a night climb, seeing Adelaide from the rooftop of Adelaide Oval is a unique experience.
Complete with a 90 minute climb experience, post-climb beverage, souvenir RoofClimb hat, achievement certificate, digital photo pack, and a seriously great mix of party tunes, there is no denying that this is an experience like no other.
15. Adelaide Gondola
You may not be exploring the streets and canals of Italy right now, but there is a chance to experience Italian charm right here in Adelaide with Adelaide Gondola.
This unique business has gifted locals and tourists of the state the perfect way to wind down and relax in true Venetian style for decades. Operating seven days a week (day and night) for your convenience, you can enjoy a ride along the picturesque River Torrens.
16. Ghost Tours
Know someone who loves the paranormal? Or just being scared witless
Adelaide Haunted Horizons Ghost Tours claim to be the real deal, with no gimmicks, no dress-ups, and no dramatics – just personal experiences and real-life ghostly encounters.
Check out their tours to Adelaide Gaol, Adelaide Arcade, the National Railway Museum, Old Tailem Town or the Z Ward Asylum. They also host ghost hunts for those who want a little more action.
17. Winery Tours
Get a group of family or friends together and book a bus for the day to take you on a discovery trip of one of SA’s wine regions.
Whether it’s the Barossa, McLaren Vale or the Adelaide Hills, there are plenty of gorgeous wineries to explore and support.
18. Go Glamping
South Australia offers so many beautiful camping destinations, however not all of us enjoy sleeping bags and a sore back. This is where glamping comes in handy.
Wilpena Pound Ikara Glamping Safari Tents
Five hours from Adelaide, you’ll discover the beautiful Flinders Ranges, and Wilpena Pound – a fantastic camping destination which forms a base for many bushwalkers, and bush tours. In a secluded spot away from the main campground, 15 roomy tents with king-size beds, tiled bathrooms and timber decks, are set among majestic red river gums and native pines.
Eco Tent, Adelaide Shores
If you’re looking for something closer to home, Adelaide Shores Big4 Caravan Park in West Beach has you covered. Offering double bed and bunks, this 4-person tent does the important things like keeping the bugs out, while keeping you cool with a fan above the beds. With WiFi on hand, it’s also quite a convenient way to experience glamping for a first timer.
Take the kids (and adults) to new heights with the Mega Adventure aerial park located in West Beach. Mega Adventure is a climbing course which has more than 80 aerial crossings, a free fall jump and near vertical climb.
20. Enjoy A Movie Under The Stars
The season is upon us for some great outdoor films, and one of the many open-air cinemas around Adelaide is Moonlight Cinema in Botanic Park.
Open from December to February, the cinema shows a variety of new releases and cult classic films.
21. Indulge In A Degustation
With so many incredible restaurants around SA offering degustations, you’re spoilt for choice.
Here’s a guide to some of the best ones that are always on offer.
22. Go on a Staycation
Got a fantastic event to go to in the city? Want to make a weekend of it? There’s plenty of great accommodation options here, so why not take a short holiday.
Enjoy a night on the city at a show, or have a gorgeous dinner, and then kick back in an amazing bed for some well-deserved R&R.
Adelaide’s Mayfair Hotel has been awarded the Best Hotel Bed in Australia, and is the perfect location if you’re keen on a Tour Down Under event, or Tasting Australia experience. InterContinental Adelaide is right on the riverbank if you want to be in the thick of the action this time of year.
22. Cycle The Riesling Trail in Clare
Not far from Riverton is the Riesling Trail, which runs along the old Riesling railway line through the township of Clare to Auburn, and reaches a total length of 32kms.
This is a ride steeped in history, with the old towns in-between starting points hosting colleges, churches and homes from the 1800s. The area is also perfect for those looking for a food and wine experience with a number of wineries and cellar doors along the journey.
23. 4WD In The Flinders Ranges
The Flinders Ranges boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in South Australia, and what better way to experience the views and the rugged landscape than in a 4WD?
Flinders Experience 4WD Tours offers half and full day tours departing daily from Quorn, Hawker, Rawnsley Park and Wilpena Resort. Tours start from $175 per person.
Located a short 45 minutes drive from Adelaide, Adelaide Tandem Skydiving is South Australia’s most experienced skydiving centre.
Their world-class skydiving instructors are dedicated to ensure all of their guests have the best skydiving experience. Their specialty is first time skydivers wishing to make a tandem skydive and those wishing to become skydivers themselves.
25. Stay on a Houseboat
Murray River Houseboats invites you to stay and fully indulge all that the river has to offer, and at your own pace with no schedule, just taking it as it comes.
There’s even a new, super-sized, dream houseboat that you can hire on the Murray (it has a spa on board).
26. Sunset on Temptation Sailing
While the Temptation Sailing cruises have been around for years, the experiences offered are still unique.
View the picturesque sights of Adelaide and the beautiful lights along the foreshore of Glenelg, then return to Marina Pier, which is one of Adelaide’s best outdoor dining destinations.
Temptation Sailing also offers a pretty incredible swim with the dolphins experience which comes with a money back guarantee. Details here.
27. Go on a Dolphin Cruise in Port Adelaide
While Temptation Sailing (above) offers dolphin watching, and even swimming experiences, it’s all about being outdoors. If you’re after a more air conditioned, comfortable experience with a fully stocked bar, and dining options however, why not check out the Dolphin Explorer in Port Adelaide.
28. Fig Picking at Glen Ewin Estate
Strawberry picking, cherry picking, we all love collecting our own fruit direct from the source – right?
Spend a day in the gorgeous Adelaide Hills under the sweet summery sun, making wholesome memories with family and/or friends.
Willabrand Australia is an award winning family owned business specializing in fig products with 12,000 tree orchards at Glen Ewin Estate.
29. Cherry Picking at Stella Creek
Stella Creek is located in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, and poses a refreshing getaway from city life.
30. Macrame Workshop
Macrame may look a little difficult but a workshop will help you master it and Bianca Barbaro offers macrame workshops on the regular.
There’s a lot that pop up too so a cursory google will supply you with options.
31. Gin Blending Masterclass
This gin blending Masterclass with Settlers Spirits is one for your gin-fiend friends.
Learn about the different taste flavours and combinations of 12 botanicals used in the gin making process, then create your own gin recipes and bottle the best one in a 200ml bottle to take home.
32. Segway Around The Torrens Or Seppeltsfield
Join the Segway Sensation SA Team and experience all the iconic sights of Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct and The Barossa Valley’s Seppeltsfield Winery on a Segway.
Hour long tours depart from the par three golf course North of the River Torrens weir in the City and the picnic grounds at Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley.
33. Restaurant & Cafe Walking Tours
Feast On Foot walking food tours are one of the best way to experience the sights, smells and flavours of Adelaide, offering tours with a twist.
Winding your way around the Adelaide CBD, you will feast on scrumptious delights while being shown some of the quirkier sights and art experiencing everything from savoury snacks to gourmet sweets.
Feast On Foot supports the small local cafes and restaurants that are off the beaten track, featuring utterly sumptuous food made with local ingredients.
34. The HandleBar
That’s right, Adelaide has its very own pedal pub. Take a two hour pedal trip around the streets of Adelaide CBD all while sipping on beers, bases, bubbly, wines, or soft drink.
The contraption is a 16 seater, so it’s perfect for big groups of mates.
35. Quad Biking At Waitpinga Farm
Enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Ocean and Waitpinga Beach from the paddocks of Waitpinga Farm while riding your quad bike through natural farmland, spotting the local farm and native animals.
36. Helicopter Over McLaren Vale
With the option for pick up from a selection of B&Bs and wineries around the McLaren Vale region, this is a lovely experience for two people to see the stunning beauty of the McLaren Vale wine region.
The tour will also include a fly out over the Fleurieu Peninsula coastline with views of the colourful cliffs, white sandy beaches and pristine waters of Gulf St Vincent. There’s also the option for drop off at a local winery for lunch.
37. Adelaide Central Market Food Tours
Food Tours Australia offer a variety of local tours of the Adelaide Central Market, Chinatown, the Adelaide Farmers Market, and a few more.
They all have one thing in common, food.
Whether you’re an early riser into breakfast foods, want to learn more about coffee, or like the sound of biking around the city streets and learning about architecture (with a picnic awaiting you at the end, of course), there’s a little something for everyone.
38. Visit Cat Heaven At #Meow Cafe
This cafe emphasises quirky cat themed décor, including artwork of cats in intergalactic settings, and a TV playing cat videos, as well as the cats, of course.
The cafe has some simple drinks and slices but is not a place for lunch.
39. Become A Race Car Driver For A Day
Driving one of the Adrenaline V8 Race Cars is the closest thing in Australia to driving a V8 Supercar and is sure to raise your pulse.
This is your chance to give someone the chance to strap into the driver’s seat of a V8 Race Car and feel for themselves, what it’s like to drive and be in control of some serious horsepower.
Adrenaline offers a range of V8 Supercar themed experiences at Mallala and Tailem Bend.
40. Shark Cage Diving with Great White Sharks
If there is one thing you must add to your bucket list, it has to be shark cage diving with great whites.
As the creators of Australia’s first Advanced eco-certified shark cage diving experience, Adventure Bay Charters offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the legendary great white shark in its natural habitat.
The use of music to attract the sharks to their vessel allows you the unique opportunity to rock out to the great white sharks’ preference of AC/DC or your most loved tunes whilst in the cage.
41. Guided Sea Lion Dives
While there are some experiences closer to Adelaide, for a bucket list trip, head to Baird Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, and check out Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience. You can either stay on the board and watch, or go for a swim with seal lions and dolphins.
There you go, a comprehensive list of the best experiences to gift this season. Know any more? Email us at [email protected]
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