South Australia: Adelaide,
Kangaroo Island and More
South Australia is Karolyn’s favorite place in all of Australia, for people who want to get a real taste of what Australia is all about – without flying all over the continent. It has sophisticated Adelaide with its outstanding museums, great food and numerous wine regions.
It has Kangaroo Island, best place in Australia to see the widest variety of Aussie’s iconic animals. South Australia has darn good outback experiences, amazing geology, and first rate Aboriginal cultural to experience. And most of these areas are great to visit all year around.
Adelaide was settled by free people so early on, it had more wealth that other areas of Australia – largely settled by prisoners and their guards. Adelaide was a planned city, laid out in one square mile surrounded by parks on all four sides.
The park on the north side holds the museums, botanical garden and zoo. The South Australia Museum has a fine natural history collection as well as the largest collection of Aboriginal cultural material in the world. The Art Gallery of South Australia has a fine collection of 19th century Australian landscape paintings.
In the central city a must visit is the Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Centre – one of the best in Australia. And definitely visit the Adelaide Central Markets – the largest indoor food market in the southern hemisphere. Shop, watch cooking demonstrations, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the park! Wine lovers will want to visit Australia’s National Wine Centre.
Just an hour north of Adelaide is the marvelous Barossa wine country – probably the most famous of a handful of wine regions around Adelaide. The Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, and McLaren Vale are also well worth visiting. You can self-drive, take a guided day trip, or stay overnight in an inn. For true aficionados, we book a professional wine and food guide.
At least 90 percent of our clients visit Kangaroo Island. And once back home they all say it was the highlight of their whole trip to Australia! Being an island, the rabbits, foxes and other feral critters Europeans brought downunder could not swim across, and the environment has remained pristine. KI has the largest population of koalas in Australia, plus kangaroos, wallabies, New Zealand fur seals, sea lions, echidnas, wombats, goannas and heaps of beautiful birds. The amazing geological formations there are the southern end of the geological plate movement that includes Uluru in the central deserts.
Our two-day package includes round trip air, a professional guide, all meals, and your choice of accommodation – from simple motels or fantastic inns, to a stunning resort perched on a bluff overlooking the wild Southern Ocean. Picture lunch time: your guide pours a glass of wine and spreads out a gourmet picnic. You gaze upward into the gum trees and see koalas snoozing. In the distant field you spot a kangaroo grazing. What a true blue Aussie safari! Often when clients are on an extended trip in Australia, we have them stay a few days longer just to relax in a bush cabin and explore on their own.
The Flinders Ranges
North of Adelaide the landscape slowly changes from the verdant pastures of the Barossa and Clare Valley to thinner bush, and then the purple-hued Flinders Ranges. Just a few hours from Adelaide you reach Wilpena Pound, while to the north are larger ranges that flatten out into the salt pans of desert country. The Flinders Ranges are one of Australia’s best kept secrets. Here you can scramble up a small hill and see 500-million-year old fossilized jellyfish on the ground. You are ten times deeper than the rim of the Grand Canyon: that is how weathered Australia is.
Our clients who want to experience Aboriginal culture by staying with the people, have in the Flinders a truly unique opportunity to do just that. The entire Flinders is the cultural property of the Aboriginal Adnyamathanha people – the Rock People. In the northern part of the Flinders, the Coulthard family built a cultural center right in the bush. They welcome you here so they can share their story of how the land is their “Bible:” their law, their rules for living, their ecological guide. Because they are the caretakers of the land, they have survived here “since the beginning” – a date not yet marked by time.
This is the Aboriginal story all across the 700 different Aboriginal language groups in Australia. And it is a story that is familiar to Americans because like the US, Australia is a land where Europeans came to find a better life but in doing so, nearly destroyed the native people. And the Aboriginal people of Australia are thought to have the oldest continuously surviving culture in the world.
Imagine a town where nearly everybody lives underground. Why? Because daytime summer temperatures are often above 120°F – but the underground is not only cool but filled with opals! Take a short flight from Adelaide and enjoy a couple of days. You will visit an old opal mine and see how the old timers lived underground while mining. You can “noodle” for opals. You can tour some of the wild outback nearby – including the famous Dog Fence that runs for over 1,500 miles, from the Pacific near Brisbane to the Southern Ocean west of Adelaide. And you can even sleep in an underground hotel. Take a daytrip here with the outback mailman as he delivers mail to a remote cattle station that is big as Belgium.