Many people might think that South Australia is a playground for adults with its wonderful wineries and gourmet foods, but it is just as intoxicating for children.
In Adelaide, the choice is endless, with something for children of all ages. Visit the zoo to see some of the world's rare and endangered mammals, birds and reptiles as well as our native animals.
Hire a paddleboat on the Torrens River, or jump on board the tram to Glenelg for a day at the beach. For a real treat, take the kids to Melba's Chocolate Factory, where artisans still use old-fashioned methods to make their chocolate, or buy up big at the Big Rocking Horse and Toy Factory.
For active older children, Adelaide also offers Cable Hang Gliding, a new safe adventure sensation accessible to all ages, allowing them to "fly" 300 metres a la Superman. There is also the opportunity to ski indoors at Snowdome, which has a 120-metre slope as well as an ice rink.
South Australia abounds in nature's gifts both rich and rare. Stay a few days at Kangaroo Island and marvel at the penguins, the incredible sea lions at Seal Bay and the spectacular scenery at Remarkable Rocks and Flinders Chase National Park. Ride on the horse-drawn tram at Victor Harbour on the Fleurieu Peninsula, a small coastal town with safe beaches, fairy penguins and, in season, Southern Right whales.
Other holiday suggestions include a farm stay in the Clare Valley, cruising down the Murray River on a houseboat, cycling through the spectacular volcanic craters at Mount Gambier or enjoying a family hike on the Heysen Trail in the Flinders Ranges.
Mums and Dads are looked after as well, with plenty of distractions for kids in the wine-making regions of the Barossa and Clare Valleys and the Adelaide Hills.
How do I get there?
South Australia is easily accessed by air, with all capital cities serviced by regular flights to Adelaide.
By road, Adelaide is about 18 hours from Sydney, 10 hours from Melbourne and 24 hours from Perth. Make sure your family and car are well prepared for long-distance travel and make plenty of rest stops along the way.
A unique and scenic way to travel to South Australia is by rail. Three interstate trains stop in Adelaide. The Ghan runs weekly return services between Darwin and Adelaide. The Overland operates daily between Melbourne and Adelaide and the Indian Pacific leaves twice weekly from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide and back again.
When to go, Weather
South Australia is blessed with a warm, dry climate so any time is an ideal time to visit SA. South Australian summers can be very hot but are usually quite bearable due to mercifully low humidity. Winters are mild with an average maximum temperature of around 15°C in mid-winter.
South Australia is the driest of the Australian States and Territories. Its average annual rainfall is 528 mm, but just over 80 per cent of the State receives an average of less than 250 mm of rain a year. The highest rainfall occurs during May and August.
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||10 - 24°C|
||7 – 17°C|
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Where to stay
South Australia's main tourist areas offer a wide variety of accommodation styles, from international hotels and resorts to B&Bs and family holiday parks. Regional areas will have less choice of accommodation - generally camp and caravan sites, motels and pub-style accommodation are available around the state.
Some interesting accommodation options include farm stays in regional areas, European-style vineyard cottages and underground hotels in the opal-mining town of Coober Pedy.
Click here for places to stay in South Australia.
Food and Drink
South Australia is more closely associated with wine and food than any other state. You'll be spoiled for choice in Adelaide with its myriad eat streets - home to everything from pie shops to breezy European-style cafes, sumptuous Asian banquets and classy modern Australian brasseries.
Outside Adelaide there are plenty of food and wine trails to explore. Many of the state's fertile regions offer their own outstanding local produce. Kangaroo Island has its cheeses and marron; the Fleurieu Peninsula boasts olive oil, almonds and yabbies; the Riverland along the Murray is nut, grape and citrus country. The Eyre Peninsula is one of Australia's most important regions for seafood, with its outstanding prawns, lobsters and King George whiting. Coffin Bay oysters are arguably the best in the country.
There's no doubt that South Australia is one of the premier wine-growing regions of the world, with more than 350 wineries and 250 cellar doors across its 15 wine regions. Wine-lovers will be in heaven in the world-famous vineyards of the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale.
Count on spending plenty of time at Rundle Mall, Adelaide's famous shopping precinct. Opened in 1976, Rundle Mall was Australia's first street mall and is now home to over 600 retail shops, from the big department stores to unique speciality boutiques. Also check out Adelaide's Central Markets, behind the Adelaide Hilton. Here you'll find Australia's largest range of fresh produce.
South Australia is the world's largest source of white opals, and there are plenty of places in Adelaide and around the opal fields (Coober Pedy, Andamooka and Mintabie) where you'll find a wide choice of opals and opal jewellery.
Public airports in South Australia are located in Adelaide, Kingscote (Kangaroo Island), Mt Gambier, Renmark, Port Lincoln, Coober Pedy, Ceduna and Whyalla. Adelaide Airport is the major airport in South Australia and caters for international, domestic and regional flights. The domestic and international terminals both have good facilities including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, ATMs, public telephones, disabled facilities and baby changing rooms.
Transfers from Airport
Adelaide International Airport is about 6km from the city centre. Airport shuttle buses to the city leave from outside the domestic and international terminals and cost approximately $7 per person. There are always plenty of metered taxis around - these will cost you roughly $12-$15 to get into the city.
Rental car companies including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty are all represented at the airport.
Getting around for families
Hiring a car or bringing your own is the best way to make the most of a trip to South Australia if you want to visit regional areas. Major regional centres can also be accessed by air and coach.
Adelaide has an efficient public transport system - Adelaide Metro - which services the metropolitan region with trains, buses and the Glenelg tram. Of particular note are the Adelaide Free buses that cover the CBD. These bright yellow buses travel the main streets and go to the main attractions in the city.
What to wear
Casual, lightweight clothing is fine for much of the year in South Australia. Hats and sunscreen are absolutely essential for any season. During winter, a lightweight overcoat and woollen garments may be required. Remember that in the outback there may be blistering heat during the day, but night-time temperatures can drop to below zero. Warm, comfortable, layered clothing is a must when visiting inland South Australia.
HWK Travel Tips
Long interstate driving trips can be a wonderful experience but they can also be extremely hazardous if you're not well prepared. Ensure that your car is roadworthy and capable of a long-distance haul well before you leave. Take a break from driving every two hours to refresh yourself and give the family a chance to stretch their legs. Do as little driving as possible after dark and if you start to feel tired, STOP.
Adelaide for Kids
To download and view a FREE Adelaide for Kids brochure, click here
Click here for Things to See & Do in South Australia.