The South Australian Bucket List

You haven’t truly “done” South Australia unless you’ve done these 100 experiences.

#100 - Attend the Royal Adelaide Show

Where is it? Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, SA

The Royal Adelaide Show is one of the key events on the Adelaide calendar that draws in huge crowds each year. The show features a mixture of rides, live entertainment, animals, demonstrations, and show bags over 10 days. Over half a million people attend this comprehensive celebration of all things agricultural, which is designed as a tribute to the hard workers within the agricultural industry. The 10-day event aims to showcase ‘the best of the country, to the city’ via various exhibition pavilions, carnival-style attractions and displays of skill and creativity. Animal displays and interaction also play a key role here, with farmers showing some of their best examples of livestock and kids able to get up close with the likes of alpacas, pigs, and sheep.

Aside from the extensive array of carnival rides, there's plenty of other things to do for kids, with dedicated areas set out for younger kids featuring various games, novelties and other interactive activities. Adults can find enough to amuse themselves as well, with the likes of sheep shearing displays, wine and cheese tastings, arts & crafts displays, and more. It's a festival that brings Adelaide to life. Image credit: Max Ryszawa

#99 - Stargazing (and rockets?) at Woomera

Where is it? 446km north of Adelaide, SA

The Aussie desert town of Woomera has a number of features that help make it unique; it's largely an extensive military base used for weapons testing, and it's also home to some of the clearest night skies in the country. However, it’s not the natural attractions that draw visitors here, instead, it’s the National Aerospace and Missile Park. Home to decades worth of weapons from the Air Force and aircraft used in trials, this is an aviation-lovers dream!

It's a unique attraction in its own right, but ranks right alongside another simple joy of visiting this isolated spot: its stargazing. As an area that receives an absolutely minimal amount of rainfall throughout the year, night skies at Woomera are famously clear and are the main reasons why it was chosen as the site for the Woomera Baker Observatory built in 2007 to capitalise on the clarity. Those interested in astronomy can book for the chance to join volunteers who run the observatory and gaze through its telescope for some incredible views of the Milky Way. Of course, the skies are also marvellous when simply viewed with the naked eye - so look up, and prepare to feel extremely small. Image credit: Adam Bruzzone via Tourism SA

#98 - Visit the Classic Jets Fighter Museum

Where is it? Salisbury, SA

Those with an interest in aviation or history will be in their element with a trip to Salisbury's Classic Jets Fighter Museum, an exhibition that features a surprisingly well-restored lineup of historic aircraft dating back to WWII and onward from the 1950's. Located in a hangar at Parafields Airport, the attraction was founded in the 1980's and has had significant effort poured into the painstaking reconstruction and maintenance of some of these famed aerial icons, a testament to the passion of the volunteers who keep it running. Visitors to the museum can watch these enthusiastic people at work restoring the aircraft while taking in the impressive static displays featuring a number of significant historic aircraft. What differentiates the Classic Jets Fighter Museum from others of its kind is the ability to actually enter the aircraft. Some, including a Mirage 111, Avon Sabre, and RAN Sea Venom, have open cockpits that allow you to sit inside and get a feel for the instrumentation.

The friendly guides are always on hand to provide interesting and entertaining commentary on the exhibits, and their knowledge and enthusiasm for the aircraft is admirable. While it's not a huge museum, the exceptional quality of the aircraft and exhibits is exceptional enough to keep you here for a couple of hours, and the low cost of entry is the icing on the cake.

#97 - Spend some time at Stirling

Where is it? 20 Minutes from Adelaide, SA

One of the most charming towns in the Adelaide Hills region, Stirling is a hub of greenery and vibrant colours throughout the year that also comes with some wonderful eateries. Renowned for its lovely trees seemingly everywhere, and nestled alongside Mt Lofty, Stirling's seasonal changes are striking, particularly during the spring and autumn seasons when the tableau of colours makes for a great backdrop to exploring the town. It's also a welcome getaway destination from Adelaide during summer, both in terms of lower temperatures and the ability to enjoy a cold beer outdoors from one of its multiple establishments. Strolling through the town is also pleasant with numerous parks and gardens and beautiful, upper-end historic homes blending together both natural and man-made charms for an idyllic balance.

Its main street in particular is a standout, with plenty of striking greenery and vibrant floral colours planted along its expanse, and offers the opportunity for visitors to pop into one of its quality cafes, restaurants, or award-winning pubs for some quality culinary experiences. Situated just 20 minutes from Adelaide, this one of the best day trip destinations for a leisurely journey away from the city that offers enough flexibility to cater to multiple interests and tastes.

#96 - Visit Gorge Wildlife Park

Where is it? Cudlee Creek, SA

One of the best-value wildlife attractions in South Australia, Gorge Wildlife Park on the far side of the Adelaide Hills is an excellent animal display set out on an expansive 14 acres of land. Featuring one of Australia's most extensive collections of privately-owned animals, what helps set Gorge apart from other similar attractions is the animal variety and reasonable pricing, which, when combined with its friendly and down-to-earth staff and lovely natural setting, makes for an excellent family day out. The attraction features a nice balance between native and exotic animals, many of which guests are able to walk amongst and feed directly. With a visit here, expect to encounter the likes of kangaroos, peacocks and wallabies with plenty of space to roam, with many of the other animal species also kept in open-area environments.

It's obvious that proper care and attention is given to all of the animals, as they are both healthy looking and beautifully displayed, with similar attention provided to ensure guests are well catered for as well. Gorge Wildlife Park has great BBQ facilities for use to keep the costs down, and even holding a koala is free, something of a rarity with commercial wildlife attractions and just another great value proposition for visiting. Image credit: Alex Makeyev via Tourism SA

#95 - Ride the StreamRanger Railway Cockle Train

Where is it? Goolwa, SA

An experience that's just as much about the journey rather than the destination, the Steamranger Railway's historic Cockle Trail that runs along a scenic coastal route from South Australia's Goolwa to Victor Harbor is a wonderful, old-world showcase of the region's beauty. Offering an excellent snapshot of why the Fleurieu Peninsula's coastline is so highly regarded, the trip takes riders aboard authentic and comfortable carriages past numerous beautiful beaches all engulfed in an atmosphere of charming nostalgia. Commentary given along the way is informative and helpful rather than intrusive, pointing out various local highlights with passengers simply able to sit back and admire the spectacle or even take the chance to join the driver in his cabin for a closer look at how the vehicle operates. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even spot whales along the way!

Both steam and diesel locomotives operate on the route (which one you'll end up aboard being weather-dependent), and the entire operation is run by volunteer staff who are extremely friendly and helpful while still remaining highly professional. Upon arriving at lovely Victor Harbour you'll be able to disembark for a stop for some light exploration or a meal before the return journey. Image credit: Graham Scheer via Tourism SA

#94 - Food & Scenery at Windy Point Restaurant

Where is it? Belair, SA

Perhaps the Adelaide region's best blend of views and dining comes courtesy of Windy Point Lookout's aptly named Windy Point Restaurant and Cafe, an elegant, sophisticated and altogether upmarket dining experience that's an excellent choice for commemorating a special occasion. Famed for its beautiful panorama of the lower hills and Adelaide city skyline that extends all the way out to the coast, the restaurant offers far more than simply a great spectacle to gawk at, as both its quality of food and service are hard to fault. Windy Point offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu of both food and beverages that are comprehensive including kangaroo steaks, tender sirloin, pork belly, and wagyu rib highlight the menu, while the restaurant also boasts a bar with a great selection of local craft beers. The wine menu is also worthy of a mention and displays an obvious degree of pride in locally-produced South Australian product that compliments many of the dishes.

Service-wise, nothing at Windy Point ever feels rushed and no request ever feels too difficult to fulfil, with staff attentive but never overbearing or obtrusive. Of course, the view remains the major drawcard, and what a view it is; panoramic windows are designed to maximise viewing opportunities with sunset being perhaps the best time to visit. Just a short drive up the hills is all it takes for a guaranteed quality night of fine dining. Image credit: Windy Point

#93 - Explore Deep Creek Conservation Park

Where is it? Fleurieu Peninsula, SA

This spectacular hub of wilderness on the Fleurieu Peninsula's southern tip offers an excellent blend of wildlife, bushwalking and natural attractions, with its flagship waterfall the major card-carrying highlight but just the tip of the iceberg of what the park offers. It's possible to spend multiple days exploring, as Deep Creek Conservation Park is home to a wide variety of walks and hikes ranging from easy to difficult - even part of the famed Heysen Trail carves its way here. Wildlife can be found in abundance throughout Deep Creek, it serves as a habitat for an extensive array of bird species, while kangaroos and echidnas can often be spotted on the ground. Views along the trails are often breathtaking, with a panorama extending all the way out to Kangaroo Island possible.

Multiple campgrounds are spread throughout the park - it's the only national park within 100km of Adelaide that offers bush camping - and each of these is reached via standard vehicles making them accessible for most families. Those wanting to avoid roughing it can instead opt for private cottage accommodation available as an alternative. With great views, empty sandy beaches and lovely, dense bushland, this is another great launch point for South Australian adventure. Image credit: Adam Bruzzone via Tourism SA

#92 - Thrills at MegaAdventure Aerial Park

Where is it? West Beach, SA

This playground in the sky is one of the newest additions to Adelaide's options for outdoor fun. This is a 26m high ropes course with bridges, swings, log steps and various other physical challenges that will test both your balance and fitness levels. There are 120 aerial activities in total to take part in, and the West Beach-based attraction uses some ground-breaking technology to offer thrill seekers a combination of both fun and safety, utilising state of the art harnesses to ensure peace of mind for those participating. Other activities and sensations available at the park include free-fall jumps, swings and even aerial surfboards!

Constructed based on similar edifices used in military training, Mega Adventure offers a great activity for team building or just some weekend fun, while those too squeamish to take part can instead simply ascend to the top and take in great views of the surrounding areas of Adelaide and the coast. It's a refreshing change of pace entertainment-wise for a city that otherwise lacks a major theme park.

#91 - A top drop at Langmeil Wines

Where is it? Tanunda, SA

This long-running, historic winery has been a lynchpin of the Barossa Valley's landscape since the mid-1800's, and over that vast stretch of time Langmeil Wines has refined their wine and the customer experience to a fine art. The winery features a beautiful blend of immaculate gardens and buildings constructed with ornate stonework, along with a solid array of wines across the entire price spectrum so that those of all budgets can find a top drop to sample and take home. The setting emanates an aura of significance and the historic, with various old relics and even a smithy conveying a delightful old-world feel. Wines here are big, bold and beautiful, highlighted by a blend of Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Black Shiraz, with the flavours of each smooth and unique.

Staff at Langmeil also know how to make their customers feel valued and they're always ready to pour samples that pique the interest of visitors, and as host are willing to go the extra mile to make things child-friendly so as not to exclude families from visiting. A special touch is the comparison tasting that aims to highlight the difference between varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, and the overall quality here from entry to farewell makes for a quintessential Barossa experience. Image credit: Brett Sheriden via Tourism SA

Western Australia MapSouth Australia

is a state full of contrasts, one that blends some truly colourful and vibrant stretches of beach-laden coastline with a fiery red interior separated by verdant Aussie bush land and greenery. This is a part of the country where visitors are just as likely to kick back with a quality wine from some of Australia’s finest vineyards as to come face to face with a Great White shark, or attend attractions that reflect both colonial German heritage and the cutting-edge face of modern interpretive art. It’s this variety that leads to no two trips to South Australia being exactly the same, and makes an adventure through its terrain an exercise in discovery and exploration that covers a wide tableau of colours, landscapes, and man-made highlights.

While mental images of South Australia typically conjure up the likes of capital Adelaide and the greenery of areas like the Barossa and Clare Valleys, this is in fact statistically Australia’s driest state; a status reflected by the expansive and rugged innards epitomised by the far-reaching Flinders Ranges. As a result, one needn’t trek to the Northern Territory for a taste of the Aussie Outback – South Australia provides a sampling of the “red centre” within reach of those with a capable car. Stick to the coast, meanwhile, and SA offers an entirely different kind of adventure, as it’s home to some of the country’s most beautiful stretches of ocean and waterfront sightseeing. From the Eyre and Fleurieu Peninsulas to the dramatic cliffs of the Great Australian Bight, those with an eye towards the aquatic will find numerous impressive spectacles.

The diversity that South Australia has to offer is reflected in its people, food, scenery and culture – and on this bucket list, we hand-pick the experiences 100 that we feel best sums the state up best.

The South Australian Bucket List Map

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Follow Tourism South Australia on IG at @southaustralia and Experience Oz at @experience_oz

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