5 Days in South Australia: From the City to Kangaroo Island

While it may not be the most popular state in Australia for travellers, and Adelaide isn’t a city many people I know have ventured to, it still has so much to offer! If you didn’t know, Adelaide is home to some of Australia’s best food and wineries, as well as stunning landscapes, all of which I experienced and admired in June 2015.It does get a bit chilly in winter, but I definitely prefer to travel when it’s cold, plus it gets pretty damn hot down there in the summer. My dad’s side of the family lives in Adelaide, so we went down to visit them, which was a good excuse to visit some vineyards, do some shopping, eat a lot of food and venture to Kangaroo Island for a few nights. 

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The best view down the coastline of Kangroo Island.

Transport

I flew Jetstar from the Gold Coast and scored pretty cheap flights. We picked up a rental car at the airport for the whole trip – it was great that we could take it to the island, too! I definitely feel it would be quite impossible to see the best Adelaide has to offer without a car as it offers so much freedom. Another way to get around the city are the trams.

Accommodation

Of course, I chose two Airbnbs. The one in the city was located in Wayville, just a few minutes drive and a short walk into the CBD. It’s also really affordable for four people. If you don’t have a rental car, maybe staying right in the city is a better option. Check it out here.

As for Kangaroo Island, our little white and blue cottage was a little ancient, but had a lot of character. It was located right near the ferry terminal in Penneshaw, and pretty much right on the water, but I would recommend staying closer to town. We had to do a lot of driving each day and it was so hard to find food around here… a big issue for me. Find it here.

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Our cottage on Kangaroo Island – just as cool inside.

To do in Adelaide:

Shopping

You can’t go to a capital city and not go shopping! Wander around the city centre, find the funny pig statues and have a bit of a shop.

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Hahndorf making me wish I was in Germany again.

Hahndorf

Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and a popular tourist spot. It is located in the Adelaide Hills, not far from the city. We ate some German baked goods, fudge, pretzels and schnitzel, admired the German architecture and did some shopping. It’s a cute little area to spend a few hours in.

See an AFL game

You’ll find some very passionate AFL supporters in Adelaide and along with it they have a beautiful stadium. We wandered around the area and inside the stadium, and wished we went to see a game.

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The pier in Glenelg.

Glenelg

A little beach-side suburb just outside the city where you’ll find cool shops, cafes and the pier. I had a delicious eggs benny and coffee for breakfast at Pure Boutique Coffee.

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Samuel’s Gorge cellar door.

McLaren Vale

If you’re looking for an excuse to get tipsy early in the day, you’re a huge wine fan or just wanting to experience some more of South Australia’s beauty, visit the wineries in McLaren Vale. They are so beautiful and peaceful, with well-kept gardens and free taste tests at the cellar doors, what other reasons do you need to go?!

Pick up a map of the area at the information centre that shows you where all the vineyards are located and go from there. Apart from the wine, my favourite thing was walking through the masses of grape vines covered with snails and auburn leaves; it’s still beautiful, even in winter. Although, if you’re looking for lush grape vines, then spring/summer is a better bet.

We went to Chapel Hill, D’Arenberg and Wirra Wirra, but hands down my favourite was Samuel’s Gorge. You can’t miss this place if you’re going to McLaren Vale. Being here feels as though you’ve been transported to Italy for a moment. It is a luscious and rustic cellar door, which is actually a restored 1850’s barn, with a few friendly dogs and tasty wine with views over the valley.

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What feels like endless rows of grape vines.
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Sandstone fisherman’s caves in Port Willunga.

Port Willunga Beach

After the vineyards, we drove from McLaren Vale to Port Willunga in search for its beautiful beach I had seen photographs of. This place looked amazing and was even more so in person. Sandstone fisherman’s boat caves line the sandy shore where the water is so blue and inviting, even in winter.

While there isn’t much else in Willunga, it was a definitely highlight of my trip and worth the quick drive. I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at these photos!


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Old dock wreckage out in the sea of all tones of blue.

Restaurants & Bars

To start off a night in the city, check out the 2KW rooftop bar. It was packed with a great atmosphere and expensive drinks, but the best views over the city. We then moved on to have dinner at Tony Tomatoes (I think), which was the best meal I had the whole trip and some of the tastiest pizza of my life!

Kangaroo Island

Located just off the coast of South Australia and not far from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is known for its wildlife, expensive hotels, landscapes, nature reserves and even honey. Don’t let the name deceive you, I did not see a single live kangaroo, but many dead ones… way too many. A lot of dead wildlife actually. While, initially there may seem as though there is a lot to do, two nights is more than enough. And if you don’t have a car, then it would be pretty much impossible to get around, so I would recommend hiring one there or bringing one over.

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Seals at the Seal Conservation Bay.

Getting there

It’s pretty easy really! Just book a ticket in advance on sealink.com, drive about an hour and a half through the countryside and you’ll make it to Cape Jervis ferry terminal. We put the car on and it took about 45 minutes to get to the island. Easy!

In all, the ferry cost us $560 for four people and a car for the return trip. I know… crazy expensive. I think it must be due to a lack of vistors?! But if it is costing people that much to get there, no wonder we didn’t see many people.

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The closest I could get to the seals!

Seal Bay Conservation Park

About an hour from Penneshaw is the seal conservation park. A boardwalk takes you down to the beach where you can watch the seals frolic in the water, roll awkwardly down sand dunes and mainly just sleep. You can take a guided tour for about twice the price of the normal $16 entry fee. I wish I did this as it takes you right up close to the seals!

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The walk down to the shoreline – keep an eye out for seals in the dunes.


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Little pup on the stairway.
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Kingscote

At 5pm, you can watch a man feed the pelicans and birds, which was quite entertaining. Although, maybe watch from afar as he tried to force everyone to pay him for the food after he started his little presentation. He was so rude and yelled at me several times to come back with money when I tried to leave… ugh.

Anyway, we also walked around the area, dabbled in a little bit of fishing and tried find some penguins. Both were unsuccessful. A local informed me that the feisty New Zealand fur seals that were perched on the rocks lining the shore here had killed the majority of penguins… oh, nature… why 🙁

There was a penguin beach opposite our Airbnb in Penneshaw, but we couldn’t find any there either. I saw some little huts, so I hope they were just sleeping. We left the fishing bait there for them incase they got hungry at night!

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More seals along the rocks at Kingscote.

Flinder’s Chase National Park

Definitely something you can’t miss if you come to Kangaroo Island as this is where it’s main attractions are located. We headed out before the sun had risen to drive about an hour and a half across the island to the national park to beat the other people. You must stop at the Visitor’s Centre for an overview of the area and to gain entry, which cost about $11.

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Admiral’s Arch – seals underneath and crashing waves behind.

Admiral’s Arch & Surrounding Cliffs

From the vistor’s centre, drive on down a while longer to Admiral’s Arch, where you’ll see the lighthouse and start along the boardwalk. You’ll pass over the arch, above the harsh crashing waves churning below, past many more fur seals making odd noises before reaching the glowing archway. It would be best at sunset in my opinion, but still beautiful nonetheless.

We journeyed back on the road and stopped not far after the arch and found an old building on top of a cliff. I think you’ll see a sign to turn off for it. Obviously I had to get about 29475 photos sitting on the edge and looking back over Kangaroo Island’s beauty.

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A dodgy stairway down to an old dock – tempting to jump the fence!
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Remarkable Rocks

A classic Australian sight. You’ve most likely seen these rocks before, namely the ‘Eagle Rock’. It is quite stunning and it probably the most well-known figure on Kangaroo Island.

We spent a while climbing up the rocks, which was not as easy as it looks. Me being the clumsy human that I am, struggled and nearly died several times. How beautiful are the fiery red rocks contrasting against the blue ocean and green native Australian plants!?

It really is one of the most magnificent natural beauties you’ll find in Australia.

In case you were wondering, the rocks and boulders have been carved over thousands of years by rainwater and wind eroding the granite over time. Daaaaamn, nature!

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Eagle Rock.
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO ADELAIDE OR KANGAROO ISLAND? WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SIGHTS?

Read more about my travels through Australia here!

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