The thought of travelling anywhere from another Australian state to backpacking Europe alone would’ve scared the absolute crap out of me years ago, and in many ways it still does! I have pretty bad anxiety, so some days even going to the damn shops alone freaks me out. But, a life goal of mine is to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone, even if I just take baby steps at first.
I knew I had always wanted to travel solo, so what better way then to start off small by heading down to South Australia for a long weekend?! It’s a seriously underrated, quiet and beautiful part of Australia, plus I have half of my family down there, so it was the perfect choice. It was a little scary at first thinking I had to rent a car, stay in a hotel and spend each day exploring alone…
I ended up coming home feeling super proud of myself and excited for whatever solo adventures the future may bring! Solo travellers have always raved on about how freeing it is to be by yourself in a foreign place, go out and explore and do exactly what you want to do without worrying about anyone else. I think that’s what I loved most about it – oh, and I do love my own space, that’s for sure!
Here is how I recommend spending a solo weekend in South Australia:
Get a Rental Car
Don’t even bother coming to South Australia without renting a car! Unless you find transport by other means, then you really can’t see the best of what Adelaide and the outskirts has to offer without one. I just picked mine up at the airport and was able to get to my hotel within 20 minutes. The next day I zipped off to my first stop down the coastline – so easy! Having a rental car really gives you a sense of freedom public transport can’t give you. Especially in Adelaide where the public transport won’t get you to certain places you’ll definitely wanna go!
I rented my car through Redspot and they were amazing! I even got a free GPS, which made life a lot easier. Book with them here!
Check in to the Largs Pier Hotel
If you’re looking to stay in a hotel (rather than a hostel or Airbnb), then look no further than the Largs Pier Hotel on the beach in Semaphore. I personally think that it’s best to not stay in Adelaide City, and the Largs is just a 15/20 minute drive from it anyway. It offers a bit of peace and quite, luxury and history all while serving up delicious food! They even have a lively bar where you could meet fellow travellers or locals if you’re up for it. I had the most comfortable and relaxing stay here by myself and felt like a queen in their Heritage Room!
Hike through Hallett Cove Conservation Park
Probably one of my favourite places I’ve been to in South Australia – Hallett Cove Conservation Park! While the weather in the morning was looking quite horrendous (windy, rainy etc etc.) I decided to venture out anyway as my time was limited in South Aus and boy I was glad I came here! I was pretty much the only person wandering around the Conservation Park and the sun even came out for a moment before I was bombarded by a rain storm.
Hallett Cove Conservation Park is one of Australia’s most wondrous geological and archaeological sites (over 1,700 aboriginal artefacts have been found here). As you wander around the walking track, you’ll learn about the area’s heritage all while admiring evidence of an Australian ice age that occurred just a casual 280 million years ago. To give you a better idea of just how spectacular this area is, the glacial pavements on the northern cliffs are known to be the best record of Permian glaciation in all of Australia! The contrast between the deep burnt orange rock against the rolling green hills all perched above the crashes waves just blew me away (the wind nearly quite literally did). I can imagine in Summer, it would be the ultimate swimming spot.
So, moral of this little story, if you’re in Adelaide, you. have. to. come. here!
Spend an afternoon winery hopping in McLaren Vale
For all lovers of wine and beautiful landscapes alike, I highly suggest heading into the McLaren Vale region for a tipsy afternoon. I noticed that many of the cellar doors in the Winter season were very quiet, which is the way I like it! The area is home to about 65 wineries, so you won’t be short on choice and could easily spend a whole afternoon hopping from one cellar door to the next. My personal favourite is Samuel’s Gorge; you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the Italian countryside for a moment in time.
Road Trip Down South:
The following day, I woke up quite early as I knew I had a lot of driving ahead of me. Grab your coffee and hit the open road:
Chill out on Port Willunga Beach
This would have to be one of my favourite beaches in the world! I just love the sandstone fisherman’s caves that wrap around the shore where boats used to be stored. The sandstone and limestone cliffs of Willunga definitely give off a mediterranean feel – you can even have lunch above at the Star of Greece restaurant if you come at the right time! Obviously, the highlight is the unique caves that you can hang out in and watch the waves crash along the old jetty wreckage. It would be the ultimate picnic spot in my opinion!
Admire the views from Sellicks Beach
Next up: another beach of course – Sellicks! If I was going to live in South Australia, then this would be a pretty amazing spot; imagine waking up to the hills and cliffs falling off into the vast expanse of coastline everyday. Sellicks is just a 15 minute drive further South from Willunga and will yet again amaze you. Sadly it was super windy and overcast for me, but on a nice day you could definitely spend a decent amount of time here.
Venture through the rolling hills of Second Valley
Another 40 minutes down the Fleurieu Penninsular will take you through Second Valley. It’s one of those drives where you just want to stop every few minutes to admire the views and take photos! I wandered around the beach area and wished I drove up to the top of the hills – I just couldn’t find how to get there! Being in Second Valley reminded me of the rolling green hills of Ireland and Scotland and got me super excited to be there sometime soon in the future (stay tuned).
Transport yourself to Germany for the afternoon in Hahndorf
If you’re feeling a bit hungry by now, what better place to eat than a quaint little German town up in the Adelaide Hills? The town is about another 45 minutes from Second Valley, but just think of the bratwurst, schnitzel and fudge waiting at the end! Incase you were wondering, Hahndorf was settled in the 19th century by Lutheran migrants and its German architecture and foods still remain today!
If you have an extra two or three days: Kangaroo Island
If you have a spare few days in South Australia (I highly suggest you stay longer than just a weekend), then I implore you to get over to Kangaroo Island. It is by far one of my favourite places in all of Australia and if you’re someone like me who loves quiet and picturesque places, then you’re gonna love KI! From seal bay to the famous Remarkable Rocks, there is a lot of exploring to do here.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SOUTH AUSTRALIA? AND HOW WOULD YOU SPEND A WEEKEND THERE?
PIN IT FOR LATER!