Adventure

Only In SA: 5 Experiences Unique To The State

Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

Australians are renowned for our love of travel, but while we’re often busy thinking of our next exotic overseas jaunt, we easily forget all of the gems in our own backyard.

From waterfalls to walking tracks, mountains to museums, there’s almost too much to discover across this big old island of ours – as Qantas have been kind enough to remind us with their beautiful and wanderlust-inducing new inflight safety video.

So next time you get those itchy feet, why not consider staying on home soil instead and exploring the best of what ‘Straya has to offer? We’re bringing you some excellent experiences unique to each state, whether you’re looking for a day trip from home or a giant Aussie adventure (and yes, you need to get out of your car, but trust us – it’ll be worth it).

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Hire a houseboat and rope jump into the Murray

Named for an Aboriginal word meaning ‘at the wide place’, Purnong – on the Murray River about an hour and a half out of Adelaide – is a little cliffside town perfect for an inland getaway. Stay in a riverside house overlooking the lagoons and spend your days rope jumping into the Murray and cruising down the river in the free Purnong ferry. Optionally, you and your friends can split the costs to hire a houseboat for a weekend for maximum river relaxation. Splash out for one with a hot tub; you’re worth it.

Purnong rope swing. Photo: Qantas

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Visit an underwater cathedral

It’s not often that a traveller’s highlight involves a pond, but the Piccaninnie Ponds, on the state’s Southern Ocean Drive right near the South Australian/Victorian border, are pretty special. On top, they kind of look like murky swamplands that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, let alone jump in. But beneath the surface, the ponds are a wet wonderland, bringing divers from all around the world to swim through the crystal clear water and discover the underwater caves and caverns, complete with an underwater white limestone ‘Cathedral’. Completely stunning.

Photo: National Parks South Australia

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Take in the bluest of blue lakes

“But AWOL, most….lakes…..are…blue?” That’s where you’re wrong, friends – you ain’t seen a blue lake until you’ve seen THE Blue Lake. The mysterious watery phenomenon, which sits near the second biggest South Australian city of Mount Gambier, is fluorescent blue during the summer for reasons that scientists still argue about to this day. It’s something to do with heat, and also plankton, and calcium carbonate – but the important thing is that it’s picture-perfect, you can camp right on the cliffs overlooking the lake, and there are plenty of walks right around the old volcanic crater to make sure you get juuuust the right angle on that Insta photo – no filter required.

Photo: Admella1859/Wikipedia Creative Commons

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This town is so underground. No, seriously.

Hipsters rejoice – boy, do we have the place for you. Coober Pedy is a town smack bang between Adelaide and Alice Springs that’s so underground it’s literally underground. Being in the middle of the desert can make a place…well…pretty hot, so the geniuses of Coober Pedy – mostly opal miners – figured the best way to build was downwards. They created houses, shops, even a church underground, where the rocky walls kept out the blazing heat, and they’ve kept some of those original ‘dug-outs’ for tourists to see when they visit the ‘opal capital of the world’; Coober Pedy is famous for having more of the precious stone than anywhere else on the globe.

Photo: Werner Bayer/Flickr

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Visit Australia’s third largest island

Another stop along SA’s famed and stunning Great Ocean Drive, Kangaroo Island is just a half-hour flight from Adelaide or a 45 minute-ferry ride from Cape Jervis, but it feels like a world away. There’s rolling hills, white sandy beaches, vineyards, cellar doors and plenty of local produce, plus seals, koalas and (of course) kangaroos – forget a holiday, we might just pack up and move right out to the island. If it’s a special occasion (and even if it isn’t), you can always splash out on a night or two at the lush-as-hell Southern Ocean Lodge, one of the country’s best hotels.

Photo: Southern Ocean Lodge

(Lead image: Qantas)

Want to explore South Australia? Check out flights to the state’s capital of Adelaide with Qantas.