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Friday, 06 February 2009

South Australia Will Win Over Your Heart - Page 2

Written by Kristen Hamill
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Mentioning my year abroad in Adelaide has elicited more than a groan or two from Australians that are not native to South Australia.

Adelaide,” whined a Sydney woman I met while she visited Boston, “is our most embarrassing city. It’s so tiny. Why would you have gone there when you could have gone to Sydney or Melbourne? Or up north to Queensland?”

South Australia’s neighbors to the east might have the upper hand when it comes to attracting tourists with iconic destinations like the Sydney Opera House, Whitsunday Islands, and Great Barrier Reef, but conveniently enough, the lack of tourists is part of what makes South Australia as beautiful and unique as it is.

South Australia will win over your heart, Adelaide, University of Adelaide, Daly Head, Cleland Conservation Park, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, beaches of Yorke Peninsula, Murray River in Renmark, Kristen Hamill

 

Once you’ve had your fill of the city, hop on one of the buses that will take you north through the Adelaide Hills. One of the first stops is at the base of Mt. Lofty, where an hour’s hike through the botanical gardens will take you to the summit restaurant where you can complete the day with lunch, a cappuccino, or if you are in desperate need of it, a glass of wine or Coopers Sparkling Ale. South Australia will win over your heart, Adelaide, University of Adelaide, Daly Head, Cleland Conservation Park, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, beaches of Yorke Peninsula, Murray River in Renmark, Kristen HamillStay on the bus longer to visit Cleland Conservation Park where you can get up close with kangaroos, wombats, emus, koalas, and many more of Australia’s beloved creatures.

South Australia is most well known for its wine country, the McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley, home to many of the world’s major wine producers. Nothing could be more romantic than a long weekend sampling wines, dining out, and sleeping in at one of the small hotels or B&Bs in the Barossa or McLaren Vale. There are even a number of bicycling tours that take you from vineyard to vineyard. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling are the valleys’ specialties, but there is no shortage of Chardonnay, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, and other varieties. For a different twist on the celebratory flute of champagne, pick up a bottle of sparkling Shiraz, another specialty of the region.

If adventure is more your style, you might want to consider heading even further outside the city to camp alongside the Murray River in Renmark. Canoeing, kayaking, and renting houseboats are all great ways to enjoy Australia’s second-longest river. Don’t let Aussies’ stories about drop-bears scare you away from enjoying a night out underneath the stars. There’s no such thing as a carnivorous koala waiting to drop from above while you sleep. It’s just local lore used to spook Yanks and other tourists, so don’t be the guy or girl who gets caught spreading Vegemite behind your ears to keep bears away.

The wine is delicious, the countryside gorgeous, but absolutely nothing compares to the beaches of Yorke Peninsula. I had the opportunity to visit the area twice, which is just a few hours drive west of Adelaide, and was blown away by the beauty of such pristine, untouched land. South Australia will win over your heart, Adelaide, University of Adelaide, Daly Head, Cleland Conservation Park, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, beaches of Yorke Peninsula, Murray River in Renmark, Kristen HamillIt amazed me how beaches that beautiful could have been so empty both times I visited. In the U.S., beach-goers pack themselves like sardines on any available patch of sand, but in Yorke you could walk for hours along the ocean on a sunny day without seeing another soul.

While there are a number of beaches to explore, sandy and rocky, some great for swimming, others for surfing, the most breathtaking was Daly Head. Set back beyond the dunes, a steep staircase leads down from the parking area to a wide sandy beach that stretches into the distance. Rip tides can be an issue at this location, and since there is no lifeguard on duty, it’s wise to stay close to shore. Other beaches worth mentioning are Dolphin Head, where the water is Caribbean blue, and Marion Bay where you’ll often find a flock of pelicans or group of dolphins bobbing along the shore.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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