Lonely Planet has declared South Australia the place to go on Aussie shores in 2017.
Making the cut in the world's top 10 regions to visit in 2017, it is the only Australian destination to win a coveted spot in Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel list. South Australia was ranked fifth, behind Choquequirao in Peru, Taranaki in New Zealand, The Azores in Portugal and North Wales in the United Kingdom.
Here’s a look at some of the key reasons Lonely Planet deemed South Australia to have the edge – and we have to say, we couldn’t agree more.
1. The “rustic charms of Kangaroo Island”
Despite being Australia’s third-largest island, there’s a world of difference between Kangaroo Island and the others lingering off our coastline. Here you can truly disconnect and reconnect with nature, sans the touristy island resorts and hype.
This is a sanctuary for wildlife in every sense of the word – it has been called a ‘zoo without fences’, with over a third of the island protected in nature reserves – and rugged beauty appeals at every turn.
It’s also home to our newest walking track – the spectacular 66-kilometre Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – as well as some irresistible gourmet finds, like locally produced honey and spirits, as well as some delightfully indulgent luxury accommodations.
And it’s all just a short ferry ride away.
2. The “brilliant wine country”
This one’s a no-brainer. South Australia has long been revered for its award-winning, world-class drops and is our undisputed wine capital. But as they say, it gets better with age and when it comes to wine that’s especially true.
Within minutes of Adelaide there are over 200 cellar doors to knock on between the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley wine regions, home to some of the country’s oldest wine producers and some of the globe’s oldest shiraz vines.
Need we say more?
3. The “crowd-free beaches”
Beaches may not be the first thing to spring to mind at the mention of South Australia, but therein the beauty lies. Untouched, unspoilt and underestimated, it is still possible to find a sandy stretch of blindingly white shoreline that hasn’t been discovered by the masses.
From the deserted bays and wild local dolphins of Coffin Bay National Park to the well-known but local feel of spots such as Henley and Glenelg – within a pebble’s throw of downtown Adelaide – there is sun-soaked peace to be found.
MORE GREAT SOUTH AUSTRALIAN INSPIRATION:
4. The “picturesque Aussie outback”
If you automatically think of the Northern Territory when it comes to outback adventures, it’s time to broaden your horizons. South Australia boasts its own splay of iconic Aussie outback scenes to witness, not limited to its glistening salt lakes, stony deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and the vast treeless panoramas of the Nullarbor plain.
From the 540 million-year-old rugged beauty of the Flinders Ranges to iconic rural towns such as Birdsville, an astounding 80 percent of the state is considered Outback and begs for discovery.
5. The “artistic capital, Adelaide”
It has long been known as the festival capital, with the likes of WOMADelaide, Adelaide Fringe and the Adelaide Festival on its cultural calendar, but there’s still more to the capital’s artistic side than that.
Many Australians don’t realise Adelaide hosted the country’s first national, all-female contemporary art exhibition in 1977 – and to this day continues to support emerging artists as well as renowned travelling exhibitions.
The Art Gallery of South Australia, Samstag Museum and Tandanya are the obvious stops, but there’s a raft of independent galleries forging their own way in the art world to be found as well.
6. The “abundant produce festivals”
When it comes to the list of gourmet events and festivals taking place across South Australia the list is never-ending. It makes sense – considering the state’s reputation for wine – that food would also be celebrated in style at every chance.
Just a few of the highlights include Feast Festival, Sea and Vines, Barossa Gourmet Weekend, Crush Festival, Harvest Festival, Riverland Food and Wine Festival and the Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine Festival.
Like we said, the list goes on...
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