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16 sensational scenic South Australian attractions

South Australia is dotted with utterly breathtaking scenery.

And the rich variation of these vibrant landscapes and the experiences they provide simply cement SA's reputation as a holiday destination for all.

Even better, much of the state's treasure is reached with ease.

We’ve rounded up 16 astounding attractions you have to see to believe.

SA bursts with scenic delights. Pictured: d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

1. Rapid Bay and surrounds, Fleurieu Peninsula

This section of the Fleurieu Peninsula is absolutely jaw-dropping, and the combination of dramatic coastline and imposing rolling hills is one to savour. At Rapid Bay and its surrounds there are priceless photo ops aplenty, with secluded strips of sand, beautiful blue waters, and that amazing backdrop of soaring hills. It’s easy to reach from Adelaide and yet feels so far away. Perfect.

Nearby parks: BIG4 Cape Jervis Accommodation & Caravan Park, BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks Port Elliot and BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park.

Rapid Bay and its surrounds are dazzling. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

2. Blue Lake, Mt Gambier

Mt Gambier attractions don’t come bigger and bolder than this. The massive crater lake sits inside an extinct volcano, and there are ample vantage points for admiring this engrossing creation thanks to a walking track around its circumference. From early November until late February, the lake changes from a greyish tone to a richer turquoise blue that helps create even better pics. As inviting as it looks, you can't swim here. Instead, head to nearby Little Blue Lake for a refreshing dip.  

Nearby park: BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park.

The Blue Lake is a standout Mt Gambier attraction. Credit: Ockert le Roux.

3. Château Tanunda, Barossa

There are many first-rate Barossa Valley wineries, as you’d expect from a world-class grape-growing region. Yet perhaps none has a facade as grand as Château Tanunda. The circa 1890 bluestone building is Australia's largest chateau and makes the perfect backdrop for those #winetour Insta selfies. Inside it is just as remarkable – tours are available – and it’s all backed by delicious wines.

Nearby park: BIG4 Barossa Tourist Park.

Grand: Château Tanunda.

4. Striking cliffs of the Murray River

A riverside escape is not only relaxing but full of scenic wonders. The towering limestone cliffs of Big Bend, best viewed near Nildottie, are certainly a signature Murray image. But realistically there are boundless photo ops. These postcard-perfect views are made even better when aligned with those vivid Murray sunsets and sunrises. A must-visit region for all Australians.

Nearby parks: BIG4 Blanchetown Riverside Holiday Park, BIG4 Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park, BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks MannumBIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park and BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park.

The Murray's towering cliffs lead a wealth of incredible scenery in these parts. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

5. d'Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale

Surely this is one of the funkiest creations to be found in a wine region. The contemporary five-storey structure has become a cellar-door essential since it opened in December 2017. And the views from the top are spectacular. A visit here is more than a visual delight, though. With a wine sensory room, museum, restaurant and more, The Cube offers a feast for the senses.

Nearby park: BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park and BIG4 Cape Jervis Accommodation & Caravan Park.

d'Arenberg Cube has many sides to it. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

6. Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, near Coober Pedy

Do not forget the camera or phone – the headline features in this park provide a stunning sight. The Breakaways consist of colourful flat-topped mesas (tablelands) that stand out among an almost lunar-like landscape. The big tip for photo fans is to visit at sunset as it’s then that the rich sandstone colours are at their vibrant best.

Nearby park: BIG4 Stuart Range Outback Resort.

Walking on the moon: Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park. Credit: Elise Cook.

7. Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, Adelaide Hills

These grand gardens ooze immense appeal, particularly in autumn when a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours dominates. While absolutely gripping at this time, these botanic beauties have year-round allure thanks to their diverse offering of plant life and other features, tranquil vibe, and variable walking tracks to admire it all. A clear Instagram favourite.

Nearby parks: BIG4 West Beach Parks, Adelaide. 

It's tough to take a bad photo in these gorgeous gardens. Credit: Sam Williams.

8. The Bluff, near Victor Harbor

This icon of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula dishes up sparkling views from its summit. Also known as Rosetta Head, the Bluff is a must for photographers with pretty panoramas encompassing the widespread coastline, offshore islands, Victor Harbor township, and more. It’s a rewarding walk or an easy drive to reach the top.

Nearby park: BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks Port Elliot and BIG4 Cape Jervis Accommodation & Caravan Park.

The views from the Bluff (top right), or even looking towards it, are breathtaking. Credit: Graham Scheer.

9. Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide is a goldmine for photographers and one of several underrated Adelaide attractions. This maritime suburb teems with gorgeous heritage buildings, street art, and plenty of water views. And that’s just the start. It’s also home to three major museums, a leading brewery and excellent pubs, and a dolphin sanctuary. And nearby is the captivating Garden Island Ships' Graveyard with its many abandoned wrecks.

Nearby park: BIG4 West Beach Parks.

Garden Island, near Port Adelaide, makes for fascinating exploration. Credit: Michael Waterhouse.

10. Murphy’s Haystacks, near Streaky Bay

This collection of wind-battered boulders and pillars is one of the most photographed attractions on the Eyre Peninsula. And rightly so. The colourful ancient granite creations take on peculiar forms that easily grab attention and help produce prized pics from any angle. They’re found 40km south of Streaky Bay.

Nearby park: On a daytrip from BIG4 Ceduna Tourist Park.

Find your angle and snap away. Credit: John White.

11. Coober Pedy township

Prepare to witness wonders unlike anywhere else. Coober Pedy is filled with outstanding photo ops: quirky finds both above ground and underground and incredible backdrops as well as truly unique experiences. This is one of those destinations that should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

Nearby park: BIG4 Stuart Range Outback Resort.

Like nowhere else: Coober Pedy. Credit: KaZKaptureZ.

12. Naracoorte Caves

SA's only World Heritage site is a feast for the eyes, led by incredible stalactites and stalagmites. But it’s the facts and figures revealed on a cave tour that are truly mind-boggling. This attraction is regarded as one of the most important fossil sites on the planet and allows a glimpse into a landscape 500,000 years past. It’s fascinating almost beyond belief.

Nearby park: BIG4 Naracoorte Holiday Park.

Naracoorte Caves are absolutely captivating. Credit: Mike Haines.

13. Yorke Peninsula coastline

Adelaideans are blessed to have such a pretty peninsula in its backyard. The tip of this treasure-laden area can be reached within a 90min drive of Adelaide’s heart and from here a wealth of dazzling coastline and beautiful beaches awaits. There is endless opportunity to soak up this spectacular scenery and enjoy all manner of leisure activity, with charm-filled historical towns dotted throughout.

Nearby park: BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks Port Elliot.

The immense coastline of Yorke Peninsula absolutely sparkles: Location: Port Hughes. Credit: Harry and Jordan Vick.

14. Coorong National Park

The Coorong is a gem, featuring a 130km-long stretch of lagoons flanked by sand dunes that provide excellent contrast for photos. It’s also a hotspot for boating, bird watching, and walks. Note: Boat cruises departing from Goolwa on the Fleurieu Peninsula encompass the Coorong.

Nearby parks: BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park and BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks Port Elliot.

Contrasting landscapes of the Coorong make for magical pics. Credit: Mark Bondarenko.

15. Organ Pipes, Gawler Ranges National Park, Eyre Peninsula

These engrossing, colourful rocky outcrops were formed millions of years ago in the aftermath of volcanic activity and clearly warrant their name. The Organ Pipes are an outstanding photo subject among other natural creations, seasonal waterfalls, variable wildlife, and more. The park is a great pitstop when travelling the Eyre Peninsula to Ceduna and beyond.

The Organ Pipes are a standout feature within Gawler Ranges National Park. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

16. Umpherston Sinkhole, Mt Gambier

Here is another attraction in Mt Gambier that makes the must-visit list. In a previous life this was a limestone cave, but corrosion from seawater led to the cave’s roof collapsing. The result now is a magnificent sunken garden that can be admired night and day and framed from all angles.

Nearby park: BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park.

Nature and humankind have combined to create this beauty. Credit: Offroad Images.

Isn't it time you had a scenic SA escape? Start your adventures here.

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