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Underrated experiences in South Australia

Spectacular sinkholes, central shipwrecks, and ghost towns in national parks…

South Australia has a hefty lineup of diverse attractions that are well beyond the average.

In fact, some of them are absolutely world class and unique to the state and yet still seem to dodge the masses.

Add these enchanting experiences to your SA itinerary.

Expect the unexpected in SA. Location: Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park. Credit: Tess Butler.

Volcanic country, Limestone Coast

Mt Gambier's iconic Blue Lake and nearby Mt Schank are the sites of Australia's most recent active volcanoes; don’t worry, they erupted an estimated 5,000 years ago.

This past activity has created a region filled with visual splendour: it’s peppered with vivid-coloured crater lakes, gigantic sinkholes, caves, and much more.

There are ample ways to soak in the sights, but the more adventurous should note that the area is renowned across the globe for cave diving. Kilsby Sinkhole is among the leading examples and has even inspired a gin label.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Blue Lake Holiday Park in Mt Gambier and BIG4 Naracoorte Holiday Park.

In the spotlight: Kilsby Sinkhole. Credit: Adam Stern.

Unheralded wine regions, Fleurieu Peninsula

The Barossa. McLaren Vale. Coonawarra. Clare Valley. Yep, we all know them. Yep, they’re all amazing. But this state is home to a myriad of first-rate grape-growing regions.

Two of them are in the famed Fleurieu Peninsula region: Langhorne Creek and Currency Creek. Each has a cluster of boutique wineries that delivers first-class cellar-door experiences, often without the crowds.

Better yet, the inviting waters of the star-studded peninsula are never too far away.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Port ElliotNRMA Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park or BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park in Tailem Bend.

That setting: Kimbolton Wines, Langhorne Creek. Credit: Kimbolton Wines.

RoofClimb Adelaide Oval

Witnessing a cricket or AFL match at this world-famous venue is an iconic Adelaide experience. A roof climb simply reaches new heights in entertainment. Literally!

Regular day, twilight, and night climbs take visitors to the top of the Western Stand where panoramas reveal the immense, diverse beauty of the city and its surrounds. Tours are full of fun facts and offer something of an Adelaide history lesson.

For those looking for the ultimate thrill, splurge on a roof climb that coincides with an AFL match and soak up the energy derived from the football-mad locals. Amazing.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 West Beach ParksThe Retreat at West Beach Parks or Marion Holiday Park.

A titanic experience: RoofClimb Adelaide. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Golfing greatness, the Riverland

With the famous Murray River at its heart, these surrounds immediately impart a relaxing vibe. And for fans of the fairways, that’s the ideal platform for a golfing getaway.

That is perhaps why the Riverland is dotted with superb courses that are not only publicly accessible but excellent value for money. And the region’s climate is reliably suited to a walk with club in hand.

For 18-hole layouts among classic countryside, head to Berri, Barmera, Loxton, or Waikerie, or squeeze in a quick nine at Renmark.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Loxton Riverfront Holiday ParkBIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday ParkBerri Riverside Holiday Park and Waikerie Holiday Park.

The Riverland is a dream destination for golfers. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/Adam Bruzzone.

More than great wine, the Barossa

While we’re all aware the Barossa is mecca for wine lovers, what’s less celebrated is that this famous patch is armed with a diverse assortment of attractions.

There’s an absorbing aviation museum, a sculpture park, great galleries, and a trio of conservation parks, not to mention palate-pleasing Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.

Walking, cycling, and scenic driving trails abound, or reach for the skies on a relaxing hot-air balloon ride.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Barossa Tourist Park.

Expand your Barossa colour palette beyond red and white. Pictured: Maggie Beer's Farm Shop. Credit: SATC/Sven Kovac.

The Bend Motorsport Park, Tailem Bend

While it only opened in January 2018, this motor-racing facility has quickly become a crowd favourite with a circuit revered by racing drivers.

At 7.77km in length, it is the world’s second-longest permanent race track and hosts a round of the prestigious Supercars Championship series, among other esteemed events.

Better yet, visitors can get up-close to the action. Hot laps, go-karting, and other adrenaline-fuelled experiences are regularly held throughout the year. A must for petrol-heads.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park.

It's not every day you get to race around a world-class circuit. Credit: Josh Geelen.

Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula

Planted at the peninsula’s toe, this coastal park dishes up a treasure trove of eye candy that mixes with captivating histories.

Wander along brilliant beaches, admire spectacular coastal views on walking tracks, surf hallowed breaks, spot lighthouses, and photograph the exposed Ethel shipwreck. Or spy some of the 100-plus bird species found in these parts.

Another fascinating feature is historical Inneston, a former mining village that’s now a ghost town. A 2km looping trail reveals its intriguing past.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Port Hughes.

Brilliant beaches are just the start. Pictured: Pondalowie Bay. Credit: Katie Purling.

Marine life encounters, Eyre Peninsula

The Eyre Peninsula has it all: jaw-dropping coastline, colourful lakes, quirky rock creations, and tons of other spectacular scenery. It’s also home to truly breathtaking meet-and-greets with marine creatures.

Swim with dolphins and sea lions in Baird Bay and the latter near Port Lincoln, which is also home to extremely exhilarating shark cave-diving expeditions. Or share the waters with colourful giant Australian cuttlefish in Whyalla.

Elsewhere, Coffin Bay is regarded as Australia’s premier oyster-growing destination and farm tours provide a treat for all the senses.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Ceduna Tourist Park or Elliston Caravan Park.

Swimming with cuttlefish is an extraordinary experience. Credit: Victoria Kronsell.

Hidden beaches, Fleurieu Peninsula

Disclaimer straight up – most of the peninsula’s beaches are well in sight. But how they aren’t consistently swarming with footprints, we don’t know.

Still, that’s the obvious appeal of these amazing and relatively accessible stretches of soft sand and crystal-clear waters.

Rapid Bay, Second Valley, Yankalilla Bay, Carrickalinga, and Blowhole Beach in Deep Creek Conservation Park are just some of the pretty patches that seriously rank among the planet’s finest. And the theme is repeated across the state.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Port Elliot, BIG4 Cape Jervis Accommodation & Caravan ParkBIG4 Port Willunga Tourist ParkBIG4 Mount Compass Caravan ParkBIG4 Normanville Jetty Holiday Park or NRMA Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park.

Cracking beach: Carrickalinga. Credit: Jesse Ehlers.

Monarto Safari Park, near Murray Bridge

Can’t get to Africa? Here’s the next best thing. Monarto is the largest open-range safari experience outside of that continent.

The sprawling zoo is home to dozens of exotic and native animal species, including lions, cheetahs, chimpanzees, meerkats, zebras, Tasmanian devils, and rock wallabies.

The dedicated encounters on offer are absolutely thrilling and include hand-feeding giraffes and rhinos as well as a spine-tingling interaction with lions.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 The Bend Holiday Park in Tailem Bend and BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Mannum.

Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you: Monarto. Credit: Zoos SA.

Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard, near Adelaide

In the Port River, about 25km north of Adelaide’s heart, lies one of the world’s largest and most diverse ships' graveyards.

More than 20 shipwrecks dating back to the 1850s line the waterway and include steamers, sailing vessels, ferries, barges, and more.

The best way to experience it all is by kayaking and canoeing around the shallow waters. Along with interpretive signage, it allows an enthralling insight into the state’s maritime past.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 West Beach ParksThe Retreat at West Beach Parks or Marion Holiday Park.

A shipload of interest: Garden Island. Credit: Trudy Hocking/ImagesbyTrudyAnne.

It’s time to explore SA! Begin your getaway by booking your stay at a BIG4 park – see here.

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