Adelaide is a city with extensive appeal, and the SA capital is even more desirable owing to its proximity to a wealth of alluring destinations.
Take a short break from Adelaide and discover a succession of first-rate vineyards, breathtaking coastline and beaches, sensational national parks, and plenty more.
It’s time to hit the road…
(All times approximate)
Known as the birthplace of the Australian paddlesteamer, this historical town enjoys front-row access to the iconic Murray River. Soak up a relaxing ambience that’s reached easily from the South Australian capital.
Best outdoor attraction: Enjoy a moving history lesson on a paddlesteamer cruise, although options can be limited. So, we’ll also throw in the first-rate Hermann Gass Bird Sanctuary as a must-visit.
Best rainy-day attraction: Retrace a fascinating past at the Mannum Dock Discovery Centre.
Underrated attraction: Mannum Waterfalls. This area bursts with natural wonders just a short drive from the town centre.
Budget tip: Mary Ann Reserve is a delightful and spacious riverside park that’s perfect for picnics.
Accommodation: BIG4 Breeze - Mannum.
Spotted at the Fleurieu Peninsula’s heart, this charm-filled township is surrounded by rolling hills and delivers a relaxing, rural vibe. From here, a diverse array of riches is easily within grasp.
Best outdoor attraction: Mount Compass Golf Course. Ranked in Australia’s top 100.
Best rainy-day attraction: Take the 10km drive north to Willunga with its cosy pubs, bakery, microbreweries, cellar doors, and more.
Underrated attraction: Currency Creek wine region. Boutique beauties just a 20km drive away.
Budget tip: Hit the Fleurieu’s famed beaches. So much choice.
Accommodation: BIG4 Mount Compass.
This small coastal town is another brilliant base for exploring the fabulous Fleurieu Peninsula. Easy to reach, easy to love.
Best outdoor attraction: Links Lady Bay. A spectacular golf course.
Best rainy-day attraction: Sample tasty craft beers at Smiling Samoyed Brewery in nearby Myponga.
Underrated attraction: The ex-HMAS Hobart is an excellent dive site. There's a memorial and lookout close by for those who would prefer to stay above water.
Budget tip: This area swarms with sparkling beaches to plant your feet along. Normanville Beach is a solid pick in town and neighbouring Carrickalinga is absolutely gorgeous.
Accommodation: BIG4 Normanville.
Perched on the banks of the Murray River, this old railway town is perfect for a short break. As well as being an easy drive from Adelaide, Tailem Bend is within grasp of variable attractions, from wine regions to a prized wildlife attraction. Of course, the Mighty Murray offers endless aquatic fun, too.
Best outdoor attraction: Old Tailem Town. It bills itself as Australia's largest pioneer village and features dozens of restored buildings. Or zoom around The Bend Motorsport Park with a thrilling hot-lap experience (selected dates).
Best rainy-day attraction: Tailem Bend Railway Museum. Unearth the town’s rich rail past.
Underrated attraction: Nearby Monarto Safari Park. This massive open-range zoo is home to a vast range of animals and other creatures backed by enthralling up-close encounters.
Budget tip: Take advantage of easy access to the Murray. If you wish to stay dry, the 25km-long River Bend Heritage Trail is the way to go.
Accommodation: BIG4 The Bend.
Australia’s most-recognised wine region is a beauty. The Barossa warrants all the accolades that flow its way, and the SA capital is fortunate to have this world-class precinct on its doorstep. Better yet, wine regions evoke relaxation in a heartbeat, and that just makes a weekend getaway here even more enticing.
Best outdoor attraction: Predictably, sipping wine on a deck of the many cellar doors should be at the top of the itinerary. Alternatively, Maggie Beer's Farm Shop is a must for foodies.
Best rainy-day attraction: See above, but just indoors! Seriously, the Barossa Regional Gallery will add colour to your day.
Underrated attraction: Tough to split Barossa Sculpture Park and Greenock Aviation Museum. Both are brilliant.
Budget tip: The Whispering Wall is a quirky attraction. Whispered words can be heard 100m away. Cool!
Accommodation: BIG4 Barossa.
A relaxed coastal town with an enviable position overlooking Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot is cherry ripe for a quick getaway. It’s one of those magical places where the laidback vibe hits you in an instant; perfect when you’re on a short break. From this idyllic spot, plant your soles along one of many walking trails, or explore nearby Fleurieu Peninsula towns of Victor Harbor and Goolwa.
Best outdoor attraction: Enjoy a pleasant swim at sparkling Horseshoe Bay. It's super central.
Best rainy-day attraction: You’ll forget it’s raining when you’re engrossed by the many great displays at the South Australian Whale Centre in nearby Victor Harbor.
Underrated attraction: It’s not quite a spotlight dodger but the Cockle Train provides for a relaxing and picturesque journey as it travels between Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
Budget tip: You can’t beat a clifftop walk overlooking Horseshoe Bay and the wider coastline. Stop by the famed Port Elliot Bakery for a treat afterwards.
Accommodation: BIG4 Breeze - Port Elliot.
Another Fleurieu Peninsula town, Port Willunga sneaks under the guard of many despite having all the right ingredients for a quick escape. The town boasts a sparkling beach, it’s just minutes to the first-class McLaren Vale wine region, and it’s an easy drive from the centre of Adelaide. Perfect!
Best outdoor attraction: Take advantage of the proximity to McLaren Vale’s many superb wineries. Check out the hyped d'Arenberg Cube, then mosey on to Hugh Hamilton Wines or Wirra Wirra.
Best rainy-day attraction: Be surrounded by colour and craft at Fleurieu Arthouse in McLaren Vale.
Underrated attraction: The FruChocs Shop at McLaren Vale. Although, if you’re a ‘Crow-eater’ you’ll know these tasty treats are only underrated by the rest of the country.
Budget tip: Hit the water. Enjoy a stroll or swim at Port Willunga Beach, or snorkel or dive the famous Star of Greece shipwreck.
Accommodation: BIG4 Port Willunga.
With its positioning along the Murray in the prized Riverland region, Blanchetown is well-suited to a short break. The township is one of the state’s first river settlements, and a cluster of historical buildings provides a throwback to its early days. Relaxing is made easy.
Best outdoor attraction: Spot wombats and other wildlife at nearby Brookfield Conservation Park.
Best rainy-day attraction: Soak up history (and avoid a soaking) at the Blanchetown Hotel. It's the oldest pub in the Riverland.
Underrated attraction: A wine and wetlands tour at Burk Salter Wines is a wonderful experience.
Budget tip: River Drive Reserve makes a pleasant picnic spot on the banks of the Murray.
Accommodation: BIG4 Blanchetown.
Perched near the top of the crowd-pulling Yorke Peninsula, this pretty coastal town and fishing hotspot is ripe for a city escape.
Best outdoor attraction: It has to be those spectacular beaches. South Beach is right there or explore loads further afield.
Best rainy-day attraction: Head straight to nearby Moonta Mines Museum. It’s filled with interest.
Underrated attraction: The Greg Norman-designed Copperclub golf course is of championship standard.
Budget tip: You can’t beat a relaxing jetty stroll at sunset.
Accommodation: BIG4 Breeze – Port Hughes.
Loxton is another example of an alluring holiday destination that enjoys a superb spot along the famous Murray River. This town mixes a laidback vibe with first-rate visitor attractions and allows for the opportunity to indulge in ample water-based recreation. Go at your own pace in Loxton – either way, you’re sure to leave feeling rejuvenated.
Best outdoor attraction: The Village – Historic Loxton. Travel back in time at this first-rate attraction.
Best rainy-day attraction: Take the 40min drive to the charming Overland Corner Hotel and relax in front of a cosy fire.
Underrated attraction: Loxton Golf Club is a seriously impressive layout that doesn’t charge the earth for you to hit the earth (and hopefully your golf ball).
Budget tip: Relax at picturesque Allen Hosking Memorial Garden.
Accommodation: BIG4 Loxton.
The immense pull of the Riverland region is encapsulated with a visit to Renmark. The town has a glorious riverside setting, a peaceful vibe, and a handful of attractions that make the most of the area’s abundant sunshine. A short break from Adelaide doesn’t get much better than this.
Best outdoor attraction: Kayaking or canoeing along the Murray River is a magical experience. Kayak hire and/or guided tours are readily available.
Best rainy-day attraction: Olivewood Historic Homestead and Museum has plenty of interesting stories to share.
Underrated attraction: The Woolshed Brewery in nearby Murtho combines great brews with sensational views. For those who prefer gin, head straight for Twenty Third Street Distillery.
Budget tip: Enjoy the views along the combined walking-cycling Matulick Riverfront Trail – all for the cost of only a few calories.
Accommodation: BIG4 Renmark.