South Australia’s capital is a compact and easily accessible city with plenty of places to explore and sights to see. It’s small enough to feel intimate and personal but also large enough to fill your days with endless adventures. And within minutes from the city centre, you’ll be transported to historic villages, idyllic beaches, wildlife, world-class wine regions, and more.
There’s no denying that Adelaide is the best gateway to some of the top destinations in South Australia. It’s only an hour away from the Barossa Valley, a world-renowned wine-producing region in the state, and a few hours’ drive from Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay Conservation Park, and the country’s longest river, the Murray River. Being so close to incredible South Australian tourist spots, it would be a shame not to take some of the best day trips from Adelaide.
But if you’re only here for a quick trip and can’t afford to venture beyond the city limits, don’t worry! In addition to the best museums in Adelaide, it’s also home to a fifty-hectare Adelaide Botanic Garden, elegant art galleries, a world-class stadium, and colorful suburbs. For a more comfortable travel experience, leave your luggage at a luggage locker in Adelaide so you’re not carrying heavy bags during your trip.
How to get out of Adelaide
Unsure how to get around Adelaide? You’ll be delighted to know that the metropolitan area has an efficient range of public transport options. It includes trains, trams, and buses. Purchase a MetroCard to use the Adelaide Metro network with ease.
Suppose you’re traveling from the Adelaide central business district to major towns. In that case, it’s possible to reach several key areas like Hahndorf and Mount Lofty Summit by bus. SteamRanger Heritage Railway also offers a convenient way to see the Adelaide Hills and the surrounding regions.
Taking a taxi, ride-sharing, or chauffeured transfers are other viable modes of transportation. However, they tend to be more expensive than public transport. Renting a car can be your best bet if you’re willing to spend on your travel. It gives you more flexibility and allows you to stop at several locations on the way.
For some travelers, going on day tours from Adelaide is the best way to get out of the city. It allows them to save money with some good package deals and get more from their day trip with knowledgeable guides to tour them around.
From Adelaide to Adelaide Hills
Adelaide Hills is undoubtedly one of the most popular and easiest day trips from Adelaide. Its tranquility and peaceful environment are an ideal antidote to the stress of life as you reconnect with nature and leave feeling reenergized. In less than thirty minutes, you’ll reach your destination and marvel at the rolling green hills, flourishing bushland, and sweeping vista.
No matter the season, plenty of activities await you here. Summer is the perfect time to cool down at high altitudes and pick fresh cherries and strawberries. Come in the fall and watch the magical sea of color in Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, or witness the orchards blossom with fruits in spring. Then in winter, you’ll enjoy romantic nights in one of the villages, warm your toes by the campfire, and indulge in tasty hot chocolates.
Adelaide Hills is home to some of the best scenery, food, and wine in South Australia, so you can’t leave without sampling its local food and wines. Head to a food and wine adventure for a delicious wine tasting and tour of the historic vineyards and cellar.
How to get to Adelaide Hills
There’s a direct bus that runs from the city to Adelaide Hills, which can take about 30 to 40 minutes. Driving your own car is ideal, but if you can’t bring your car, it’s best to rent a car for the day when going on a day trip to the Adelaide Hills.
From Adelaide to The Barossa Valley
The Barossa Valley is a must-visit paradise for wine lovers and nature enthusiasts. It’s one of the world’s best wine-producing regions, boasting over 150 wineries and eighty cellar doors. Rich reds and fortified wines are renowned here, but it’s also home to producers of cheese, spirits, preserves, and more. Check out Maggie Beer's farm shop and stop by for a cake and coffee or sample seasonal Barossa food.
Because it’s only an hour away from the city centre, the Barossa Valley remains a favorite day trip from Adelaide. When you’re not eating or sipping delicious reds during a wine tasting, you can explore the national parks, vines, and nearby villages.
Sure, the valley is famous for its world-class wineries and entices tourists and locals with its stunning scenery. But what makes this region special are the towns that offer rich history. It includes the Greenock, Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Gawler, and Marananga. So when planning excursions and day trips from Adelaide to the Barossa Valley, make sure to stop at these unique towns.
How to get to the Barossa Valley
Renting a car is the most convenient way to get to and around this famous wine region because it will give you the freedom to drive between towns. If you plan to use public transport, you can catch a train from Adelaide Railway Station to Gawler Central station. Then from Gawler, you can take a local bus to other points of interest in the region. From the city, it can get you just over an hour or less to the valley.
From Adelaide to Kangaroo Island
Located 13 kilometers off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is one of the picturesque places to visit in the country. With natural wonders, immaculately clear waters, raw and rugged coastline, and unique wildlife, the island stands out among other natural attractions near Adelaide.
Walk among the sea lion colony at Seal Bay for an exceptional nature-based experience, or head to Flinders Chase National Park for an ultimate Kangaroo Island park adventure. Here, you can get lost in the vast area of wilderness featuring Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks.
Kangaroo Island also has plenty of hiking and walking trails to suit every level. And if you get hungry, the island will give you a chance to sample its best produce, from tasty olives and honey to fresh oysters and more.
How to get to Kangaroo Island
There are two ways to get to the island: by air or coach and ferry transfers. It’s a quick 35-minute flight from Adelaide and about two and a half hours travel by sea. If you want to travel by sea, you must book your SeaLink ferry tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist season. It departs from Cape Jervis, an hour and a half drive south of Adelaide, and arrives in the town of Penneshaw.
From Adelaide to Murray Bridge
Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, Murray Bridge is an aquatic rural town offering an array of fun water activities. It includes river wakeboarding, swimming, fishing, or water skiing. It’s only less than an hour from the metropolitan city, making it one of the favorite day trips from Adelaide.
If you’re done relaxing by the water and taking in the beauty of the Murray River, you can head to Monarto Safari Park. It’s the country’s largest open-range zoo spanning over 1,500 hectares and houses over fifty species of native and exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds. It should be on your list of things to do with kids in the town! You can also take them to the Swimming Centre and a Water Play Park.
How to get to Murray Bridge
Taxis are the quickest way to get to Murray Bridge from Adelaide. However, you can also take the Firefly Express bus routes 71 and 81or the LinkSA bus 805, which can take about 70 minutes.
From Adelaide to Clare Valley
Another fertile wine region in South Australia, about an hour and a half from Adelaide, is Clare Valley. It is home to more than fifty cellar doors and vineyards that can be traced back to the 1840s. It’s a fantastic destination for food and wine tours, offering delicious local food and five-star wineries.
You can’t leave Clare Valley without sampling its signature Riesling, which is known to the world. Take the legendary Riesling Trail to see more of what the region has to offer on a bike. It’s a 33-kilometer gravel track that will take you between Claire and Auburn for a cruisy ride, suitable for every rider.
If you’re not up for a biking adventure, taste wine at a cellar door. Some of the region’s cellar doors operate out of heritage buildings, farm sheds, stone cottages, and elegant art structures. It’s a great way to spend your afternoon while enjoying breathtaking views.
How to get to Clare Valley
Clare Valley is in a strategic position in the mid-north of South Australia, making it an ideal detour for travelers on their way to the Flinders Ranges or the Eyre Peninsula. It’s about an hour from the Barossa and 90 minutes from Adelaide.
Hire a vehicle or bring your own and head north from the city. York Peninsula coaches also operate from Adelaide Central Bus Station to the Clare Valley and other regional areas. Ticket prices can range from $35 to $45, and they operate only three times a week.
From Adelaide to Coorong National Park
Located along the coast, approximately two hours south of Adelaide, Coorong National Park is a great detour when traveling Mount Gambier. It’s a place of untouched nature, untamed wilderness, and adventure. You can come here to escape from the city noise with exciting nature activities, like boating, camping, fishing, kayaking, bird watching, and more.
Coorong boasts a wealth of Australian wildlife, glorious scenery, and native produce. It offers a secluded serenity where you can watch the sunset and take nature walks, featuring a range of trails for bushwalking, allowing you to enjoy a diversity of landscapes. A self-guided tour is also available to take you to some historical locations and routes between Adelaide and Melbourne.
Coorong National Park is open every day, but the best time to visit is when the weather is warm and dry in autumn and summer. It is great for camping and hiking and an ideal time for beach lovers.
How to get to Coorong National Park
There’s no direct connection between Adelaide and the park, so the best way to get there is by car or taxi. It is about 200 kilometers southeast of Adelaide and accessible through Meningie and Kingston just off the Princes Highway.
From Adelaide to McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale is the epicenter of the wine industry in South Australia, home to some of the oldest grape vines in the world. It is nestled between the Gulf St Vincent coastline and Mount Lofty Ranges, about 45 minutes from Adelaide. It is home to over eighty cellar doors and vineyards, impressive accommodation options, and excellent restaurants.
This bustling town has a rich food and wine culture, thanks to its over 180 years of winemaking history. It has a distinct landscape characterized by steep limestone cliffs, olive groves, bush vines, and market gardens.
Besides its natural beauty, McLaren Vale takes pride in its unique cultural attraction, the Alternate Realities Museum. It’s a contemporary art gallery on the ground floor of d'Arenberg Cube, a multi-purpose building featuring a restaurant, virtual fermenter, a wine tasting room, etc.
How to get to McLaren Vale
While having a car is the easiest way to get around the town, there are other great alternatives you can use. The Metro Rail and regular bus services run between the city and townships in the area.
Day Trips in South Australia
There’s no shortage of day trips from Adelaide in South Australia. Whether you’re looking for a quick drive away from the city centre or want to explore further, you’ll always be rewarded with breathtaking scenery and marvelous adventures you won’t experience anywhere else.
It helps that Adelaide has an excellent network of buses, trams, and trains, making it easy to get around and out of the city. For a more customized experience, you can also opt for one of the city’s many private tours and other transport options and take the stress out of traveling.