South Australian local Josh shares an insider’s perspective on his home state and reveals a glut of underrated experiences just waiting to be explored.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


South Australia. It’s not all about sipping vino, gulping iced coffee, and frequenting fancy art festivals (though I highly recommend them all); it’s the kind of place where Explorers and nature lovers find their groove, far from the grind.

As a born and bred croweater, I know my home state rewards those who wander from the tourist trail. It’s about rolling with the unexpected, those unplanned moments that add authenticity to adventures. Think quiet campgrounds on secluded coastal hikes, spying rare waterfowl while paddling through a national park, sip-and-cycling your way across wine country, and gaining cultural insights that build on South Australia’s mesmerising natural backdrop.

It’s not just about the tried-and-true attractions; it’s unearthing the gems, the spontaneous detours, and the surprising stories that turn a South Australian journey into tales around the campfire.

Here are my underrated South Australian adventures that don’t get the love they deserve.

1. 20 Minutes to Morialta Rock Climb

Location: Adelaide Hills

Morialta Conservation Park is famed for its chiselled gorges, triple-decker waterfall, and cluster of hiking trails, but Earth Adventure’s climbing and abseiling ratchets this reserve up a notch. A 20-minute drive from Tarndanya / Adelaide’s CBD, Morialta is home to one of South Australia’s best climbing crags with courses primed for top-notch top-roping.

Whether you’re a pro or just learning the ropes (sorry, I had to), Earth Adventure’s team will kit you out with gear, tips, and technical know-how. Framed by towering gums and a symphony of birdsong, Morialta Conservation Park offers easy access exploration just a stone’s throw from the city.


2. Wine Country on Two Wheels

Location: McLaren Vale

South Australia produces two things in spades: wine regions and cycling trails through wine regions. 50 minutes south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale offers a flawless blend of both. Beginning near Marino Rocks, the 38km Coast to Vines Rail Trail cycles through Adelaide’s leafy southern suburbs before transitioning into charming wine country.

But, if you’re just after the laid-back country vibes, I recommend catching a train to the end of the Seaford line, shaving 23km off your urban hustle.


Photo thanks to SATC


What makes this ride truly unique are the unplanned pit stops. Trust me, pedalling into Fleurieu Peninsula favourites like Alpha Box & Dice, Serafino Wines, and the d’Arenberg Cube makes your tipple taste that much sweeter.


3. Walking the Wild South Coast Way

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula

The Wild South Coast Way (WSCW) is a slice of South Australian paradise along the iconic Heysen Trail. Etched into Fleurieu Peninsula’s southern coastline, this 75km hike between Cape Jervis and Victor Harbor sits a 1.5-hour drive south of Adelaide.

Each sunrise paints unique perspectives across Ngarrindjeri Country, guiding you through hidden coastal parks, dramatic cliffs, and secluded hike-in beaches. A multi-day hiker’s dream, right? If that wasn’t enough, the WSCW now houses several new campgrounds (some only accessible by foot), leaving you to decide how best to divvy up your dates and distances. 4-5 days is about the sweet spot.

Read more: How to Leave No Trace


4. Kayaking and Camping by the Murray River

Location: The Riverland

As the driest state in the world’s driest continent, you might not think of South Australia as a go-to kayaking destination. But a gentle drift along the calm currents of Murray River National Park unveils one of Australia’s most underrated stretches of waterway. In particular, an overnight stay on the banks of Katarapko Creek is a date with the region’s elusive waterfowl, stately River red gums, and a blanket of star-studded skies. Erawirung Country in its prime.

Based centrally in Berri, I recommend Canoe Adventures as your go-to for all things kit and logistics in the Riverland. They also offer guided twilight and day tours for added insider knowledge.

Read more: A Warm and Lazy Overnight Loop Paddle for One on the Murray River, SA


5. Swimming With Australia’s Giant Cuttlefish

Location: Whyalla

Dive headfirst into an otherworldly adventure in the waters of Spencer Gulf, where the chameleons of the sea, the remarkable Giant Aussie cuttlefish, await. This migratory spectacle comes around every year between May and August (so dust off your 5mm wettie) when these graceful creatures embark on their South Australian pilgrimage to the rocky reefs around Point Lowly, near Whyalla. Their pulsating hues and extraordinary camouflage skills create an encounter that’s nothing short of hypnotic.

Not into icy plunges? Cuttys’ Glass Bottom Boat Tour has you covered with regular day trips through autumn and winter.


Photo by Victoria Kronsell

6. Witnessing Nature’s Resilience on The Wilderness Trail

Location: Kangaroo Island

Looking to unearth the secrets of an island’s one-of-a-kind terrain? Gear up for a five-day hike on the 66km Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. This remote coastal path uncovers eroded marvels like Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks, and shares the landscape with the island’s charismatic natives: think the Tammar wallaby, Long-nosed fur seal, and Bottle-nosed dolphin.


Photo thanks to SATC


But this adventure is more than just its scenery; it’s a story of resilience. After weathering the destruction of the 2019-20 bushfires, Kangaroo Island is regenerating.

And with the Wilderness Trail reopening to independent walkers from the 16th of December, 2023, this is a rare opportunity to witness nature’s resurgence in full force. Get in quick!


Photo thanks to Tourism South Australia

7. Shucking at the Dock of the Bay

Location: Eyre Peninsula

The Eyre Peninsula is the home of seafood in South Australia, where even a bougie meal can take an adventurous twist. Lunch at the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm isn’t your usual shuck-and-slurp pub deal. Nope, you’ll wade through crystal-clear ocean waters, discover the secrets from this mollusc’s underwater world, then dine from the comfort of a semi-submerged deck.

With the sea breeze in your hair, you’ll taste these ocean jewels moments after they’ve kissed the surf. Yep, they’re that fresh! It’s a laid-back, salty, and unexpectedly awesome adventure that embraces the waves and savours the experience, one briny bite at a time.


Photo thanks to the City of Port Lincoln

8. Wilpena Pound Walking Tour

Location: Flinders Ranges & Outback

On the fringes of South Australia’s Outback, you’ll find my favourite spot in the state, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. The park’s amphitheatrical walls spin a captivating yarn, offering a surface-level story of this ancient landscape. But to truly understand its soul, you need to appreciate its heritage.


Photo thanks to Tourism Australia


Guided by the land’s traditional Adnyamathanha custodians, the two-hour Yura Udnyu walking tour provides insights from a First Nations’ perspective. Setting off from Wilpena Pound Resort, the walk unpacks Adnyamathanha and European histories, revealing the area’s natural diversity, its vibrant native life, and the resources it has generously shared with its inhabitants for millennia.

Read more: Explorer’s Way in South Australia

In a nutshell, the diversity of landscapes and adventures in South Australia is underrated (which means it’s underexplored as well!). It’s a playground for the unplannable, where accidental twists lead to authentic adventures. So why not pop over and check it out for yourself?

But, if you need a nudge in the right direction, check out South Australia’s website.


This piece was brought to you by a real living human who felt the wind in their hair and described their adventure in their own words. This is because we rate authenticity and the sharing of great experiences in the natural world – it’s all part of our ethos here at We Are Explorers. You can read more about it in our Editorial Standards.