11 FUN ADELAIDE DAY TRIP IDEAS
If you have seen the city centre and want to explore a little further afield these Adelaide day trip ideas may just be the inspiration you need to see a little more of the regions surrounding South Australia’s capital city.
Last year we spent 5 weeks road tripping in South Australia, exploring the wine regions, discovering the beauty of Kangaroo Island, and all the hidden nooks in the Adelaide city centre, including its fabulous street art. We fell in love with this less visited state and so today we bring you some more great options to add to your South Australia itinerary.
To supplement our own experiences, cause even in five weeks we couldn’t cover it all, we reached out to some of our travel-loving friends for their suggestions. If you’re stuck for ideas when planning day tours from Adelaide, consider some of these best days out.
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Adelaide Hills Day Trip
The Adelaide Hills has some lovely scenery and dozens of little villages to explore. Whether it’s wineries, wildlife, walking –a day trip to the Adelaide Hills has something for everyone.
In as little as 20 minutes from the city centre, you can be walking through the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, cuddling koalas at Cleland Conservation Park, and watching the sunset from the Mount Lofty Summit. Buses run to these locations from the city centre.
You can also bus to the historic German town of Hahndorf. You can spend a day walking along the main street, visiting the many galleries, craft, and gourmet food shops. If you over-indulge the sauerkraut and schnitzels, there are plenty of pubs, B and B’s where you can spend the night.
If you are travelling with children, visit the Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha and the Farm Barn in Hahndorf. Melba Chocolates in Woodside are also a bit of yummy fun too.
Tip: Be aware, when you visit the hills, it can be five or more degrees cooler than it is in Adelaide!
Depending on when you visit, there are opportunities to do some fruit picking. Check out Beerenberg for strawberries and Glen Ewin Estate for figs. The National Motor Museum in Birdwood is a must-see if you’re a petrol head.
With over 50 wineries, wine tasting is always an option. An Adelaide Hills wine tour is a great day out. The views from some cellar doors are spectacular.
Distance from Adelaide: It’s only 20 minutes from the city to Mount Lofty, a little further to Hardorf. The Adelaide Hills are best explored by car; however, you can explore Hardorf or Mount Lofty using the local bus from the city.
Google map reference: Adelaide Hills
Suggested by Natalie from Curious Campers a South Australian local
Burra – a perfect day trip for history lovers
History lovers should consider a visit to Burra
Rich in mining heritage, Burra is a unique day trip from Adelaide for history lovers. Established in 1848 after the discovery of copper, the Burra ‘Monster Mine” became one of the largest mines in the country. The mine attracted droves of miners from Cornwall in England, who flocked to Burra for work and later settled in the region.
The best way to explore Burra’s history is to go on the Burra Heritage Passport tour, which provides access to 46 impressive sites including the Redruth Gaol, the cellars of the Unicorn Brewery, and Burra’s dugouts. And don’t forget the Bon Accord Mine Museum and the Monster Mine. Visiting these places is a step back into Burra’s days of glory, and you can pick up a key from the town’s visitor centre.
Leave some time to wander down the main street and browse through the galleries, antique shops, and gift stores.
Tip: Stop for afternoon tea at Good Golly Miss Polly for a Cornish pastie, a sweet treat, and a friendly chat with the locals.
Distance from Adelaide: Burra is 165 km from Adelaide and is about a two-hour drive. The best way to get to Burra is to drive. It’s possible to get to Burra by taking the train from Adelaide to Gawler, and there’s a bus from Gawler to Burra once a week.
Google map reference: Burra
Suggested by Christina from Travel2Next
Cape Jervis – a wildlife lovers’ day trip
An easy hour and a half drive from Adelaide, Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula is a perfect day-trip destination from South Australia’s capital.
Many visitors use Cape Jervis as a jumping-off point for getting to the beautifully wild Kangaroo Island. However, bypassing everything there is to see and do in this part of the Fleurieu Peninsula means missing out on some beautiful destinations.
Situated right on the coast, the area is teeming with incredible ocean views, walking trails, and relaxing beaches. Just in town is the Cape Jervis Lighthouse, the perfect destination for watching the sunset with a picnic or whales passing by from June to October.
Locally owned and sourced foods from Leonard’s Mill make the perfect picnic meal, and their onsite restaurant and accommodation allow for a luxurious visit. Nearby Blowhole Beach is just enough off the beaten track, about two kilometres from the car park, to be a peaceful place to relax by the water.
Tip: Wildlife lovers will also enjoy hiking around the Deep Creek Conservation Park, where all manner of native Australian animals can be spotted out and about.
Distance from Adelaide: Cape Jervis is a 90-minute drive from Adelaide. While public transportation via the Sealink bus is available, exploring nearby sites requires a car. You can also take a day tour.
Google map reference: Cape Jervis Lighthouse
Christa and Jason from Expedition Wildlife suggest a trip to Cape Jervis
Clare – perfect for food, wine and cycling
Clare makes a lovely day trip from the South Australian capital city. Our favourite thing to do here is to visit the many wineries within the region. We have done the trip a few times from Adelaide for the day, once by car, another on a winery tour, and finally where we took our bikes and rode around the region on a self-guided bike tour.
Our biking experience in Clare was our favourite. The region is lovely, the bike trails are easily accessible and the wineries welcome cyclists. We planned our day before we left, stopped at two wineries, and had made a booking at Skillogallee for lunch outside in the gardens. It was such a great day and the best way to experience all that the region has to offer. There are also organised cycling tours through the Clare Valley which can be taken as a day or overnight trip.
Distance from Adelaide: Clare is located approximately 135km north of Adelaide, with a drive time of a little over 90 minutes. The public transport option is not really appealing, taking closer to three hours, so we suggest a day tour, Clare Uncorked if you don’t fancy renting a car.
Google map reference: Clare
Suggested by Erin Parker from Australian Mountains to Sea
Granite Island – Explore the outdoors
A must-do day trip from Adelaide for nature lovers and history buffs is a trip to the majestic Granite Island Recreation Park.
Once you arrive, take a hike along the 2.9km Kaiki Walking trail to see what this Island is all about! You’ll be immersed in the beauty of the unusual granite formations, breathtaking panoramic views and feel the power of the ocean with the crashing waves.
This trail also includes the creative sculpture trail, which features art from local, national and international artists.
A colony of little penguins live on the island, providing an excellent opportunity to view these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. Dusk is the best time to view the little penguins returning from their day at sea.
Take advantage of whale watching season, to view the majestic whales migrating to the warmer waters of South Australia to give birth and nurse their young. The season runs from May 1st to October 31st.
Distance from Adelaide: Granite Island is easily accessible from the beautiful seaside town of Victor Harbor, located 84km from Adelaide. Driving will get you the most freedom but you can also take a bus. LinkSA operates daily services from Adelaide to Victor Harbor. From Victor Harbor, take a short stroll to the Island or take the historic horse tram ride over the wooden causeway.
Google map reference: Granite Island
Suggested by Kelly from Wanderlust by Kelleyy
Kangaroo Island – Animal and nature wonderland
Kangaroo Island is well worth the travel time even for a day trip if you can’t spare a couple of nights.
When it comes to beautiful places near Adelaide, nothing can beat Kangaroo Island (KI). White sandy beaches, wineries, unique national park, koalas… it has it all! It’s a bit like a mini version of Australia!
As you get to KI, the first thing you should check out are the beaches. Vivonne Bay, Stokes Bay, and Emu Bay are stunning! The sand is white and soft, the waters crystal clear… it’s paradise!
After that, head to Flinders Chase National Park and walk up to the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. These unique natural landmarks are iconic!
Did you know: Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-biggest island and is bigger than Bali and Singapore!
Tip: On your way back, make sure to stop at one of the wineries and try some oysters! The Oyster farm in American River is the perfect place for that! Dudley wines in Penneshaw is also a great place.
Distance from Adelaide: You can easily reach Kangaroo Island by plane, ferry or by going on a tour. You can fly from Adelaide to Kingscote every day. It only takes 30 minutes! If you’d rather drive, you will need to go down to Cape Jervis to catch the ferry. Finally, you can opt for a guided tour. They will bring you to the best spots and make everything easier!
Google map reference: Kangaroo Island
Suggested by Pauline from BeeLoved City
We recently spent 5 days exploring Kangaroo Island – check out our itinerary for ideas.
There are some fantastic Kangaroo Island day tours if you prefer not to drive
Monarto Safari Park
For people who aren’t fans of the traditional zoo, Monarto Safari Park is worth checking out. An easy hours drive from Adelaide; you’ll have no trouble at all spending the day there.
Spread over 1500 hectares, Monarto Safari Park has the honour of being the largest open plains zoo in the southern hemisphere, as well as one of the world’s largest. Over fifty species of native and exotic animals live within the grounds of the park, all with space to call their own.
The design of the park can enable better views and photographs of the animals than you would see at a more traditional zoo, including being face to face with a Giraffe at their head level! There are also a variety of experiences on offer where visitors can get up close with Meerkats, Giraffes, Cheetahs, and Chimps. You can either choose to walk through the park, or hop on and off the loop bus as you want.
Monarto also plays a hugely important role in the education and conservation of wildlife. Run by a conservation charity dedicated to saving species from extinction, the park runs successful breeding programs. It is home to species of animals that no longer exist in the wild.
Distance from Adelaide: Monarto Safari Park is a 50-minute drive from the centre of Adelaide. While it is easiest to drive, LinkSA also offers a bus that runs from Adelaide during the week.
Google map reference: Monarto Safari Park
Suggested by Holly from Globeblogging
Parra Wirra Conservation Park
Parra Wirra Conservation Park is the perfect day out for anybody looking to escape the chaos of city life and get back to nature. Don your hiking boots, pack a picnic and pop in the car to make the short journey over there. You won’t regret it.
With endless hiking and biking trails, wonderful Aussie wildlife (including emus, kangaroos, bearded dragons, and over 100 species of birds), and picturesque picnicking spots, you can spend the day walking, talking, and relaxing amid mind-blowing natural beauty.
Young families are sure to love the Natureplay Forest that’s there too. This outdoor playground comes complete with a flying fox, a rope climb, massive fallen logs, and tunnel runs, making it a firm favourite for big and little kids alike.
Looking to indulge in a bit of history too? Parra Wirra’s got you covered! Home to the Barossa goldfields, you can see and explore the remains of the gold mining operations that took place here from the 1860s. Throw the birdwatching and horse riding opportunities into the mix, and there’s more than enough to keep you occupied for the day.
All told if you’re looking at an amazing day out for the whole family in a place that’s a stone’s throw from the city but worlds away in terms of charm and beauty!
Distance from Adelaide: Located just 40km northeast of Adelaide CBD. The trip by car takes about 45 minutes.
Google map reference: Parra Wirra Conservation Park
Suggested by Danny from the website What’s Danny Doing
Port Adelaide – Street art, museums and more
For a great day out during your Adelaide visit, head down to the historic maritime precinct of Port Adelaide.
Spend your time in Port Adelaide exploring one of the great museums. It will be no surprise that this is the location of the South Australian Maritime Museum, but you will also find the National Railway Museum and the South Australian Aviation Museum.
Wander down to the wharf and jump aboard a dolphin cruise. This will take you up and down the Port River, the home to a pod of dolphins that love to show off. Learn about the industrial past and present of the area.
Explore the maritime area further by visiting the historic “City of Adelaide” clipper ship which is slowly being restored, or admire the tall sailing ships “One & All” and “Falie” which are usually tied up right on the wharf.
There are plenty of restaurants and pubs for all types of dining. Relax with a craft beer at Pirate Life Brewing. If you choose to stay into the evening, take a ghost tour through some of the old buildings, searching for ghosts and hearing tales of daring and disaster.
As you are walking from place to place, keep your eyes open for some of the fantastic street art. There are more than fifty murals gracing the walls of Port Adelaide.
Check out more of Josie’s tips for things to do in Port Adelaide.
Distance from Adelaide: At just 14km from the city centre, it’s an easy half-hour train ride or a short drive to get there.
Google map reference: Port Adelaide
Suggested by Adelaide local Josie from Josie Wanders
Want more street art? Check out our guide to the mural art in Adelaide’s CBD.
A short 40-minute drive from Adelaide is the stunning red sandstone cliffs that line the beach at Port Noarlunga. This seaside village is a gorgeous place to spend a lazy summer afternoon. Stroll the beach and admire the sandstone cliffs, or swim in the crystal clear waters.
Enjoy lunch at Hortas Restaurant, which serves up contemporary Australian and Portuguese-inspired dishes. It offers a gorgeous view overlooking the beach. Order their lemon pepper squid – a ubiquitous Aussie dish that is perfect to enjoy the seaside.
Port Noarlunga Reef Aquatic Reserve reef offers snorkelling and diving opportunities. It is also visible from the jetty. This reef is home to around 200 species of marine plants and over 50 species of fish. For divers, there is a self-guided aquatic trail. The beach is safe for swimming and this small town close to Adelaide makes for a perfect day trip from the South Australia capital.
Distance from Adelaide: An easy 40-minute drive from the city centre. If driving on the left side of the road isn’t for you, you can catch a train from Adelaide to Noarlunga Centre Interchange. Then change to either bus 745 or 751 to arrive at the beachfront in just over an hour.
Google map reference: Port Noarlunga
Suggest by Bellinda from Wanderlust Marriage
The Barossa Valley
Adelaide is one of Australia’s best cities to explore. But it is also what is found outside of it, which adds to any trip out in South Australia. One place that cannot be missed is the iconic Barossa Valley wine region. Here, some of the world’s most renowned wines can be tasted (and taken home) – because how could you leave without some bottles to enjoy later?
When it comes to quality wineries, there are many unmissable drops to try out here, and amazing scenery as well; both of which will only add to your time here. My personal favourite wine is the Barossa Shiraz by Chris Ringland. It’s my favourite Australian Shiraz in the country. Other notable winery stops worth mentioning are Yalumba (which is steeped in history), Chateau Tanunda (with its iconic architecture), and Kies Family Wines (family-owned, but live by quality over quantity).
You can’t go wrong starting at any of these on any Barossa day out or overnight visit. So make sure you make it out there.
You can drive out to the Barossa, but a private bus tour is the way to go since you can drink all the wines and not have to worry about how to get home. A wine tour can really take it out of you, no matter how you pace it. There are a number of options available from Adelaide.
This Barossa Valley Food and Wine experience includes two of Barossa’s respected wineries, Maggie Beer’s farm shop and Barossa Valley Chocolates.
Check out the full range of guided day tours to the Barossa Valley
Distance from Adelaide: The Barossa Valley is located approximately 70kms northeast of Adelaide, around a 1-hour drive from the Adelaide CBD.
Google map reference: The Barossa Valley
Suggested by Toni from Enchanted Serendipity