Swimming with wild sea lions is a top activity in the region. // © 2017 Getty Images
Feature image (above):South Australia has great spots for beach fishing. // © 2017 Getty Images
Australia is one of the world’s great destinations for experiential travel, and South Australia is one of the best regions in the country for luxury and adventure. Known for its natural beauty, dramatic coastlines and wildlife, South Australia deserves to be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Air and Sea
A native of South Australia’s Port Lincoln and the Eyre Peninsula, David Doudle, managing director of tour operator Goin’ Off Safaris, has been discovering adventure activities in the region since he was a child.
Doudle’s favorite day trip begins with a helicopter journey along the area’s rugged coastline to a spot on the beach where clients can fish for salmon. Next, Doudle and his guests board a boat to swim with wild sea lions and bottlenose dolphins.
“The journey back to Port Lincoln, with the sun setting across the landscape, is stunning,” Doudle said. “It’s an amazing day that we cap off with a couple of local beers and some of the best seafood in the world.”
Less Is More: Doudle advises not to try to fit too much into one trip. He suggests focusing on just Port Lincoln and the Eyre Peninsula, which he calls “undiscovered jewels in South Australia’s tourism crown.”
Wine Country Cycling
Terry Pohl, a travel agent with Globetrotter Travel Inc. in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and a Premier Aussie Specialist, says his favorite experience in South Australia is a Barossa Valley wine tour by bicycle. Pohl prefers riding on a paved trail that was once train tracks because visitors can go from winery to winery at their own pace without worrying about cars.
Home Base in Adelaide: Visitors should make Adelaide their hub, suggests Pohl, noting that travelers can find great experiences just an hour from the city. In particular, Pohl tells clients to book tours that take them outside the city so they get to see how proud locals are of their country.
“Australians will make you feel like a special guest and not just a tourist, so be sure to take time and share your stories with them, too,” Pohl said. “One visit is not enough, and you’ll find yourself wanting to return.”
Sea Lion Swim
For Lachlan Swan, social media and content producer of international marketing for South Australia Tourism Commission, no activity beats swimming with wild sea lions on the Eyre Peninsula. He says that sea lions are aptly known as the “puppy dogs of the sea,” and they are always ready to play.
“The more somersaults and splashes you make, the more they get into it — twisting, turning, gliding and swirling all around you like excited kids,” Swan said. “It’s such an incredible, totally wild encounter. Nobody who does it ever forgets it.”
Meet the Locals: Swan says local residents are a great resource for travelers.
“South Australians are some of the friendliest people on the planet and can really offer some great value on your travels,” he said. “Join them for a beer, and they’ll soon be sharing information about all their favorite local spots — many of which won’t be on the map.”