Arrive in South Australia and expect the unexpected. Where a late lunch in the Adelaide Hills rolls into dinner under the stars; where a tasting in the Barossa leads you from the cellar door into a barrel room to sample fortified wines from your birth year; or where an outing to buy regional produce at a farmers market turns into a gourmet picnic lunch on a serene, uncrowded beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula. South Australia is a destination that promises to provide you with plenty of offerings sure to assault your senses.

A Day in Adelaide

After testing your limits on the cutting edge of contemporary Asian arts, the vibrant city of Adelaide is waiting to embrace you. Morning, noon and night there is an array of indulgent experiences to relish – epicurean places to dine, boutique and designer places to shop, and a redeveloped riverbank precinct to discover.

  • Start your day with a South Australian breakfast at one of Adelaide’s local cafe gems. Using seasonally based South Australian produce you’ll get your first glimpse of how local produce is creatively turned into mouthwatering menus.
  • Stroll the aisles of fresh, South Australian produce with a Central Markets Tour at the southern hemisphere’s largest undercover food market. The Adelaide Central Markets are bursting at its seams with over 70 stall holders specialising in everything from cheese, meats, fresh vegetables and fantastic coffee and cakes.
  • Take a behind the scenes look at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, climb the Roof Climb and experience its 140 year history as one of Australia’s premier sporting and entertainment venues to its transformation into its current internationally renowned status.
  • Enjoy lunch in any one of Adelaide’s ‘eat streets’, streets dedicated entirely to a melting pot of modern cuisine, international flavours, local favourites and alfresco dining. Gouger, Rundle and Leigh Streets provide vibrant atmospheres with first class food and wine, while Adelaide’s laneways and side-streets provide hidden gems waiting to be devoured.
  • If you appreciate contemporary art and design or a love for galleries, collections and exhibitions then Adelaide’s North Terrace is a must visit precinct. A few hours along North Terrace and you will get a glimpse of our cultural past and our exciting, creative future.
  • Take an immersive journey into the tastes of Australia at Jock Zonfrillo's restaurant Orana, one of Adelaide’s contemporary fine dining experiences. Indulge in menu creations that you’ve never heard of, let alone thought of, and leave with a new appreciation for Australian ingredients.
  • Before retiring to one of Adelaide’s many hotels, indulge in Adelaide’s small bar scene on Leigh and Peel Streets, as well as Ebenezer Place, just off the main strip of Rundle Street. Here, hip little bars serve boutique wines, international liquors, and voluminous cocktails with décor changing from Americana and Spanish to vintage, quirky, and distinguished.

After you have explored Adelaide, be sure to add a day or three onto your trip and venture outside the city to see visit stunning vistas and enjoy world-class wines, all on Adelaide's doorstep.

A Day in McLaren Vale

Make your way to McLaren Vale, the start of the Fleurieu Peninsula and home to more than 70 cellar doors. Boasting a warm Mediterranean climate and cool sea breezes, the region is world-famous for its Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

  • Start the morning at South Australia’s first farmers market, where you can meet the grower and taste the region. The Willunga Farmers Market features more than 55 stalls selling fresh produce from regional farms and gourmet local produce each Saturday.
  • Play winemaker for the morning at d’Arenberg, a family-owned winery operating for more than 100 years. The Blending Experience starts at 10am (by appointment), where you will work with a palette of wine varieties to blend and bottle a 750ml sample of your own drop.
  • Enjoy lunch with sweeping vineyard views at The Elbow Room. The paddock to plate philosophy is ripe at this restaurant, which is surrounded by orchards, herb plots and vineyard and where the owners make their own wine, olive oil and cheese. Other lunch options with a focus on local produce are the Current Shed and d’Arrays in McLaren Vale or Fino Restaurant in Willunga.
  • Discover McLaren Vale wineries, restaurants and art scene – all on the one road – on the McMurtrie Mile. Choose from a passport card, self-drive tour or hosted tour and be treated to winery tours and barrel tastings at Wirra Wirra, Hugh Hamilton, Primo Estate and Sabella; and McLaren Vale Beer Company tastings as well as art and lunch at Red Poles.
  • Those who enjoy cheese with their wine should start at Blessed Cheese, an artisan cheese shop, café and providore, where you can pick up your hamper and embark on a progressive cheese and wine tasting at McLaren Vale cellar doors.

If you're staying overnight in the Fleurieu, complete your day with dinner at one of the many winery restaurants or dine with an ocean view at Star of Greece at Port Wilunga.

A Day in the Adelaide Hills

Begin your drive to the Adelaide Hills by meandering through the quaint townships of Stirling and Aldgate, and enter the land of plentiful pickings. Here you will find more than 40 cellar doors specialising in cool-climate wines, roadside produce stalls, fresh fruits and German-style bakeries and smallgoods.

  • Arrive in the German heritage town of Hahndorf, where you can enjoy fine wines matched with the world’s most exclusive chocolate as part of the ChocoVino tastings at Hahndorf Hill Winery. Enjoy a rural French-inspired lunch at the White House or feast on regional seasonal produce at The Lane Vineyard, where diners take in stunning views over rolling hills and vines.
  • Pick your own strawberries at Beerenberg Farm, if you are in Hahndorf between October and May. Visit the farm shop, which sells jams, pickles, chutneys, mustards and sauces made from traditional recipes.
  • Cheese lovers should head to Udder Delights on the main street of Hahndorf or continue on to the next town, where you will find Woodside Cheese Wrights.
  • Head to the Lobethal Bierhaus, a micro-brewery, cellar door and restaurant. For more craft beer, take a detour from Hahndorf and visit the Prancing Pony Brewery in Mount Barker, where you can learn about fire brewing and enjoy a Brezel, Pony Burger, Currywurst and regional tasting platters.
  • If you don't have a lot of time on hand to experience the Adelaide Hills, head back to Adelaide, a short 20-minute drive along the freeway. If you're keen to spend some time in the country, stay the night in one of the cosy B&B's dotted throughout the region, or live it up in luxury at Mount Lofty House.

A Day in the Barossa

Spend today exploring the rich 175-year-old cultural and culinary heritage of the Barossa. Home to more than 150 wineries with over 80 cellar doors and a winemaking history dating back to 1842, some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vines are planted here.

  • It might be home to some of the best wine in the world, but the Barossa has the produce and culinary credentials to match. Like the Willunga Markets, Barossa’s Farmers’ Market is also held on a Saturday and is a major drawcard for locals every weekend and a great stop for a delicious breakfast.
  • Not here on a Saturday? The next best thing is to start the morning with a class at Casa Carboni Italian Cooking School in Angaston before feasting on your newly-created masterpieces in the Enoteca and heading next door to the Barossa Valley Cheese Company. Another cooking school option in the Barossa is Food Luddite.
  • If you were inspired by your surroundings and have ever dreamt of becoming a winemaker, head to Penfolds Barossa Winery for the Make Your Own Blend Tour, running daily at 10.30am. Follow with an unforgettable lunch at Hentley Farm Restaurant and Cellar Door in Seppeltsfield, where you will enjoy a four or eight-course lunch in the property’s intimate and elegantly restored stables set amongst the vines.
  • Alternatively, pick up some regional specialties at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa and enjoy morning tea by the lake, before heading to Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre near Lyndoch. Learn about food and wine matching with a Master Class, followed by a two-course lunch.
  • Book ahead for a taste of history this afternoon at Seppelsfield Wines. Founder Joseph Seppelt had the foresight to store a barrel of his best Tawny each year since 1878, meaning you can taste a Tawny from your birth year or the legendary 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny on the Taste Your Birth Year and Centenary tours. The Seppeltsfield ‘Village’ has a range of great attractions including Gardner Knives workshop, the JamFactory Art Gallery and you’re still hungry, Fino at Seppeltsfield is a great place for a lazy lunch.

Photos: South Australian Tourism Commission