From arid desert, to pristine coastline, South Australia is blessed with some of the country’s most spectacular outdoor experiences — and these are the top 10 eco-friendly adventures you can enjoy across the state.
Swimming with sharks
Shark cage dive off the Eyre Peninsula
| © Tom Smith
Live out your very own sequel to Jaws
on the Eyre Peninsula
, where you can stare a great white shark square in the eye. A number of tour operators based out of Port Lincoln run shark cage dive tours, which give intrepid visitors the opportunity to hop in a cage as these apex predators of the sea circle right outside. Shark attack survivor Rodney Fox operates eco-certified expeditions with more than half a century of experience under his belt.
Swimming with sea lions
Sea lions off the Eyre Peninsula | © Tom Smith
There are far more friendly animals you can swim with near Port Lincoln, a short 45-minute flight from Adelaide
. For a less nerve-jangling ecotourism experience, swap sharks for sea lions and you’ll quickly discover why they call these adorable creatures the puppy dogs of the sea, as they somersault, swirl and swim alongside you. Choose an eco-certified operator, such as Calypso Star Charters for your sea lion encounter.
Swimming with dolphins
You can tick a dolphin swim off your bucket list back in Adelaide, where Temptation Sailing operates cruises out of Glenelg Pier. You’ll cling to a rope dangling off the back of the 58-foot sailing catamaran, as Flipper frolics beneath your feet, producing an unforgettable encounter with wild bottlenose dolphins in an eco-friendly way that doesn’t disturb their natural habitat.
Australia’s third largest island isn’t far from Adelaide, but its laid-back vibe makes it feel much further away. As well as its untamed coastal scenery, Kangaroo Island is famous for its abundant native wildlife, including sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park, six unique species of frog, 15 distinct types of bird and — of course — kangaroos
, hopping all over the place alongside wallabies, koalas and echidnas.
The rugged prehistoric landscapes of the Flinders Ranges supply a treasure trove of ecotourism experiences, but the highlight of the region is without a doubt Wilpena Pound. A five-hour road trip north of Adelaide, the Pound is an enormous natural amphitheatre that’s both a hotspot for rock-climbing and bushwalking, as well as scenic flights for a bird’s eye view of this iconic landmark.
Walk the Yorke
Located just across the St Vincent Gulf from Adelaide, the Yorke Peninsula is a coastal playground that’s best explored on foot. The boot-shaped peninsula is criss-crossed by 500km of walking trails, linking Port Wakefield in the north to Marion Bay in the south, then all the way back up to Moonta Bay. The lengthy Walk the Yorke trail is divided into 16 smaller sections if you’re looking for a more manageable distance.