Adelaide is a compact and convenient city. From Adelaide, you can visit either the beach or the hills with only a 20-minute drive. This may also be the reason why Adelaide has been consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world.
With Adelaide’s convenient location, small day trips from Adelaide have always been popular options for many visitors to discover Adelaide and its surrounding areas.
There are many different day trips you can take from Adelaide. To help with your trip planning, I have listed my Top 10 Day Trips from Adelaide.
Adelaide Hills is commonly referred to as the leafy hilltop suburbs east of Adelaide. It is a large council area & can take you multiple days to visit. However, you can certainly visit all the key attractions in the Adelaide Hills on a day trip from Adelaide.
For more detailed information on visiting the Adelaide Hills, feel free to also check out this article on ‘Adelaide Hills Day Trip & Free Things to do in the Adelaide Hills‘.
It takes as little as 15 minutes to drive from Adelaide to the Waterfall Gully. However, to access the more distant locations in the Adelaide Hills (such as Birdswood and Mount Torrens), it can take up to 1 hour to drive from Adelaide.
Attractions and Things to do in the Adelaide Hills
- Mount Lofty Botanic Garden:
- A beautiful botanic garden, on the eastern slope of Mount Lofty.
- You can find a large variety of cool climate plantations here, which are difficult to find anywhere else near Adelaide.
- This garden is even more stunning in the autumn months when the leaves are turning into arrays of gold and red.
- Mount Lofty Summit: One of the best places for a bird’s eye view of Adelaide and its surrounding area.
- Hahndorf: A picturesque village with a strong German Heritage. One of the most visited attractions in the Adelaide Hills.
- Strawberry Picking at the Beerenberg Farm:
- A successful family-run farm since 1839.
- An Adelaide Hills icon.
- Offers a great strawberry picking experience from November to April each year.
- Cherry Picking:
- Although only available for a month or two each year, cherry-picking is a very popular summer activity in the Adelaide Hills.
- There are many pick-your-own cherry farms in the Adelaide Hills. The ones I have been to and can suggest are Stella Creek Cherries, Forest Range Cherries & Harben Vale Cherries.
- Cherry-picking seasons are usually from late December to mid-January & it varies slightly depending on the year and the farm.
- The Big Rocking Horse:
- Another Adelaide Hills icon & a great attraction for the whole family to enjoy.
- Has a giant rocking horse (hence the name), which you can climb up to get a bird’s eye view of Gumeracha.
- There is also a local toy factory and a small wildlife park on-site.
- Budget-friendly: AUD 2 for climbing up the Big Rocking Horse or entry to the wildlife park.
- Adelaide Hills is also famous for its wineries.
- Be sure to try out its refreshing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay when visiting
- For more detailed information on wineries near Adelaide, you can also check out this comparison article on wineries near Adelaide.
- Guided cellar door tours are also available in the Adelaide Hills & you can find them here on Viator.
Murray Bridge is a buzzing regional town, southeast of Adelaide. It is positioned along the banks of the Murray River & named after the first bridge built across the river in 1879, the Murray Bridge.
Murray Bridge is an under 1-hour drive from Adelaide via South Eastern Freeway & only a 30-minute drive from Mount Barker (Adelaide Hills) via South Eastern Freeway.
Attractions and Things to do around Murray Bridge
- Monarto Safari Park:
- Formerly known as the Monarto Zoo, Monarto Safari Park is a must-visit attraction near Murray Bridge.
- Sitting on 1500 hectares of open space, Monarto Safari Park offers an amazing open-range safari experience.
- In addition to the native wildlife, Monarto Safari Park also houses a range of exotic animals, such as lions, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, and chimpanzees.
- The Round House:
- Built in 1876, the Round House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the Murray Bridge area.
- Within the Round House, you can learn the history of Murray Bridge & admire a range of displayed artefacts. (A small entrance fee is required for entering the Round House.)
- Since it is built on elevated ground, you can also get a great view of the Murray River and the bridges from the Round House.
- The Bunyip:
- In a nutshell, the Bunyip is a slimy and monster-looking statue that will emerge from a water cave when activated. Its design is based on an Aboriginal Dreamtime Story to teach people about respecting the river.
- The Bunyip is currently located within the Sturt Reserve.
- To activate the Bunyip, there is a green button on the right-hand side of the cage. Once activated, the Bunyip will emerge from the water a couple of times and be accompanied by a loud, scary sound effect.
- It’s a fun thing to watch but can be scary for young kids.
- Sturt Reserve:
- Sturt Reserve is located on the banks of the Murray River.
- With a playground, skate park, water activities, picnic facilities, and toilets, Sturt Reserve is a great place to stop and recharge.
- It is also where the Bunyip lives & the starting point of the Lavender Federation Trail.
- Lavender Federation Trail:
- Lavender Federation Trail is a 325 km long, multi-day walking trail from Murray Bridge to Clare.
- It is a great way to enjoy the diverse landscape of South Australia’s countryside.
- There is no way you can finish the entire Lavender Federation Trail on a day trip, but you can certainly enjoy a small section of it on a leisure stroll from Sturt Reserve.
- Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village:
- Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village is a local gem near Murray Bridge. It features a range of buildings and artefacts from the 1800s and 1900s to re-enact lives from back in the day.
- A great place to spend a couple of hours (or even longer) to go back in time and appreciate the lives we are currently living in.
- The entry ticket is AUD 28 per adult for the Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village (at the time of writing, June 2022).
- Ghost tours in the Old Tailem Town are also available at nighttime.
The Barossa Valley is renowned for its premium wine productions worldwide. This has also brought the Barossa Valley thousands and thousands of visitors each year from every corner of the world.
Indeed, the exceptional wines from the Barossa Valley are worth travelling for. You can also find many limited wine releases from these wine cellars during your visit.
There are many exceptional wine cellars in the Barossa Valley. If you wish to visit them on a self-driving tour, a designated driver might be required (it is so easy to go over the limit after only visiting a few wineries here).
Alternatively, guided wine tasting tours are available in the Barossa Valley, so you can enjoy the day without worrying about how much you have drunk.
The Barossa Valley is only a less than 1-hour drive from Adelaide via the North-South Motorway/ Northern Expressway. It is also neighbouring the picturesque Adelaide Hills, so you can potentially visit these two regions together on a weekend away.
Attractions and Things to do in the Barossa Valley
- Wineries & Cellar Doors
- Chateau Tanunda:
- One of the most recognisable buildings in the Barossa Valley.
- Chateau Tanunda is a must-visit in the Barossa Valley.
- In addition to its impressive stone castle, Chateau Tanunda also offers an exceptional selection of wines.
- Barossa Chateau:
- Another beautiful chateau in the Barossa Valley.
- Be sure to check out their stunning rose garden at the back.
- They also offer high tea & guided tours, which you can usually get a really good deal for from Groupon.
- Penfolds Barossa Cellar Door:
- When it comes to Shiraz, you can never go wrong with a big bold Penfolds Grange.
- More affordable options are also available at the cellar door to suit everyone’s budget.
- Jacob’s Creek:
- A big-name winery with a budget-friendly price tag.
- With their vast wine selections, there is something for everyone to sample.
- There is also a modern restaurant with outdoor facilities on-site.
- Kies Family Wines:
- A friendly family-owned winery with a great selection of wines to choose from.
- They also have a good selection of fortified wines (you really need to try out their Ratafia – it tastes even better straight out of the freezer!).
- There is a cafe on-site as well, which can be handy if you are here during lunchtime.
- Chateau Tanunda:
- The Whispering Wall & Barossa Reservoir:
- The Whispering Wall is a curved dam retaining wall for the Barossa Reservoir. Because of its curved design, it has a whispering wall effect, hence the name ‘Whispering Wall’.
- You can hear even a tiny whisper from end to end, across this 140-metre Whispering Wall.
- You can also walk across the top of this 30+ metres tall Whispering Wall, which provides a great view of the Barossa Reservoir and its surroundings.
- Barossa Farmers Market:
- The most popular farmers market in the Barossa.
- Offers a range of fresh local produce, artisan items, and local specialities.
- Opens on Saturday mornings only.
The first time I noticed Clare Valley was actually through a bottle of Riesling from Annie’s Lane. I simply could not believe how good it tasted at the price I paid for. That’s when I started looking into this wine region.
Clare Valley is about 2 hours north of Adelaide. Its hot summer days with contrasting cool nights make Clare Valley the leading Riesling producing region in Australia.
In addition to its acclaimed Riesling, Clare Valley also produces exceptional reds, such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Clare Valley is an under 2-hour drive north of Adelaide & just over 1-hour drive north of the Barossa Valley.
Attractions and Things to do in the Clare Valley
- Wineries: Since Riesling is Clare Valley’s signature, you can expect to find Riesling from all the cellar doors here. They usually also offer a range of other wine varieties to suit everyone’s taste. An example of some great wine cellars from this region are:
- Sevenhill Cellar:
- The first winery in the Clare Valley & one of the oldest wineries in Australia.
- In addition to its incredible selection of wines, you should also check out its amazing historic buildings.
- Jim Barry Wines:
- Jim Barry has been one of my favourite places for Rieslings.
- Be sure to pop in and enjoy a selection of their award-winning wines when visiting the Clare Valley.
- Paulett Wines:
- Good wine always goes well with great food. At Paulett Wines, your taste buds will be spoiled with a selection of premium wines and mouthwatering food.
- Sevenhill Cellar:
- Burra is a historic mining town, about a 30-minute drive northeast of Clare & 2-hour drive from Adelaide.
- It was initially settled in the 1840s for copper mining. With the copper supply being depleted, it soon lost its popularity in the late 1800s.
- Many of the buildings and infrastructures from Burra’s glorious old days have maintained their original shape.
- Places such as the Monster Mine Site, Morpheme Enginehouse Museum, and Redruth Goal are all great spots to visit & learn the history of Burra.
- There are many more historic sites around Burra. If you wish to visit all (or most) of these historic sites, a Burra Heritage Passport is highly suggested.
- A Burra Heritage Passport works as a guide for touring Burra & provides you access to many of the historic buildings around Burra. It costs AUD 30 per adult (June 2022) & is available from the Burra Visitor Centre.
- Lake Bumbunga: If you prefer lake views instead of historic buildings, a 30-minute drive west of Clare will take you to a stunning pink lake, Lake Bumbunga.
- Similar to many other pink lakes, the pinkness of Lake Bumbunga will change from time to time, depending on the weather & the time of the day.
- A general guide is to visit on a sunny day during the warmer months & try to visit around midday or early afternoon. With that being said, don’t get too fixated on seeing the pinkest lake or taking the best photos of the lake. Make sure you are enjoying the day & that’s what matters the most.
Kangaroo Island is one of my favourite getaway destinations from Adelaide.
Sitting off the southwest coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island offers untouched nature & abundant wildlife. It is the best place for nature lovers to feel connected with nature.
Being the third-largest island in Australia, there is a lot to discover on Kangaroo Island.
You can certainly visit Kangaroo Island on a day trip from Adelaide, but a 2-day trip is better suggested to get the most out of your visit to the Kangaroo Island.
For detailed information on how to plan your visit to Kangaroo Island, feel free to check out this ‘Kangaroo Island Day Trip Itinerary‘.
Since Kangaroo Island is not connected to the mainland by a bridge, ferry services are required to access Kangaroo Island.
From Adelaide, you will need to drive about 1.5 hours to Cape Jervis SeaLink Terminal first, before boarding the ferry to Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island.
Because of how complicated this process can be for first-timers, a Guided Kangaroo Island Day Tour may work out as a better option for day trips.
For people who are visiting Kangaroo Island for 2 or more days, a self-drive Kangaroo Island trip is generally the better option.
Attractions and Things to do on Kangaroo Island
- Pennington Bay: For a breathtaking coastal view & a great surfing spot.
- Prospect Hill: For an unparalleled bird’s eye view of Kangaroo Island.
- Seal Bay: Get up and close with Australian Sea Lions in one of the few remaining Australian Sea Lion colonies.
- Admirals Arch: An impressive natural cave arch, next to a spectacular coastline. One of the must-visits on Kangaroo Island.
- Remarkable Rocks: An iconic Kangaroo Island attraction. Discover & be amazed by these giant granite boulders.
- Vivonne Bay: Another stunning waterfront area, with picturesque rock pools.
- Stokes Bay Beach: A pristine beach, well hidden behind a rock tunnel. It was equally as fun to look for the actual beach and to enjoy this beautiful beach.
There are 4 major wine regions near Adelaide: Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, and McLaren Vale. For a more detailed comparison of these wine regions, you may wish to also check out this article on ‘Which wine region to visit near Adelaide‘.
McLaren Vale is a beautiful wine region in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Its milder climate makes it perfect for producing softer & smoother wines (in comparison to the Barossa Valley).
Being part of the Fleurieu Peninsula, McLaren Vale is also the perfect place to stop by before heading off to places like Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island.
There is a range of cellar doors in McLaren Vale & they are all within easy driving distance from each other. With that being said, you may wish to join a guided wine tasting tour instead, so you can enjoy the day without worrying about drink-driving.
McLaren Vale is only a short 40-minute drive south of Adelaide. This makes McLaren Vale one of the closest wine regions around Adelaide.
Attractions and Things to do in McLaren Vale
- d’Arenberg Cube:
- One of the most iconic buildings in McLaren Vale & it is also a cellar door!
- A trip to this unique cellar door usually starts with a visit to the Alternate Reality Museum & ends with an exceptional wine-tasting experience overlooking the beautiful McLaren Vale.
- Samuel’s Gorge: Offers a selection of amazing red wines & with a great view.
- Down The Rabbit Hole:
- This is by far the most relaxing & non-winery-looking cellar door I have been to.
- One of the best wineries for a day out with friends.
- d’Arenberg Cube:
- Willunga Farmers Market:
- South Australia’s first farmers market.
- A fantastic place to source a good selection of fresh local produce & baked goods.
- Opens on Saturday mornings only.
- Maslin Beach:
- Australia’s first nudist beach & don’t worry, the beach is separated into a clothing-compulsory area and a clothing-optional area, so everyone can enjoy this stunning beach the way they prefer.
- Offers one of the most breathtaking views along this coastline. Make sure you also check out Blanche Point when visiting & you won’t be disappointed.
- Port Willunga:
- A long stretch of rugged coastline with spectacular views.
- Make sure you check out the picture-perfect Port Willunga Jetty & Caves when visiting.
Victor Harbor is one of the most popular day trip destinations near Adelaide.
Sitting along the Southern Ocean, the Victor Harbor area is in no short supply of impressive coastlines and beautiful beaches.
In addition to its stunning coastal views, Victor Harbor is also famous for its Granite Island, Horse Drawn Tramway, Whale Watching, and Fairy Penguins.
For more detailed information on visiting Victor Harbor, feel free to also check out this ‘Victor Harbor Day Trip Itinerary‘.
Victor Harbor is an easy 1-hour drive south of Adelaide.
Attractions and Things to do in Victor Harbor
- Granite Island: A small island off Victor Harbor & connected to the mainland by the picturesque Victor Harbor Causeway.
- Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tramway:
- A Victor Harbor icon & first established in the late 1800s.
- You can partake in this iconic activity by joining the tram from either end of the Victor Harbor Causeway (ticket required).
- Fairy Penguins:
- Granite Island has traditionally been a fairy penguin colony; however, over the past decade, there has been a sharp decline in its fairy penguin population. Hence, the once-popular Granite Island Fairy Penguin Tours are no longer available to the public (hopefully not for long).
- Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tramway:
- Port Elliot:
- In my opinion, Port Elliot has the most beautiful coastline in this area.
- Be sure to follow the Port Elliot Heritage Trail to admire the remarkable views from Lady Bay to Knights Beach.
- The Cockle Train:
- The Cockle Train is a heritage train service & another Victor Harbor icon.
- Operates between Victor Harbor and Goolwa & passing through the stunning Middleton and Port Elliot.
- Offers a breathtaking view of the Southern Ocean & one of the best ways to check out this magnificent coastline.
- Whale Watching: Encounter Bay is a great place to spot Southern Right Whales during the winter months (June -September).
Fleurieu Peninsula (Christies Beach to Rapid Bay)
Fleurieu Peninsula is a large regional area, south of Adelaide. Its coastline expands from the rugged Mid Coast Surfing Reserve to the beautiful Goolwa. Its vast inland area extends from the picturesque McLaren Vale wine region to the peaceful riverside country town, Wellington.
With a long list of stunning attractions to visit within the Fleurieu Peninsula, it is impossible to visit all these amazing places in one day. Apart from visiting Victor Harbor and McLaren Vale, you can also check out the impressive coastline between Christies Beach and Rapid Bay on a day trip from Adelaide.
Since I have listed detailed day trip suggestions for visiting Victor Harbor and McLaren Vale, in this section, I’ll be detailing the attractions to visit between Christies Beach and Rapid Bay.
Christies Beach is only a 30-minute drive from Adelaide & it will take about 1.5 hours to drive between Adelaide and Rapid Bay.
Attractions and Things to do from Christies Beach to Rapid Bay
- Surfing at the Mid Coast Surfing Reserve:
- The rugged coastline from Christies Beach to Moana Beach is one of the best places for surfing near Adelaide.
- There is also a range of cafes and restaurants along this stretch of coastline for you to re-energise in.
- For detailed information on surfing spots near Adelaide, feel free to also check out this ‘Best Adelaide Beaches to Visit‘.
- The stunning coastline along the Fleurieu Peninsula also offers many amazing snorkelling spots, such as Port Noarlunga, Port Willunga, Aldinga Beach, and Second Valley.
- For detailed information on snorkelling spots near Adelaide, feel free to also check out this ‘Best Adelaide Beaches to Visit‘.
- Four-Wheel Driving on the Beach:
- Drive-on access to the beach is permitted on Moana Beach, Aldinga Beach, Silver Sands Beach, and Sellicks Beach.
- You do not have to use a four-wheel drive to drive on these beaches, but it is highly recommended.
- For detailed information on these beaches, you may wish to check out this ‘Best Adelaide Beaches to Visit‘.
- Nan Hai Pu Tou Temple of Australia:
- Only a short drive away from Sellicks Beach & on the ocean side of Main South Road.
- Although still under construction, this Buddhist temple is already looking glorious. Its giant ocean-facing Buddhist statue is an eye-catching attraction for everyone driving by.
- Even though the actual temple is still under construction, you can still visit the site and the statue during business hours.
- Normanville Beach:
- A beautiful long sandy beach with a floating swimming pontoon (only a short distance from the jetty).
- Near Normanville, you can also take a short walk to visit the beautiful Ingalalla Falls.
- Second Valley:
- Some people may not agree with me, but I think Second Valley is the prettiest spot along this coastline.
- The crystal clear water at Second Valley is so tranquil and peaceful. It is the perfect spot for swimming, kayaking, and snorkelling.
- There are also many impressive rock formations and caves around Second Valley & it is great fun to walk/kayak along this spectacular coastline to discover its hidden caves.
- Rapid Bay:
- Nestled along the rolling hills, Rapid Bay is well tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
- Rapid Bay Jetty: Take a walk along Rapid Bay Jetty to admire the old jetty and this pristine coastline.
- Rapid Bay Cave: On the northeastern end of this long beach, you will find a large cave, the Rapid Bay Cave. It is a great spot for some sunset views & kids will love it too.
If you don’t wish to drive too far away from the city & still want to experience something different, Port Adelaide is there for you.
Being only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s city centre, Port Adelaide is the closest day trip destination you can find near Adelaide.
Although in close proximity to the Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide is relatively quiet and significantly different when compared to other areas this close to the CBD.
For more detailed information on visiting Port Adelaide, feel free to check out this ‘Port Adelaide Day Trip & Free Things to do in Port Adelaide‘.
Only a 20-minute drive via Port Road, Port Adelaide is the closest day trip destination near Adelaide.
Attractions and Things to do near Port Adelaide
- Port Adelaide River:
- Take a stroll along the peaceful Port Adelaide River to visit Hart’s Mill, Fishermen’s Wharf Market, and Port Adelaide Lighthouse.
- Port Adelaide River is also part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. If lucky, you can even spot some cute dolphins from the river.
- Dedicated Port Adelaide River Cruise is available to take passengers to explore the beautiful Port River & meet the resident dolphins.
- Port Adelaide Historic Centre:
- With a range of historic buildings from the 1800s, Port Adelaide’s historic centre is oozing a strong colonial feel.
- Apart from the historic buildings, there are also many colourful mural arts along the streets of Port Adelaide, waiting to be discovered.
- South Australian Maritime Museum: Nestled in the centre of Port Adelaide, a visit to the South Australian Maritime Museum is a great way to learn the history of Port Adelaide and South Australia.
- National Railway Museum: As Australia’s largest railway museum, National Railway Museum is the best place for railway enthusiasts to discover.
- Garden Island:
- A tranquil paradise & one of the best kayaking spots near Adelaide.
- Being part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, Garden Island is also a great place to meet some cute dolphins.
- If you have a kayak or paddle board, you can also visit the famous Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard.
- Semaphore: Finish the day with a stunning sunset view at Semaphore Beach.
Hallett Cove & Belair
Both Hallett Cove Conservation Park and Belair National Park are hidden gems from Adelaide’s southern suburbs.
From the coast to the hills, a trip from Hallett Cove to Belair makes the perfect day trip for everyone to enjoy.
Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a 30-minute drive south of Adelaide.
Belair National Park is only an under 20-minute drive up the hills, south of Adelaide.
Attractions and Things to do between Hallett Cove & Belair
- Hallett Cove Conservation Park: Discover a spectacular display of geological formation from the ice age along a pristine coastline.
- Happy Valley Reservoir:
- A beautiful reservoir, which only opened its door to the public since December 2021 (after over 120 years!).
- Hiking and biking are popular activities around the reservoir. You can also enjoy this beautiful reservoir with a kayak.
- There are also many kangaroos relaxing in this area.
- Carrick Hill:
- Surrounded by an immaculate garden, Carrick Hills is a picturesque English manor at the foot of the hills.
- It is the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon with a picnic & a stunning bird’s eye view of the city.
- You can also visit inside of the manor (ticket required) to admire its original decors and a range of art exhibitions.
- Belar National Park:
- As South Australia’s oldest national park, Belair National Park offers a range of walking tracks & facilities to suit everyone’s needs.
- It is also a dog-friendly national park, providing your dog is on a leash & under effective control.
- There is no ticket required for entering the Belair National Park, but to park your car within the national park will cost you AUD 12 per vehicle (at the time of writing – June 2022). With that being said, there are free carparks near the front gate and the side gates & there is only a short walk required from these carparks to the national park.
- Windy Point Lookout: One of the best lookout spots for a panoramic view of Adelaide.