You don't need to break the bank for a great family holiday in South Australia. Here are some free, fun things to do with the kids.
Fun and free
Family holidays can get expensive – but they don't have to be! There's tonnes of free fun to be had all around South Australia.
Let's start in Adelaide – the city which plays host to some awesome major events that the whole family can be part of. January is Santos Tour Down Under time and each stage of this world-renowned cycling race is open to the public to watch - for free!
Watch the cyclists zoom around the city streets and out to some of our regional areas including the Barossa, through the Adelaide Hills and down to the Fleurieu Peninsula. There's also the Adelaide City Council Tour Village and Bike Expo in Victoria Square – a gathering spot for cycling fans to grab an autograph or some free merchandise and catch up on the day's racing. The best part? It's free to the public. There's also a dedicated family day on the last day of racing, but check out Tour Down Under for details.
Santos Tour Down Under takes over the streets of Adelaide every January.
Inspired to ride
If you're inspired to ride a bike but don't have one with you, hire one for free from Bike SA and their Adelaide free bikes program. They have more than 500 available so you're sure to find one for you and family.
To hire a bike, all you need to do is show some identification (driver’s licence, passport or student card) and fill out a form. Then a bike, a helmet and lock are yours for the day. Bikes can be hired from 14 city locations.
March is known in Adelaide as Mad March, as it's festival time. The kids will love the Adelaide Fringe Festival, with loads of things to see and do. There's the Fringe Parade which heralds the start of the festival, a "mini-festival within a festival" held over the March long weekend and Fringe Funhouse in Rundle Mall, where Fringe artists publicly showcase and promote their events.
Later in the year, the annual Christmas Pageant parades through the streets from South Terrace to North Terrace. There's usually a crowd of more than 300,000 people lining the streets to watch on – all for free. Father Christmas always takes time out of his busy schedule to join in, so make sure you give him a wave.
Art, museums and library nights
Events aside, you'll find free things to do all year round. The Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum are open almost every day of the year (except Good Friday and Christmas Day for the museum and Christmas Day for the art gallery).
The State Library comes alive at night as stories, characters and some hidden gems from the Library’s collections are projected onto the exterior wall of the Institute building. Screening every night of the year, including from sunset to midnight during summer, The Story Wall appeals to the whole family.
You need to see the four-storey giant squid to believe it and keep your eyes peeled for the lion's moving tail in the world mammals gallery, located on the ground floor. Visit the Studio at the Art Gallery – a free activity space for children, families and art lovers of all ages.
A day at the beach
Feeling hot? Hit the beach. there's no shortage of coastline in South Australia and our city beaches are some of the best in the country. Take the tram from the city all the way to Glenelg – our most popular metropolitan beach. Kids under five travel free.
South of the city, Port Noarlunga is popular with families and the jetty is the best place to sit on a hot day. While you're there, let the kids explore their adventurous side at Port Noarlunga's Jubilee Park. The wooden maze is built as a fort-style castle and is great to roam around. There's also some newer play equipment, and picnic facilities and toilets close by.
Travel further down the Fleurieu Peninsula to Victor Harbor. Walk across the tramway to Granite Island and keep an eye out for whales during the winter months.
Collect cockles at Goolwa on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Parks and playgrounds
For a quieter, relaxing day out, head to the Adelaide Botanic Garden. It's home to some spectacular buildings, gardens, trees and plants including a waterlilly that flowers only at night and a prehistoric plant that dates back to the time of dinosaurs.
Stroll through Elder Park, feed the ducks or swans and walk across the new footbridge to the revamped Adelaide Oval plaza. It's great for people-watching and the atmosphere is amazing when there's a footy game being played.
East of the city is the Morialta Conservation Park which is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day), from sunrise to sunset. The area really comes to life in winter and spring, when the first two waterfalls are usually at their best.
Winter and spring are the best times to see the waterfalls in full flight. Picture: Jase Hickson
For gorgeous views of the city of Adelaide, you can't beat Mount Lofty Summit. Each year more than 350,000 people visit the peak which rises more than 710 metres above sea level. From here, follow the popular walk down to Waterfall Gully, join the Heysen Trail or stroll along a walking trail through native bushland to Cleland Wildlife Park.
Head north to another amazing playground that you could spend all day at. St Kilda Advenutre Playground is about 45 minutes' drive from the city centre, but absolutely worth it. There's a 25-metre bouncy boomerang, flying fox, spiral slide and giant wave slide. Jump aboard to captain the pirate ship before exploring the St Kilda Mangrove Trail and Interpretive Centre.
Hop in the car and make it a day trip
Travelling towards the Barossa, you'll come across the famous Whispering Wall at the Barossa Reservoir, Williamstown. This local landmark got its name due to its amazing acoustics. A whisper from one end is clearly heard at the other, more than 100 metres away. Try it yourself!
While you're in the Barossa, show the kids the Herbig Family Tree. Believe it or not, the Herbig Family Tree in Springton was the first home of Johann Friedrich Herbig, his wife and two of their 16 kids!
If you're heading to the Riverland
, the Barmera Playspace is a highlight of the region, especially if you're a kid. Another is the Monash Adventure Park which has a great maze, huge swings, slides, climbing towers, flying foxes, a rope bridge and tree house.
On the Limestone Coast, show the kids the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier. At certain times of the year, the water is a stunning shade of blue. Go crabbing or fishing along the coast of the Yorke Peninsula or camping on the banks of the Murray River. With so much to see and do, South Australia is the perfect place for a family holiday that won't cost a fortune.
See a list of free events below.
01 August 2017 to 31 August 2017
14 April 2017 to 30 April 2017
03 February 2017 to 04 August 2017
26 February 2017 to 28 January 2018
04 September 2016 to 07 May 2017
11 September 2016 to 14 May 2017
22 September 2016 to 21 September 2017
08 October 2016 to 09 September 2017
09 October 2016 to 10 September 2017
05 November 2016 to 02 February 2019
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