From Hahndorf to the Barossa, there are plenty of easy-to-reach destinations within an easy hour or two drive from Adelaide.
No city offers a variety of easy day trips like Adelaide. See famous wineries, explore dramatic coast, drive undulating forest roads and be humbled by the vast and beautiful outback. And be back by bedtime.
Only got half a day? Drive half an hour to the Adelaide Hills, an area with an astonishing array of attractions for somewhere so close to town. A mere 28 kilometres from the city centre you'll find the jewel of the hills; Hahndorf.
Hahndorf is a quaint spot with a unique history. Established by German Lutheran settlers in 1839, Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and its heritage is still visible in its traditional streetscape. Browse beautiful galleries and gift shops selling handcrafted trinkets, toys, jewellery and other keepsakes. Sprinkled across the region you'll find some fabulous wineries and Adelaide Hills Chardonnay is legendary. The kids will love the Hahndorf Farm Barn or Cleland Wildlife Park - one of the few places in Australia where you can cuddle a koala.
Burra and the Clare Valley
About two hours north of Adelaide, beautiful Burra is an antique hunter and history buff’s heaven. A former mining town, this wonderfully preserved gem is a window into South Australia’s remarkable past. Visit the Red Banks Conservation Park, a four kilometre walking loop through some amazing natural, cultural and fossil heritage. It’s here remnants were found of Australia’s extinct megafauna, the diprotodon, as well as numerous threatened plants and animals.
In town, tour beautiful old buildings, a fantastic regional gallery and museum and several fine antique and vintage stores. It’s well worth visiting in May when the Burra Antiques and Collectibles Fair is on.
Make time on the way back to explore the stunning Clare Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. Find more than 30 cellar doors along a 40 kilometre trail as well as some serious gourmet produce.
Fleurieu Peninsula and McLaren Vale
Dazzling countryside and beautiful beaches await just an hour south of Adelaide. McLaren Vale is a driver’s delight, with well-kept winding roads offering views of the Onkaparinga Valley and National Park.
Enjoy the panorama at Chapel Hill and stock up on Shiraz and Sangiovese. There are more than 70 cellar doors in McLaren Vale, some of them in historic homesteads. Mitolo Wines offers a complex fusion of modern Australian, subtle Asian combined with contemporary Italian in a modern restaurant. On the coast, soak up the scenery on long wide beaches backed by extraordinary cliffscapes in an area that’s a favourite holiday spot for locals.
Think great Australian winemaking, think the Barossa. It’s simply iconic. At less than 60 kilometres from the city - about an hour's drive - it’s an easy day excursion. Find more than 200 wineries and cellar doors among little villages and roads with famous names such as Seppeltsfield, Angaston and Tanunda.
It’s not just about wine, though. The Barossa is home to market gardens with berries, stone fruits, citrus and more, all used locally by artisans producing beautiful chutneys, cordials, chocolates and baked goods. You can find it all at the famous Barossa Farmers Market, Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, Barossa Valley Cheese Company as well as at a huge number of great restaurants and cafés.
Only have one day and want to explore the Murray River? Then head to Mannum. About 100 kilometres from Adelaide, or just over an hour's drive, Mannum is the perfect place to enjoy the laid-back flow of the river.
Staying for longer? Hire a houseboat and explore the river in style. Or for the thrill seekers in your family, jump on a jet ski or do some wakeboarding behind a boat. Little kids and big kids alike will love Monarto Zoo – one of the largest open-range zoos in the world and home to more than 500 animals.