By John Pedler
Published: Monday, May 22, 2023
As the cooler months arrive, we may feel inclined to retreat indoors. But South Australia is packed with so many natural wonders, there are plenty of reasons to head outside this winter.
1. Dive with great white sharks
Not many thrills are as thrilling as coming face-to-face with one of nature’s most feared creatures. Port Lincoln is one of the few places in the world offering shark cage diving with great whites.
From the safety of a sturdy cage, divers peer into the clear blue waters off the Neptune Islands, awaiting the arrival of these magnificent animals. When they turn up, it’s awesome.
2. Ghost Mushroom Lane
As cooler weather settles over the Limestone Coast, luminescent ghost mushrooms emerge from the pine forest undergrowth. Take a nighttime stroll along Ghost Mushroom Lane to magical spots like Neon Forest and Fairy Tale Hollow.
Ghost Mushroom Lane is open May and June, with bookings through Forestry SA.
3. Kayak among dolphins
Approximately 20 minutes from the CBD, the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is home to about 30 bottlenose dolphins. The sheltered, mangrove-lined waterways around Garden Island are just the spot to see these marine mammals swim and play.
Pick a calm day and launch your own kayaks from the Garden Island boat ramp or take an organised tour.
RAA members get a discount on selected tours with Adventure Kayaking SA.
4. Whale watching
Far West Coast
From May to October, these marine giants gather in the sheltered waters at the head of the Great Australian Bight. Southern right whales turn up to give birth and prepare their calves for life in the ocean depths.
The lookout platforms at the Head of Bight Whale Centre (open June to October) offer superb views.
5. Alligator Gorge walk
Southern Flinders Ranges
Alligator Gorge, in the heart of Mount Remarkable National Park, is a narrow canyon carved through the ancient rocks of the Flinders Ranges. A steep stairway leads to the gorge floor and provides access to The Narrows, a deep canyon true to its name, and The Terraces, a series of rock platforms.
6. Explore the heavens
The Murray Dark Sky Reserve spans more than 3200km and is considered one of the darkest places on the planet. This is excellent for stargazing, and clear winter skies in the Murraylands are ideal for exploring the heavens.
Brave the chill at a bush camp in the reserve’s core site, the Swan Reach Conservation Park, or check into more formal digs along the River Murray between Mannum and Blanchetown – then look to the skies.
RAA members receive a discount on a Dark Sky Gold Stars Sunset Dinner with Juggle House Experiences.
7. An island haven
With wildlife as far as the eye can see, Kangaroo Island is like a giant nature reserve. Simply getting from A to B, you’re likely to see kangaroos, goannas and colourful parrots.
For a koala fix, head to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. At Seal Bay, hundreds of sea lions frolic along the beach, while fur seals loll about on the rocks at stunning Admiral’s Arch.