Places We Visit in Southern Australia
ADELAIDEThe state capital of southern Australia, Adelaide is the urban gateway to some of Australia’s best wine country and is the historic homeland of the indigenous Kaurna people. It’s located between the Mount Lofty Ranges and Gulf St. Vincent. Adelaide is noted for its historic buildings and parks and is called “City of Churches” for its many houses of worship. This sophisticated city has plenty to boast about. The Adelaide Botanic Garden, which opened in 1857, is beloved for its wisteria arbor, ancient trees, and architecture. Adelaide is also home to renowned museums such as the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying important Indigenous art. The nonprofit Adelaide Zoo, Australia’s second oldest, funds important conservation work throughout the country.
KANGAROO ISLAND—FLINDERS CHASE NATIONAL PARK & BAUDIN CONSERVATION PARKWith the moniker of “Zoo Without Fences” you know wildlife awaits you on Kangaroo Island. In addition to kangaroos, expect echidnas, koalas, sea lions, seals, wallabies, some 200 species of birds, Ligurian bees, and more. The stars of Flinders Chase National Park are the massive shapes of the Remarkable Rocks, formed by 500 million years of wind, waves and rain that left them precariously perched on top of a granite dome plunging into the ocean. Then there’s Admirals Arch, a rock bridge and coastal grotto that provides a haul-out for long-nosed fur seals. Another favorite spot on Kangaroo Island is Baudin Conservation Park, with its she-oak woodland, rolling hills and awesome views. During your walk through the park expect to be excited by tammar wallabies, wedge-tailed eagles and maybe, just maybe, a rare glossy black cockatoo. You may also get a peek at dolphins and whales swimming in Backstairs Passage, which adjoins the park.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD—PORT CAMPBELL NATIONAL PARK & GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARKGreat Ocean Road, winding through the tough terrain of the southern coast, is a memorial to those who died fighting World War I. Soldiers who returned after the war built the road without heavy machinery, relying on picks, shovels, and horse-drawn carts. The route, which officially opened in 1932, wasn’t only a memorial, it also connected isolated settlements along the coast and enabled the timber and tourism industries.
Great Ocean Road is one of most scenic drives on earth. One of its must-see sites is Port Campbell National Park, where you’ll find the legendary Twelve Apostles, limestone rock formations formed by millions of years of erosion that tower 45 meters above the Southern Ocean. At sunset the limestone stacks and cliff faces light up in shades of red, yellow, pink, and orange.
We’ll also stop at Great Otway National Park, the historic homeland of the Gadubanud people, stretching from Torquay along the Great Ocean Road and up through the Otways hinterland. Here we’ll see windswept coastlines, tall mountain forests with lush fern valleys, and the oldest lighthouse in mainland Australia, the Otway Lightstation, built in 1848.