South Australia offers great diversity - Kangaroo Island is buffeted by the waves of the Southern Ocean and boasts a wildlife population protected from the predations of introduced species.
On the mainland there is the wild coast of the Southern Ocean, the Great Australian Bight and the behind that the rugged beauty of the Flinders & Gawler Ranges. Known as the Southern Outback this area covers 80% of the state and yet it home to just 1% of its population.
The Flinders Ranges provide some of the most accessible and spectacular outback scenery in Australia. Estimated to be 1.8 billion years old there are sites where fossil remains of dinosaurs and the earliest life forms can be found. A long Aboriginal history combines with the region’s more recent pioneering heritage and the experience of listening to the dreamtime stories of an Aboriginal guide while staying as guests on a large outback sheep station will highlight the contrasts that underlie Australia’s history.
The Gawler Ranges is an ancient and spectacular wilderness area of vast volcanic rock domes displaying a vivid array of colour against the pure white of many salt lakes. The Ranges are also the setting for one of Australia’s unsung wildlife spectacles with mobs of kangaroos and emus emerging to graze in the evening. Spring time brings a profusion of wildlife flowers to the ranges.
Fringed by the Southern Ocean, the Eyre Peninsula boasts 2,000 kms of ruggedly beautiful coastline and wildlife as unique and varied as the landscape. Pods of dolphins, sometimes over a hundred strong, are visible from the cliff tops while the shallows of Baird Bay provide for a remarkable wildlife experience when guest have the chance to join sealions and dolphins in the water.
Kangaroo Island is a mix of small townships, rural land and wilderness, its diverse environment provides habitat for a multitude of wildlife – koalas, platypus, bandicoots, goannas, possums, echidnas and Tammar Wallabies, now almost extinct on the mainland. Larger mammals include Western Grey Kangaroos, seals, sea-lions, dolphins and at times southern Right Whales that calve in the sheltered bays. Birdlife is plentiful with 250 species recorded.
Close to Adelaide the wine country of the Barossa and Clare Valleys and the McLaren Vale offer wine styles and gourmet experiences that have evolved out the European traditions of the early settlers. To the East dry plains surround the Murray, Australia’s greatest river. The graceful river red gums that line its banks are a quintessential Australian scene and they harbour a diverse bird life and provide beautiful settings for some fine heritage homesteads.