Best winter escapes in South Australia

Car driving down beach


Posted May 02, 2023

Immerse yourself in South Australia’s warm vibes and timeless beauty with these unforgettable experiences

South Australia is a great place to visit year around, but it shines during the cooler months when it’s prime time for whale watching and downing a red or two in front of an open fire.

The Barossa and McLaren Vale beckon with cosy cellar doors and local cuisine, while the Flinders Ranges and Outback, and Kangaroo Island become havens for wildlife as waterbeds fill with rain and animals bask in the winter sun.

South Australia’s winters are relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from eight to 15 degrees, making it ideal weather for rugging up and exploring, then retreating to a hot tub, open fire and warm bed at night.


Flinders Ranges outback Australia

Flinders Ranges is spectacular in winter and great for hiking. Image: Supplied

Flinders Ranges and Outback

Otherworldly and spectacular, Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park is one of South Australia’s most iconic destinations.

The cooler conditions in winter are ideal for trekking, with the chance to see wildlife like yellow-footed rock wallabies and emus in the middle of the day. In spring, wildflowers come out in abundance.

The centrepiece is Ikara/Wilpena Pound, a natural ‘amphitheatre’ that is eight times larger than Uluru. Small group travel with an expert guide or a 4WD Aboriginal Culture Tour are both great ways to experience this magical park.

Winery in South Australia

Tscharke's in the Barossa is a great place to try unusual wines. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission


The Barossa is synonymous with Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon and big names like Penfolds and Yalumba. But there are also intriguing, smaller family-run operations producing minimal intervention drops.

Artisans of Barossa offers wine tastings from eight independent wineries, while Tscharke’s new wine bar, The Protagonist, promises delicate Grenache and a complex Gnadenfrei Red.

If you’re suffering choice overload, consider a winery tour, masterclass or hot air balloon flight, or Cycle South Australia’s Wine Regions with Intrepid.


Pouring drink in front of open fire

Indulge in great food and wine at Maxwell Wines in McLaren Vale. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale invites visitors in from the cold with warm fires, great red wines, and hearty winter dishes. Places like Harry’s Deli at the historic Wirra Wirra winery offer casual dining with a view of native gardens and biodynamically farmed vineyards, while Maxwell Wines offers a 10-course degustation menu with chef Fabian Lehmann in its two-hatted dining room.

Awaken your wine palate with alternative varieties like Fiano and Nero d’Avola, then turn your holiday into a journey of discovery by following the Fleurieu Art Trail. If you're hankering for a dose of the coast, then Victor Harbor is nearby, and best enjoyed on a Victor Harbor Southern Ocean Adventure Cruise.


South Australian Winery

Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island live up to their name. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

Kangaroo Island

If the idea of wilderness, wildlife, wine and wholesome food appeals, then Kangaroo Island is the place to be. Along with wine and award-winning gin, the pristine island produces garlic, figs, oats, olives, honey and oysters bursting with flavour. You can spend five unforgettable days with a local guide, taking in the natural and culinary highlights, as part of Intrepid's five-day Kangaroo Island Adventure.

Kangaroo island is sometimes referred to as a “zoo without fences”. You’ll see kangaroos (smaller, darker and calmer than their mainland cousins), koalas, echidnas, wallabies, goannas, little penguins and birdlife. But perhaps one of the most spectacular sights is the whales, trawling along the coast between June and September.

If you want to see it all, then consider Outback Spirit's 14-day Outback South Australia and Kangaroo Island tour, with the chance to explore Coober Pedy, Clare Valley, Woomera, Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island.

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