South Australia: group experiences down under

Date Posted: 09/05/2013

Surfing Fleurieu Peninsula - Australia

Pictured: Enjoy surfing on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south Australia. (Photo credit: SATC).

South Australia offers a diverse range of activities for a jam-packed group holiday, ranging from exploring the ocean depths for sea life and shipwrecks to cycling and trekking through the outback.

Scuba diving and shark expeditions

Scuba diving options are varied and include wreck and cave diving, as well as wildlife spotting.

The leafy sea dragon and Australian giant cuttlefish are specific to south Australia and can be seen during a Kangaroo Island Diving Safari. For thrill-seekers, opt for cage shark diving with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions, where you can experience the sharks close up.

Take up surfing

With plenty of surfing hotspots on the Fleurieu Peninsula, there is something for both the beginner and the advanced surfer.

The Yorke Peninsula, Limestone Coast and Kangaroo Island all offer a variety of surf spots, and groups can opt for lessons with Surf and Sun. Cactus Beach on the Eyre Peninsula is promoted as one of Australia’s finest surfing beaches.

Energetic boarding sports

Kite-boarding, stand-up paddle boarding and beach power kite flying are three activities which groups can experience on the Eyre Peninsula. Xtreme Kites and Paddle offers instruction in all three activities throughout the year with qualified instructors.

Take a hike

Walking groups can enjoy a trek in the Flinders Ranges. Flinders by Foot operates out of Rawnsley Park Station, and the Arkaba Walk starts from Arkaba Station and features a night of sleeping under the stars.

The 1,200-kilometre-long Heysen Trail is considered to be one of Australia's great long distance walks. It begins at Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula and extends through to the Flinders Ranges.

Explore Australia by bicycle

Renowned cycle trails include the Clare Valley’s 27-kilometre Riesling Trail, the Fleurieu Peninsula’s 22-kilometre Encounter Bikeway, and the 900-kilometre Mawsom Trail which traverses the Flinders Ranges from Blinman to Adelaide.

Swim with sea lions in South Australia

Pictured: Experience swimming with sea lions and dolphins on the south Australian coast.

Don’t miss out on Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, which is billed as one of the southern hemisphere’s largest bicycle races and allows visitors to cycle on race routes.

Swimming with sea lions and dolphins

The Eyre Peninsula is a great place for swimming with aquatic wildlife, with options including swimming with sea lions with Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience, and swimming amongst dolphins and tuna with Adventure Bay Charters.

For groups based in Adelaide, swimming with dolphins is also easily done with Temptation Sailing who are based in Glenelg which is 20 minutes from the city centre.

The ultimate golf challenge

Sporting groups can enjoy a game of golf on the Nullarbor Links Golf Course. The 18-hole par 72 course stretches 1,365-kilometres from Kalgoorlie in western Australia to Ceduna in south Australia with one hole in each participating town or roadhouse.

The Nullarbor Links Golf Course allows golfers to tee off in either location and follow the course along the Eyre Highway, playing a hole in each location with some as far as 100-kilometres apart.

Kangaroos, wallabies and koalas

Kangaroo Island, Australia’s Galapagos is a great place to see free roaming native Australian wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, penguins, seals and sea lions.

Tour operators including Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours and Exceptional Kangaroo Island offer guided tours which can be tailor-made for special interest experiences like bird watching.

The Eyre Peninsula is ideal for wombat watching as well as kangaroos, emus, lizards and wallabies.

Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris also arranges whale watching, a seasonal activity (June to September) between Cape Jervis and Port Lincoln when 60-100 southern right whales come to give birth.

Bird watching in key destinations

Bird-watching groups may be interested in Australia’s prolific birdlife due to the diverse range of habitats including mudflats, wetlands, heathland, forests and desert.

Coorang National Park | Banrock Station Wetlands

Pictured: See a variety of bird species in Coorang National Park and Banrock Station Wetlands.

The resulting bird list tops 450 species including endemic and specialist birds such as the chestnut-breasted whiteface and scarlet-chested parrot, as well as a list of seabirds.

Group travel organisers can opt for key destinations such as Coorong National Park, Birds Australia’s Gluepot Reserve, and Banrock Station Wetlands.

Self-driving tours and safari

Explore south Australia by car and observe highlights including the Flinders Ranges where a series of 4WD tracks provide views of Arkaba, Alpana, Arkapena, Nilpena, Oratunga and Willow Springs stations.

Meanwhile, the rugged terrain of the Gawler Ranges on the Eyre Peninsula offers some great driving experiences for thrill-seekers, as does the drive from Adelaide across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth.

Heading Bush 4WD Adventures specialises in small group outback tours in off-road vehicles. Groups can also take a self-guided drive by hiring a four wheel drive vehicle to explore the outback themselves.

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