Over the last few days I’ve been polling some of my South Australian friends to find out which SA landmarks we all know and love. You know, those iconic places where you just HAVE to stop and take a photo or tick it off your “must see” list. The conversations came with some great banter and suggestions, and the list changed back and forth, but finally here are, in my opinion, the 10 “Famous Landmarks in South Australia”
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Larry the Lobster
We have quite a few big things in South Australia but Larry the Lobster is the most loved. Located in Kingston on the Limestone Coast, Larry was built in 1979 and stands an impressive 17 metres tall. He originally stood guard over a visitor centre and restaurant, but that has changed multiple times over the last forty years as owners have come and gone. At one point he was in such disrepair the end was looking nigh for Larry, but a call went out from some local radio stars and thanks to crowd funding, he has been recently restored to his former glory.
Today Larry can be found presiding over a takeaway food restaurant with all the favourites available. There’s also an area to do some wine tasting and purchase some of the local produce. I didn’t check if there was lobster on the menu though!
The Torrens Riverbank is currently undergoing a transformation. Once the Festival Centre and plaza is complete, this will be a great area to visit and enjoy. It’s a great place to simply relax on the grass and enjoy the view, but if that’s not enough, then take a cruise on the iconic Popeye, or join a segway tour to learn about the area.
Wander over the footbridge to the Adelaide Oval. If there is a coma of cricket or football on during your visit, plan to take a look and enjoy this picturesque stadium. You can also visit the Bradman Collection and see a great range of memorabilia, some coming from Sir Donald Bradman’s own personal effects. For an adrenaline hit, do the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb, the only stadium climb in the world with seats on top of a grandstand where it’s possible to watch a game.
How can I not include this on the list when it is already called Remarkable? Located on Kangaroo Island, these rocks are often featured in South Australian tourism campaigns. They are one of the most recognisable and unique South Australia landmarks.
Remarkable Rocks are a group of incredible weathered rocks that sit high on a cliff above the Southern Ocean. They are perfectly placed on a granite outcrop and look like they have been left there on display by an abstract sculpture artist. The rocks have been here at least 500 million years, and are ever so slowly being eroded away. Kids – and kids-at-heart will love scrambling over the rocks and hiding in the nooks and crannies. And of course every visitor needs a photo by the gravity-defying overhanging rock!
During the months of December to March, Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake turns a bright, cobalt blue and is truely an incredible sight. For the rest of the year, it is a steel grey. It is not known exactly why this lake changes colour so dramatically, but it is believed the warmer temperatures change the chemical composition of the water. It sits in the crater of an ancient volcano so there is an unusual chemical mix associated with that history. With a depth of 77 metres, there are still secrets waiting to be discovered.
Visiting the Blue Lake is a must while in Mount Gambier. There is a walking trail that encircles the lake, or you can just admire it from one of the lookouts.
The Nullarbor Plain is one of those almost-mythical places. To cross the Nullarbor is on many a bucket list. It smacks of isolation and perseverance and even a little danger on those long stretches of nothingness. It’s usually hot and dry but sometimes the biggest obstacle out here is the boredom. After all, the longest straight stretch of road can be found here – 142km without so much as a bend.
The Nullarbor Plain stretches well over the Western Australia border, but it you are driving from the east then it’s almost compulsory to stop at the Nullarbor sign to celebrate the start of this long drive.
Pildappa Rock is South Australia’s answer to the better known Wave Rock in Western Australia. It’s located just outside the small town of Minnipa on Eyre Peninsula. Created over thousands of years as the wind and the rain wore away the granite, this wave now forms one side of a much larger granite structure. This part of South Australia is littered with granite outcrops. Many are located on farming land and are inaccessible, but this is a great opportunity to not only see the wave, but to take a look around the whole granite rock.
Other notable granite rocks on Eyre Peninsula include Murphy’s Haystacks near Streaky Bay, and Mount Wudinna, the second biggest monolith in Australia (after Uluru).
Located just south of the town of Naracoorte on the Limestone Coast, the Naracoorte Caves are South Australia’s only World Heritage site thanks to the thousands of fossils that have been found here, including some incredible megafauna. There are 28 known caves in the national park, but only four of them are accessible to the public. Most people will just come here to do one of the many easy tours each day, but there are also options to do some more adventurous caving too.
I could not talk about famous places without mentioning one of the biggest natural landmarks in South Australia – the Murray River. Meandering for around 650km through South Australia (and over 2500km in total), this is Australia’s longest river. The river is a favourite getaway from Adelaide, and is popular for all sorts of waterspouts. It has some dramatic cliffs which provide glowing red sunsets, and winds through some of South Australia’s prime growing regions. The river finally escapes to the sea through the Coorong, a diverse and special region best known for its seabirds.
Located in McLaren Vale, the d’Arenberg Cube is, quite broadly, a cellar door. But it is so much more than that! Opened in 2017, the Rubik’s Cube like structure is a tribute to the “puzzle that is winemaking” and shows the quirky taste of d’Arenberg’s owner, Chester Osborn. The Cube is five stories tall and includes exhibition space, tasting rooms, the Alternate Realities Museum, and a restaurant. Visitors can simply browse through the Cube and surrounds, or participate in experiences such as blending your own wine.
In 1998, bush pilot Trec Smith flew over an isolated area north-west of Marree and spotted a huge engraving of an Aboriginal man with a boomerang on the ground. He mentioned it to locals when he landed, and discovered no one had any idea what he was talking about! Thus began a huge treasure hunt to find out who had created this man and how. So far that mystery has not been solved.
Now known as the Marree Man or Stuart’s Giant, this is the world’s largest geoglyph and work of art in the world. He is around 2.5km tall, and is best seen from the air.
Are They Really the Famous Landmarks in South Australia?
What do you think? Did I get it right or is there a glaring omission? There are some very honourable mentions, such as the Malls Balls and the Pigs in the Mall, The Big Rocking Horse, Lake Eyre and Umpherston’s Sinkhole, that struggled to include. Let me know what you think in the comments below and perhaps your suggestion will end up on this list.
Visiting more great South Australian locations? These posts might help
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
Best Places for South Australia Whale Watching
Glamping South Australia – The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Style
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Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred. She has lived in the state for almost her whole life, just one short stint away as a teenager with her family. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.