Weekend Getaways from Adelaide

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Are you looking for some new ideas for weekend getaways from Adelaide? Have you been to the Barossa Valley and Victor Harbor dozens of times and it’s now time to find a new place to visit.

Here are some lesser-known suggestions for a short break from Adelaide the next time you need to get out of the city.

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Weekend Getaways from Adelaide

For each one of these getaways I will suggest places to go for a three-day break. I will include some general ideas of things to do in the area, and a specific recommendation along with one or two ideas for accommodation.

Each suggestion is no more than three hours travel from Adelaide. Driving time – or another way to travel – will be included too.

Melrose, Southern flinders Ranges

Melrose is a fantastic location for enjoying the outdoors. It is fast becoming a hub for mountain biking with dozens of tracks available for riders of all abilities.

Nearby are many scenic drives and hiking opportunities, with only a one hour drive to Quorn for the Pichi Richi Railway.

Melrose is now home to a local brewery (although opening times are still variable) and not too far away is Blesings Garden Wines to try out too.

Driving Distance:

Melrose is about 265km from Adelaide and will take about three hours to drive to.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Get a group together and stay at the Jacka Brothers Brewery Guesthouse
Save – Take your RV, caravan or tent and stay under the huge gum trees at the Melrose Showgrounds
Somewhere in Between – Find comfortable holiday units at Under the Mount.

Must Do Activity:

Walk some part of the way up Mount Remarkable. Whether it’s just up to the monument or all the way to the top, you will be sure to enjoy the natural surroundings, wildlife, and have some great views out over the valley.

Strathalbyn, Fleurieu Peninsula

Strathalbyn is a picturesque small town on the Fleurieu Peninsula with a definite European vibe to it.

A weekend stay here will have you wandering along the banks of the meandering creek flowing through town, digging for treasure through one of the many antique stores in town and admiring classic cars in the motor museum.

Strathalbyn has a lot of weekend events throughout the year, such as a huge antique market and the Great Duck Race weekend. Keep an eye out for them as there will likely be many things happening in town then.

There are also some great nearby locations such as the Langhorne Creek wine region and Lake Alexandrina to visit too.

Driving Distance:

Strathalbyn is about 60km from the Adelaide City centre and driving there will take about an hour.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Stay in a peaceful rural location just outside Strathalbyn at Evandale Villas
Save – The Strathalbyn Caravan Park offers a small number of budget cabins as well as powered and unpowered sites.
Something in Between – Stay right in town at the Strath Motel.

Must Do Activity:

Pack a picnic filled with local produce and grab a bottle of Langhorne Creek wine and enjoy them while relaxing on the banks of the Angas River right in the centre of town.

Burra, Clare Valley

Burra is a great place to visit to learn about the copper mining history of this area. Once this town was the seventh biggest in all of Australia and it was filled with miners from all over the world.

Learn about the colourful Redruth Gaol, the tunnels for the Unicorn Brewery and the Miner’s Dugouts, still carved into the side of the creek bed today.

Just outside of town is the Redbanks Conservation Park, possibly the best location for megafauna fossils in Australia.

Drive the other way and spot the Midnight Oil House. In less than half an hour you can be in the heart of the Clare Valley for wine tasting too.

Driving Distance:

Burra is about 165km from Adelaide and will take around two hours to reach.

Where to Stay:

Splurge: Stay in a renovated heritage property at Kit Kat Cottage
Save: The Burra Caravan and Camping Park has powered & unpowered sites right on the creek only a minute’s walk from the centre of town
Something in Between: For traditional motel-style accommodation at reasonable prices try the Burra Motor Inn

Must Do Activity:

Eat lunch at the quirky Good Golly Miss Polly for all-around delicious food. They have great coffee and cakes and cater for all different food requirements.

While you are there enjoy browsing through all the memorabilia celebrating the years gone by.

Renmark, Riverland

Renmark is great for a few days out of the city. Get active on the River Murray, or enjoy wine tasting in Australia’s biggest wine region.

If wine isn’t your thing, there is also a brewery and a distillery in the area. Take a drive and enjoy some of the best views over the cliffs lining the Murray, and a riverbank walk will show you some of the abundant birdlife too.

Renmark is a great hub for visiting nearby towns like Berri, Barmera and Loxton.

Include a meal at Mallee Fowl Restaurant in your plans, this quirky Australiana-themed venue is located between Renmark and Berri and it is so much fun.

Driving Distance:

Renmark is around 260km and will take you a little under three hours to get there.

Where to Stay:

Splurge: For spectacular accommodation, The Frames is the place to stay
Save: The Big4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park is more like a resort than a caravan park, but it does still have powered and unpowered sites amongst the myriad of cabins and glamping tents.
Something in Between: The Renmark Hotel Motel is perfectly located right in the centre of town.

Must Do Activity:

While in Renmark, take advantage of the river and do something on the water. I recommend hiring some kayaks and having a little paddle around.

We hired some from the Big4 caravan park last time we were in town. If you prefer a boat or a stand-up paddle board, take a look at Riverland Boat Hire.

If you aren’t keen on water activities, then cheat a little by having a meal aboard the Murray River Queen, permanently docked in the centre of Renmark.

Wallaroo, Yorke Peninsula

The Copper Coast is a great place for a few days of R&R outside of the city, and my pick of the towns is Wallaroo.

There are good food and accommodation options in town, and it’s a good jumping-off point to explore more around the region, such as the Cornish miners’ history of the Moonta Mines.

If you really want to relax, there are great beaches to take your beach chair, an umbrella and a good book, and do nothing for the whole day.

When the sun goes down take a look at the silo light and sound show. Wallaroo is a great place to do some fishing too – either from the jetty or book a charter and go after some bigger fish in the gulf.

Driving Distance:

Wallaroo is about 160km from Adelaide and it will take around two hours to drive.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Modern apartments up to 3-bedroom at Wallaroo Marina Apartments
Save – One of the best camp kitchens I’ve seen is at the Wallaroo Holiday Park. Plenty of beachfront cabins, apartments, powered and unpowered sites.
Something in Between – Choose a cabin at a caravan park or look at Sonbern Lodge Motel for mid-range accommodation.

Must Do Activity:

Check out the burgeoning food and wine scene by dining in at least one of the great new restaurants and cafes on the main street. Bond Store is particularly popular, but I also had a fantastic breakfast at The Smelter.

Marion Bay

Marion Bay is right at the foot of the Yorke Peninsula and a great place to explore the nearby national park and spend some time fishing, swimming, hiking, surfing and generally doing all those things you want to do on an escape from the city.

There are not a lot of facilities here, but you can grab a decent meal at the Marion Bay Tavern – they even have a courtesy bus if it’s too far to walk.

Driving Distance:

It’s about 285km from Adelaide to Marion Bay and it will take a little over 3 hours to get there.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Stay in the beautiful glamping tent at Bayside Glamping. Or if that’s booked, try the tiny house.
Save – The beachfront Marion Bay Caravan Park has well-priced cabins as well as powered and unpowered sites.
Something in Between – The Marion Bay Holiday Villas is a comfortable option – and there are dozens of holiday homes on Stayz

Must Do Activity:

Spend a day exploring Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park. Enjoy white beaches, spectacular scenery, plenty of history and wildlife galore – it’s almost certain you will see a daddy emu and his brood enjoying the park too!

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is one of those iconic holiday destinations that so many people put into the “someday” basket.

It’s often thought of as one of those “once in a lifetime” destinations, and therefore a thorough lap of the island is needed in any stay. In fact, Kangaroo Island is a fantastic location for weekend getaways from Adelaide too.

The ferry is only 90 minutes from Adelaide, and once you drive off the other side, your weekend has begun!

Choose just one end of the island for your weekend, and come back again to experience the other end.

The western end of KI is all wilderness and hiking and wildlife and stunning scenery, or choose the eastern end for food and wine, and of course some amazing beaches and scenery too!

Driving Distance:

From Adelaide to Cape Jervis, it’s just over 100km and will take about 90 minutes. From there it’s a 45-minute ferry ride over to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island.

Alternatively, you could fly to Kingscote. See the Rex website for details.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Enjoy luxury at Sea Dragon Lodge
Save – Stay at Western KI Caravan Park to support their rebuilding efforts after the fires and enjoy great cabins, powered and unpowered sites.
Something in Between – The Ozone Hotel on the seafront in Kingscote is always a good choice

Must Do Activity:

If you are down at the western end do a Sunset Nocturnal Adventure Tour at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to see more of the wildlife that Kangaroo Island has to offer.

At the eastern end, make it an Ocean Safari to learn about the local seals and dolphins.

Kingston SE, Limestone Coast

Kingston SE (yes, it’s officially called that, to distinguish it from the other “Kingston” in SA, Kingston-on-Murray) is a popular beach town south of Adelaide on the Limestone Coast best known for its iconic Big Lobster.

Like its popular neighbour Robe, Kingston is a great summer destination for those looking to live the relaxed beach lifestyle.

That doesn’t mean you are slumming it here though, there are many luxurious holiday homes and some good places to eat.

Driving Distance:

Kingston SE is 295km from Adelaide and it will take you just over three hours to drive there.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Located just outside of Kingston at Cape Jaffa, this holiday house is absolute beachfront.
Save – Choose from a variety of options at the Kingston Foreshore Caravan Park
Something in Between – Enjoy motel-style accommodation at the Lacepede Bay Motel

Must Do Activity:

Go fishing! Kingston SE is so good for fishing that they even hold a fishing competition here in January each year.

Whether it’s from the beach, the jetty or you bring a boat, there should be no problems catching some fresh fish for dinner.

Mannum, Murraylands

Mannum is a great place to kick back and enjoy a few days lazing on the banks of the Murray. But that’s not all you can do here. You should try one out as the place where the first paddle steamers were built.

There are many different options, from simply visiting the museum and taking a look at the boat docked outside, to jumping aboard for a Murray River odyssey.

There’s plenty of exploring to be done in the area, including taking a look at the Mannum Waterfalls and at night venturing into Australia’s only Dark Sky Reserve for the view of the stars.

Driving Distance:

Mannum is about 100km from Adelaide and it will take about 75 minutes to get there

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Enjoy a luxury break at Riverview Rise Retreats
Save – Stay in a cabin at Big4 Breeze Holiday Parks Mannum. Powered and unpowered sites are also available
Something in Between – Stay right on the banks of the Murray at the Pretoria Hotel

Must Do Activity:

Take a ride on the PW Mayflower. Built in 1884, this historic paddle wheeler does 90-minute cruises along the Murray at 10:30 am & 1 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday.

The cruise leaves from the Mannum Dock Museum, and tickets can be purchased from the Visitor Information Centre there.

Mount Lofty, Adelaide Hills

Head to the hills! Just a few minutes from the Adelaide City centre and you are in a completely different world.

The Adelaide Hills are all about relaxation and indulgence. Think of leafy green views, great food and wine, and spa getaways without a big drive in between.

Driving Distance:

Mount Lofty is less than 20km from the city centre and the drive is less than half an hour (depending on traffic)

Where to Stay:

Splurge – You cannot go past Sequoia Lodge for some true decadence
Save-  If you’ve ever walked from Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty, you would have passed a small cottage near the top (don’t worry, if you didn’t notice, I understand, you were too busy gasping for air 🙂). You can stay there – it’s the Mount Lofty YHA Cottage.
Something in Between – Enjoy the peaceful and leafy Hilltop House

Must Do Activity:

Take a walk in the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens – especially if you are visiting in autumn, the colours are fantastic.

Aldinga Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

Aldinga Beach is the perfect place to go for a beach getaway while not going too far from the city. The long white beach is perfectly picturesque, and one of the beaches in SA that visitors can drive right onto the sand.

It is on the doorstep of the McLaren Vale Wine region, and the Aldinga Scrub is great for hikes and nature. Look out for pop-up bars and food trucks at the beach in busy times.

Driving Distance:

Aldinga Beach is just under 50km from the city centre and will take around 45 minutes to get there.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – The secluded Sanbis Cabin is just beautiful.
Save – Aldinga Beach Holiday Park have a range of accommodation including unusual yurt cottages.
Something in Between – There is no motel accommodation in Aldinga, but here’s a cheaper holiday home.

Must Do Activity:

Pack up the car and drive down onto the beach. Spend the whole day enjoying the sunshine.

Coober Pedy, Outback

I said these were weekend getaways, but bear with me while I explain.

It will need an extra long weekend, but it is possible to fly up to Coober Pedy on a Friday and then back again Monday so that you can spend a weekend exploring this quirky outback town.

Learn about the opal mining industry that forms the basis of why there is even a town all the way out here and get to know some of the local characters.

Sleep underground out of the heat and see other underground buildings like churches and shops.

Driving Distance:

No driving this time, it’s a 2-hour flight from Adelaide to Coober Pedy. See the Rex website for details.

Tip: I recommend talking to your accommodation about transfers. It’s not too far from the airport to the centre of town and some places may include it with their price.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – the “top” accommodation in town is at the Desert Cave Hotel
Save – Want to save but still sleep underground? Camp in your tent, swag or in a budget room underground at Ribas Underground Camping and Caravan Park.
Something in Between –  again sleep underground at The Underground Motel

Must Do Activity:

Do the Coober Pedy Town & Breakaways Tour – you will see the beautiful colours of the Breakaways just before sunset and learn all about the town from a local.

Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula

The Seafood Capital of Australia is a great location for a weekend trip from Adelaide. Tick off a bucket list item with a shark cage dive or turn it into a foodie weekend with wine tasting and fabulous local restaurants.

Enjoy the pristine beaches and dramatic coastline of Eyre Peninsula as you explore outside the town too.

Driving Distance:

Port Lincoln is another destination that it will be best to fly to if you only have a weekend. See the Rex website for details.

You would probably want to rent a car while you are in Port Lincoln – check RentalCars.com for prices and availability.

Where to Stay:

Splurge – Stay in the Port Lincoln Hotel for a great location near the beach, restaurants, pool and bar on site.
Save – Try the private rooms at the Port Lincoln YHA – hostels are not just for backpackers!
Something in Between – The very comfortable Shark Apartments are perfect if you are doing the shark cage diving

Must Do Activity:

Take a trip over to Coffin Bay and do a tour of the oyster beds where the famous Coffin Bay oysters live. Learn how the oysters are grown and taste them straight out of this pristine water.

If you don’t have a car, the tour can be arranged from Port Lincoln too.

Mount Gambier

There is so much to do in Mount Gambier and the surrounding area a weekend seems like not enough, but it’s a great place to start.

Spend one day exploring the lakes and sinkholes in town, and the second day drive up to the Coonawarra to taste the world-class Cabernet Sauvignon grown there.

Make sure you pick up a delicious scroll from Scroll Queen and some local gin from Kilsby Sinkhole.

Driving Distance:

You will want to fly to Mount Gambier and rent a car here too. See the Rex and RentalCars.com websites for more details.

Where to Stay:

Splurge: Enjoy the luxury of The Barn while you are staying in Mount Gambier
Save: The best caravan park in town is the Pine Country Caravan Park. Stay in a cabin or try a galloping tent.
Something in Between: For something fun and quirky, stay at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol

Must Do Activity:

If you visit in May/June, brave the cold and head out into the pine forest to Ghost Mushroom Lane and spot the weird glowing fungi. In summer it’s all about the intense cobalt blue of the Blue Lake.

Any time of the year you have to visit Umpherston’s Sinkhole around dusk to see the possums that live there.

Looking for more things to do in Adelaide? Try these posts
100 Adelaide Experiences
Spooky South Australia
Visiting Adelaide Oval

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About the author

Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred, living here for her whole life. 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.