A STATE OF GRACE : South Australia, like much of Australia, is a state of contrasts. Adelaide's geometric, 1836 town plan ensured an elegant city of parks and churches set on the Torrens River, while in the outback opal mining community of Coober Pedy, many homes and businesses are built underground to escape the intense heat. On the Eyre Peninsula, Picturesque Port Lincoln and other spots, sometimes with odd names like Coffin Bay, draw many visitors, as do South Australia's extensive waterways such as the Clarence River.
VINEYARDS GALORE : South Australia, Australia's driest state, produces around 80 per cent of the nation's wine and brandy. Renmark on the Murray River grows several million tonnes of fruit annually, including notably, a bountiful harvest of grapes. However, it is the Barossa Valley that is Australia's premier wine district, with some 40 vineyards. A strong German heritage (dating back to the mid-19th century) is evident in the valley's Lutheran churches, bluestone villages and in its vineyard names, such as Hahndorf and Kaiser Stuhl. Many Barossa wineries and villages have outstanding architecture, notably Chateau Yaldara, Tanunda town centre and a pseudo-Doric temple at Seppeltsfield. Most wineries welcome visitors for wine tastings and cellar-door sales.
THE WILDER SIDE : Inland and north of Adelaide, near the Murray River, the little town of Barmera and its nearby Lake Bonney are the recreational heart of the area, with the lake attracting many windsurfers and sailing boats. Other places, like the unusual stoney ridges known as the Breakaways, near Coober Pedy, are better known for walking and photography than for action sports. Kangaroo Island, at the entrance of Gulf St Vincent, is a profusion of fauna and flora, from seals, sea lions, penguins, echidnas, kangaroos, emus and photography than for action sport. Kangaroo Island, at the entrance of Gulf St Vincent, is a profusion of fauna and flora, from seals, sea lions, penguins, echidnas, kangaroos, emus and koalas to eucalypt forests.
DEAKS AND PIONEER TOWNS : Inland South Australia has many reminders of the days of its pioneer settlers, such as the ruins of an old coach station in at Quorn (on the former Adelaide-Alice Springs 'Ghan' train line) near the Flinders Ranges. These ancient ranges commence south of Port Pirie but are at their most dramatic in the northern desert region, especially around Wilpena Pound, one of south Australia's most outstanding geographical features. Part of the Flinders Ranges National Park, Wilpena Pound is a raised valley surrounded by razorback hills, with St Marys Peak being the highest point in the ranges, at 1165 metres. The giant quartzite of its spectacle and accessibility, has long attracted bushwalkers and artists.