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30 to 1 park adventures

30 must do adventures in South Australia’s national parks

We are kicking off the new year by counting down our top 30 park adventures, chosen by our very own park experts.

During January, we will release a park adventure every day for you to add to your parks must-do list.

30. Wander through a landscape shaped by ice and glaciers

Hallett Cove Conservation Park is home to one of Australia’s most outstanding and internationally significant geological sites. Follow the interpretive walking trail and explore an ancient landscape shaped by ice and glaciers. The park is also a significant cultural heritage site with over 1,700 Aboriginal artefacts have been found.

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Image courtesy of Paul Marrano (@paulmarrano)

29. Discover new shades of blue

Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area adjoins Lincoln National Park on the southern Eyre Peninsula. This pristine wilderness area with its dense coastal vegetation, abundant wildlife, white sandy beaches and water of every shade of blue is limited to only 15 vehicles a day (requires a four-wheel drive vehicle) ensuring this special place remains unspoiled.

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Image courtesy of Cody Ackland (@cody_ackland)

28. See a red knot in breeding plumage

Visit the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park - Winaityinaityi Pangkara which is home to more than 50 species and over 27,000 resident and migratory shorebirds, including red knots that fly from as far as Russia. The plumage of male red knot birds changes from brownish-grey to chestnut-red when breeding. The best time to witness them in their breeding plumage is in early autumn, just before they make their epic journey back to the northern hemisphere.

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Image courtesy of Martin Stokes

27. Get up early for a desert sunrise

There is nothing like a desert sunrise and our favourite place to see one is in the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park. The Breakaways are a collection of colourful hills and mounds that rise from the plains of Great Victoria Desert, just north of Coober Pedy. They come to life during sunrises and sunsets with rich reds, oranges and whites.

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26. Watch kangaroos graze at sunset

The stunning coastal views of the Southern Ocean and Kangaroo Island at Deep Creek Conservation Park are often accompanied by the large population of kangaroos in the park. The kangaroos are most active in the twilight hours, so find a place to sit and watch nature at its best! Try Blow Hole Beach or Cobbler Hill Picnic Ground, as they are the best places to spot kangaroos in the park.

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Image courtesy of (@down_under_photo)

25. Tune in to nature at the Organ Pipes

Created through volcanic eruptions over 1500 million years ago. The Organ Pipes in the Gawler Ranges National Parks are one of the world’s largest outcrops of volcanic rhyolite. The cooling process of the lava and millions of years of erosion have left large symmetrical columns resembling the pipes of an organ. You can find equally stunning rocky outcrops at Yandinga Falls and Kolay Mirica Falls in the park.

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Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

24. Go for a wheelie good ride

The Craigburn Farm section of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is fast becoming a destination for mountain biking. With a network of more than 10 trails over a variety of terrains and surfaces, there for every skill level.

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Image courtesy of @flow_mtb (@flow_mtb)

23. Swim with the fishes in a sanctuary zone

Explore the underwater world of the Port Noarlunga Reef within the Encounter Marine Park. This protected sanctuary zone is one of the most accessible places to go snorkelling for beginners and families. The reef is home to over 50 species of fish and more than 200 marine plants and animals that call this reef home. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the underwater information boards that will guide you along the underwater trail.

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This photo was taken with permission from the Department for Environment and Water.

22. Hang out on the cliffs

Rock climb your way up the cliff face of the Onkaparinga Gorge in Onkaparinga River National Park. The 30 metre high cliffs are popular with both beginner and experienced climbers and are located only a short walk from Pink Gum campground.

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Image courtesy of Department for Environment and Water

21. Kayak through a ships’ graveyard

Paddle through the remains of at least 40 abandoned vessels hidden within the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. The Garden Island Ships’ Graveyard Maritime Trail is the largest and most diverse ships' graveyard in Australia and includes a variety of sailing, steam and motor vessels, barges, pontoons and dredges. If you’re lucky you might even spot some of the resident bottlenose dolphins.

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This photo was taken with permission from the Department for Environment and Water

20. Stare through nature’s picture frame

Stare through nature’s picture frame at Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park. This natural rock arch that displays the power of the ocean and weathering which has shaped the coastline. This area is also home to a large breeding colony of long-nosed fur seals which you can watch splash in the crashing waves.

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Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission and Adam Bruzzone

19. Soak in the ancient hot springs

The water in the Dalhousie Main Spring in Witjira National Park is constantly between 38 - 40 degrees, making it perfect for a relaxing, warm soak. The waters rise from deep below the surface through cracks and fissures after originally entering the Artesian Basin system millions of years ago.

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Image courtesy of Department for Environment and Water

18. Devour local oysters in Coffin Bay National Park

Visit a local seafood supplier and devour mouth-wateringly delicious freshly-shucked local oysters on the beach in Coffin Bay National Park. The calm, protected and pristine waters are not only perfect for eating oysters but also idyllic for swimming and kayaking. This park with its untouched wilderness and coastline is a favourite amongst visitors.

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Image courtesy of Department for Environment and Water

17. Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture

Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park on the River Murray is culturally and historically significant to its Traditional Owners, the Nganguraku people. Discover unique insights with a guided tour from the Mannum Aboriginal Community Association. Learn about their traditions and marvel at the rock art engraved into the limestone walls of the rock shelter.

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Image courtesy of Department for Environment and Water

16. Encounter a world of unique sculptures

As if the view of the giant granite boulders against an ocean backdrop wasn't artistic enough, there are now sculptures dotted around Granite Island Recreation Park for you to enjoy. There are 10 sculptures dotted around the island, such as the pictured ‘Ocean Lace’ by artist Britt Mikkelsen. As some of the sculptures are temporary and new ones added every six months, this is the sort of exhibition that you can visit regularly and keep finding something new to enjoy.

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Image courtesy of Department for Environment and Water