Are you on the lookout for kid-friendly day trips from Adelaide, the gorgeous capital of South Australia? Look no more, as you’re in the right place. Below are some of the best things to see around Adelaide, if you’re looking for ways to spend your school holidays entertained. From its bustling Central Market, where you can savour the flavours of world cuisine, to the lush green spaces of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, this city offers a diverse range of experiences.
With its stunning coastline just a stone’s throw away, you can soak up the sun and surf at the beautiful beaches. Adelaide is a city that never sleeps, where adventure and culture collide, making it an active traveler’s paradise.
Spending quality family time together is something incredibly important. For more of the best things to do with kids in Adelaide, check out our article. Keep reading to find the best day trips from Adelaide for your family!
1. Adelaide Hills
The Adelaide Hills, located to the east of Adelaide, boasts a rugged terrain and is renowned for its cool-climate wines. This region is anchored by the bustling city of Mount Barker, surrounded by former German settlements such as the picturesque Hahndorf, known for its vibrant pubs and galleries, and the charming Lobethal, celebrated for its handicrafts and mesmerizing Christmas lights.
The Cleland Wildlife Park provides a habitat for kangaroos and koalas to roam freely. The town of Gumeracha proudly houses the iconic Big Rocking Horse. Adelaide Hills is only a 44 minute drive from the center of Adelaide. This makes it the best destination for a day trip if being in the car for too long is not something you and your family like to do.
2. Victor Harbor
Victor Harbor, situated on the coast of South Australia, offers an array of attractions and activities. Visitors can hop on horse-drawn trams that traverse the causeway to Granite Island, where a lively penguin colony thrives. Steam locomotives power the Cockle Train, taking passengers to the nearby town of Goolwa, which serves as a gateway to the stunning wetlands of the Murray River Mouth. This destination is the best to go to if gorgeous sightseeing views is what you’re after.
In the waters of Encounter Bay, southern right whales are a common sight. Adventure enthusiasts can also explore the Heysen Trail, which spans the Fleurieu Peninsula all the way to Cape Jervis. Victor Harbor is located 1 hour and 12 minute drive from the center of Adelaide.
3. Clare Valley
The Clare Valley, situated approximately 100 kilometers north of Adelaide in South Australia within the Clare and Gilbert Valleys council area, comprises a river valley created by the Hutt River, closely linked with the nearby Hill River. This location is a 1 hour and 46 minute drive from the center of Adelaide.
This valley stands as one of Australia’s historic wine-producing regions, with its roots tracing back to 1851 when Jesuits arrived near Clare Township. Their admiration for the fertile soil led to the planting of vineyards and the establishment of a winery for sacramental wine production. Clare Valley is most well-known for their Rieslings. This is the best day trip for wine lovers.
4. Barossa Valley
The Barossa stands as one of the world’s premier wine-producing regions, with over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors showcasing its excellence. This region is located just over an hour’s drive from the center of Adelaide. Barossa Valley proudly hosts the world’s oldest continuously cultivated shiraz, grenache, mataro, cabernet sauvignon, and semillon vines. Here, you’ll encounter celebrated rich red wines and renowned fortified varieties.
When you’re not indulging in the finest wines of the area, you can enjoy breathtaking vineyard views from a hot air balloon, savor exquisite dishes at acclaimed restaurants, and venture into nearby villages and national parks for exploration. This is the best day trip destination for those who enjoy a bit of adventure with their wine.
You can find more information by visiting the Barossa Valley website.
5. Port Elliot
Port Elliot, originally used as the primary port for transporting goods along the Murray River, is now a tranquil and delightful holiday destination. Today, it stands as a charming seaside resort town on the South Coast. Port Elliot is well-known for its cozy cafes, beachfront cottages, captivating coastal trails, and stunning shoreline. This is the best destination for those who love photography, as the gorgeous coast makes for the perfect photograph.
Nestled along the sheltered Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot boasts the presence of Pullen Island just beyond the bay’s entrance. This destination is a 1 hour and 8 minute drive from the center of Adelaide.
6. Myponga Reservoir
Myponga Reservoir sits approximately 60 km to the south of Adelaide, close to the town of Myponga. It receives its water supply from the Myponga River and various other rivers within the Myponga catchment area. This reservoir is just an hour drive from the center of Adelaide.
A 5.2km walking trail surrounds the reservoir, encompassing visits to all the scenic lookouts. For a shorter circuit of 4.4km, excluding visits to the lookouts. Visitors can also enjoy fishing and kayaking activities, as they are permitted within the reservoir area. Therefore, this destination is the best day trip for those who love seafood and aquatic activates.
For more aquatic activities, check out our list of the best waterparks in Adelaide for kids.
7. Monarto Safari Park
The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia administers Monarto Safari Park, previously known as Monarto Zoological Park and Monarto Zoo, which spans across a vast 1,500 hectares in South Australia. Monarto Safari Park is not only Australia’s largest zoo, but the largest safari park outside of Africa. It proudly houses a remarkable array of Africa’s most majestic creatures, including one of the country’s most extensive lion prides and giraffe herds. This location is less than an hour’s drive from the center of Adelaide.
Originally established in October 1993 as a breeding and pasture area, the park has since evolved into a sprawling home for over 500 animals, which roam across expansive vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. This is the best day trip destination for all animal lovers.
For more information or to book your tickets, head on over to the Monarto Safari Park website.
Address: 63 Monarto Rd, Monarto
8. Kangroo Island
Located southwest of Adelaide, Kangaroo Island rests just off the coast of mainland South Australia. More than a third of the island’s expanse is dedicated to nature reserves, which provide a safe haven for a rich array of native wildlife including sea lions, koalas, and various bird species. This is the best day trip destination if you love sighting native wildlife in their natural habitat.
On the island’s western side, Flinders Chase National Park stands out for its bustling penguin colonies and dramatic coastal rock formations, such as the iconic Remarkable Rocks and the captivating Admirals Arch adorned with stalactites.
To find out more details, check out the Kangaroo Island website.
9. Fleurieu Peninsula
Situated near Adelaide in South Australia, the Fleurieu Peninsula is renowned for its wine regions, with McLaren Vale being a standout. Within the town of Willunga, you can explore an abundance of locally sourced goods at the vibrant Willunga Farmers Market. This picturesque peninsula is brimming with globally acclaimed wines and breathtaking beaches.
Whether you’re riding the waves at Southport, Boomer Beach, and Waitpinga or immersing yourself in the renowned McLaren Vale wine region, there’s something for everyone. You can even take the plunge and swim alongside tuna, aptly nicknamed the Ferraris of the sea. This is the perfect day trip for sea animal lovers, as in the southern region, you’ll have the chance to spot whales, seals, and dolphins in the waters of Encounter Bay, near the charming town of Victor Harbor.
Check out the Fleurieu Peninsula website for more information.
10. Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, is just a 20 minute drive away from the city. This destination is the best day drip for dolphin lovers, as it houses approximately 30 resident bottlenose dolphins, while an additional 400 transient dolphins temporarily visit. These untamed dolphins frequent the sanctuary for activities such as feeding, play, socializing, and caring for their young.
Within the sanctuary, you’ll discover a 10,000-year-old mangrove forest, along with sea grass, salt marshes, tidal flats, and tidal creeks, all of which offer vital habitat and sustenance for the dolphins. Situated within South Australia’s largest port, the sanctuary also boasts several culturally and historically significant Aboriginal and European sites of interest.
The area is a popular destination for birdwatchers, sharing much of its northern coastal habitat with the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. You can easily spot other wildlife within the sanctuary, including stingrays, long-nosed fur seals, and the endangered Australian sea lions.
Take a look at the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary website for more information.
Address: Garden Island Rd, Garden Island
Best day trips from Adelaide for kids
So, grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and hit the road with your eager explorers. Adelaide’s surrounding regions are waiting to be discovered, promising endless family memories and boundless opportunities for active, outdoor enjoyment. Don’t wait; start planning your next Adelaide day trip with your kids today, and let the adventure begin!