With budget airline Air Asia X recently announcing it will begin flights between Kuala Lumpur and Adelaide from late October, and Condé Nast Traveler magazine having awarded the Margaret River a rank in its Top 10 Friendliest Cities list for 2013, South Australia is fast becoming known as one of the best places in the country to visit. If you’re ready to explore this great state, then check out hotels in Adelaide and prepare to be wowed by what’s on offer in the capital city and its surrounds. To help you begin to get a feel for the region, read on for 10 fun facts about this friendly state.
The First Australian Capital to Be Linked by Telegraph With London
In 1872, Adelaide was the first Australian capital city to be connected by telegraph with London. Before that time, the Australian colonies had to rely on ships to carry news and mail between Europe and “down under”, which typically took anywhere from two to five months to arrive. After a mammoth operation that took years to complete, the Overland Telegraph was finally finished on 22 August 1872. Charles Todd, the Superintendent of Telegraphs, sent the first official message from London to Adelaide that day and from then, the information travel time between London and Australia was effectively cut down to just over a week.
South Australia Is Known as the “Festival State”
Nicknamed the “Festival State”, South Australia prides itself on being an art and culture hub and holds multiple creative festivals throughout the year. Visitors to the state can enjoy events such as the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Film Festival, Feast Festival and Cabaret Festival. The popular WOMADelaide world music festival attracts international artists from all around the globe, while the Adelaide Fringe Festival is a premier, open-access event and the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Hahndorf, the Oldest Surviving German Settlement in Oz
Classified as the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia, the quaint town of Hahndorf is located in the Adelaide Hills, only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD. With a main street lined by 100-year-old elm and plane trees and showcasing beautifully maintained and restored buildings throughout the area, the town retains its strong German heritage and a fun village feel.
South Australia Produces Half of Australia’s Wine Volume
If you love a tipple and appreciate the difference between a bold shiraz and a smooth merlot, then you’ll love visiting Australia’s wine capital. Producing near half of the country’s yearly wine total, South Australia is home to 18 different wine regions and more than 200 cellar doors, all within just an hour’s drive of Adelaide.
The World’s Opal Capital
Outback town Coober Pedy is known for its status as the biggest opal-producing area in the world. A fascinating town to add to any South Australian itinerary, Coober Pedy houses residents from more than 40 different countries, and at least half the population lives in underground accommodation in order to escape the region’s soaring summer temperatures.
Australia’s First Certified Organic Pizza Restaurant
With three locations in Adelaide, GoodLife is Australia’s first organic pizza bar certified by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA). This means that all purchased ingredients are from a method of sustainable farming that does not use artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides and has a Fair Trade approach as well.
South Australia is the driest state on the world’s driest continent — a fact that becomes evident on a visit to Lake Eyre National Park. This vivid, stark landscape is home to Australia’s largest salt lake and the lowest point in the whole country. The Lake Eyre basin covers one-sixth of the continent and stretches 144 kilometres long and 77 kilometres wide.
Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island, is a spectacular area that is sometimes described as a “zoo without fences”. The island is a pristine wilderness and home to over 250 species of birds plus countless populations of native Australian animals. It also happens to be the only sanctuary in the world for Ligurian bees.
National Motor Museum
Australia’s most important collection of vintage motor cycles and cars is housed at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, about 50 kilometres from Adelaide. The museum contains more than 300 classic vehicles and regularly hosts special events throughout the year.
The World’s Largest Cattle Station Is in South Australia
South Australia is also home to the world’s largest cattle station. At roughly 24,000 square kilometres, Anna Creek Station is larger even than Israel or Belgium, and eight times the size of the largest ranch in the United States.
Coober Pedy opal image by Dpulitzer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Koala on Kangaroo Island image by Cody Pope [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
About the Author: Bianca Evans is a travel writer and historian who enjoys exploring Australia with her family. She loves to discover the best new tourist destinations around the country and frequently heads to South Australia for holidays.
Images by order:
header image courtesy of tim phillips