In 2024, why not explore the natural wonders that can be found in our own backyard.
Did you know its scientifically-proven that we are happier, healthier and smarter when we engage with nature? So do yourself a favour - make it your New Year’s resolution to get out and experience South Australia’s breath-taking environment.
To help get you started, we’ve come up with 24 things to explore in 2024.
Keep reading to learn more about what you can explore.
1. Explore … a story that pre-dates the dinosaurs
Have you visited South Australia's newest national park? Explore the story of the Ediacaran fossils in South Australia's remote Outback. You can see the fossils come to life in a way you could never have imagined.
2. Explore … the mighty River Murray
The mighty River Murray swelled to levels not seen for more than 65 years in 2022-23. The rare flooding event has boosted precious ecosystems and provided benefits for animals, plants and fish from the border to the Murray Mouth. Now is the perfect time to explore the nation's largest river system.
3. Explore … Adelaide’s River Torrens
Hop on your bicycle or put on your sneakers and head to the western end of the Torrens Linear Track. The artificial channel that runs from Tapleys Hill Road to the Torrens Outlet at West Beach is being transformed into a natural flowing and healthy river system. The overhaul of this section will help create a nature area that serves as both a recreational spot and a habitat for native birds, threatened fish and other animals.
4. Explore … happy and healthy wildlife
When was the last time you visited Cleland Wildlife Park? It is always worth a visit, particularly for families. Most of Cleland’s animals live in natural habitat meaning you can get up close for great photos and even have a pat. So be sure to buy a pack of pellets and feed the kangaroos!
5. Explore … a nature wonderland for kids
Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta is one of the biggest nature play spaces in South Australia. It features 3 slides, seesaw, spinner, fossil dig area, Kaurna carvings and sculptures. There is also rope and log climbing elements, a pendulum swing, cubby building, and a 25m long flying fox.
6. Explore … world-renowned landscapes
Why not explore a region earmarked to join global landmarks as a Word Heritage site. The fossil-rich Flinders Ranges already has tentative listing by UNESCO. You can also visit the Brachina Geological Trail, which passes through a gorge that is an important refuge for the yellow footed rock wallaby, as well as many species of birds and reptiles.
7. Explore … high-adrenaline mountain bike trails
If you're seeking a thrilling adventure that takes you off the beaten path and into the heart of nature, we have some exciting news for you. The 38km Epic Mountain Bike Trail weaves through Mount Remarkable National Park in the Southern Flinders Ranges and includes a total of 1500m of climbing elevation and a near continuous 6km descent.
8. Explore … an international tourism drawcard
The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is again open to everyone after it was significantly damaged during the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires. If underground adventure is more to your liking, the Kelly Hills Caves, with an new improved visitor experience is open. During the first half of 2024, visitors to Kangaroo Island will be also able to visit the rebuilt Flinders Chase Visitor Centre, and plan their adventures on the island from there.
9. Explore … the Coorong
Have you visited the Coorong lately? If not, you are missing out, because vast amounts of water flowing from the River Murray flood into the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth have provided a much-needed, short-term boost to the Ramsar-listed wetland. This means many plants, fish and birds are thriving for the first time since the Millennium drought.
10. Explore …contemporary art in the tranquillity of the garden
The world’s most celebrated contemporary glass artist, Dale Chihuly, has chosen the Adelaide Botanic Garden for his first major outdoor exhibition in Australia and the wider southern hemisphere. Chihuly will present a curated selection of large-scale installations and sculptures from September 2024 through to April 2025.
11. Explore… world-class wine regions
South Australia is the historic heart of Australian wine, home to world-famous regions and labels. The continued success of our wine regions relies on access to secure, affordable and fit-for-purpose water. That’s why DEW has recently finalised a water security strategy for the Barossa Valley.
12. Explore … citizen science projects
Do you like getting your hands dirty or are you enthralled by how the natural world works? SA has launched its first-ever Citizen Science strategy, meaning school children, university students, retirees, and anyone keen to contribute to the greater understanding of our environment will have even more opportunities to get involved.
13. Explore… the welcome return of migratory birds
Recent floodwaters, combined with the delivery of ‘water for the environment’ brought vital freshwater to the Lower Lakes and Coorong. The flows have created more food and habitat that’s seen the return of many species of migratory birds – from cormorants and pelicans through to great crested grebes and terns.
14. Explore … protecting the environment with friends
What is more rewarding than contributing to conservation with a group of mates? Friends of Parks work closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to conserve and manage our parks and reserves. You can join a group and get involved in activities from tree planting and wildlife monitoring through to habitat management and heritage restoration.
15. Explore … the night sky
Enjoy stargazing? Head to the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve for the best and brightest view of the stars above SA. It is Australia's first Dark Sky Reserve and one of only 15 in the world joining an elite group of remarkable dark places.
16. Explore … the biodiversity of Nuyts Archipelago
It’s a haven for biodiversity. The Nuyts Archipelago islands on SA’s west coast is home to an amazing 500 species of native flora and 100 species of native fauna – many of which are rare or endangered.
17. Explore … what is underground
Have you ever been to South Australia’s only World Heritage site? Just 3½ hours from Adelaide, you will find Naracoorte Caves, part of the 800,000-year-old Naracoorte East Range and one of the world’s most important fossil sites.
18. Explore … heritage by the water
South Australia has 17 heritage-listed areas. Why not check out those near the water like the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse in the southeast or historic Port Adelaide and Goolwa, where you can explore some of the features and buildings that helped shape SA's early colonial trade routes.
19. Explore … heritage below the water
About 800 vessels are known to have been wrecked along South Australia’s coast and inland waters. Grab your snorkel and get up close to the 70 vessels that ended their days in 19 identified ships’ graveyards.
20. Explore … Traditional Owners connection to Country
Our national parks protect and conserve the lands of the Traditional Owners and we pay respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging. That is why we are putting up signage at sites of cultural significance within SA's parks to educate visitors about the site's deep spiritual connection to First Nations people.
21. Explore … something eerie
Why not visit the 180-year-old Adelaide Gaol, where the spirits of past occupants are said to roam. Or, for the more faint-hearted, visit during the day to discover stories and artifacts from some of the site's most famous prisoners.
22. Explore …a colourful congregation of cuttlefish
Every winter thousands of giant Australian cuttlefish congregate to mate along the coast in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park near Whyalla. As part of the breeding process, male cuttlefish make it a point to look absolutely stunning, putting on a spectacular display of colours and shapeshifting to attract and keep a mate. Kind of like a dance-off!
23. Explore … Adelaide’s early colonial charm
Ayers House is a grand stately mansion of Victorian opulence, beautifully restored to modern vintage style. Everything here is on a grand scale, the driveway sweeps, the chandeliers illuminate, and the celebrations are legendary.
24. Explore … something a little scary looking yet has an amazing life story
Native lamprey – the toothy, eel-like creature – make an annual migration across the southern Murray-Darling Basin as part of their breeding cycle. SA Government scientists have tagged them to see just how far up the system they go. In 2023, one particular lamprey travelled about 825km over 2 months, which is no small feat for a 50cm fish.
So what are you waiting for? Get exploring….!!