South Australia is a big, beautiful place packed with things to do, but sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same old things. Our list of boredom-busting activities around South Australia will get you out of the house and into a whole new world of fun (without breaking the bank)…
1. Adelaide’s Bouldering Club
No, bouldering isn’t rock-stacking for giants. Bouldering is free climbing without a harness, using only your body strength. The sport consists of a sequence of arm movements, allowing the body to be moved up a climbing wall, rock boulder or even a wall, which requires huge levels of strength on the forearms and fingers, and different techniques. This sequence is normally called a ‘problem’. Thankfully, there is a thick foam mattress to break your fall –boulderers usually climb three to four metres. Hiding in Thebarton, this an indoor climbing haven that caters for beginners to experts. Surprise yourself with what your body can do. At $16 for a day membership, it won’t break the bank either.
10 Ware St, Adelaide, South Australia
2. Sign up to a short course
Ever wanted to pursue one of your passions but felt it was too late? Nonsense. Vincent Van Gogh didn’t paint his first masterpiece until he was 32 and Sharon Jones didn’t release her first album until she was 40, so it’s never too late. The WEA offers an array of short courses, ranging from learning Mandarin for fun to home cheese making, so there is literally a course for anyone. And for about the same price as a festival ticket, you can be filling your Saturday afternoons with six to seven weeks of self-improving, boredom-killing fun.
3. Port Noarlunga Reef Aquatic Reserve
When was the last time you visited SA’s Little Barrier Reef? As a teen, we went snorkelling, saw a shark, hopped-out-of-there pretty quickly, and ticked it off our ‘Done That, Don’t Need To Do It Again’ list. As an adult, going back was cathartic, and it is absolutely stunning. Following the Port Noarlunga Reef Underwater Trail is an absolute must for any South Australian. Not to mention it’s free (bar the snorkelling gear, which you will have to borrow or hire) and if the depths of the reef are a bit too confronting for your shark-fear, you can snorkel in the shallow depths of the jetty and still see a microcosm of colourful sea life. If you’re not keen to be under the waves, why not ride them instead? This is the best place in South Australia to do some stand-up paddle boarding. Even going on a beach walk on a winter’s day is spectacular in its own right.
Geocaching is a modern twist on navigating and treasure hunting. It is very much a 21st century version of hide and seek; a kind of hi-tech scavenger hunt. Commonly it includes somebody concealing a container and then telling others where it is covered up. The hider is known as the cache owner or CO and the container is the geocache – or cache, for short. The hider uses a GPS receiver to capture the geographic coordinates of the location, then publishes a description of the cache along with the coordinates on any of several websites. To join in the fun, all you need is the app, a smartphone or tablet and a sense of adventure. The hidden containers can be anything from the size of a thimble to a shipping container, and it is incredibly fun to hunt down the hidden ‘treasures’. Usually, there is a marker book and a pencil, so you can initial and log that you’ve found a certain marker. This is a great interactive activity, especially for getting the kids out and about. There are geocaching markers all over South Australia, so there really isn’t limits to where you can explore.
5. Cheap Movies
Movies seem to be a trending activity at the moment and I can understand why. Who doesn’t enjoy kicking back with a bucket of popcorn and watching a good movie? There’s also never been a better time to head to the cinema. They’re all competing for your business with their competitive prices and membership options. Palace Nova Eastend has a Monday Madness promotion where tickets are only $7 before 4pm and $9 after 4pm and any movie ticket at their Prospect location is always only $13.
Also, Prospect is offering the sweetest deals these school holidays with $8 tickets for everyone (that’s right, adults get kids prices too!) for their hottest releases: A House With A Clock In Its Walls, Smallfoot, Christopher Robin, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, and Alpha (Valid from October 1-12, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). Oh, and did I mention that they have the cheapest student movie tickets in Adelaide, just $8 for any film, any day, any time (excludes special events and film festivals). Then there’s Reading Cinemas at West Lakes and Elizabeth who have slashed the prices of their standard movie tickets to $10, and Gold Class to $20, all the time.
6. Himeji Garden
Adelaide is sister city to the ancient Japanese city of Himeji. To commemorate this bond, in 1982 Himeji gifted Adelaide with this traditional and beautiful Japanese garden. Located on the corner between South Terrace and Glen Osmond Road, the garden features Japanese flora, a raked Zen garden and a tea house, and is the perfect place for a quiet picnic. Next time you’re probing for something different to do, pack a picnic rug, head to the central markets and fill a picnic basket with local goods, then visit Himeji Gardens for a sublimely quiet and serene picnic. The garden also offers free tours, but you must be a group of ten and be booked in with the park ranger.
Contact the Park Lands Ranger 8203 7483.
7. Cold case
Think you’ve got what it takes to crack a cold case? Raiders of the Lost Archive is an against-the-clock game for adults and grownups that pits teams against each other to solve a mystery in the Barr Smith Library. You can play solo, in pairs or groups to crack cryptic clues, explore hidden corners and take part in timed challenges. Or if you prefer to be outdoors, there’s the City Dash – a race around the streets of Adelaide to uncover all the clues without getting caught by patrols – and Adelaide Undercover, a stealth game where you are a covert operative working with field agents. Events are held regularly, and there are more info and other immersive games on the Fire Hazard Games website.
8. Eyre Peninsula Drive
Forget the Great Ocean Road, which is so packed with tourists and locals it can take the shine off your trip. Eyre Peninsula is loaded with natural wonders and things to do. It’s a good idea to take a few days, even though you can do parts of it in a one-day drive if you’re smart with your time. It all starts from Port Augusta, where you can swim with giant cuttlefish and dolphins, then to Cowell where you can swim with big blues. Arno Bay has marine tours, Tumby Bay has island tours and Port Lincoln has wine and dine experiences, abalone hunting in Memory Cove in Lincoln National Park, and shark cages and sea lions galore. At Coffin Bay, you will get the best oysters in the world, and Locks Well Beach is breathtakingly beautiful. Best of all? A trip like this doesn’t have to cost the earth, with several free camping sites in the area.
9. Glamping, The New Way To Go Camping
Ditch the old tent covered in spiders in the back of your shed for a glamping tent or location. Glamping is where the old annoyances that used to come with camping meets modern luxury. Like camping, glamping allows you to access and experience parts of nature you can’t on an ordinary holiday. You’re still in a tent, however, this is no ordinary tent this glamorous, spacious tent is already set up upon your arrival so there are no arguments or hissy fits. Glamping was made for those of us who love the idea of immersing ourselves in nature but aren’t too fond of sleeping on the floor or leaving a real toilet behind.
10. Adelaide Free Bikes
We’ve had lots of interstate visitors in the last couple of months, and were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to go for a bike ride in Adelaide, without needing any equipment. The free bike scheme keeps getting bigger, with more locations added. Our favourite is at Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli – follow the signs to the kiosk. You’ll be provided with a bike, helmet, and a bike lock. As the kiosk is right on the Torrens, riding up and down both sides of the river is the perfect way to see this picturesque side of Adelaide. With 20 locations, ranging from Port Adelaide to Unley, it’s an incredibly beneficial scheme for a great day out.
11. Free Garden Goods
Gumtree is full of weird and wonderful things, and our favourite is the free section. There is a lot of crap on there, but free plants are plentiful. Not to mention gardening is a great stress reliever and therefore the perfect weekend activity to get you ready for work on Monday. All you need is a vehicle to transport, some gardening gloves, and the Gumtree app. Once the weekend hits, you wait for the inevitable free plants to show up. You might have to go to the person’s house to dig up and take the plants or you might find a collection already dug up ready for moving, or potted plants that need a new home. This is ideally better with two or more people, but we have known people to do it on their own. The process is like going to Bunnings but cheaper and way more thrilling.
12. Monarto Zoo
Late last year Monarto Zoo announced a new attraction, Australia’s only 360-degree lion encounter, giving you a prey’s eye view into the world of these grand predators. After walking through the obscure tunnels you’ll emerge within clawing range and have the hairs on the back of your neck standing upright. There is no minimum age making it the perfect day trip for children and adults of all ages. There are many more activities to do in one of the world’s largest open-range zoos such as checking out their 500 animals and 50 species of exotic and native mammals, birds and reptiles. Our favourite is the American Bison. They have the body of a cow, the coat of a bear, the horns of a bull, the tongue of a frog, and a face of, well a bison. These fuzzy creatures are incredibly entertaining with their cheeky personalities, they can go from being completely calm one minute to extremely excited and rolling around in the dirt.
360-degree lion encounter Child $45 Concession $55 Adult $60 further discounts apply for members
General zoo admission one-day pass Child $19.80 Concession $25.50 Adult $36.00
13. Adelaide Oval Roof Climb
Forget the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb we have our own exhilarating adventure right here in SA’s CBD, it’s the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb. That’s right you can legally climb up on the roof of Adelaide’s largest stadium and pose for a photo while you’re there. You can conquer your fear of heights solo or with a group of friends (maximum 14 people).
If you’re a Cricket or AFL lover it gets even better, you can complete the roof climb during selected games and get an almost bird’s eye view of all the action. If you enjoy looking at the scenery and majestic views then you’ll love the twilight climb as you get to watch the sunset over our stunning city.
If you’re completely nuts and a self-confessed adrenaline-junkie then the after dark climb is for you. You can listen to your favourite party tunes while making your way up the iconic roofline and receive post-climb beverage. All climbers will also be given a certificate upon completion so you have something to show for your accomplishment other than the sweat marks on your top.
Prices start from $70 for children and $104 for adults.
14. Market Shopping On A Budget
These activities are only available some weekends but they are a fun inexpensive activity to do by yourself or with a friend. Depending on what you’re after, Plant 4 Bowden markets are predominantly food oriented, selling healthy ready to eat meals like butter chicken and fresh organic fruits and vegetables. All the cooked food available is made from ethically sourced ingredients and the fresh produce is locally sourced. These markets are on both Wednesday evenings and Saturdays.
If fashion is more your forte then Gilles at The Grounds is for you. There is a wide range of clothes available at an affordable price, both new and pre-loved. You will find many start-up businesses and local designers at the market, selling off samples and perhaps giving an insight into their new line. These markets started off at Gillies Street Primary school, hence the name but following their success the markets had to move to a larger location and now you can find them at the Show Grounds every second Sunday but check their website because they sometimes add in an extra market.
15. Underrated Hiking Tracks Around Adelaide
We all know about the torturous Mt Lofty track, the beautiful Morialta Conservation Park and the over Instagramed Hallett Cove Boardwalk trail. If you’re like me you don’t like being crowded when you’re working out and you don’t have to be. Adelaide has so many stunning trails not many people know about. Black Hill Conservation Park located in the northeast this park offers several hiking trails for different abilities, bird watching and a distant yet breathtaking view of surrounding suburbs. If you live in the south and really want to get lost in nature then it’s a good thing you live near Randell Park. You’ll see nothing but bushland and hear nothing but the thousands of birds in the trees. New trails were opened in June 2018 and are waiting for you and your friends to explore them. You are likely to encounter some wildlife in the park such as kangaroos, koalas, native birds and on hot days stay away from long grass and keep an eye out for snakes.
Have you tried something new recently? Discovered part of SA you hadn’t before? Let us know in the comments, below.