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23 Things to Do This Autumn in South Australia

24 Things To Do This Autumn In South Australia
Photos: SATC

1. Explore the Port

Cooler days make for pleasant exploring, and if you haven’t visited Port Adelaide for a while, there’s lots of new places to check out. For a meal or caffeine hit, head to Drummer Boy Café, Mayfair Bakery and Patisserie and Dutch Coffee Lab. Take the kids to spot dolphins along the wharf, the South Australian Maritime Museum, and National Railway Museum. Shop at Fisherman’s Wharf markets, then explore historic Lipson Street, and take in the street art from the Wonderwalls Festival – both from 2015 and the latest work that will be appearing from 21 April.

2. Pull out the Lycra

What’s better than a breezy cycle in the picturesque Adelaide Hills? Stopping at the many cafés and restaurants on your way, of course. A stop at the Cudlee Creek Café for a latté and thick slice of banana bread is a must before you race your way back down Gorge Road. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

3. Get Thrifty

There’s nothing like the changing of seasons as an excuse to spruce up your wardrobe. Save your pennies and hunt for bargains at some of South Australia’s best secondhand stores. Red Cross Rundle is full of hip finds, Vinnies Campbelltown is worth a look, and Savers Noarlunga is so big you’ll get lost for hours. Or, if you want something special, flex your credit card and go vintage crazy at Antique Market – it’s a treasure trove.

4. Dine Underground

Hide from the tumultuous weather in South Australia’s hidden caves, caverns and cellars. McLaren Vale’s The Salopian Inn serves up a cracking feed. Order your grub then head to the wine-packed lair to choose your drop. Maxwell Winery (also in The Vale) not only has a maze to explore, it also has a historic cave where mushrooms are grown. Ellen Street Restaurant chef Fabian Lehmann uses the ’shrooms for his wonderful dishes and when the occasion is right, the lime cave is used to host special degustation dinners and events. In the city, The Apothecary 1878 is an unexpected jewel in the West End’s crown. The underground restaurant is like stepping back in time. Imbibe, eat, and make like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

Evenings at Adelaide Oval

5. Evenings at Adelaide Oval

Whether it’s for your footy season fix or an event like Nitro Circus on 13 April, watching the sun go down on the heritage-listed scoreboard at Adelaide Oval is picture-perfect. Makes you feel pretty bloody lucky to call yourself a South Aussie.

6. A Day on the Murray River

All aboard the PS Marion Steamer, said to be the largest floating dock in the southern hemisphere. It docks from Mannum most weekends and an hour cruise will set you back around $20 each. The serene surroundings are well worth it. Be sure to rug up in case it gets a little chilly out on the water.

7. Ready, Aim, Fire

Let off some steam at the Marksman Indoor Firing Range. With 10 state-of-the-art ranges and a variety of packages, you’ll be able to have a bit of adrenalin-pumping fun.

8. Pub Bingo

With fritz-and-sauce sandwiches on arrival, we cannot recommend this pub activity enough. Held on the first and third Tuesday of every month, the Grace Emily Hotel offers free entry bingo with plenty of prizes. Hosted by South Australia musos Dave Blumbergs and Marcello Cole, or funny gal Carla Wills, be prepared for a laugh as you tackle the karaoke and underwear-themed rounds, among many others.

Kicking the Leaves

9. Kicking the Leaves

Frolic in the fabulous hues of autumn leaves at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden or along the streets of Hahndorf while enjoying a rum and raisin ice cream. Crunch, crunch, crunch. When you’re done feeling like a kid again, head to Piccadilly Kitchen, a delightful Hills café full of soul (only open Friday and Saturday).

10. Coffee Dates by the Sea

Relax as you step over the custom Wu-Tang door mat and into C.R.E.A.M on Jetty Road, Brighton. Order your usual caffeine hit and while you’re waiting, bop along to old-school hip hop and enjoy the sight of barista, Josh… Uh, we mean, the artwork on the walls.

11. Holiday House Hopping

Rent a holiday house along the South Aussie coast – perhaps Carrickalinga – where you can chill out for a weekend spent rugged up on the balcony as the storms roll over the sea. While you’re there, visit One Little Sister in Normanville for breakfast or a spot of coffee. And if you’ve been on the booze, there’s nothing quite like a freezing dip in the ocean to whip the hangover out of you.

East End Crawl

12. East End Crawl

Start the day with Exchange Speciality Coffee or Penny University for a coffee before you get a trendy trim at DAS Hair. Pick up some new threads at Old Midwest American Vintage, then have a bite at Hey Jupiter, Sad:Café or Burger Theory. Brighten your day by investing in a new plant from East End Flower Market. Spend the afternoon sipping on divine vino at Mother Vine or East End Cellars, and finish up at Nola or ETC for dinner. You’ll roll home that night.

13. Surfing

The south coast offers prime surfing conditions, especially in autumn. With great groundswell as the storms roll past and reasonably light, northerly offshore winds, you should grab your board and hit the road before the heavy winter rains come in.

14. Great Golf

Book your spot at one of South Australia’s most prestigious golfing destinations, Kooyonga Golf Club. For a challenging course with scenic views, and a members’ clubhouse that’ll make you dream about joining, this is the place to be. Prices for visitors start at $180 per person.

15. Morialta Hikes

When the days are cool and a little drizzly, a hike along Morialta will leave you feeling great inside and out. While you get those daily steps clocked on your fitness device, you can also enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with the waterfall and wildlife surrounding you. Plus, the crowds are a lot smaller once the sun’s gone.

Indulge in local produce

16. Indulge in Local Produce

On Sundays, the best way to treat yourself to some local produce – along with food fit for any dietary requirement – is to visit the Market Shed on Holland. Not only can you sample (and purchase) many of the delicious morsels on offer, you can also do much of your weekly shopping, grab a blossoming bunch of flowers and listen to some tunes while you have a warming cuppa. The same creators are behind the plethora of local makers, growers, artists and musicians from around the state at the Bowden Plant 4 Markets, on every Wednesday and Saturday.

17. Go to the Races

The Oakbank Races are the biggest picnic meeting in the southern hemisphere, so grab your friends and head along on Easter Saturday or Monday for food, sideshows, fashion and, of course, horse racing.

18. Read a Book

If you’re short on reading material, head to your local library. If you’re lucky, you might even hear a talk by a local author or find an activity the kids can get involved in. City Library off Rundle Mall offers vitual reality sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays, plus loads of workshops for kids and grownups). Or hunt out a local bookstore and ask them to recommend a South Australian author – you’ll be amazed at how many there are to choose from. Start at Dillons in Norwood, Imprints in Hindley Street, Matilda Bookshop in Stirling or local publisher Wakefield Press’ shop in Mile End. For secondhand bargains, try Mockingbird Lounge in Glenelg and O’Connells in Bank Street.

19. Dirty Scrabble

For grown-ups only, on the first day of relentlessly heavy rainfall, the Stanley Bridge Tavern in Verdun has been known to house a few naughty adults who let their words do the talking. They indulge in a glass (or five) of fortified shiraz while making up rude words and their definitions. Sounds like a bit of fun, don’t you think?

Bask in the gardens

20. Bask in the Gardens

Grab your picnic basket, a rug, your fave book and your camera for an adventure in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Walk the garden paths, taking happy snaps of all the vibrant colours surrounding you (as well as a few cheeky selfies), before settling on the perfect location to sit back with homemade treats and the words of your favourite author. Best to find a spot under a tree in case the rains come in. For an alternate location, give Belair National Park a try. Just be wary of the kookaburras who like to pinch your food!

21. Discover Yorkes

From wave watching at Port Hughes to shopping in Moonta’s boutiques and Kadina’s country Target, there’s plenty to do on the Yorke Peninsula. Do a spot of fishing – we hear whiting is abundant at this time of year – or walk the jetties and watch everyone else attempt to do it instead. Stay a week and savour the peaceful country lifestyle.

22. Food Trails

Campbelltown’s diverse cultural community is reflected in the area’s many food businesses. The Flavours of Campbelltown Food Trail guides you through them at your own pace. Enjoy tastings and pick up some treats for later, from take-home meals, gelati to pastries, smallgoods and much more. Or if you feel like combining food and scenery, take the family on the Adelaide Hills Kids’ Food Trail, starting with picking your own fruit and exploring cheesemaking, chocolate and honey production and plenty of coffee along the way for the grown ups.

23. Stay Home

Sometimes, staying home is the most fun you can have. Why not start a ritual for the first cold Saturday or Sunday in autumn? Grab your comfiest clothes (snuggly pyjamas are perfect), a fresh supply of coffee or wine, your favourite snacks and the TV show you’ve been waiting to binge watch, and settle in. Don’t budge until you’ve watched at least four episodes, although it is acceptable to break it up for a board game with friends/family. Cards Against Humanity? Pictionary? Scrabble? Pets hogging your lap, optional.

Got a favourite way to spend an autumn day in SA? Let us know in the comments, below.

Smiley Fritz

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