South Australia is the driest state in the world's driest continent - two-thirds of its land area is near-desert. Despite this, South Australia boasts lush green hills and valleys, thriving farms and orchards, and world-renowned wine regions including the famous Barossa Valley. South Australia is the gateway to the vast arid landscapes of the Australian Outback, and mines most of the world's opals at Coober Pedy.

Unlike Australia's other states, South Australia doesn't have its origins as a penal colony - the regional areas were settled by German, Scottish, Cornish and English immigrants. These free settlers brought their own traditional wine making and culinary techniques to South Australia, creating a distinctive European culture in the regional towns. You can also enjoy a vibrant wining and dining culture in the state capital of Adelaide.

History

The South Australian coastline was charted as early as 1627 by the Dutch explorer Peter Nuyts, but it was Matthew Flinders who actually first fully surveyed the coast, in 1802. The inland was opened up by the intrepid Charles Sturt, who discovered the fertile river basin of the mighty Murray and reported on its prospects for colonisation.

Population

1.5 million

Capital City

Adelaide

Area

984,614 square kilometres

Climate

Temperatures vary dramatically. During summer temperatures in northern areas such as the Flinders Ranges and Coober Pedy regularly climb above 40°C, while southern coastal areas rarely top 30°C. Average yearly temperatures range from 8°C to 29°C.

Time Zone

Australian Central Standard Time 
Daylight Saving: Clocks go forward one hour on the last Sunday in October and go back one hour on the last Sunday in March

State Emblems

Animal Emblem: Hairy nose wombat 
Floral Emblem: Sturt desert pea

Major Attractions

Adelaide, Barossa Valley, Eyre Peninsula, Murray River, Coonawarra Wine District, Clare Valley Wine District, Innes National Park, Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Birdsville Track, Coober Pedy