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South Australia is known for its vast desert landscapes and beautiful coastline. This underrated state is also home to a wide range of unique sites and incredible natural landmarks you may have never heard of.

From arid outback deserts and pristine turquoise beaches to vibrant coloured lakes and ancient caves, there is truly no shortage of extraordinary natural landmarks in South Australia! The best way tick off these natural wonders in one trip is by doing a road trip through South Australia.

On my recent journey through South Australia, I was completely blown away by the natural beauty the state has to offer. I created this list of the 16 best natural landmarks of South Australia to inspire you to visit this amazing state and add some of these spots to your Australian bucket list!

I’ve also included some useful information to help you plan your visit to each of these South Australian landmarks. In this post, you’ll find tips on how to get there, what to do when you’re there and highly-rated tours that will take you to these attractions.

Natural Landmarks of South Australia, Umpherston Sinkhole

Umpherston Sinkhole, Mount Gambier

Natural Landmarks of South Australia – 16 Epic Natural Wonders

Nullarbor Plain/Bunda Cliffs – Eyre Peninsula

Crossing the famous Nullarbor Plain is an iconic experience that deserves a spot on everyone’s Australian bucket list. Following this route is one of the major highlights of doing a Perth to Adelaide road trip. Be sure to read our road trip guide that shares some top tips to help you plan your journey!

The Nullarbor is a massive, treeless desert that connects Western Australia with South Australia. Driving across this remote and vast landscape will take you on average 2-3 days and there are some really cool things to see along the way.

One of my favourite natural landmarks of South Australia can be found on this drive. The spectacular Bunda Cliffs tower over the Great Southern Ocean, giving you the feeling of standing at the edge of the world.

The best part is that there are several spots where you can park your car and camp on the sea cliffs, waking up right on the southern edge of Australia.

While driving the Nullarbor, you will stop at some historic roadhouses, camp in remote wilderness locations, and perhaps see some wild camels and kangaroos along the way!

Bunda Cliffs - Best Landmarks of South Australia

On the edge of the Bunda Cliffs, South Australia

Pink Lake, Lake Macdonell – Eyre Peninsula

Lake Macdonell aka Pink Lake is another great stop to make on a road trip from Perth to Adelaide. It’s one of the first natural landmarks you will come across when you arrive in South Australia after completing the Nullarbor drive.

You may have seen images of this striking pink lake on the internet and are eager to add it to your list of places to visit in South Australia. There are however a few key things to know before your visit.

Lake Macdonell is located on the western edge of the Eyre Peninsula and about 15km from the town of Penong down a rough dirt road.

Do you need to have a 4wd to get there? No, but it would make the drive a lot easier and quicker if you have one. Due to its remote location most visitors to the pink lake are people who are driving across the Nullarbor.

The time of year plays a big part in how vibrant the lake will appear when you visit. If you go at the end of summer, chances are it will be dried up and slightly brown. Plan your visit during spring or fall when there is more water in the lake for the best chance to see the bright bubble-gum pink colour.

This road that runs through Lake Macdonell is so unique!

Woolshed Cave – Eyre Peninsula

This huge limestone cavern is yet another must-see South Australian landmark on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Eroded away by years of forceful waves, the Woolshed Cave is truly impressive and makes for a really cool photo opportunity.

The Woolshed Cave is one of the best hidden gems of South Australia and is yet another iconic stop on your road trip from Perth to Adelaide. Once you cross the Nullarbor, the first place to camp for the night is often Streaky Bay. From there, it’s an easy one hour drive along the Flinders Highway to reach the cave.

Upon arrival, follow a set of wooden stairs from the parking lot that leads you down to the rocks by the ocean, where you’ll find the cave. Also known as the Talia Caves, this entire area of rugged coastline is spectacular and worthy of spending a few hours exploring.

Once you finish up at the Woolshed Cave, continue walking along the rocks to the right until you find some cute little rock pools. You can hop in the pools to cool down on a hot day or continue driving a bit further down the road to go for a swim at the beautiful Talia Beach.

Woolshed Cave - Famous landmark of South Australia

Exploring the amazing Woolshed Cave

Coffin Bay National Park – Eyre Peninsula

Located at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, this remote national park is known for its breathtaking natural scenery. Featuring white sand beaches, oceanfront camping spots, lots of wildlife to see and endless water activities, Coffin Bay National Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

This beautiful national park is a true slice of paradise and the ideal place to escape city life during the summer. If you’re into surfing, kayaking, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, camping or simply chilling on a gorgeous beach, then this is the place for you!

For sweeping panoramic views over the national park, head to the Templetonia Lookout located near the entrance to the park. Be sure to stop at Golden Island Lookout for stunning coastal views and then jump in for a swim at the pristine Almonta Beach.

The best time of year to visit Coffin Bay National Park is during the summer months of December – February. This is the ideal time for camping, hitting the beach and all the other outdoor activities the region is famous for.

Keep in mind, some areas of the national park are only accessible by 4WD vehicle but you can also access sections of the park by 2WD.

Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia

A beautiful beach in Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia

Pildappa Rock – Minnipa

This jaw-dropping rock formation is one of the most striking natural landmarks in South Australia. Pildappa Rock is a huge granite outcrop located about 15km from the small town of Minnipa on the Eyre Peninsula.

Rising up from an otherwise flat landscape, this giant wave-shaped rock has a very similar appearance to the famous Wave Rock in Western Australia. There are several walking trails around Pildappa Rock as well as BBQ and picnic facilities making it a pretty unique place to stop for some lunch.

For an epic view over the surrounding farmland, climb to the top of Pildappa Rock. From there you’ll get a great vantage point to see the Gawler Ranges in the far distance.

The best way to visit Pildappa Rock is to include it as a stop on your road trip through South Australia. The driving distance from Adelaide is around 7 hrs one way making it too far to travel for just a day trip.

To get there, you’ll need to follow a 15km dusty dirt road from the town of Minnipa which is just off of the main Eyre Highway. The road is 2WD accessible and there is a campground near the rock for those who wish to stay a while and break up the drive.

Pildappa Rock - South Australian Landmark

Pildappa Rock – denisbin / CC BY-ND 2.0

Wilpena Pound – Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

The ancient mountain range of Wilpena Pound is located in the heart of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Covering a huge area of 80 square kilometres, this impressive natural amphitheatre has a history that dates back over 800 million years!

There are many hiking trails in the national park leading you to scenic lookouts where you can get a glimpse at the magnitude of “The Pound”. The Wilpena Pound is so big that it’s hard to appreciate the beauty of this fascinating geological formation from any lookout within the park.

The best way to see it is to book a scenic flight which will take you high up above the national park giving you the perfect bird’s eye view over The Pound.

The Ikara-Flinders Ranges has been home to the Adnyamathanha people for many thousands of years. Learn the cultural significance of this iconic and sacred natural landmark by booking a guided Aboriginal cultural tour.

Whether you’re camping or staying in a hotel, the best place to base yourself within the national park is the Wilpena Pound Resort. This will give you easy access to all of the hiking trails and viewpoints within Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.

Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia

Driving into the Flinders Ranges with a backdrop of Wilpena Pound

Alligator Gorge – Mount Remarkable National Park

Located in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges within Mount Remarkable National Park, the dramatic scenery of Alligator Gorge will leave you speechless!

While hiking through Alligator Gorge on our road trip through South Australia, I was really impressed by this place and surprised I had never heard about it before.

Depending on the length or difficulty you prefer, there are several hiking trails to choose from in the gorge. When we visited the gorge, we chose the 2.5km return trail called The Narrows which takes you in a loop through the most impressive part of the gorge. It takes about an hour to complete, it’s not too challenging and the views along the way are truly magical!

If you have more time, you might want to consider the longer option called the Ring Route which is 9km and also passes through the narrow section of Alligator Gorge.

In my opinion this amazing gorge is one of the top landmarks of South Australia and absolutely deserves a spot on your Australian bucket list!

Alligator Gorge - Famous landmarks of South Australia

Hiking through Alligator Gorge

Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park – Coober Pedy

This remote natural landmark is located in the South Australian Outback about 30 minutes by car north of Coober Pedy. The small opal-mining town of Coober Pedy is one of the must-see places on your journey through the red centre of Australia.

If you’re planning to do a road trip from Adelaide to Darwin, the Kanku-Breakaways is an awesome and easy stop to add to your itinerary. Alternatively, a shorter road trip from Adelaide to Coober Pedy is perfect for those on a time limit.

The Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park is an otherworldly landscape consisting of red, orange and white rock formations that contrast beautifully against the vast surrounding landscape.

This is a place to stop and appreciate the majestic scenery and perhaps spot some of the local wildlife who call this remote location home. It’s hard to imagine that this dry and dusty desert was once the bottom of the ocean around 80 million years ago!

Aside from the remarkable natural formations here, the park holds cultural significance to the local indigenous people, the Adnyamathanha, who have retained a strong spiritual connection to the area for thousands of years.

Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park

Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park

Morialta Conservation Park – Adelaide

If you’re seeking an exciting adventure that’s only 10km from the centre of Adelaide yet has you feeling miles away from city life, head to Morialta Conservation Park. Full of beautiful waterfalls, gorges, lush forests, and caves it’s really hard to believe this place is so close to the city!

Visitors enjoy the network of scenic walking trails that connect you between the park’s three waterfalls. Along the way there are plenty of epic lookouts where you can admire the waterfalls and take in the amazing scenery.

For an easy walk, follow the First Falls trail which is a 3.5km walking trail that takes you to the main falls, past the Giant’s Cave and back to the carpark.

This is a great way to see some of the park’s main highlights if you’re not up for a challenging hike. Keep your eyes peeled for koalas who can often be spotted lounging in the trees!

To see the waterfalls flowing, you’ll want to plan your visit during spring/winter. If you’re spending a few days in Adelaide, be sure to read our 3 day Adelaide itinerary so you don’t miss any highlights.

Morialta Conservation Park - Best Natural Landmarks of South Australia

Discovering the beauty of Morialta Conservation Park

Sellicks Beach – Fleurieu Peninsula

The sight of Sellicks Beach will take your breath away with its steep sandstone cliffs that cascade down to the white sandy beach below. You can find this unique and stunning beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula which makes an excellent day trip from Adelaide.

The beach is pretty calm which is ideal for swimming and relaxing. Sellicks Beach is one of the only beaches on the peninsula where you can drive your car right onto the sand. The sand is hard which allows access for all types of vehicles, as long as you don’t drive on the soft sections.

This makes it easy to park your car on the beach, set up your beach chairs, BBQs, tents, etc, and enjoy a day of soaking up the sun! While you’re there, you can also check out the nearby Port Willunga Beach which is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the area.

Sellicks Beach is located very close to the McLaren Vale wine region, which was my favourite in all of South Australia. For the perfect day trip you could do a few wine tastings, stop for lunch at a winery and then hit the beach for the rest of the day.

►Find prices and availability for the McLaren Vale wine tour here◄

day trips from Adelaide - Fleurieu Peninsula fleurieu peninsula

The dramatic sandstone cliffs of Sellicks Beach

Remarkable Rocks – Kangaroo Island

One of the most iconic natural landmarks of South Australia can be found in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island. This unusual collection of granite rock formations are perched high up on a cliff with a backdrop of the Southern Ocean.

Over millions of years, these amazing structures were formed as a result of the harsh coastal conditions. Considering this is one of the island’s most famous natural landmarks, you’re likely to see crowds of other tourists when you go during the day.

For an even more magical view and minimal crowds, head over to the Remarkable Rocks for sunrise or sunset. This is when you can capture the best photos and enjoy this special place in a peaceful setting.

If you’re short on time, you can visit Kangaroo Island from Adelaide on an organised day trip however it will be a really long day. Kangaroo Island is quite big and there is so much to see and do, in my opinion it deserves more than just a day trip.

To see all of the best beaches and attractions around the island, I would recommend making it a weekend getaway from Adelaide or even longer if you have the flexibility!

►Find prices and availability for the Kangaroo Island day trip◄

Remarkable Rocks

Admirals Arch – Kangaroo Island

Not far from Remarkable Rocks in the same national park, this striking rock arch is located on the bottom corner of Kangaroo Island.

Sculpted by the crashing waves over many thousands of years, this fascinating natural arch creates the perfect frame to capture the wild Kangaroo Island coast.

To get there, follow an easy 400m boardwalk from the carpark that brings you to the Admirals Arch viewing platform. From here you can take in the awe-inspiring coastal scenery as you watch the waves crashing into the rocks below.

Look out for the colony of fur seals that can often be spotted lounging on the rocks below platform. If you’re lucky, you may even spot dolphins frolicking in the water nearby!

South Australian landmarks - Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island

Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island

Murray River – South Australia

The largest river in Australia winds its way through the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. This iconic natural landmark of South Australia travels through the state for about 650km before ending its journey in the sea near Coorong.

With over 130 million years of history, this massive river is home to many unique species of flora and fauna, dramatic cliffs and outstanding natural scenery. It’s the ideal place to go if you feel the need to escape the city and reconnect with nature.

The incredible Murray River can easily be explored by booking a full day trip from Adelaide. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Proud Mary while taking in the diverse landscapes and beauty that surrounds the mighty Murray River.

Learn all about the region’s rich history from your knowledgeable guide and enjoy lunch on board the boat before returning back to Adelaide with a few extra stops along the way.

►Find prices and availability for the Murray River day trip◄

Landmarks of South Australia - Murray River

The mighty Murray River, South Australia

Naracoorte Caves National Park – Limestone Coast

This complex network of underground caves has a history that stretches back over a whopping 800,000 years! The Naracoorte Caves are the only UNESCO World Heritage listed site in South Australia and contain some of the best-preserved fossil deposits in the world.

Located on the Limestone Coast region in the far east corner of South Australia, a visit to the Naracoorte Caves is best included on your road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide (or vice versa).

Venture inside one of the caves on a guided tour to learn all about the region’s unique history and extinct animals that have been found within. There is also a museum onsite where you can learn more details and fascinating facts about the Naracoorte Caves.

Find more detailed info about tour times, ticket prices and opening hours by visiting the official website.

Landmarks of South Australia - Naracoorte Caves

Exploring the amazing Naracoorte Caves

Blue Lake, Mount Gambier – Limestone Coast

At first glance, it’s hard to believe photos of the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier haven’t been altered. After seeing it with my own eyes on my road trip through South Australia, I can assure you it’s the real deal and it’s even better in real life!

This incredibly bright cobalt blue lake is located within a massive crater of an ancient volcano, making its appearance even more otherworldly. The vivid colour of the lake occurs due to a high level of clarity, which allows more light to penetrate into its depths.

The lake changes colour throughout the year and is known to be a brighter, more intense shade of blue during the summer months of December – March. During winter, the lake changes to a shade of light blue or steel grey.

The Blue Lake remains one of the most stunning natural wonders in South Australia and the biggest draw for visitors to the town of Mount Gambier. Be sure to add the Blue Lake to your Melbourne to Adelaide road trip itinerary it’s guaranteed to be one of the main highlights!

Blue Lake - mount gambier

The deep azure waters of the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier

Umpherston Sinkhole, Mount Gambier – Limestone Coast

The Umpherston Sinkhole is yet another mysterious natural landmark of South Australia’s Limestone Coast. Conveniently located in the heart of Mount Gambier, this is no ordinary sinkhole.

This massive sinkhole was formed when the roof of a limestone cave collapsed inward, leaving a huge hole in the earth. In the year 1886, the gaping hole was transformed into an enchanting garden filled with beautiful flowers and plants by a local named James Umpherston.

Nowadays this is a very popular attraction drawing visitors from far and wide to witness the unique sight of a lush green sunken garden. The Umpherston Sinkhole is open to visitors daily and free to visit. This was definitely my favourite thing to do in Mount Gambier!

You can descend into the sinkhole by following a winding staircase that guides you to the bottom. Once you reach the bottom and look upward toward the surface, the view is equally impressive.

umpherston sinkhole mount gambier

Umpherston Sinkhole Garden from above

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