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Picture Perfect National Parks in SA for an Adventure Away

From the depths of a forest to crystal clear coastlines, adventure awaits just outside of Adelaide in South Australia’s national parks.

South Australia is blessed with what mother nature gave her – mountains carved by history, turquoise waters lapping white sand and an abundance of unique Australian wildlife. Get back to nature, recharge your batteries, and take beautiful photos by planning your next weekend getaway at one of the many protected national parks across SA. Camp under the stars, kayak through rapid waters and truly appreciate the natural beauty that can be discovered just outside of Adelaide city.

Gawler Ranges National Park
Gawler Ranges National Park
Gawler Ranges National Park

A spectacular national park steeped in history and culture, Gawler Ranges is a must-add to your list. Take the long drive up and stretch your legs as you hike the famous Organ Pipes, formed over 1500 million years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. Then, set up camp under the canopy of unpolluted night sky, in one of the best places in SA for stargazing.

Park Entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Barns Road, Gawler Ranges

Photo Ops: Striking red sunsets contrast with nighttime's whimsy blue blanket of stars.

Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park

Nature lovers, assemble. Situated at the tip of Yorke Peninsula, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park can be reached in little over three hours by car from Adelaide, making it the perfect option if you fancy an overnight trip. A popular spot for camping, fishing and surfing, the national park has no shortage of activities to fill your adventurous day. When it comes to accommodation, pick from camping spots or cabins, which are situated alongside perfect picnic spots and BBQ facilities.

Park Entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Inneston, Yorke Peninsula

Photo Ops: The national park is home to incredible wildlife and sweeping beaches.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Got a few days of annual leave left? Take the 5-6 hour drive up to the iconic Flinders Ranges and live your best outdoors life. There’s a range of accommodation options for all adventurous types, as well as BBQ and picnic areas, so don't fret if you can’t live without electricity and running water. The rugged, mountainous landscape is expansive, so opt for the guided tours available if you’re a newbie.

Park Entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Blinman, Flinders Ranges

Photo Ops: Think quintessentially Australian outback, with wide-stretching landscapes great for a mantlepiece-worthy couples shot.

Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park

Walk, bike, canoe or take a self-guided drive around the 14,879 hectares of Murray River National Park and become acquainted with the endless wetlands and the wildlife that call it home. Made up of six individual parks across the area, each landscape offers something different. Think adorable wildlife from aquatic to koalas, campfire and picnic areas to refuel and multiple different camping options.

Park Entry: Free entry

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Katarapko

Photo Ops: The river's crystal clear waters and aquatic life make for fun, memorable snaps.

Mount Remarkable National Park
Mount Remarkable National Park
Mount Remarkable National Park

Remarkable by name and remarkable by nature, this park has fast become a family favourite. There's bushwalks suited to all ages and abilities, easy-to-access picnic and barbeque facilities, and a unique landscape of rocks, forest and stunning viewpoints as you make your way up the 960m high Mount Remarkable Summit.

Park Entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Melrose

Photo Ops: Update the family photo-album with a self-timer shot set amongst the striking rock formations.

Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park

Go for the famous oysters, stay for the crystal-clear water that can only be seen in Coffin Bay. This waterfront haven has endless activities, including surfing, boating, canoeing, scuba diving and windsurfing – if the weather allows. Enjoy a picnic in one of the many designated spots, keep an eye out for a whale passing by and take a bushwalk if you can drag yourself away from the water!

Park Entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Coffin Bay, Eyre Peninsula

Photo Ops: Whale spotting makes for the perfect picture-worthy activity. 

Coorong National Park
Coorong National Park
Coorong National Park 

Driving down Robe way? Take some extra time to soak up the serenity at Coorong National Park. A perfect pit-stop, overnight stay or to recharge your batteries over a few days and nights, Coorong is full to the brim with European and cultural history. You can explore the park on a four-wheel drive tour, by boat, kayak or canoe, or maybe just on your own two feet. You may recognise this park and its pelicans from the film adaptation of iconic Australian novel Storm Boy, so keep an eye out for a feathered friend or two!

Park Entry: Free entry

Park Hours: 9am – 4pm

Address: Coorong

Photo Ops: Keep an eagle eye out for pelicans and capture a film-worthy shot to take the memory home.

Lake Gairdner National Park
Lake Gairdner National Park
Lake Gairdner National Park

Now this is one you’ve surely seen crop up on Instagram before. Surrounded by the picturesque red foothills of the Gawler Ranges, Lake Gairdner is one of South Australia’s most famous salt lakes. You can pitch a tent and camp for free up here, but do your research as it’s fairly limited on the facilities front. Pack plenty of food and drinks in advance, and check out where the toilets are so you’re not caught short.

Park Entry: Free entry

Park Hours: Always open

Address: Lake Gairdner

Photo Ops: Lake Gairdner stretches out over the horizon to provide a jaw-dropping, shimmering backdrop to your unique picture.

Flinders Chase National Park
Flinders Chase National Park
Flinders Chase National Park

No national park round up would be complete without mentioning the much-loved Flinders Chase. There are endless natural beauty spots from the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, alongside wildlife including seals, koalas and kangaroos. With summer coming up, Kangaroo Island is the ultimate spot to take some time away and feel like you’ve actually gone on holiday, while supporting the island's recovery from the devastating bushfires.

Park Entry: $12 adult, $6.50 child

Park Hours: Always open

Address: S.Coast Road, Flinders Chase, Kangaroo Island

Photo Ops: The sheer diversity in wildlife will have you snapping all throughout your spectacular stay.

Looking for an outdoorsy adventure a little closer to home? Check out Adelaide's best spots for an alfresco feast.