Night walk at Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills
It’s famous for taking you closer to South Australia’s native critters, including patting sessions with koalas. And during summer, Cleland Wildlife Park takes you into the secret world of seldom seen nocturnal animals such as potoroos, bettongs and bandicoots.
Heading off at dusk and led by rangers, everyone’s given torches to light their way along a trail that goes past these foraging animals as well as wallabies in darkness mode and a night feeding session with Tasmanian devils.
When: select Friday nights, November to April.
How much: Adults $50, children $40
Santos Tour Down Under, Adelaide
The biggest and most prestigious professional cycling race in the southern hemisphere attracts the world's top riders to an 800-kilometre course that winds its way through the beauty of South Australia. As much as it’s about the race, the Santos Tour Down Under is also a celebration of cycling and kids are a big part of it.
The Bupa Mini Tour for Kids (January 22) sees riders aged six to 12 kitted out and given the opportunity to ride Be Safe Be Seen MAC Stage 6 circuit while the Bupa Family Ride along the 2.3-kilometre People's Choice Classic circuit (January 15) sees the whole family wheeling the course just a few hours before the pros.
When: January 15 and 22
How much: $30 per child for the Mini Tour, $30 for one adult one child and $5 per extra cyclist for the family ride.
Commonwealth Bank RoofClimb, Adelaide Oval + Stadium Tour
The iconic curving roof of the redeveloped Adelaide Oval has generated admiration around the world, winning awards and fans as international sporting events are beamed from its hallowed turf.
Now, visitors can climb the striking structure, rising 50 metres above the green to access jaw dropping regional views and heart racing excitement.
Accompanied by adults, kids over eight can participate in RoofClimb and there’s a choice of experiences, including the opportunity to climb during sporting events or watch one of Adelaide’s spectacular sunsets from the best vantage point in town
Alternatively, Adelaide Oval offers 90 minute tours around the stadium, giving your little ones an insight into how an international stadium is run – including a visit to the players changerooms and inside the historic scoreboard.
Commonwealth Bank RoofClimb
When: Year round.
How much: From $99 for adults, from $69 for children aged 8-15.
Adelaide Oval Stadium Tours
When: Year round
How much: Adults $22, Concession $17 and $12 for children aged 5-15.
Shipwrecked, South Australian Whale Centre, Victor Harbor
Head south of Adelaide to the gorgeous coastline on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The South Australian Whale Centre in Victor Harbor offers holiday programs where kids can explore science, magic and marine themes in a fun hands-on way.
At Shipwrecked, children will learn how to survive at sea and also how to make a telescope. The centre, housed in historic rail sheds, features the Fisheye 3D theatrette and there are lots of great tactile displays. While no whales pass during summer, the kids will learn plenty about them in a fun, interactive environment.
When: Shipwrecked is on three days a week during January. The centre is open year-round.
How much: $8 per child.
Hahndorf Farm Barn, Adelaide Hills
Bribe your way to more time at wineries (link to family friendly wineries article) in the magical Adelaide Hills by taking the kids to the multi-award-winning Hahndorf Farm Barn. Here, they can milk cows, bottle feed baby lambs, hand feed kangaroos, emus, camels and donkeys and ride old tractors and ponies.
You can bring a picnic hamper of gourmet produce picked up from providores in the area, along with a bottle of local wine, and relax in the barbecue and picnic areas.
When: Year round.
How much: Adults $15, kids 14 and under $12.
ZOOcation Care, Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide Zoo’s enthralling ZOOcation Care school holiday programs see kids aged five to 12 spend the day with a conservation educator as they get to know the animals in Adelaide’s award-winning zoo via fun activities and presentations. It’s hugely popular and numbers are limited to 30 a day, so if you’re planning a visit, book ahead.
Even if you miss out, Adelaide Zoo is a great day out for families. Home to the Southern Hemisphere’s only Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi… and from Boxing Day – 29 January, Dinosaurs Alive will give you the chance to come face-to-face with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.
When: Zoocation Care is on December 19-22 and weekdays from January 9-25.
How much: $65.
Granite Island Recreation Park, Sunset Penguin Tour
The Fleurieu Peninsula’s Granite Island is like something off a pirate’s treasure map – huge boulders covered in orange lichen pepper a wild landscape pounded by crashing waves. Getting to the island from Victor Harbor is easy – 20 minutes by foot or jump on the horse-drawn tram along a wooden causeway.
It’s a fab adventure for kids on its own, but Granite Island is also home to a small colony of wild little penguins. Granite Island Nature Tours takes you to see the busy creatures as they return to their nests at dusk. There’s no guarantee you’ll see them, as it’s only a small population, but rummaging around with an expert guide in the semi-dark is atmospheric fun.
When: Most days at 8pm, bookings essential.
How Much: $15 an adult, $7.50 for children under 16.
Phone the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre (08) 8551 0777 or visit the Centre at the Causeway Plaza.
Steamranger Heritage Railway, Adelaide Hills
Mount Barker is home to the brilliant Adelaide Hills Farmers’ Market each Saturday. There’s plenty of great food, drink and things to see for the kids, but why not top off the experience with a ride on the Steamranger Heritage Railway. Adults are guaranteed to enjoy it as much as the kids!
The award-winning rail, run entirely by volunteers, hosts several different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains along a scenic route between Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills, into the Mount Lofty Ranges, down to Strathalbyn and on through the coastal towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot to Victor Harbor.
When: Mostly daily through the holiday period.
How much: Prices vary.
Cave and fossil exploring, Naracoorte
The Limestone Coast has some great camping areas and plenty to entertain children, especially in the Naracoorte Caves National Park, where 800-thousand-year-old World Heritage caves, spectacular in their own right, also comprise one of the world’s most important fossil sites.
Four of the 28 caves are open to the public, with self-guided, guided and adventure caving tours year round. Kids love the Wonambi Fossil Centre where they can be transported back to when megafauna roamed the planet.
When: Year round.
How much: Park entry is free. Tour and attraction fees start at $9 for adults, $5.50 for children.
Marri Mita Bush Buddies and Yura Udnyu, Flinders Ranges
The spectacular rocky landscapes of the Flinders Ranges, 430 kilometres north of Adelaide have a history stretching back more than 800 million years. and Wilpena Pound Resort is the only accommodation within the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.
Camping with the kids at Wilpena Pound Resort within the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park,there is already an unforgettable sensory feast, but there are also some excellent programs for the young ones. Marri Mita is a bushwalk for five to 12-year-olds guided by a local Adnyamathanha guide. And Yura Udnyu, for all ages, is a two-kilometre walk exploring the remarkably preserved Old Wilpena Station.
When: Marri Mita is on during South Australian school holidays.
How much: $5 per child for Marri Mita, $45 an adult and $35 children under 12 for Yura Udnyu.