With school holidays just a few days away, here are some hidden gems of South Australia that we think are well worth a visit! All of these towns or projects have been submitted as part of the KESAB Sustainable Communities program (Tidy Towns) and have had significant input from volunteers.
Blinman Heritage Mine (485km north of Adelaide)
Blinman is a tiny town to the north of the Flinders Ranges, with a population of about 20 people. It is actually the highest town in SA, sitting at 614m above sea level. But it is not the height you are here for, it is what is underneath the town. Blinman Mine or Wheal Blinman as it was called in 1862, was a working copper mine between the years of 1862 and 1907. Now, the mine is open to tourists, thanks to local volunteers and it is an excellent opportunity to experience a unique journey into the heart of an historic copper mine. An innovative sound and light system has been installed, which includes storytelling, light boxes and music, this coupled with the experienced tour guides will take you back in time, to the lives of the miners and their families during the second half of the 19th century.
Penong Windmill Museum (845km north west of Adelaide)
The Penong Windmill Musuem is a community initiative highlighting the history of the windmill in Penong and Australia and is drawing tourists from far and wide to the small Nullarbor town. In fact the museum includes the biggest windmill in Australia – Bruce! The museum is constantly growing and because it is situated outside, it can be visited at any time. While you are there, consider a side trip to Point Sinclair, a beautiful sheltered beach (unlike it’s neighbour Cactus Beach).
Tip: This is the last place to drop off your cans and bottles before you head west over the border into WA, whilst you won’t receive the deposit, the community takes the cans and bottle bins back into Ceduna, with the funds going towards community projects.
Petticoat Lane – Penola (385km south east of Adelaide)
Petticoat Lane in Penola is listed as a State Heritage Site and the cottages along the street are full of history and are definitely worth a look. However, the hidden gem is the excellent vegetable and herb garden at the rear of Sharam Cottage, which is maintained by National Trust volunteers with a pick-your-own and leave a donation system. During the year, you may also be lucky enough to be there when there are surplus fruits and vegetables. Volunteers make a conscious effort to use mulch, save water, and use recycled materials and most of the herbs, fruit and vegetables go to local restaurants.
Blyth (145km north of Adelaide)
This lovely little town is only a 20 min drive from Clare and well worth a visit . Stop in for a picnic lunch at Padnaindi Reserve and check out the fence, a mix of mosaics and interesting laser cut sheet metal which tells the story of farming in the district over time. Whilst you are in Blyth, treat yourself to a film at the Blyth Cinema – we are pretty sure there are not many others like it!
Walk the Yorke, Yorke Peninsula (Port Wakefield to Moonta Bay)
The Walk the Yorke trail is a 500km trail following the coastline of the Yorke Peninsula which has opened up many opportunities to see the spectacular landscape of the Yorke Peninsula and learn the history and stories of the region. This trail itself is no hidden gem, as it has become one of the must do’s in South Australia. But here are some of our favourite spots along the trail, which may not be so well known; to the north of Port Victoria where the trail goes inland through the Nharangga Aboriginal Lands and Point Pearce, there is an isolated colony of the “Grumpy Excavator”, the Southern Hairy-nose Wombat. This area is of particular cultural significance for Yorke Peninsula.
There is a 2km stretch at Port Julia, aptly named the Port Julia Community Walk, where you are high up on the cliffs above the beach and the views across the Gulf are exceptional. This section also has some very informative signage about the local wildlife. Lastly, the stretch between Port Victoria and Port Rickaby is all about the beach, as walkers can do this stretch of 21km entirely on the sand, whilst cyclists can use local roads (feature image at top of post).
Our Road Watch teams often report an increase in roadside litter, particularly at roadside rest stops, during and after the school holidays. In fact, roadsides are South Australia’s most littered areas*, so make sure you take your rubbish with you and if you do see someone doing the wrong thing, please report it!
*Information from Nov 2016 litter report