By Melissa Keogh
There are some things about summer that only Aussies will understand. Thongs sticking to the bitumen, seatbelt burns, cricket taking over the telly and sprinklers on the lawn.
But reside in South Australia in summer and you’ll notice several unique ways we like to spend our days as the thermometer climbs.
From dropping a line off the jetty to crunching through a Giant Twin ice cream and flinging a giant plastic tuna along the Port Lincoln foreshore, here’s 11 of the best ways to make the most of the warmer months in SA.
1. Eat bucketloads of cherries
Arguably the best fruit on earth. Try and eat only a handful and before you know it the whole box is gone and your lips are stained purple. Cherry season is mid-November to mid-January. The Adelaide Hills, Riverland and South East are SA’s cherry growing regions, however, the majority of the crop comes from the Hills’ sub-regions of Montacute, Cherryville (how fitting), Norton Summit, Basket Range, Summertown, Uraidla, Forest Range, Lenswood, Kenton Valley and Gumeracha. If you’re in Mclaren Vale area be sure to stop by Fleurieu Cherries five minutes from Willunga. Although, be quick! The season is nearing its end.
Editor’s note January 17: It’s quite possible that the fattest, roundest cherries (almost the size of small plums) can be found this week at the Adelaide Central Market.
2. Spend a day at the beach
Pristine, stunning, paradise – these words are overused when it comes to beaches, but there’s no truer description for many of SA’s coastal havens.
Metropolitan beaches Glenelg, Henley Beach, Semaphore, Grange and Brighton are always hives of activity, while Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach, Moana and Maslin are good for those located further south of the city.
While all the cosmopolitan action is at our metro beaches, you’ll find more quiet stretches of sand on Kangaroo Island, along the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas and at Limestone Coast towns of Robe and Beachport.
Top picks include Memory Cove in the Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula and Cap Clairout near Corny Point on the foot of the Yorkes.
3. It’s all about the ice cream
Whether it’s straight out the tub or on a stick, ice cream is a summer necessity. SA is home to a few of the best makers including local icon Golden North, which has been producing the sweet stuff at Laura in the Mid North for the past 90 years. A true South Aussie would have a tub stashed in the freezer or a box of Giant Twins on hand at all times.
If gelati is more your style, look out for Gelista. These guys are artisan-style, handmade gelato pros, with flavours such as almond and quandong, apple pie, macadamia and Kangaroo Island honey, and wattleseed rocher.
4. Toss a tuna
Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula is home to the famous tuna toss event otherwise known as Tunarama Festival. Held at the Port Lincoln foreshore over the Australia Day long weekend, Tunarama has a long history dating back to 1962.
The highlight of the event is the tuna toss, where competitors hurl a 10kg polyurethane tuna replica as far as they can. The world record is 37.23m set by former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin in 1998.
Tunarama Festival is a great family day out, with a number of other competitions and attractions including the boat building competition, a beach bod competition, the prawn toss, prawn peeling competition, beer keg roll, fireworks, markets and displays.
5. Catch a whopper
Blue swimmer crabs, garfish, squid and Tommy ruff are popular catches from SA jetties. Head to Port Germein on the Yorke Peninsula to find SA’s longest jetty, stretching about 1.5km.
Beach and boat fishing make a good day out and can provide hauls of King George whiting, squid, flathead and snapper (check for specific snapper closures).
Freshwater fish such as callop, redfin and yabbies can be found in the mighty Murray River.
6. Check out the silo art
Giant artworks splashed across grain silos can be found in various regional towns across the state. Waikerie in the Riverland is the latest town to welcome the impressive artworks, which include a huge parrot and yabby splashed across the silos. You’ll also find silo art at Coonalpyn, Kimba, Wirrabara and Tumby Bay. Take a road trip!
7. Follow the peloton
Australia’s biggest cycling race takes over our streets from January 15 – 20 as the world’s best cyclists whizz through stages in Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. The exhilarating race brings thousands of spectators to roadsides to take in the action. The event is also a huge benefit for our economy, with last year’s event injecting $63.7 million into the state.
8. Jump into Fringe action
Australia’s largest open access arts festival Adelaide Fringe swings into gear from February 15 – March 17. With it brings some of Australia’s – and the world’s – best comedians, circus performers, musicians and actors. The Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony are central Fringe hubs bustling with colour, lights, good food and a whole lot of entertainment. But other venues are also spread throughout Adelaide and some regional areas in pubs, small performance spaces, theatres, wineries, galleries and town halls.
9. Float down the Torrens on The Popeye
Long considered a treasured family outing, the Popeye boat that floats along the River Torrens between Elder Park and Adelaide Zoo recently took a new lease on life.
New branding was adopted in 2018 and the Popeye began attracting a new generation of passengers when it introduced gin masterclasses aboard with Prohibition Liquor Co. Popeye also hosts functions, parties and high teas. The original Popeye was launched on the Torrens in 1935 – so it’s a longstanding tradition that every Adelaidean should experience at least once!
10. Head to a rooftop bar
There is something about rooftops that make drinks taste better. Sip on a gin and tonic while soaking in the sights from eight storeys high at 2KW Bar and Restaurant on King William Street in the CBD. Another top spot is Hennessy Rooftop Bar at The Mayfair, The Gallery on Waymouth Street and Rocket bar and Rooftop.
If a relaxing Sunday arvo cider is what’s needed, then beer gardens are also good places to be in summer. We’ve done the hard work for you and picked out eight of the best beer gardens here.
11. Go brewery browsing
Remember when you cradled a glass of shiraz by the fire last winter? Well, now it’s time to clutch a cold pale ale under the air-con instead.
There is a brewery in just about every region, from Beer Garden Brewing in Port Lincoln to Smiling Samoyed at Myponga, and Lobethal Bierhaus in the Adelaide Hills.
Many of our craft brewers are producing award-winning froths, some with quirky flavours such as oysters, strawberries, cherry, milkshake, and even bacon. Yep, bacon. Don’t forget our longstanding big players. SA is also home to legendary breweries Coopers and West End.
Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.