Adventure Cruises in South Australia

South Australia cruises offer a blend of adventure, history, and relaxation. Boasting spectacular scenery, including the seemingly endless Bunda Cliffs and the secluded beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula, the state of South Australia is perhaps best known for its wildlife, including many of the country’s most iconic beasts, from the kangaroo and wallaby to the koala and platypus. Cruises to South Australia take visitors from wine tasting in the Barossa Valley to mingling with penguins, and did we mention the Great White Sharks?

Top things to do and see in South Australia

From the wines of Adelaide and wildlife of Kangaroo Island to the adrenaline rush of Neptune Island, South Australia boat cruises include several or all of the highlights listed below.

Adelaide is the departure point for many cruises around Australia and a cosmopolitan city with an up-and-coming art and music scene. Adelaide also boasts an excellent range of restaurants and serves as the launching point for wine tasting tours of the famed Barossa Valley. The region has been producing wine since 1842, including cabernet sauvignon, Mataro, Grenache, Semillon, and tawny, and is best known for its shiraz and Riesling.

Kangaroo Island features rugged cliffs and sublime beaches dotted with quaint seaside cabins, but beyond its spectacular scenery, the island offers unforgettable South Australia wildlife encounters. From koalas and wallabies to platypi and emus, and the island’s namesake, of course, Kangaroo Island is home to many of Australia’s unique species. In addition, visitors can see penguins, sea lions, and goannas, while Flinders Chase National Park, at the island’s southwestern end, is the site of entire seal colonies.

Neptune Island offers a unique thrill for the truly brave and adventurous on a South Australia luxury cruise! Only a few spots in the world offer the opportunity to go cage diving with Great White Sharks, and Neptune Island is one of them. Climb into a submerged cage and stare down these apex predators or, if you coming face to face with “Jaws” doesn’t appeal to you, try swimming with seals or fishing for whiting and pink snapper.

Port Lincoln is known as the tuna fishing capital of Australia and it’s quite probable the delicious bluefin tuna you enjoyed at that fancy Adelaide restaurant came from here. In addition to tuna, Port Lincoln produces kingfish, abalone, oysters, mussels, and lobster, earning it the title of “Seafood Capital of Australia”. Visitors tour this small but lovely port city overlooking Boston Bay, all while learning about the area’s fishing industry — as well as enjoying its product.

Coffin Bay combines white sand beaches hugging placid waters with hiking through the protected forests of Coffin Bay National Park and spotting massive schools of Samson fish, kingfish, and tuna off Greeny Island. The area has recently become known for its delicious oysters, best enjoyed under the sun on gorgeous Gallipoli Beach.

The Pearson Islands are an excellent spot to fish for giant whiting, Australian salmon and flathead. For those visitors less interested in matching wits with game fish, the islands feature excellent beaches and clear waters perfect for snorkeling. Those seeking yet another South Australia wildlife encounter can visit the nearby seal colonies and watch the seals do some fishing of their own.

Tasmania is still largely undiscovered as an adventure cruise destination. The best South Australia cruises take in Tasmania’s indescribable Wilderness Heritage Zone, with its otherworldly landscape, explored during treks through the bush in search of the elusive orange-bellied parrot, Bruny Island and its fur seal colonies, and Maria Island National Park, home of the infamous Tasmanian Devil, in addition to kangaroos and wallabies.

Top Tips for visiting South Australia on a cruise

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended year-round but absolutely essential during the summer months.
  • Though snorkel gear may be provided by the cruise operators, bring your own to ensure proper fit and availability.
  • No diving experience is required to enjoy cage diving with Great White Sharks. Visitors who do not wish to enter the cage can still see the sharks from the boat. Ocean floor cage dives, available on some South Australia adventure cruises, do require dive certification.

Best time to cruise South Australia

Though South Australia is a year-round destination, it is always a good idea to plan ahead.

South Australia in November to March is summer when the sun is exceedingly bright and the temperature can top out at over 40 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit). The hottest months are from December to February.

South Australia from May to September is winter, with the coldest and rainiest weather from June to August.

To see the Great White Sharks, the best time of year is considered April, when numerous factors (weather, shark size, water visibility, etc.) are optimal, though October, December, and June are also good months. Neptune Island, however, is a favored spot for year-round great white shark viewing.

Where do South Australia cruises depart from?

The majority of Australia's small ship cruises that offer itineraries in the South will usually depart from Adelaide. Adelaide Airport is the primary airport for South Australia and serviced by most major airlines.

Note that Tasmania cruises and South Australia cruises that include Tasmania on their itinerary may depart from Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. Hobart International Airport is international in name only and reaching it will likely require a connection in Adelaide or another major Australian city, such as Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, or Brisbane.

Travelers from Europe and North America will typically require a connecting flight outside Australia before reaching Adelaide.

Please contact our reservations team to book your next adventure cruise to South Australia.