Adelaide - Off the beaten track
The oldest surviving German settlement in Australia, Hahndorf, 29km (18mi) southeast of Adelaide, is a popular day trip. Settled in 1839 by Lutherans who left Prussia to escape religious persecution, Hahndorf still has an honorary burgermeister (mayor). These days it's a major tourist attraction, with more stuffed koalas than you can shake a eucalyptus leaf at.
There are many old German-style buildings in town. The German Arms Hotel dates from 1839 and is one of the best pubs in the Adelaide hills. The Hahndorf Academy was established in 1857 and houses an art gallery, craft shop and museum, with several paintings by Sir Hans Heysen, the famous landscape artist who lived in the town for many years. If you're keen to indulge in a stein or seven, visit the town on Founders Day, held over a weekend in March. Buses run to Hahndorf from Adelaide several times a day.
Although the Barossa Valley is the best known of South Australia's winery destinations, McLaren Vale is much more accessible from Adelaide. The area is particularly well suited to red wines, but a trend towards white wine consumption in the tasteful 70s prompted growers to stick in a few of the paler grapes. There are around two dozen wineries with cellar-door sales in the McLaren Vale area and about 50 in the surrounding countryside. The first winery was established here in 1838, and plenty of plonk-sellers still reside in fine old buildings.
The McLaren Vale Wine Bushing Festival goes on in late October, with wine tastings and tours, finished off with a grand feast. During the festival a bus runs between the wineries, so you can tipple to your heart's content without worrying about driving. Around three buses a day do the 30km (19mi) trip south to McLaren Vale.
Victor Harbor, 84km (52mi) south of Adelaide, is the main town on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Victor Harbor was founded as a sealing and whaling centre in the 1830s, but the whalers closed shop in 1864. The town is protected from the angry Southern Ocean by Granite Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. You can ride out there on a double-decker tram pulled by Cldesdale horses, and if you climb to the top of the hill you get great views across the bay. The island is also a rookery for little penguins, and there's an educational centre that will tell you all about the little fellas, or you can take an evening walk to watch the penguins come home from fishing.
Between June and October, you might be lucky enough to see a southern right whale swimming near the causeway, as they pass through here on their annual migration. If you want to learn more about whales, the South Australian Whale Centre at Victor Harbour operates a whale information network covering sightings up and down the South Australian coast. Tourist trains run to Victor Harbor from the Adelaide Hills, or you can get a bus from the city.