- The Basic Stuff: basic living requirements and getting around
- The Fun Stuff: getting out and about, food and wine and travel
- The Touring Stuff: travel and touring destinations for those days off
- The Work Stuff: registration, workplaces and training programmes
- The Admin Stuff: banking, visas, tax and health
The Touring Stuff
SA Short Breaks
It's pretty easy to explore a bit of SA with the rosters working in ED. Fairly frequently you'll get at least a couple, if not 3-4 days off in a row, and this is enough to head out of town. There's quite a lot to see in the bear vicinity.
Kangaroo Island (KI)
Drive down south from Adelaide for a couple of hours to Cape Jervis and jump on a (very expensive) ferry for an hour and you can explore KI. You can go on a coach tour from Adelaide, but driving down there is more fun and there are lots of rental cottages to stay in. It is surprisingly big and you probably need at least 3 full days to do it justice. The wildlife and scenery a big draw and the main attractions are Seal Bay, Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks. Other fun stuff includes watching the pelican feeding in Kingscote, Paul's Place (a completely crazy man running a wildlife sanctuary), KI spirits (amazing gin made in a back shed), lots of hiking, a Birds of Prey sanctuary and show, many wineries and lots of foodie stuff like Island Dairy and Island Beehive. Some rental cars are not covered by insurance for driving on KI's many dirt roads, and some are only covered in day time because of the number of kangaroos after dusk so choose carefully! You can also fly there but it is equally expensive and there is no real public transport so you would have to hire a car anyway and these are NOT covered for anything but day time driving on sealed roads.
These are a 4-hour drive north into the outback and the main drawcard here is spectacular scenery and hiking. Accommodation varies from camping to posh glamping to beautiful rental cottages. Autumn and spring are most sensible times to go—it gets blitzingly hot in summer, and nights are icy in winter. There are a few little nice townships on the way. This is the closest place to go to get a taste of the outback. The most popular destination is Wilpena Pound.
Head east to the Riverland for waterskiing, speedboating, fishing and houseboats. Mannum is probably the closest spot for Adelaide but you can head anywhere along the river for a relaxing weekend away.
A strip of coastal wetlands and salt lakes running along the south coast of SA for 150km. Known for its wildlife, kayaking, camping, beautiful beaches and 4WD tracks. It is a 2-hour drive from Adelaide to the start of it, near Meningie (you can’t get to it from Goolwa) so good for a weekend away. There is a company which does canoeing tours including overnighters if you fancy it.
Drive past the Mclaren Vale winery region to the south and you enter the Fleurieu region. Normanville is a little town with caravan park and lots of rental places and a nice beach. Second Valley has a nice campsite and beach, Rapid Bay has a less nice campsite but still a nice beach and good snorkelling and scuba diving with the famous leafy sea dragons.
Further on is Victor Harbor which is a family friendly tourist town that gets busy in summer. Avoid in schoolies week (the end of the school year) unless you want to get vomited on by drunk teenagers. Along the coast is then Port Elliot with pretty Horseshoe Bay, Middleton with a good surf beach and pretty Goolwa. You can whale watch along here from shore in the winter.
2 hours drive to the top (Wallaroo, Moonta Bay etc), 3.5 to the more attractive south end and you have beaches, camping and fishing. Good for a weekend away, but not necessarily the most attractive drive! Innes National Park and Marion Bay are the most picturesque spots. Can get windy (and heavy on the flies in summer) so pick your weekend but some of the coastline is spectacular.
This is a LONG drive (in the realms of 8 hours) or a 40 minute flight but worth it. Great surfing beaches, good fishing and you can swim with tuna, seals and sharks here (obviously sometimes the sharks and surfing do not mix well). Beautiful scenery. Keep driving and you get to the Nullabor and the longest, emptiest, straight bit of road you can imagine.
Obviously the world is your oyster here and pretty much all of Australia has something amazing going for it but here are some suggestions if you get more than a few days off. Cairns and Daintree offer tropical rainforests, WA has whale sharks and the wild Kimberley and Northern NSW has endless miles of empty white sand beaches. Take your pick.
Alice Springs and Uluru
Alice is a whole different world from Adelaide—dry, hot and beautiful. The town is a funny little place full of characters, and the attraction of the surrounding area are the many hiking trails some of which are multi-day. In the summer the heat is intense (high 40s in the shade almost every day), in winter at night it drops close to freezing, so autumn and spring are the logical times to visit. Even then you need to hike early to avoid the worst of the heat. There are waterholes dotted around to cool off in if you need them.
Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon are the major draws but don’t underestimate the distance from Alice. They look close on the map, but it is a 6 hour drive to Uluru without much to do on the way. Emu Run tours are great with their 3-day camping trip to all of the above and there are other similar. It is definitely worth getting someone else to do the driving! This area should not be missed, so see if you can rearrange a few shifts and nip up there. There is only 1 flight a day so you need to plan in advance.
Darwin is a special place, a tropical frontier town that feels like a completely different country. The average alcohol consumption is amongst the highest in the world, there is no speed limit on some of the roads and there have been crocodiles wandering the aisles of the supermarket. There is a wet season (summer) and a dry season (winter) with a humid and ferocious build up to the wet. Unless you REALLY like monsoon rain and humidity it is probably best to go in winter! Additionally, Kakadu—an internationally recognised national park and wildlife sanctuary—is cut off for the wet season and this is one of the main reasons people had to Darwin. Again, fishing is popular but don’t take a swim—there are crocodiles lurking in many of the waterholes, rivers and on the beaches and they will eat you without warning. Do NOT swim in a waterhole unless someone very sensible tells you it is safe. Even putting your hand in to the water from a boat can get it chomped off. These are not animals to be messed with!
Kakadu and Litchfield are the national parks within reach of Darwin with Litchfield for a day trip and Kakadu a bit further afield. Agai,n the driving distances are pretty big, so take a camping tour or go with a local and then you can learn about the Aboriginal culture of the area, find out a bit about the history and wildlife and get shown the best waterfalls and swimming spots.
A spectacular and somewhat expensive and time-consuming way to get to Alice or Darwin is the train—named after the Afghani men who arrived with their camels to build the Adelaide to Darwin telegraph line and then railway. This is the luxury way to do it and more of a once in a life time trip than a weekend away!
An opal town en route to Alice Springs that is so hot a significant proportion of the town live underground. Described variously as “a hole” and a town with “some unusual people” it is worth a visit just for the weirdness. In summer it regularly hits 50 degrees. You have been warned.
Love it or hate it if you do your training here you will end up on a course or conference on the Gold Coast at some point! Busy and brash with theme parks, surfing and beaches being the focus. If you are into casinos, high rise hotels and the bright lights take a trip. If you have kids they may well love it. Surprisingly just inland the Hinterland is peaceful and utterly beautiful. There is also the famous Nimbin- hippy town extraordinaire where allegedly you can get stoned just by walking down the main street.
Sydney and Melbourne
No need to say much really! Melbourne is cool, sophisticated and a draw for shopping, coffee and arts and Sydney is Sydney. Melbourne is less than an hour's flight away from Adelaide, so easy for a weekend away and Sydney is less than 2 so still very accessible. Use the train to get into the city in Sydney and the Skybus for Melbourne as the cheapest ways to get from the airport.
Tassie is beautiful! Come here for beautiful multi day hikes, outdoor adventure and snow in winter. You can fly via Melbourne or get a ferry from there too.
Everyones’ favourite for a relaxing beach break which is significantly cheaper than anywhere in Australia. You can get a direct flight from Adelaide in only a few hours. Some of the main tourist beaches are busy and bogan, but you can find a quiet spot on the coast or go inland and get a villa with a private pool for $100 a night. Ubud is the traditional place for yoga and meditation, but there are lots of options. The perfect place for a few days off in winter when you are bored of the cold and a bit tired out from work. Recently the airport has had a to shut a few times due to volcanic ash clouds and tragically several people got stuck there and couldn’t make it back for work. Bonus.