South Australia is bounded by other states on the west, east and north, and flanked to the south by the Southern Ocean. Most of its population live in the fertile coastal area and the valley of the Murray River, which is the state's only navigable river and drains about one-seventh of Australia. The northern landscape consists largely of dry wasteland, with several low mountain ranges. The most impressive mountains are the Mt Lofty-Flinders ranges, extending about 500 miles (800km) from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens. The capital of South Australia is the charming Adelaide, known as the City of Churches.

South Australia is famous mainly for its wine and opals. More than half of Australia's wine is produced here - the vineyards flourishing in its Mediterranean climate - and the state's three major opal fields, Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Andamooka, supply around 80 percent of the total world output of these sought-after gemstones. The state may encompass some of the most arid parts of Australia, but the desert landscapes are sublime and South Australia keeps everything lively with a full festival calendar. Foodies will also find much to celebrate, especially in Adelaide, which prides itself on its gourmet offerings.