There’s no doubt technology is transforming the way we travel. Not so long ago a holiday meant sitting down with a travel agent to book a rather rigid itinerary, and setting off with a handful of recommendations from that well-travelled mate. But not anymore.
Mobile-first ‘connected travellers’ armed with a smartphone are more intrepid, see more, learn more and share more. For places like my home state of South Australia, it means people from all over the world are finally starting to discover the hidden gems we’ve long known about.
And we can only expect these gems to be hidden no more, with Telstra’s new partnership with the South Australian Tourism Commission to provide free Wi-Fi access to unlimited data for one hour at 60 key tourism sites across the state, working with the Telstra Air network.
1. Hit-you-in-the heart Silo art
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Seeing artist Cam Scale’s 25-metre, six silo long mural of a young girl in a wheat field is an image that will linger in your mind. Housed in the regional town of Kimba in the Eyre Peninsula, the community-funded project is one of many moving large-scale artworks that visitors can experience in South Australia. Massive portraits washed with neon transform warehouses and buildings in Port Adelaide, and the portraits of local school children on grain silos in the tiny town of Coonalypn by Guido van Helten took over 200 paint cans to complete.
2. Tastes of the sea at Coffin Bay
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Coffin Bay oysters are served in the best restaurants across the globe. Can you even imagine savouring these famous oysters shucked fresh in Coffin Bay, with a crisp white wine and feeling the cool waters run between your toes?
The eye-exploding colours of the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in autumn capture the rich sensory experiences of the Adelaide Hills region. The crimson magenta of the region’s famous pinot noir, the golden gloss of local raw honey, and green of every shade – you’ll discover these on endless walks across the region.
4. Smiley Sea Lions ready to play
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While it’s already renowned for caged shark diving, swimming with sea lions off the Eyre Peninsula is an experience unforgettable. Look into the eyes of these playful creatures while you twist and turn with them on the sea bed – smile-inducing to say the least, just like you can see in this video.
5. Space ship parking in the desert
Coober Pedy is known as the opal capital of the world, but many people don’t realise the red dust and famous Moon Plain just out of town also attracts film makers from across the world. Relics like the Hunter-Grazier from Vin Diesel’s ‘Pitch Black’ have found their final resting place in the post-apocalyptic landscape.
6. Feel the love from Clare
Sniff, sip and swirl golden nectar in the home of Australian Riesling – and taste the region’s characteristic lime notes. The Clare Valley is strung with more than 30 vineyards, most of which are family run. Jump on a bike and take a Tour de Vines or time your visit with the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend – there’s much to love (especially when the fields are lit with a Big Bird yellow during canola season.)
The Clare Valley, Coober Pedy, Eyre Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and Coffin Bay are among 60 key tourism locations about to switch-on new Wi-Fi hotpots, thanks to the partnership between Telstra and the South Australian Tourism Commission.
Nine hotspots have already been switched on in Hahndorf, Moana, Moonta Bay, Angaston, Beachport, Port MacDonnell, Victor Harbor, Tailem Bend and Kingscote. Another 51 hotspots are due to be rolled-out in the coming months. Hotspots will be located at specifics sites and attractions within locations, not across the wider area or region.