South Australia, Australia - Stein Travel
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South Australia

South Australia is bounded by other states on the west, east and north, and flanked in the south by the Southern Ocean. Most of its population of 1.5 million 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 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 production of these sought-after gemstones.

Information & Facts

Climate

South Australia experiences a variety of climate zones ranging from desert temperatures in the north to Mediterranean weather along the coast, with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. Adelaide, along the coast, can experience very hot weather between December and February, but spring and autumn are usually very pleasant. Winter is the coolest and wettest season (June to August). Away from the coast the temperatures can be extreme with summer maximums over 104°F (40°C) and little or no rainfall.

Language

English is the official language of Australia.

Money

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Time

GMT +9.5 (GMT +10.5 from last Sunday in October to first Sunday in April).

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