10 South Australia luxury escapes and boutique experiences
Checking out South Australia's unique and luxury escapes. From safaris in the Flinders Ranges to historic manor houses in the Adelaide Hills.
Kingsford Homestead, Gawler
A remarkable Georgian-style manor built in 1856 by one of South Australia’s early settlers.
It was built in stone thought to have travelled with the pioneer from Edinburgh and is today one of South Australia’s most remarkable stays.
Full of original features, such as the Gothic-style cedar staircase and with a history linked to some of South Australia’s most prominent families, for seven years the Gawler beauty on the edge of the Barossa was exclusively used as Drover’s Run, the central location for the hugely successful TV series, McLeod’s Daughters.
In 2009, it was purchased by the Ahrens family, who carefully restored it to a multi-award-winning five star retreat, now renowned for sumptuous dinners created from the best local produce by The Kingsford Kitchen, vivid sunsets accompanied by drinks and canapés, and elegant country hospitality.
Hosting no more than 14 guests across seven tastefully decorated and unique suites, it’s a sublime spot from which to explore the glorious Barossa wine country.
The Louise, Barossa
It’s no mean feat to be a destination unto yourself when situated in the stunning Barossa. But that’s exactly what The Louise has achieved. Partnered with onsite restaurant, the acclaimed Appellation, The Louise is a stay of extraordinary luxury, culinary excellence and more.
The experience starts on arrival with the first sight of the impressive architectural exterior and continues with the attentive, friendly welcome and calm interiors.
Suites are generous, relaxed and luxurious, and the hotel affords private vineyard views. And then there’s a host of activities for guests, including The Ultimate Legend of Seppeltsfield Tour which includes privileged access and tastings and Breakfast with the Kangaroos, a dawn picnic in a nearby conservation park. There are cooking classes, exclusive tastings and market tours.
The Louise will also organise balloon flights, in-suite massages, romantic touches such as champagne and flowers, helicopter or limousine transfers and endless permutations of regional tours, tastings and opportunities to meet local winemakers.
Ikara Safari Camp, Wilpena Pound
The highest point in the ancient Flinders Ranges, and arguably its most spectacular, the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound is a majestic, evocative location that’s unique in the Australian outback.
To stay a while is to appreciate its magnificent presence and Ikara Safari Camp is the box seat. While much of the region’s accommodation is on the rim of the national park, Ikara Safari Camp lies within it.
This award-winning operation is glamping the way it should be: 15 high quality spacious and powered safari tents are fronted by their own private verandahs, an inviting spot to enjoy a South Australian wine while watching the afternoon light play on the surrounding bush and rock formations. Inside, the accommodation is plush, with king size beds, beautiful furnishings, ensuite bathrooms, luxury amenities, ceiling fans, mini-bar, and air-conditioning.
There’s a communal tent where hot breakfast is served each morning and which contains a plush lounging area for socialising with other guests. And as part of the Wilpena Pound Resort, there’s access to a restaurant, café and swimming pool.
Sticky Rice Cooking School and Villas, Adelaide Hills
Claire Fuller’s hugely successful cooking school at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills is testimony to how pursuing your passion can lead to something great.
Fuller set out to create a school that was lively, inspiring, fun and fulfilling in an environment with soul.
Her 1940s building full of antiques and personal touches sets the scene for learning to cook food that comes with stories.
A roster of incredible chefs lead students through the history and significance of ingredients and the eating customs of the cuisines created, from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Nepal.
So when guests finally get to dine on their dishes, there’s real connection.
That sense of connection and Fuller’s magic touch extends into the Sticky Rice Villas, which began garnering awards virtually as soon as they opened in 2013.
The three luxurious B&B villas, inspired by exclusive holiday offerings in Bali, Japan and Thailand, have a sense of clean calm with elegant accents that, like the dishes created in the kitchen, conjure a sense of the exotic.
Snellings View, Kangaroo Island
Floating above one of Kangaroo Island’s prettiest beaches, Snellings View is perfection in beach house chic, from the natural materials and tones used throughout, to the effortless functionality it affords via thoughtfully laid out and spacious rooms, luxury bedding and Miele appliances.
The exemplary quality of the accommodation is the result of two friends who set out to create the very best holiday home for their own large families.
To that end, there are two wings to the property that can either be used for one big group, or two separate bookings.
High on their list of necessary functions were plenty of natural light, spots for individuals to get away from the group, and of course, roomy areas for congregating and socialising.
The view, sea breezes, access to the beach and places to laze the day away were top of the inventory.
The result is indeed, the perfect beach house (or two) in an unspoiled and spectacular location.
Anlaby Station, Hamilton
The oldest merino stud in Australia with a history closely aligned with regional settlement and chronicled by famous author Geoffrey Dutton who grew up there, gracious Anlaby lay in decline for decades.
Then two Sydneysiders fell in love with it and painstakingly restored the homestead and its gardens and outhouses, using old historic photos and other records to be as faithful as possible to its original magnificence.
Close to both the Barossa and Clare Valley, Anlaby is a popular wedding venue, and visitors can stay in the manor house, once the manager and accounts office of the station, now converted into self-contained bed and breakfast accommodation with three bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and downstairs sitting room.
There are also regular tours through the historically listed gardens and home that include lunch or morning/afternoon tea and very occasionally, the Quadrangle Series – events that combine classical music, superb cuisine and a happy gathering in the gardens.
It really is possible for a region to have something for everybody. The Limestone Coast proves it.
Find extraordinary food and wine, jaw dropping coastal vistas and cerulean waters melding with creamy beaches, fun festivals, a massive array of activities and for the dinosaur nut in the family, amazing fossil sites, lava caves and even volcanic craters.
Within all that is the picture-perfect coastal resort and fishing village of Robe, full of historic buildings, boutique and artisan shopping, gourmet eating and drinking with seafood a highlight and a seascape backdrop that’s show stopping any time of the year.
Robe Lifestyle Properties is a booking portal for a range of superior self-contained beachfront and hinterland accommodation in the area. Robe Lifestyle Properties works in a way that “matches people to properties”. So visitors provide Robe Lifestyle Properties with their holiday criteria and they find just the right place, whether the emphasis is on gourmet kitchen, bedroom with a view to wake up to, luxurious bathroom, romance, family holiday or budget.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island
There are few properties in the Southern Hemisphere as legendary as Southern Ocean Lodge. The king of all luxury lodges in Australia, visitors travel from all around the world to ensconce in its very particular brand of luxury.
Its award-winning design seems to hover on top of a private, dramatic cliff top, oriented to maximise views of the wild Southern Ocean and unique Kangaroo Island landscape.
The dining experience rivals the views for wow factor, with the famously skilled kitchen producing gastronomic brilliance from the finest of Kangaroo Island’s remarkable bounty of artisan crops, dairy, meat, seafood, honey, eggs and home cooked ingredients.
The daily changing menu is a love letter to Kangaroo Island and South Australia’s diversity of produce, accompanied by wonderful South Australian wines.
The icing, and candles, and sparklers on this very beautiful cake are the world class spa, sublime lodgings and a dedicated staff ready with a suite of scintillating Kangaroo Island itineraries tailored to the interested of guests.
Arkaba Station, Wild Bush Luxury, Flinders Ranges
Wild Bush Luxury is a collection of outstanding properties in unique places offering out-of-the-ordinary interactions with the natural environment, mindful of conservation principles coupled with gorgeous accommodation and gourmet dining.
Wild Bush Luxury’s Arkaba Station embraces the jagged magnificence of the Flinders Ranges, affording guests intimacy with the secret unspoiled corners and peerless vastness as well as a stunning oasis of comfort in which to rest and relax.
Each of the five bedrooms in the historic homestead has its own ensuite bathroom and opens onto a verandah with views of the surrounding ranges. Unique decor with a decidedly Australian rustic twist surrounds the best quality mattresses, manchester and fittings.
Wild Bush Luxury also offers the life-changing Arkaba Walk, a four-day expedition on foot across the property exploring the undulations and awe-inspiring dioramas of the Flinders Ranges, camping under the stars in permanent campsites with amenities.
Thorngrove Manor Hotel, Adelaide Hills
It’s hard to believe Thorngrove Manor was built in the mid-1980s.
Maybe that’s because many a detail of its flamboyant folly-style design is sourced from old European, English and South Australian properties, with a nod to its surroundings in the Adelaide Hills, where Europeans settled and created slices of life back home.
Handpicked and fervently sought grand staircases, stained glass windows, hand quarried stone and Gothic furniture create an idiosyncratic haven of fantasy.
Folly-like it may look, but every piece of award-winning Thorngrove Manor Hotel works, with modern amenities in abundance ensuring a supremely comfortable stay.
Its arts and crafts meets Bavarian castle uniqueness makes Thorngrove Manor Hotel popular with bridal parties, but lovers of one-of-a-kind inns come to relish its magnificence. There are five guestrooms over four floors, plus a guests-only restaurant cooking with organic produce and herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in the property’s gardens – all served on hallmarked antique silver with fine Irish linen.
The property is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group.