By Bryony Dunn
Marketing Manager at Travel Nation
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When it comes to international tourism, South Australia often flies under the radar. Most first-time visitors stick to Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, and the east coast beaches of Queensland, skipping South Australia altogether.
However, this little-visited state offers sensational wildlife, jaw-dropping scenery, delicious wine, and lip-smacking local cuisine. At four times bigger than the UK, it’s hardly hidden, but South Australia is a true gem.
It's incredibly easy to plan a varied trip to South Australia, mixing everything from stargazing to wine-tasting, and bushwalking to shark-cage diving. It’s also easy to add splashes of luxury to your holiday by including extraordinary accommodation, gourmet experiences, and secluded retreats. South Australia is an understated state that will exceed all your expectations, so don’t miss out!
Here are a few of the best places to stay in South Australia. Each one is completely unique, but they are all guaranteed to knock your socks off. Prepare to be inspired!
Hidden amongst the vineyards of South Australia’s Barossa Valley, The Louise is a five-star foodie delight. Just an hour by road from Adelaide, the lodge prides itself on providing ‘absolute luxury’, so you can expect nothing but the best from a stay here. Each suite features its own private terrace, gas log fireplace and outdoor rain shower, making it very hard to leave! As gourmet getaways go, it’s a stunner.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from your suite, you’ll find all kinds of brilliant activities on offer. Our favourite is the sunrise breakfast picnic with wild kangaroos in the nearby bushland – it’s an unforgettable experience. Other options include cooking masterclasses, wine-tasting experiences, and hot air balloons flights over the vineyards. Top off each day with a world-class meal in the award-winning restaurant as the sun sets over the valley.
Perched on a clifftop overlooking the River Murray, The Frames is a secluded Riverland retreat offering personalised 6-star experiences. Composed of just three exclusive villas, this luxurious hideaway is the ultimate spot for a romantic retreat or special occasion. Each spacious villa comes with its own pool and sauna, as well as expansive views over the gorgeous surrounding scenery.
Beyond your beautiful villa, you can take sunset champagne cruises on the Murray River in a restored gondola, spend a day tasting local wines from cellar doors, or book a private bird-watching tour through the creeks and wetlands. After a day of exploring, you can relax on your veranda or take a dip in your private pool.
No trip to South Australia would be complete without a trip to captivating Kangaroo Island. Lying 112km southwest of Adelaide, it’s seven times bigger than Singapore and over a third of the island is protected as nature reserves. Visit the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park, meet the endangered Australian sea lions of Seal Bay, and snorkel with dolphins on an ocean safari.
With sweeping views over Pink Bay, Sea Dragon Lodge is the perfect base for exploring Kangaroo Island. The beautiful rooms and suites all come with ocean views, and you can regularly spot kangaroos and wallabies with their joeys around the lodge. A full-day nature tour and a half-day local gourmet tour are included for all guests staying at Sea Dragon Lodge, as well as a delicious breakfast and two-course evening meal.
Beautiful Southern Ocean Lodge was tragically destroyed in a bushfire back in 2020, and since then a huge rebuild project has been underway. The brand-new version of Southern Ocean Lodge is now open for business and offers commanding views over the ocean from its secluded clifftop setting. The 25 suites sit along the curve of the coastline, so each one boasts interrupted vistas, and several feature outdoor plunge pools.
Southern Ocean Lodge is a sophisticated coastal retreat with a gourmet twist. The restaurant proudly showcases the best of Kangaroo Island’s produce, paired with delicious local wine. An evening meal is included for all guests, as well as a continental breakfast, and signature guided tours. It's an iconic property and it guarantees to bring you an experience you’ll never forget.
If you’re looking for near-total privacy on Kangaroo Island, book a stay at Oceanview Eco Villas. Home to just two fully hosted luxury villas on a 500-acre rural estate overlooking the dramatic coastline of the ‘Redbanks’, it’s about as exclusive as it gets. You’ll be treated to breakfast and three-course evening meals served in your villa, showcasing fresh island produce.
Oceanview offers personalised 5-star service and private tour packages, so you can customise your Kangaroo Island experience from start to finish. On the property, you can spot kangaroos, wallabies, wedge-tailed eagles, and the endangered, white-bellied sea eagle. Between excursions, you can relax at your villa and watch the sunset over this magical coastline.
Winner of a whole host of tourism awards, Sequoia Lodge is hidden away on the side of Mount Lofty the highlands of Adelaide Hills. Designed as a private sanctuary, this luxury adults-only resort is the perfect spot for an exclusive romantic escape.
The ultra-private suites are perched on the edge of the Piccadilly Valley, with gorgeous views from the bedroom and sunken lodge. Here, you can relax on your balcony daybed with a glass of local wine while you spot wallabies and kangaroos in the bush. Magic!
Another resort with a long list of awards under its belt, Mount Lofty House is an indulgent rural retreat with a three-hat fine dining restaurant. If you’re looking for a five-star gourmet getaway in South Australia, you’ve found it.
This charming country house wouldn’t look out of place in the English countryside and the rooms are full of period features. A nightly guided historic tour of the house (with champagne) is offered for all guests.
The vast private estate and botanical gardens are a joy to explore, the treatments offered by the Gatekeeper’s Spa are super-indulgent, and the high tea will make you feel like you’ve stepped you back in time.
Rawnsley Park Station is a beautiful outback resort in a staggering location, nestled at the feet of the Flinders Ranges. It’s the perfect base for exploring the wild, rugged interior of South Australia. Accommodation here ranges from modest but comfortable holiday units to luxury eco-villas, making it a great choice for all kinds of budgets.
Whichever room you choose, you can step outside into an extraordinary landscape just waiting to be explored. The Flinders Ranges are a hiking paradise, and they draw tens of thousands of walkers to their stunning red peaks, gorges, and valleys every year.
Spend your days following scenic bush trails, grab a mountain bike and hit the cycle tracks, book a 4WD tour, or get a bird’s eye view with a helicopter trip.
Offering wild bush luxury in the Flinders Ranges, Arkaba Homestead is an intimate outback resort with only five sumptuous suites. The original features of this 1850s homestead have been lovingly restored, making the hotel feel like a step back in time. Set on a 63,000-acre private conservancy in the Flinders Ranges, you’ll be surrounded by unbroken views of the bush and its resident wildlife.
Far beyond somewhere to simply rest your head, Arkaba offers fully hosted packages that mix wilderness experiences with culinary delights and deluxe relaxation. Set off on immersive bush walks and safari drives, enjoy sophisticated bush-inspired meals created by top chefs and sip sundowners on scenic ridges.
EOS by Sky City Adelaide describes itself as a ‘new realm of luxury for pleasure-seekers’. As soon as you arrive, you’ll understand why. Set in the heart of the city, this sleek ultra-modern hotel specialises in personalised experiences, and the service is second to none.
Home to a Leisure Deck complete with an outdoor and spa pool, as well as 10 top-notch bars and restaurants, it has everything you could possibly need. The hotel is attached to the Sky City Casino, Adelaide’s premier gaming destination, so it’s perfect for travellers looking for glamour and nightlife.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful stay in Adelaide, try staying at the Oval Adelaide Hotel, set at the world-renowned Adelaide Oval stadium, and surrounded by lush Australian parkland. This classy hotel is home to 138 spacious rooms, as well as two restaurants, a tap house, and a welcoming café.
During your stay at the hotel, you can join a guided tour of Adelaide Oval, brave a roof climb of the stadium, or book a local winery tour. There are tram stops and bus stops within minutes of the hotel, making it a perfect base for exploring the city.
We’re experts at creating tailor-made Australia holidays that stand out from the crowd. We can build exciting South Australia itineraries of all shapes and sizes, mixing culture with adventure and a touch of luxury. Whether you’re planning an Australian honeymoon, a family holiday, or a round the world journey, we can help. To get started, simply give us a call on 1273 320 580 or send us a quote request by email.
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Bryony is an explorer in every sense of the meaning. In 2013 she took the plunge, quit her marketing job and decided to face down her lifelong panic disorder to begin life as a freelance digital nomad. Journeying all over Asia, for years she earned her keep writing for travel brands. Almost by accident, she ended up in Cali, Colombia where she discovered a remarkable (as yet latent) talent for Salsa dancing. After spending a year in sequins shimmying from dance show to dance show, she returned to the UK, tanned, toned and ready to settle down. Bryony joined Travel Nation as a round the world specialist in 2016 and is now the Marketing Manager, with a little salsa on the side.