South Australia : Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula & Barossa Valley
Visited by Gai in May/June, 2021
Gai’s just returned from exploring South Australia.
She visited Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, the Fleurieu Peninsula (including McLaren Vale) and the Barossa Valley.
The flight from Sydney to Adelaide is just 2 hours making a weekend escape possible, or why not extend and enjoy more of what South Australia has to offer..
My Travels in South Australia
For those of you that know me you know that I love my food and wine, and South Australia is truly the perfect destination for foodies like me!
I hadn’t travelled to South Australia for a few years and had never been to the Fleurieu Peninsula or to the Barossa Valley so was keen to get out there and explore.
Adelaide’s a great place to start your South Australian journey. Having visited a few years ago on a Mary Rossi Travel staff weekend with Abercrombie & Kent, I already had a good feel for the city but was keen to explore in more depth.
We based ourselves in two locations, our first being located in the centre at the Mayfair Hotel. The historic building houses 170 beautifully appointed rooms and suites and has a fabulous rooftop bar and good restaurant. It’s also part of the Virtuoso Regional Program for Asia & Pacific, which means when you book your stay with Mary Rossi Travel, you receive some lovely value added extras. For 2021 it’s an upgrade on arrival*, daily a la carte Breakfast for two guests per bedroom, $100 USD equivalent in AUD and early check-in / late check-out*.
For our second location, we couldn’t resist checking out the new Indigo Hotel – a hip new hotel that opened in March right near the Adelaide Central Market and a multitude of bars and restaurants too. The hotel has a great atmosphere and well designed rooms with local character – like the posters on the wall from Adelaide’s festivals. There’s also another fabulous rooftop bar. If you’ve stayed in Adelaide before, you might like to try this area next time and see a new side of the city.
For keen cricketers, the Adelaide Oval Tour is excellent. We booked direct and it was $25 for 1.5-2hrs behind the scenes. For the more adventurous, you can do the Roof Climb with 360 degree views of Adelaide and beyond. You’ll be guided across the rooftop of the Oval’s Western Stand before making your way to the Riverbank platform, perched 50 metres over the hallowed turf.. Not for the feint hearted!
The Mortlock Wing of the Adelaide Library opened in 1884 is another interesting spot. It’s regularly included on lists of the world’s most beautiful libraries ~ and a bit of a Harry Potter look a like.
Next stop, the Adelaide Hills..
I was really looking forward to our stay at Mount Lofty House and to have a peek at the newly opened ultra-luxe Sequoia Lodge.
I really loved Mount Lofty House, it’s a beautiful old “Grande Dame”. The rooms are beautifully designed and ours, a Pool View (room 23), was just perfect with a view out overlooking the pool and trees. There are also Valley View rooms – the views are great but they do include the carpark too.
The hotel has the excellent three hatted Hardy’s Verandah restaurant on site which is a must-do dining experience during your stay. Remember to book in well in advance. There’s also a lovely pool area which is open during the warmer months with gorgeous views out over the valley.
Mount Lofty House and Sequoia Lodge are also part of Virtuoso’s Regional Programme. Your value added extras include a daily continental platter and a la carte breakfast for two, $100 AUD Food & Beverage credit, plus if available a room upgrade and early check-in/late check-out. Ask me for details.
The Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula is only 45 minutes from Adelaide. It’s a stunning landscape of rolling farmland, vineyards with pristine sandy beaches and rugged coastlines.
While most of us have heard of the McLaren Vale wine region, and have enjoyed some of the wonderful wines, the Fleurieu Peninsula is a relatively undiscovered region for interstate travellers and I was keen to visit.
We’ve been working with Simon from Coast&Co putting together experiences for our clients in the region, so I was excited to team up with him for a day exploring. Simon grew up on the Fleurieu Peninsula and his knowledge of the area is immense. He also has incredible contacts – he really does know everyone and has access to incredible experiences that you definitely won’t be able to have without his guidance. One experience involved his keys opening the gate to the National Park’s private entry for a glass of bubbles overlooking the Onkaparinga Gordge! shhhh….
Simon organised wine tastings for us at Wirra Wirra, Samsons, Yangarra & our favourite, Bekka – a small winery with a French female winemaker and excellent wines! We also did a short tour of D’Arenberg (home to The Cube) and I would really love to go back and spend a bit more time in the crazy Alternate Realities Museum.
Topping it all off was our lovely accommodation provided by Coast&Co. Simon owns three fabulous cabins with spectacular views over the hills to the sea which are a great spot to base yourself for a few days while exploring. Ask me for the details.
The Barossa Valley
The Barossa Valley is regarded to be one of the world’s great wine growing areas, and with more than 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors it’s easy to see why. At just over an hours drive from Adelaide, it’s another region with easy access to add to your South Australian travels.
The Louise is the most luxurious accommodation in the region and I was really excited to be staying there. It was truly the icing on the cake of our stay. Everything was just fabulous – from the rooms to the inclusions, the amenities (like the guest laundry) and the pool which is open in the warmer weather has a beautiful view over the vines. Oh and the staff? Amazing…
Home to Appellation at The Louise, this fine dining experience is all about fresh ingredients with 85% of the menu coming from within the Barossa Valley and South Australia. Definitely book before you arrive.
Your Virtuoso value added extras at The Louise include an upgrade at time of booking (subject to availability), daily a la carte Breakfast for two, a complimentary Yalumba Unlocked experience (Yalumba Unlocked includes a private tour of the grounds at Yalumba, culminating in a tasting of their finest wines) & early check-in / late check-out, (subject to availability). Ask me for details.
And while in the Barossa? Well wine tasting of course.. we visited three wineries: Torbreck Vintners, Langmeil and David Franz. All were definitely worth a visit – and if you’re after a light lunch David Franz is the perfect place to stop. You can build your own delicious platter from a huge array of cheeses, ham, salamis, terrines, crackers, breads and more to accompany your wines.
My Top Travel Tips
- Go! South Australia is a fabulous holiday destination and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It’s easy to get to, there are some excellent luxury accommodations, fabulous experiences and incredible food and wines to be enjoyed.
- Australia is heavily booked so plan your accommodation and restaurants well in advance or you will miss out.
- Ask us to help you with at least a day of private touring in the Fleurieu Peninsula. You’ll be guaranteed of some very special insider experiences that most visitors simply will not have access to.
- Enjoy a lunch at the Salopian Inn. A McLaren Vale institution, it’s the spot to stop for a meal featuring seasonal fresh produce. While you’re there gin lovers can also enjoy a one or two of over 200 local and international gins, including the Salopian’s own.
- The St Hugo and Riedel Masterclass at the St Hugo Cellar Door in the Barossa Valley is incredible and I’d recommend it for anyone from wine novices through to sommelliers. You’ll learn how the shape of your wine glass brings out the characters of your wine while enjoying a variety of St Hugo wines.
- And finally for those who can’t make it to the wine regions, the National Wine Centre of Australia in Adelaide is ideal. There’s over 120 wines available for tasting + a lovely café which basically turns into a wine bar in the evenings. It’s located next to the Botanical Gardens.