As the mercury dips, there’s a host of new experiences across South Australia just waiting to be discovered. Turn up the heat and enjoy a romantic winter weekend with these 13 tips
Never thought about hiking in the Flinders Ranges in winter? Think again. Conditions and temperatures ranging from 15C to 25C are perfect for walkers until about October, when daytime temperatures soar and the rocks radiate blistering heat. Plus, winter rains create a carpet of lush green over the rocky ranges while water running down creeks attracts an abundance of wildlife. Cold winter evenings also call for a romantic night around the camp fire.
When it is cold and wet outside, increase the internal thermostat and snuggle inside an Adelaide-made OzShack. The wooden tents, by local company JDB Carpentry, are based at several parks across South Australia, including at BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park (22 Tuitt Rd, Aldinga, big4.com.au), Kingston-on-Murray Caravan Park (461 Holmes Rd, Kingston on Murray, komcaravanpark.com.au) or Port Vincent Foreshore Caravan Park (12 Marine Pde, Port Vincent, portvincentfcp.com.au).
RETREAT TO RIDGETOP
During the chilly months, Ridgetop Retreats are pure, remote romance. Watch native critters from the comfort of a leather couch in front of a crackling fire. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the retreats look out to Deep Creek Conservation Park scrubland. The award-winning architecture has the environment at heart, so you can fight the cold with conscience intact.
Southern Ocean Retreats, Deep Creek Conservation Park, Deep Creek,
SPOT A WHALE
Create unforgettable memories. Grab your camera and head to the southern Fleurieu Peninsula to catch a glimpse of southern right whales and their calves. Every winter, between May and October, these huge beasts return to our shores, in some years attracting up to 400,000 people to Victor Harbor, just an hour’s drive from Adelaide.
SEE THE LIGHT
Escape reality for a few nights and stay in an original lighthouse keeper’s cottage. Built about 1850, the heritage-listed cottage accommodation on Troubridge Island, off Yorke Peninsula, is isolated, quiet and surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches. It’s a true adventure to just get there. You have to catch a boat with a charter company and pre-organise a permit.
Troubridge Island Hideaway and Charter, 8852 6290
ENJOY THE BREEZE
This is an insider special: Rug up, pack a midnight picnic, including homemade biscuits and plenty of hot chocolate (rum or Baileys optional) and head up to the popular Windy Point carpark just outside of Adelaide. You can spread a blanket on the little stone wall, while enjoying one of the most spectacular views of the city. The carpark is free and open all hours.
Windy Point Lookout, Belair Rd, Belair.
Imagine a cold, wintry Sunday, the rain pelting the window of a rustic cellar door, a fire roaring, a glass of red in hand and a bowl of nourishing slow-cooked food on your lap. Winter is the best time to enjoy a shiraz, pinot or cabernet. Be tempted by the more than 30 wineries offering sumptuous events day and night as part of Winter Reds in the Adelaide Hills. The event runs from July 28 to 30.
GET INTO HOT WATER
If you need real heat than this is for you. Nothing banishes the winter blues like a spell in a steam room or sauna, with intermittent dips in a hot tub and/or — for the brave — an icy blast from a cold shower. The SA Aquatic Centre at Marion’s large steam and sauna rooms open on to the 25m exercise pool heated to 30C. It’s noisy out of school hours, but you’ll be so blissed out you won’t notice.
443 Morphett Rd, Oaklands, 8198 0198
CUDDLE AT COLLINGROVE
Any old-style accommodation with a claw foot bath is a winner in our eyes. Everything about this grand accommodation at Collingrove Homestead screams cuddle time. French-style toile quilts, hand-carved French Provincial furniture, a guest lounge with leather sofas and an open fire, and a hydrotherapy spa located in an old carriage house.
Angaston Rd, Angaston, 8564 2061
TIME TO BLOSSOM
Fireworks, true country hospitality and a spectacular display of blooming almond trees — what could be more romantic? The Almond Blossom Festival is Willunga Recreation Park’s major fundraising event. This festival is a weekend full of local artisans, entertainment, events, food, wine and celebration as the almond trees start to blossom around Willunga. The event runs from July 29 to 30.
Willunga Recreation Park, Main Rd, Willunga, 0434 069 993
SHELL OUT FOR OYSTERS
There’s no aphrodisiac like gobbling oysters fresh out of salty waters. South Australia is known to produce some of the best oysters in the country. So join the Stansbury-based team at Pacific Estate Oysters on the Yorke Peninsula for a tour on the waters of Oyster Bay. Rug up and learn about the production cycle of farming oysters on board a working boat while sampling the delights and other shellfish straight from the water — naturally. Resident sea lions and dolphins also make an appearance.
14 Ceres St, Stansbury, 0467 485 291
BE PAMPERED (ALL DAY)
The truth is that the way to a woman’s heart is through … a complete pampering package. Hahndorf Creek Day Spa is a soul-packed hilltop hideaway run by lovely locals with your stress levels at heart. Enjoy an all-over massage, body brush exfoliation, mud body masque, milk and mineral spa (with harmonising essential oils) followed by lunch on a terrace boasting Onkaparinga River valley views.
8 Storch Lane, Hahndorf, 0410 285 586
KIP ON A CLIFF
When the frosty grass crunches underfoot and the fog settles over the Murray River, there’s nothing better than a good night’s kip in luxurious accommodation. The Frames clifftop retreats are as fancy as riverbank accommodation gets. They consist of three private retreats, each with its own private heated pool, spa and sauna. Guests can choose to use the full outdoor and indoor kitchens to heat the local gourmet meals that are provided, or choose to be fully catered for by a personal chef, with an a la carte menu designed around local seasonal produce. It’s pure opulence.
Lot 7 Panorama Crt, Paringa