South Australia’s Splendors

written by | Posted on September 18th, 2013

Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island.

Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island.

Australia was once considered a “trip of a lifetime” by North American travelers, but now the country is attracting travelers who are focusing on a particular region, and reaping all of the varied experiences it has to offer. One such region, South Australia, roughly one-and-a-half times the size of the state of Texas, is drawing travelers with its local food and wine scene, spectacular scenery and wildlife.

In the past year, South Australia’s visitor rate from the U.S. has been up 19 percent, and according to Maite Conway with the South Australian Tourism Commission, The Americas, about half of the visitors the state receives are return travelers. Craig Wickham, managing director for Exceptional Kangaroo Island, says that he hears first-time visitors already planning their return trips while still on their first visit. What seems to be surprising even the most seasoned travelers visiting the region are the food and wine experience, the safety element, interactions with Australians and the ease of getting around, not to mention the beauty and uniqueness of the destination.

Take Kangaroo Island, for instance—a 96-mile long island that can be reached via a quick flight from Adelaide or a ferry ride from Cape Jervis. Here, a common phrase travelers utter is, “At last I feel like I’m in Australia.” The island has a sense of outback offering sightings of wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, and dolphins, in addition to a rugged coastline with beautiful, deserted beaches.

The island also offers accommodations ranging from low-key to luxurious. At the Southern Ocean Lodge, for instance, guests will find luxury accommodations set on a clip along the rugged coastline, with views of the Southern Ocean. The hotel’s 21 suites offer views of the coast, as well as king-sized beds, a sunken lounge, a glass-walled bathroom and terrace. Southern Ocean Lodge’s restaurant also hones in on South Australia’s local cuisine, with a “produce to plate” approach with a daily changing menu and selection of local wines and beers.

The Southern Spa uses Australian-made products like Li’Tya spa products, and its therapists have been trained by indigenous teachers in how to incorporate these native Australian ingredients into treatments. Guests will have the chance to experience the natural side of the island, as well as the tradition of the Aboriginals, with the spa’s unique twist on treatments, such as the Southern Karmal facial, which uses aromas found in Aboriginal medicines.

Rates start at $926 for a Flinders suite. For more information, visit southernoceanlodge.com.au.

While Wickham recommends spending at least two nights on Kangaroo Island, Adelaide is a great city to pair with Kangaroo Island, since it’s such a convenient gateway.

Adelaide, the only city in the world surrounded by State Heritage Listed parklands, is just 30 minutes away from major beaches by car, features a cafe culture lifestyle and is Australia’s wine capital—perfect for your clients who are foodies and want to capture a taste of local cuisine.

Your clients can set out to visit one of South Australia’s earliest vineyards and wineries, Penfolds Magill Estate Cellar Door, just 15 minutes from the city center, or head to the Barossa Valley and visit Appellation restaurant at The Louise, which has won awards for its wine list.

Appellation offers either a degustation menu or a la carte dining with seasonal produce from South Australia. Its wine list, meanwhile, features over 500 listings with local, Australian and international wines. Guests staying at the 15-suite luxury property can opt for a suite in the vineyard with a private sunset terrace and gated courtyard; a Seppeltsfield suite with a private terrace, gas log fireplace, lounge room and outdoor rain shower; or a Stonewell spa suite with private courtyard, outdoor rain shower and large ensuite spa tub.

Rates start at $458 per night for a Vineyard suite (including in-suite continental breakfast). For more information, visit thelouise.com.au.

For more on South Australia, visit us.southaustralia.com. For new accommodations in South Australia, see Safari-Style Stays in Australia.