By Julietta Jameson
A great girls’ or boy’s weekend away is all about getting together with friends in a memorable way that reflects your special bond and having maximum fun.
South Australia offers an awesome variety of ways to go about that. Adventurous buddies will find all the ingredients for an adrenaline-pumping weekend. Foodies can go to some of the world’s best vineyards and enjoy a transcendent feast. Sports-mad mates can book VIP seats and a behind-the-scenes tour that brings past heroes and epic moments alive.
And there are some fantastic accommodation options to keep everyone together and the camaraderie buzzing, from morning to last man – or woman – standing.
Get your adventure on
You’re the adrenaline loving types? Head to Port Lincoln in South Australia to see great white sharks in their natural habitat. The Neptune Islands at the mouth of the Spencer Gulf are the only place in Australia where you can cage dive with great whites. Adventure Bay Charters even has an Aqua Sub that can immerse non-divers to shark level. Afterwards, feast on fresh local seafood and celebrate your achievement with a cold craft beer at a country pub.
At Naracoorte Caves National Park, crawl around 800,000-year-old rock formations, with squeezes and challenges along the route, lit only by your headlamps. You can stay at the World Heritage site and explore walking trails before trading tall tales around the campfire. Wirreanda Bunkhouse has dormitory-style accommodation for 49 people with a fully equipped kitchen and eating area.
If dirt tracks are your thing, South Australia is a four-wheel-driving dream. Map out a route – coastal, bush or outback – and get the convoy together. Along the way, you can camp, glamp, share holiday rentals or find some incredible luxury stays in unexpected places.
Wine and dine in style
If your tastes run to the gourmet, you’ll be spoilt for choice in planning fabulous foodie festivities. Hit Adelaide city for a weekend of hip bars, world-class restaurants and the option of heading a mere 20 minutes into the Adelaide Hills for a wine tasting jaunt. Have everyone stay at the stunning Mayfair boutique hotel in the heart of the CBD and don’t miss having a nightcap in its glamorous Hennessy Rooftop Bar. The hotel is close to some of Adelaide’s best bars, along Peel Street and down atmospheric laneways.
In the Barossa, settle in for a lavish long lunch at stunning Hentley Farm, dining on produce harvested from the farm’s 150 acres.
Celebrating a birthday or other landmark for one or all of you? Do the Taste Your Birth Year Tour in a historic bluestone cellar at Seppeltsfield. You’ll sip a dram of tawny port that’s the same vintage as you.
A luxury stay
If you want to gather your besties and enjoy each other’s company by the fireside, the pool, or across a sumptuous dinner table, South Australia has an array of properties perfect for a classic get-together.
Wild Bush Luxury’s Arkaba Station in a private conservancy in the Flinders Ranges, is a historic homestead with five bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom. The focus is on wilderness, luxury and amazing food and wine. Nurtured by the ancient landscape and extraordinary service, there will be group hugs all round.
Not enough time to venture far? The Adelaide Hills offers a range of beautiful, boutique accommodation including The Crafers Hotel and The Stirling Hotel, as well as lovely holiday homes where you can come together, relax and even have a private chef create a special dinner.
Cover yourselves in glory
Love sport? There’s always something going on in sport-loving South Australia to suit a group of like-minded friends.
See AFL, SANFL, cricket and special event sport at the glorious Adelaide Oval. Book a VIP package with food and drink or dine at the remarkable on-site Hill of Grace Restaurant. Do a behind-the-scenes tour, including a walk down the players’ race and a look inside the historic scoreboard. Then take on the exhilarating challenge of the Commonwealth Bank RoofClimb – the only stadium walk in Australia.
Cyclist buddies will love a getaway that coincides with the festival that is the Santos Tour Down Under, which offers opportunities to meet the world’s best riders as well as take to bikes yourselves. Year round, there are other cycling events, running events and a plethora of facilities to organise your own friendly competition as part of your weekend on wheels, trainers or your chosen mode of transport.
Virgin Australia flies to Adelaide from all major Australian cities. Most major hire car companies are located at Adelaide Airport.