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Gum Creek

From hip city stays to far-flung resorts – South Australia’s top 20 holiday retreats

  1. Arches of Allendale, Allendale

    If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in a converted church, Arches of Allendale offers that experience, and in a lovely village setting, south of Mount Gambier on South Australia’s Limestone Coast.

    The small hamlet of Allendale is a great base from which to explore the beaches, wineries, cave diving and other attractions of the coast – if you can get yourself out the door of your fabulous digs.

    The inside of the 1866 church has been reimagined with contemporary flare, making it a great entertainer with extensive lounging and dining options, both inside and out.

    Upstairs, find accommodation for up to eight and room for a further two in the annex.

    But of course, the gorgeous Gothic arches that characterised the original purpose-build remain, reminding you of the structure’s historic past.


    Arches of Allendale


  2. Troubridge Island, Edithburgh

    This 160-year-old original lighthouse and keeper’s cottage may just be one of the world’s most unusual – and secluded accommodations. Troubridge Island Conservation Park is a sea-locked lighthouse station.

    Accessible only by boat from Edithburgh three hours from Adelaide on the Yorke Peninsula, and only available for one party of up to 12 at a time, this is a proper getaway. Your only neighbours are nesting seabirds, including little penguins, cormorants and terns. Then there are regular pods of dolphins passing by and one resident Australian sea lion called Sammy.


    Access is by permit only. Phone (08) 8852 6290.


  3. Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy

    Some 850km north of Adelaide, remote Coober Pedy sits in the world’s richest opal field, attracting a strong population of miners and fortune hunters from all around the world to live there. But it experiences freezing nights and sweltering days and that has pushed life underground, where the temperature is a temperate constant.

    At the Desert Cave Hotel visitors can experience “dugout” life. It’s a great four-star complex of underground accommodation, restaurants, shops, games area and bar and has above ground rooms for those wanting to experience underground life, but not sleep in it. There’s a nice pool, too.


    Desert Cave Hotel


  4. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island

    World famous for its cuisine, elegant architecture, sublime service and unsurpassed views, Southern Ocean Lodge is arguably the best of its kind in Australia.

    It’s airy, light, modernist form snakes along a bluff with absolute Southern Ocean frontage, creating an exquisite contrast. As the wildness of nature swirls across its face, the lodge’s guests are ensconced in relaxed luxury.

    Behind the lodge is pristine bushland, where kangaroos and other native mammals roam. Out to sea, guests may see whales and dolphins passing by.

    But lodge personnel encourage their guests to get out and about and see the unique and unspoiled sights of Kangaroo Island, planning tours, experiences and even gourmet picnics to give visitors a real connection to their surrounds.


    Southern Ocean Lodge


  5. Prairie Hotel, Parachilna

    The word “legendary” gets bandied about a bit, but the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges truly deserves the tag.

    The amazingly preserved outback pub has held a licence since 1876 and today attracts people from far and wide, some of whom fly in just to have a beer on the fabled front verandah.

    You can stay in the heritage landmark and experience life in South Australia’s unforgettable outback, with the rugged Flinders Ranges on one side and desert plains on the other.

    The pub epitomises good old-fashioned outback hospitality and character while upholding a superb standard of comfort, service and food. There’s often live country music entertainment, too.


    Prairie Hotel


  6. Gum Creek Lodge, Flinders Ranges

    On a ridgetop overlooking the rugged 540 million year old Flinders Ranges lies Gum Creek Lodge, the only accommodation providing such a window on the incredible, changing face of one of the oldest landscapes and habitats on Earth.

    The environmentally sensitive and handsomely contemporary structure built from the traditional outback homestead materials of timber, corrugated iron and local stone has four ensuite bedrooms, each with their own verandah, a box seat to the changing landscape.

    There’s a large fully equipped kitchen, dining and lounge area, with front deck and a rear courtyard with open fire place, wood-fired pizza oven and bar, all run with solar and wind energy and rainwater.


    Gum Creek Lodge



  7. Unforgettable Houseboats, Murray River Region

    The mighty Murray River is a unique environment with abundant wildlife, dreamy bush landscapes, quaint towns and spectacular cliffs along its banks. There’s no better way to soak all that up than on a house boating holiday.

    Unforgettable Houseboats has a fleet of 10 spectacular luxury vessels, featuring gourmet kitchens, beautifully decorated lounging areas, sun and swim decks, air conditioning and ensuites, laundry facilities, four-burner barbecues and quality bedding. Some even have jacuzzis.

    A South Australian Tourism Hall of Fame member and most awarded houseboat operation in Australia, this is Murray River house boating at its most memorable.




  8. The Retreat at Chapel Hill Winery, McLaren Vale

    If there is a McLaren Vale epicentre, it’s where the Onkaparinga Gorge and Onkaparinga National Park, meet the bucolic beauty of its vineyards. Chapel Hill Winery’s The Retreat at Chapel Hill is right there.

    The Retreat at Chapel Hill sleeps up to 14 and features a huge open-plan living area with huge windows overlooking the vineyards and bushland.

    The sunsets are sublime, and the huge elevated terrace is the perfect place from which to catch them, glass of McLaren Vale’s finest in hand.

    The Retreat also hosts cooking classes, inviting guests to create their own meal under expert guidance, then enjoy it with some elegant local vintages.


    The Retreat at Chapel Hill Winery


  9. LifeTime Retreats, Kangaroo Island

    LifeTime Retreats is a collection of elegantly relaxed beach houses, each in a unique location on Kangaroo Island.

    The Cliff House, overlooks the sparking cove of Snelling’s Beach, with direct access to it and features a romantic (or fun for the kids) circular tower bedroom with a panoramic window looking out to sea as well an outdoor cliff-edge jacuzzi.

    The couple’s accommodation, Sky House is called that for good reason. You look across a panorama of Kangaroo Island’s green fields and jeweled coast. Sheoaks also looks across such vistas, and it sleeps seven.

    Families love Settler’s Homestead, a three-bedroom, relaxed holiday home with decks, lawn, and easy reach to the beach.


    LifeTime Retreats


  10. Birks Harbour Marina and Luxury Retreats, Fleurieu Peninsula

    Goolwa at the mouth of the Murray River is a storybook historic river port town and Birks Harbour Marina is in prime position on the water, a luxury retreat dating back to the early 1900s offering the Captain’s Retreat, Riverview Retreat and The Boathouse with absolute frontage to the marina.

    Decorated in a period nautical theme, these relaxed little havens make it easy to slip into holiday mode, with wood fires, claw foot baths, big decks upon which to soak up the sun and a shared swimming pool.


    Birks Harbour Marina and Luxury Retreats



  11. Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills

    Just 15 minutes out of town in the picturesque vineyard region of the Adelaide Hills, You can stay in the historic summer home of a famous winemaking family.

    Mount Lofty House dates from 1852 when it was established by the Hardy family, a name that still resonates in Australian winemaking.

    Today, it’s a much-loved boutique luxury hotel and restaurant serving South Australian cuisine and wines.

    The estate itself maintains the footprint set among the famous manicured gardens, rose plantations, topiary, plush lawns and beautiful trees  with a backdrop view of vineyards, paddocks and villages.


    Mount Lofty House


  12. Clare View Accommodation, Clare Valley

    For views of the Clare Valley wine region, could Clare View Accommodation be unbeatable?

    Certainly, the property affords 360-degree views, making for amazing sunrises, sunsets and everything in between. And set in 11ha of grazing land, your only neighbours are alpacas, cows, sheep, kangaroos and a chorus of native birds.

    Handy too, it’s near the Clare Valley Riesling Trail, perfect for exploring the region by bicycle.

    It comprises two separate houses, 150m apart: Clare View House that sleeps eight across three bedrooms and two bathrooms; and Clare View Cottage which sleeps four in two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. Groups can take the whole property.


    Clare View


  13. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse Keepers Cottages, Kangaroo Island

    When the lighthouse on the southwest tip of Kangaroo Island was built in 1902, it included a collection of three cottages, for the keeper and his assistants, all four structures built in local limestone. The lighthouse was hugely important; there were many shipwrecks on the reef offshore from the time French explorer Nicholas Baudin passed by in 1803 and named the Cape after his good friend, sea captain Charles Louis Chevalier du Couedic de Kergoualer.

    Today, the Cape du Couedic Keepers Cottages, in Flinders Chase National Park are open for guests and each can sleep up to six guests in three bedrooms.

    A short walk from Admiral’s Arch, they include cooking facilities, heating and other creature comforts.

    There is a minimum two-night stay.


    Environment SA



  14. Old Mount Gambier Gaol, Mount Gambier

    It’s seen executions and who knows what other unsettling deeds. But the 1866 Mount Gambier Jail is now The Old Mount Gambier Gaol Hotel, a busy, friendly, creative and social hostel that receives rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

    Closed in 1995 and bought by private owners, its cells are now dorm-type accommodation, with common eating and socialising areas and shared bathrooms.  On occasions, the jail courtyard is given over to music festivals, performances and exhibitions.

    Those who are squeamish about sleeping in the cells can take the Warden’s Cottage, a three-bedroom private spread.


    Old Mount Gambier Gaol



  15. Thorngrove Manor, Adelaide Hills

    It might look like something out of 18th century Bavaria, but this Small Luxury Hotels of the World property at Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills only opened its doors in 1994.

    That means Thorngrove Manor combines fairytale castle romance with mod cons, and that’s why it’s a popular award-winning retreat for couples.

    Featuring a magnificent stone spiral staircase, an embellished stone baronial fireplace, early 19th century carved furniture, lavishly canopied beds, extravagant chandeliers, decorative ceilings and a Juliet balcony, it’s no wonder it’s a go-to place for proposals and just-marrieds.

    Affording gorgeous vistas from a pretty garden, it also puts on a lavish fireside private afternoon tea for two, especially for marriage proposals, anniversaries, birthdays, and any other special private celebration.


    Thorngrove Manor



  16. The Frames, Paringa

    The Murray River’s most glamorous stay sits high on a clifftop at Paringa, three hours out of Adelaide. It comprises three villas with ultra-private balconies overlooking the river, private heated pool, spa, sauna, barbecue and immaculate design, each differently themed with artworks to match.

    The owners take pride in the small details as well, such as king-sized electric beds with tilt functions, high-end appliances in the kitchens, and other comforts.

    You can order sumptuous meal packages ready to heat and serve, or gourmet barbecue packs. There’s a chef available for in-villa cooking at an additional cost.


    Luxury Accommodation South Australia



  17. The Australasian Circa 1858 , Goolwa

    A luxury private hotel in the sweet country town of Goolwa at the mouth of the Murray, The Australasian Circa 1858 is a rare gem.

    Overlooking Goolwa’s wharf precinct and the river on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, near McLaren Vale, The Australasian Circa 1858 has been lovingly renovated from a virtually derelict state by its chef owner Juliet Michell.

    She’s blended the colonial Australian bones of the building with modern Asian design to create five uniquely “Australasian” suites, each with beautiful ensuites.

    Common areas are bright, airy and polished and the ambience is elegant but relaxed.

    There’s a lovely onsite restaurant where Michell treats guests to modern Asian dinners accompanied by a fine list of South Australian wines.


    The Australasian Circa 1858


  18. Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury, Adelaide

    Adelaide’s grand and historic Treasury building has been restored and converted into a serviced apartment-style hotel with one of the best locations in the city.

    Right on Victoria Square, it’s near the Botanic Gardens, National Wine Centre, Adelaide’s Central Market and Rundle Mall.

    It has 79 guestrooms including studios, one and two-bedroom apartments in a renovation that blends heritage-listed architecture with modern amenities and comfort.

    There’s a heated pool and great fitness centre, and the vibe is luxe home away from home.





  19. The Mayfair Hotel, Adelaide

    A classic privately owned boutique hotel, The Mayfair is the kind of hotel New York City is famous for, with character, charm quirk and city style.

    But it’s distinctly Adelaide.

    Inhabiting a much-loved and now revived old building with a clever “jewel box” extension, it combines heritage and innovation, entrepreneurship and tradition – the qualities that have made the city one of the hottest in the world right now.

    The guestrooms are big and elegant, the restaurant and cafe both place emphasis on South Australia’s great produce, while the spectacular Hennessy Rooftop Bar is city glam with unique furnishings, great mixology and a funky ambience in a wood-beamed attic space fringed by a gargoyle-festooned terrace that looks down on Rundle Mall.


    The Mayfair Hotel


  20. The Louise, Seppeltsfield

    If there’s a quintessential Barossa experience, it’s The Louise at Seppeltsfield. The onsite restaurant Appellation, is considered one of Australia’s finest and executive chef Ryan Edwards sets out to showcase the best of South Australia’s most historic and famous wine-producing and food-growing region with a slow food policy that means over 85 per cent of edibles that arrive on the table are sourced from within 30km of the restaurant. The wine list has around 500 choices, many of them rare Barossa treasures.

    The Louise accommodation is all about stunning design in roomy private spaces, which showcase breathtaking vineyard views.

    Oriented for fabulous sunsets from their private terraces, the suites feature gas log fireplaces, outdoor private rain shower, spa tubs for two, and many other luxurious touches.


    The Louise



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