Jet across the Pacific to South Australia for some of the best wine, food, nature and wildlife the country has to offer.
South Australia’s capital is a friendly, compact city of 1.3 million that serves as a central hub for visits to nearby wine country and Kangaroo Island. Get a taste of local wines at the many independent wine and liquor bars that are popping up around town thanks to new legislation that makes it more affordable for small vendors to get a liquor license. I loved Mother Vine for its eclectic selection of wines from small producers from Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, and cocktail bars like Hains & Co and Proof for creative and classic drinks.
Adelaide Central Market, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest undercover market, offers a comprehensive glimpse at regional produce and food artisans including The Yoghurt Shop, Island Pure, Le Souk and House of Health.
For dinner, head to Press for some of the best comfort food in town. The raw seafood and wood-grilled meats are standouts and there’s an entire section of the menu devoted to offal for more adventurous eaters. The sweetbreads and lamb brains are bestsellers. For a real taste of South Australia, try Orana, where you’ll dine on emu, kangaroo, foraged berries and herbs and even crispy black ants. A series of 15 one-bite snacks is delivered rapid-fire to the table before progressing into heartier dishes of mud crab with yogurt sorbet and lamb with quandong, a local wild bush fruit, and kutjera, “desert raisins.” Save a little room for dessert — the grand finale is a toasted damper (Australian soda bread) ice cream, strewn with caramelized toffee-like bread bits and topped with a thin layer of native currant sorbet.
Travel in style with Barossa Daimler Tours for a truly bespoke experience. John Baldwin will pick you up in a 1962 Daimler and take you on a tour of the region, tailored to your wine preferences. There’s no schedule, so you never feel rushed and have the time to have inspiring conversation and create personal connections with John and the local vintners, chefs, artists and shopkeepers you’ll meet along the way.
If you’ve never tried sparkling red wine, you’ll have to taste sparkling Shiraz. St Hallett has a wonderful version, made from their single-estate Shiraz grapes, that is equal parts sweet and smoky. Seppeltsfield is another must-visit after just undergoing a huge renovation. There’s a restaurant attached, along with JamFactory, a contemporary art and design studio, with several artists in residence, from a knife maker to a milliner. But it’s the hundred-year-old tawny that you come here for. Book a VIP tour for the chance to taste your birth year along with the 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny that they are famous for. Both Prince William and Prince Harry have kegs of their birth year set aside for them. Chocoholics will love the ChocoVino experience at Hahndorf Hill Winery where you can taste single-origin chocolate from Australia and abroad paired with both white and red wines.
The Louise offers the most comfortable accommodations you’ll find in wine country, with adjacent fine-dining restaurant Appellation. Mark McNamara, the chef that opened Appellation and garnered many accolades in his seven years there, now runs a private cooking school, Food Luddite. Spend an afternoon cooking with him, learning about local cuisine and then enjoy the fruits of your labor dining in the garden.
Visiting this expansive island of wilderness and wildlife is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. There are only 4,500 people living on the 1,700-square-mile island and more than a third of the land is national park or under conservation.
Stay at Southern Ocean Lodge, recently named one of the top 10 hotels in the world by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. The all-inclusive accommodations include three delectable meals each day, an open bar and several excursions and guided hikes for exploring the island. Kangas and Kanapes is a fun evening sunset activity, where you’ll sip Aussie wine, nibble canapés and mingle with fellow guests and kangaroos in their natural habitat. The lodge only allows children ages 10 and up, so if you’re traveling with youngsters, there are other accommodations in and around Kingscote.
After a day scrambling atop the Remarkable Rocks and getting up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, unwind at The Southern Spa, a tiny oasis perched on what feels like the edge of the world. It’s a short walk away from the lodge and there are only three treatment rooms, so you’ll likely have the entire place to yourself. Aboriginal skincare line Li’tya is used in all treatments and the natural botanicals enhance facials, body treatments and massages focused on aboriginal philosophy and healing techniques.
Qantas Airlines has the most flights into Adelaide, and a great premium economy option that is certainly worth paying extra for on this long-haul flight.
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