The quintessential Aussie homestead, Arkaba sits in the heart of a 60,000 acre private conservancy between craggy sandstone bluffs and dry creek beds lined with River Red Gums, and just outside the Flinders Range National Park.
Accommodation is in five (four in the homestead and a separate cottage) traditional-style bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and access to the shady verandah for escaping the midday heat. The rooms are air conditioned and were designed with the homestead's heritage in mind. With no telephones, televisions, minibars or the typical features of a hotel room to distract, the focus is on the experience at one of the most beautiful properties in Australia.
A library with deep leather armchairs and a large stone fireplace provides seclusion, while meals are served hosted on the terrace overlooking the Elder Range, which glows pink with the first rays of sun every morning. An infinity pool overlooks the Arkaba Creek and the open bar stocks a selection of premium South Australian wines. The resident chef provides traditional station cuisine with some contemporary and local twists.
Activities on offer include bush walking and mountain biking; 4x4 trips into the Flinders Ranges National Park; safaris to see communities of red and grey kangaroos and Aboriginal rock art sites. A particular highlight is the geological amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound, which lies on the northern boundary of the property.
Why We Love It
Spend one night in the bush on an overnight walking safari. Sleep under the stars in beautiful locations in a deluxe swag - an Aussie design classic consisting of 100% cotton sheets, pillows, duvets for the cooler months and a thick mattress.
Southern Ocean Lodge
The award-winning Southern Ocean Lodge is located on Kangaroo Island off the south coast, not far from Adelaide.
The low-rise suites snake along a ridge offering outstanding views over crashing breakers and out to the eponymous Southern Ocean. The design throughout the lodge is fresh and contemporary, with the suites featuring sunken lounges, bespoke furniture and dramatic glass walled bathrooms.
Dining options are based on a 'produce to plate' concept, championing the best of a region considered the culinary capital of the country, and completed by a fine selection of justly famous Australian wines. Activities (and meals) are included, and there is a daily changing itinerary of guided excursions to the many attractions on the island, including the Flinders Chase and Cape Bouguer/Kelly Hill National Parks, sunrise sea lion safaris and stargazing in some of the least light polluted skies on the planet.
After you have spent a couple of days exploring the island, also available at the hotel are yoga, massages, snorkelling, diving, and fishing expeditions.
Why We Love It
In true Aussie no nonsense nomenclature the main room at Southern Ocean Lodge is known, very simply, as the Great Room. It bloody well is, too.
Lifetime Private Retreats
Located on the tip of the Bay of Shoals on the eastern coast of Kangaroo Island, Lifetime Private Retreats offers visitors complete serenity and seclusion.
There are just three beachside villas - the Sky House, the Stone House and the Cliff House. The Sky House is ideal for couples, with its under floor heating, cosy fireplace, secluded terrace and telescope for romantic stargazing. The Stone House, which is only a three minute walk to the beach, has three en suite rooms each with a private deck. The third villa is the three bedroom Cliff House, which is all about the views. Perched on the cliff, guests look over Snelling's Beach - particularly beautiful when seen from the Jacuzzi - and the circular bedroom looks over the Southern Sea.
Each villa has a fully fitted kitchen so guests can cook for themselves. For those who would really rather not, a chef service is available in villa, or food can be served anywhere around the estate.
Kangaroo Island is famous for its abundance of native plants and animals, including dolphins, possums and over 200 species of bird. With the beach so close, snorkelling and fishing are easy to arrange, and equipment can be borrowed from the estate.
Why We Love It
A concierge service is available, ensuring that all necessary groceries are waiting in the villa upon arrival.
A former private homestead, North Bundaleer has been restored to its former glory and is now a luxury boutique guesthouse.
There are just four guest rooms, all elegantly yet individually decorated - the red room has panoramic views and a Chinese sitting room with open fireplace; the blue room overlooks the rose gardens; the décor of the William Morris room is inspired by the arts and crafts movement; and the African room has views to the hills beyond. Although Victorian in style, North Bundaleer is forward thinking and there is free Wi-Fi throughout
Pre-dinner drinks and canapés are served in the drawing room, followed by a four-course meal around the large Georgian table in the dining room. The food is local and seasonal, and beef, vegetables, honey and olive oil are all produced on the estate.
Set in 400 acres of bush and farmland, cattle, kangaroos and kookaburras roam freely, and guests can go on 4WD drives to local points of interest, such as a nearby vineyard (or all 35 of them) or the beaches which are slightly further afield. Other activities at North Bundaleer include fly fishing, riding and trekking in North Bundaleer Forest.
Why We Love It
There are no telly's in rooms, instead you can unleash your inner Pavarotti on the grand piano in the ballroom
Set atop a hill with sweeping views across the famous Barossa Valley, The Louise is a luxury vineyard retreat featuring award-winning restaurant Appellation.
Completely upgraded and extensively rebuilt in 2006, all suites have private terraces, contemporary décor and spacious en-suite bathrooms.
Executive Chef Mark McNamara heads up one of Australia's finest regional restaurants serving a daily changing menu focusing on locally sourced seasonal produce. Appellation's extensive wine list presents the best of the Barossa, Australia and iconic wines of the world.
Why We Love It
The suites have been strategically built to have either sunset or sunrise views over the beautiful surrounding vineyards
Thorn Park By The Vines
Located in the Clare Valley wine region, Thorn Park by the Vines overlooks bush and vineyards, and is the perfect country escape.
The house has only three rooms - the Yellow Room, the White Room and the Mocha Room - all with a private outdoor area, Wi-Fi, telly and Ipod dock. All are decorated with a mix of antique and modern furniture, and have views of the vineyards, ridge and surrounding eucalyptus trees.
Hosts Michael and David have food and drink down to a tee, with David heading up the kitchen and Michael keeping drinks topped up. David keeps food local, while drawing on inspiration from his travels, and guests can watch him at work or even have a cooking lesson. Art classes are also available, and the library has a vast selection of books.
There is plenty to do in the Clare Valley wine region, and visiting vineyards should be high on the list. South Australia's first rail trail, the Riesling Trail, is nearby and is dotted with historic buildings and restaurants. It's easy to walk part of it, or we recommend hiring bikes. More history can be found in the old town of Mintaro, established in 1849, which boasts antique stores, restaurants and fascinating old buildings.
Why We Love It
More private home than hotel, bring a good book (or borrow from the hotel library) and immerse yourself in the Australian bush.
Consult all our trips in South Australia