South Australia: Where Nature Wines and Dines

The wooded, pungent smells of cheese, vine ripened tomatoes and “bum burner sausages” hit me like a breath of fresh air as I stroll through Adelaide Central Market tasting the hand made nibbles, chatting to Mark Gleeson, a market connoisseur and personalised tour guide.

“South Australia is a true foodie wonderland,” he says.

Days here seem to melt into large wine glasses on the beach and luxury restaurants aplenty, and after a few prime cuts of steak it’s time to move on to the lesser visited Flinders Ranges 366km north of Adelaide.

© Natalie Dent

At the heart of the Flinders Ranges, tucked between water eroded gorges and fossils over 555 million years old, lies Wilpena Pound.

Best seen by flight, the natural amphitheater is a geological wonder offering nature lovers and rock enthusiasts spectacular bush walks.

Warmed by a blood red sky and the rust red earth tumbleweeds drift gently through the offbeat homesteads and rugged hills that together form the great Australian Outback.

Towns have names like Laura and Broken Hill.

In the sweltering heat kangaroos and emu think its nirvana.

“We’re constantly working to conserve our natural wildlife,” says Tony Smith, owner of Rawnsley Park Station. “Our eco-villas let travellers experience the outback first-hand.”

© Natalie Dent

The sunset is best viewed atop a hill with sparkling Shiraz and Brie

A night spent in one of 15 luxury tents at Ikara Safari Camp affords the restless a silence so loud it’s audible, and darkness filled with rich, deep sleep.© Natalie Dent

Driving back through the heat of the outback is well rewarded by the lush, green vineyards as the road winds its way into the Barossa.

Cellar doors steeped in history are opened early and visitors to Penfolds can blend their own unique wine, a perfect souvenir.

The Barossa, Clare Valley and Mclaren Vale make up the golden triangle of South Australian wine. Tours here include visits to working wineries and samples of sweet cabernet grapes straight from the vine.

I meet up with Ben Neville, owner of Off Piste Tours, for an off road 4WD excursion across the Fleurieu Peninsula to Cape Jervis. En-route we stop at his families’ farm, where his mum hand produces just 150 crates of wine a year, then drive across the soft sand beach to picnic under a tree.

© Natalie Dent © Natalie Dent

The views are stunning; best enjoyed with a glass of old school wine pressed by the feet of a local.

Our last few days are spent tracking wild koala, walking with seals and visiting Remarkable Rock on Kangaroo Island, a ferry ride from Cape Jervis.

Here, one can find true retreat in the luxury of the Southern Ocean Lodge, or embrace the simple thrills of nature on a quad bike safari in Kingscote.

© Natalie Dent © Natalie Dent

I am surprised by South Australia with her diversity, hospitality and warmth.

Far from the beaten track and not a tourist in sight it’s a well-kept secret known to the lucky few that venture out of Adelaide, follow the kangaroos and unwind in a true Aussie experience.

 

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