in Luxury and Style
South Australia (www.southaustralia.com) has long been recognised for its abundant free roaming wildlife, its fine quality food and wine, and its laid back, alfresco lifestyle. Now it is developing a matching reputation for its luxury accommodation and touring opportunities.
Below are detailed eight of South Australia’s top luxury tour operators and properties which provide easy access to the State’s signature experiences:
Southern Ocean Lodge (www.southernoceanlodge.com.au) – It is a luxurious world class eco-wilderness lodge located on Kangaroo Island, renowned as Australia’s Galapagos. Southern Ocean Lodge opened in April 2008 to instant success and international acclaim and is currently Tatler’s “Hotel Of The Year”. From the start, the Lodge has exceeded guests’ traditional five-star expectations by fusing design and nature, gourmet and wilderness. By offering impeccable service, sophisticated dining and exceptional touring, the result is luxurious in style whilst uncompromisingly sensitive to the environment.
Arkaba Station (www.arkabastation.com) – It is one of Australia’s oldest and most famous Outback sheep stations whose historic homestead dates back to 1851. Situated on 60,000 acres in the Flinders Ranges close to the geological amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound, Arkaba was recently purchased by Wild Bush Luxury and has undergone a major refurbishment which includes the construction of a swimming pool. Guests are now able to experience the authentic country lifestyle of a working sheep station as well as the majesty of the Flinders Ranges and its prolific wildlife. Activities include guided scenic four-wheel drives and three-night/four day walking safaris that include sleeping in swags under the Outback sky at established en route camps.
Outback Encounter (www.outbackencounter.com) – It is a private concierge and full service travel company that has the ability to organise every aspect of a trip from flights and accommodation through to dinner reservations, opera tickets and golf lessons. Boasting an impressive knowledge database of local contacts, Outback Encounter provides access to exclusive beach houses, city villas, private jets, specialist guides, sporting and entertainment stars and other memorable experiences. All itineraries are customised to meet a client’s exact requirements.
Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris (www.gawlerrangessafaris.com) – Run by a passionate team of South Australians who have lived in the Outback most of their lives, Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris has specialised in customising wildlife and natural history tours for over two decades. Based 600 kms north west of Adelaide on the Eyre Peninsula, they focus predominantly on the Gawler Ranges and the immediate coastline. Their base camp, located at Kangaluna near Wudinna, is set in a beautiful bush location on the edge of Gawler Ranges National Park and is itself the ideal spot for wildlife spotting and nature viewing during evening or morning walks. Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris adheres to the “leave only footprints, take only photos and memories” philosophy, so tour groups are small, between two and six people, with travel in luxury four-wheel drive, air-conditioned vehicles. Other activities include swimming with wild dolphins and sea lions at Baird Bay.
China Air Tours (www.chinta.com.au) – When time is short, South Australia with its vast vistas, can really only be appreciated from the air. This is why Chinta Air Tours offers a selection of air safaris that include whale watching at Head of Bight and wildlife spotting on the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. To comfortably cover the vast distances involved, tours combine light aircraft flights with regional airlines and four wheel drive vehicles. The main light aircraft used are Cessnas – high winged aircraft that allow each passenger to have a window seat.
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours (www.wildernesstours.com.au) – It uses knowledgeable local guides to introduce visitors to Australia’s top wildlife destination. Each fully hosted tour have been developed over the years to reveal Kangaroo Island at its best using luxury four-wheel drive vehicles. In addition, should a client have a special interest in flora, fauna, birds or photography, Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours offers private charter tours for an exclusive touring experience. In addition, after a day’s touring, guests can enjoy the comfort of Seascape Lodge located on Emu Bay, a five-star, fully hosted bed and breakfast which is available exclusively to Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours’ guests.
Banksia Adventures (www.banksia-adventures.com.au) – It adheres to the slogan “Go Beyond Your Expectations” revealing lesser known destinations and experiences to their clients in style and comfort. Experiences include Outback Australian Culture, Marine and Coastal, Nature and Eco-tours plus Unique Food and Wine tours. Banksia Adventures team includes outback four-wheel drive guides, pilots and wine guides. Their internationally renowned air charter tour is the “The Great Aussie Outback Pub Crawl”, a five-day private air charter and 4WD experience through the Outback, whilst newer tours include a luxury golf package based on the world’s longest golf course, The Nullarbor Links.
The Louise (www.thelouise.com.au) – Situated in the renowned Barossa wine region, The Louise is a luxuriously appointed 15-suite property surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see. Each suite offers guests their own gated courtyard entrance, a spacious ensuite and private open air terrace with vineyard vistas. Some suites also have private outdoor showers. Bicycles are available on site whilst activities include hot air ballooning and private tours of heritage sites and local wineries. The Louise is also home to APPELLATION, their acclaimed restaurant run by British-born Executive Chef Mark McNamara.
The Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive (www.cattledrive.com.au) – Riders and nature lovers looking for the ultimate Outback experience should take part in the Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive, from 30 July to 29 August 2010. Over these five weeks riders of all levels and experience can choose to join one of six four-night/five-day cattle drives that will take them through the pristine landscapes surrounding South Australia’s legendary Oodnadatta Track, droving cattle and working with some of country’s most experienced drovers. This epic journey involves approximately 500 head of cattle and up to 120 horses.
As one of the largest and most popular events in South Australia’s calendar, this is fast becoming a “must do” for horse lovers worldwide who want to experience the romance and adventure of the real Australian Outback, immersing themselves in its unique landscape, history and people. Baz Luhrrman found the experience so inspirational when he took part in 2003 that he went on to write and direct his 2008 epic “Australia” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.