Few states and territories in Australia can lay claim to doing it all quite as well as South Australia can. But when it comes to Slow Stays with a difference – that hold both the promise of relaxation and adventures aplenty – the Bight really is best.
Between what are arguably the country’s best wineries and cellar doors and the artsy heart of Adelaide, the multi-hyphenate state is home to a handful of brilliant beach shacks and off-grid bush hideouts built for slow getaways.
Here are six of the best.
WANDER ON KANGAROO ISLAND
Middle River, SA
It won’t be long until the secret is well and truly out about Kangaroo Island. With accolades ranging from Australia’s Best Beach 2023 (Stokes Bay) to being named as a must-visit by The New York Times – as well as being home to some of the most untamed wilderness in the country – you can imagine that any stay here is going to be breathtaking. And that’s exactly what Wander on Kangaroo Island is all about: sitting back, taking a breath and relishing in the natural beauty at every turn. Standing on Karta Pintingga country overlooking Snelling Beach, the four WanderPods are built for nature worshiping. From the ocean-facing outdoor baths perched on each deck and the floor-to-ceiling windows in front of the lush queen bed and comfy lounge, every day ushers in front-row views of the sea bleeding into the sky. (Rainy days bring the goods too with indoor, fireside cosyness.)
AGATHA AT DEVON VALLEY FARM STAY
Paris Creek, SA
What’s more unique than a renovated Clipper caravan with serious Great Gatsby vibes on a working farm in the heart of Adelaide Hills’ Paris Creek? Devon Valley Farm Stay’s Agatha is like a glittering set piece that only serves to enhance the pure beauty of the surrounding landscape. Rolling hills dotted with majestic gums set the scene for relaxation, country style. Grab a coupe filled with bubbles and recline on one of the renovated Clipper’s velvet banquettes or take to the bath on the deck to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Or perhaps a book sesh next to the billabong is more your speed. The Fleurieu Peninsula, home to wineries, walks and historic villages, is close enough to fill your day in any which way.
Kangaroo Island, SA
Built from solid rammed-earth, Ecopia Retreat’s two villas take a deep dive into the off-grid concept, doubling down on the sustainable ethos that drove owners Rob and Yael to build them. Set amongst 60-hectares of registered wildlife sanctuary on Kangaroo Island, Ecopia takes the might of the environment and uses it to power the luxurious trappings inside the one-bedroom Slow Stays. Blending their love of First Nations art (pieces from the duo’s collection adorn the walls) and nature with clever sustainable design, a stay here is a much-needed reminder of our link with the world around us.
EYRE WAY – YAMBARA
Eyre Peninsula, SA
It would be easy to mistake your surroundings for a moonscape as you wake gently in the linen-topped cloud that doubles as a bed at Eyre Way – Yambara. With only the sound of the Southern Ocean crashing onto the cliff below and the sparse landscape stretching as far as the eye can see, it offers the kind of beautiful solitude comparable to only a far away deserted planet. Unlike interstellar travel though, luxury is not left behind and every aspect of the tiny off-grid cabin on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is designed for immersion in the rugged beauty – including a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. Setting itself even further apart from other Slow Stays, Eyre Way – Yambara is unique in that your littlest explorers can join on the adventure thanks to a cute loft built for tiny stargazers. Days spent splashing and beachcombing some of Australia’s most rugged coastlines are bookended by slow breakfast on the balcony and spying constellations around the glowing outdoor fire pit.
LOST RETREATS – MT JAGGED RETREAT
Mount Jagged, SA
Getting lost to find yourself may sound like esoteric nonsense to the monkey-minded, busy-at-all-costs version of you (there are bills to pay, emails to send!). But give yourself just a few nights at Lost Retreats Mt Jagged, and you’ll find the nugget of truth in it. Built by an architect and sustainable builder using repurposed and reclaimed materials, the solar-powered cabin is the best way to get lost (and then found). Tucked up into the olive groves and vines of an organic vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Mt Jagged is an escape from the world back to yourself. Savour both edible and visual treats from right out your door like organic wine and views out over the placid lake lose yourself in slow moments of repose.
What’s in a name? At Slow Cabin, hidden among the gum trees of Clare Valley’s Skilly Hills, it’s the very purpose that drives the family behind this unique slow stay. A scenic two-hour drive from the centre of Adelaide takes you right to the door of this architectural marvel at sustainably vineyard Mitchell Wines. Soak up the slow beauty from inside the lofty cabin – the view from the bed makes it very hard to leave – with board games, cards and low-intervention wine to keep you company. Or wander down to the cellar door for the full tasting experience. Renowned for its well-regarded riesling terroir, the region is no slouch when it comes to sloughing off the constraints of our always-on existence either. You’ll find bushland walking tracks, beautiful landscapes and farm-gate foodie experiences around almost every corner in these parts.