4 must-see events at the Adelaide Festival 2017

By Adelaide / Australia /

The Adelaide Festival runs from 3-19 March. Fascinating opera, theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts awaits. This festival features some of the world’s best.

The Adelaide Festival is in its 32nd year. The 2017 line-up includes opera from England and drama from Germany. There’s also dance from Israel and a tribute to the late Judy Garland.

Grab a cheap car hire deal from Adelaide and make sure you see these top four performances at the 2017 Adelaide Festival.

Saul (pictured)

George Frideric Handel’s Saul is the headline act for 2017. Directed by Barrie Kosky, this opera masterpiece treats you to dramatic and heart-breaking music. It tells the story of a Lear-like mad king and his family’s struggles. Critics across the world have praised the show after a performance at the Glyndebourne Festival two years ago. Now it comes exclusively to Adelaide for Australian opera lovers.

Portraits in Motion

Have you ever wanted to see the world through an artist’s eyes? “Intrepid traveller” Volker Gerling has walked more than 3,500km throughout Germany. Over the years he has documented the people he met and their stories. He has created flipbook portraits, which he presents to his audience. He explains the story behind each picture and points out the fragile moments that he so beautifully captures.

Rufus Wainwright: Rufus does Judy

Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright is a delightful performer. He comes to the Adelaide Festival in 2017 to perform two of the works that are closest to his heart. He puts on a show with a concert version of Prima Donna, which was his first undertaking in the world of opera. In this one-night show he also teams with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to re-create Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall concert in a touching tribute.

Contemporary Dance

L-E-V will perform two fantastic works at this year’s festival. Killer Pig is a oroud mix of folkdance and classical gestures. While organisers liken it to “a tribal ceremony from an alien culture” and it’s bound to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire performance. Then there’s OCB Love, which explores lovers who always seem out of touch with each in today’s modern world. It’s contemporary dance with more edge to it than more.



Adelaide revs up for the hottest event in town, the Clipsal 500

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

PETROL heads, lovers of fast cars, those with a need for speed, and anyone in general heading to South Australia’s capital early in March, it’s time to rev up and start your engines as the Adelaide Clipsal 500 hits town over the weekend of March 2 to 5. So where does your loyalty lie? Ford or Holden?

The streets of Adelaide will come alive with the growls, roars and screeches of some of the fastest vehicles in the world. Whether you’re car crazy or just looking for an awesome day out, you’d be mad to miss it, the team from Southaustralia.com tell us. Here are all the reasons to look forward to a few days in the “city of churches” when motorsport diehards worship their heroes behind the steering wheel.

Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

See iconic Australian Supercars unleash their adrenalin around the Adelaide street circuit in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Simona de Silvestro will join the grid as the first full-time female supercar driver, while changes in the race format will keep drivers on their toes. Nick Percat took out the Clipsal 500 Adelaide trophy in 2016; who will accelerate to victory in 2017?

CAMS Australian GT Championship
In a showcase of breathtaking manufacturing and design, the CAMS Australian GT Championship brings a spectacular field of cars worth millions of dollars to Adelaide. The event will see cars from the world’s leading automotive manufacturers including a Lamborghini Huracan, BMW M6, Ferrari 488 and Audi R8 GTS.

Touring Car Masters spin their wheels
Muscling their way around around the track, Touring Car Masters are by far the loudest and beefiest in the Clipsal 500. See legends of motor sport line up on the grid, including John Bowe, Glenn Seton, Steven Johnson and Jim Richards.

Super Trucks going nuts!

Bridging the gap between on-track and air displays, 650 horsepower Stadium Super Trucks launch themselves over special ramps around the Clipsal 500 Adelaide circuit at speeds reaching 240 kilometres per hour.

Rocking and rapping it up with the best in music

On Friday and Saturday night, the stage will come to life with awesome live music. Hilltop Hoods will tear up the stage on Friday night accompanied by Seth Sentry, The Funkoars and Aradhna.  Rock out on Saturday with Baby Animals, Battlehounds and The Byzantines.

Supercars Paddock to meet your heroes

Let loose on the Clipsal 500 Supercars Paddock and get up-close and personal with your favourite drivers, crews and cars. It’s your opportunity to see the big race rigs, get an autograph, take a photo and spot the motor sport world’s hottest celebs.

Jaguar 60th le Mans Victory Celebration Display
Don’t miss this spectacular tribute to Jaguar featuring over 50 rare and exciting vehicles from the early 1930s to current models. This epic showcase includes a stunning array of beautifully maintained and replica vehicles.

Don’t miss out on the action! Get your tickets from the Clipsal 500 website to secure your place at Australia’s biggest and best motor sport event! General track side entry is $45, concert tickets start at $70, pit entry starts from $99 and platform tickets start from $85. Adelaide car rentals from Drivenow.com.au

SCOTT PODMORE (with southaustralia.com)


Four festivals in Adelaide and surrounds you can’t miss

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

Adelaide festivals are some of the best in Australia. Next time you visit the city, make sure you pick up a great hire car deal from Adelaide Airport and tick off these awesome events during your stay.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

17 February – 19 March 2017
Fringe is internationally recognised as one of the best open-access arts events. Artists from across the world come to the city for four weeks of art celebrations. Visit the city and you’ll find pop up venues in parks, lane-ways, theatres and art galleries. The best thing about Fringe is that it’s not just for high-profile artists. Anyone can participate.


10 – 13 March 2017
The Botanic Park in Adelaide becomes the hub of WOMADelaide over the long weekend in March. Soak up performances and workshops created by the world’s renowned musicians, dancers and DJs. You’ll find a mix of traditional and contemporary music. There’s also street theatre and visual artists. People love WOMADelaide. If not for the diversity of art then definitely for the family friendly atmosphere.

Victor Harbour Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival

16 – 17 September 2017
There’s no better place to enjoy some good old Rock ‘n’ Roll! Put on your dancing shoes and head on over to the lovely seaside town of Victor Harbour. There are three stages pumping out catchy tunes with just as many dance floors. The classic car competition is also an event favourite, with anybody able to enter. One of the best things about this weekend is the people it attracts. You’re bound to have a fun time.

OzAsia Festival

26 September – 8 October 2017
It’s Australia’s premier international arts festival that focuses entirely on Asia. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event and the program keeps growing every year. Enjoy a rich line up of contemporary arts from across Asia. Live international music and the Moon Lantern Festival are among the highlights of the event.



5 things to do between Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

By Adelaide / Australia /

The beautiful Barossa Valley is a renowned wine-producing region, famous for its Shiraz. Just northeast of Adelaide you’ll discover rolling green hills, historic towns and high profile vineyards regarded as some of the best in the world.

Hire a car from Adelaide Airport and start ticking these items off your bucket list.

Murray Street Vineyards

Murray Street Vineyards was established in 2001, with the vision of creating unique artisan wines. The Tasting Room and cellars were inspired by early Barossa architecture, making you feel as if you’re entering another era when you step inside. Apart from its lovely interior, the experience is also about the wine. Visitors often rave about the Shiraz, Rose and the Marsanne, to name a few favourites.

Hot air balloon rides

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of this region is by air. A hot air balloon ride gives you the opportunity to take in the marvellous sight of the sun casting its early morning ray’s over the valley’s rolling hills. It’s the perfect activity for a romantic weekend away. The views are breathtaking as you float along with the breeze. You’re sure to remember this special moment for the rest of your life.

Chateau Tanunda

Australia’s oldest and largest chateau is known as the Icon of the Barossa Valley. Hence why you can’t leave the region without visiting this attraction. Chateau Tanunda was built around 1890 and has since become famous for handcrafting some of the region’s finest drops. You can also explore the vineyard and gardens as you soak up the amazing scenery.

Barossa Farmers Market

You don’t know fresh food until you’ve tried the Barossa Valley’s homegrown specials. Fresh food comes straight from the farms and onto the market shelves. Locals travel to Agnaston for their weekly grocery shop. But the market is increasingly growing in popularity among tourists. You’ll find fruit, vegetables, breads, honeys, nuts, oils and more. Fill up your basket and create one of the best homemade dishes of you life. Not only will your partner enjoy a meal made with love, but you’re also giving back to Aussies who work hard to feed the nation.

The Barossa Trail

Many people love to explore the valley’s gorgeous scenery by foot or bike. Pack some snacks and plenty of water as your spend the day moving from town to town. The trail is 40km long and connects the Barossa Ranges to the Adelaide Plains. It treats you to charming riverside views and the natural beautiful of the agricultural landscape. A popular part of the exercise is stopping by the towns to sample some fine wine on the way back.



5 great places to stay in the McLaren Vale region

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

The McLaren Vale region is one of the most beautiful areas of South Australia. The region features superb wineries, beaches, trails and charming places to stay.

Hire a car from Adelaide Airport, drive 35km south of the city and stay at one of these great places.

Bellevue Bed and Breakfast
Relax and indulge at Bellevue B&B. Wake up in the morning for a delicious three course homemade breakfast. It’s just what you need before heading out to explore Mclaren Vale’s famous wineries. Your charming accommodation also has free WiFi, a dining area and an outdoor entertaining spot where you can lounge in the sunshine and enjoy some of the region’s best drops!

3 Divas Luxury Accommodation (pictured)
This is a gorgeous place to base yourself for your stay in McLaren Vale. It’s located in the heart of McLaren Vale and within walking distance to restaurants and wineries. Your options include a self-contained log chalet, The Marlene, which spoils you with beautiful vineyard views and a 2-person spa. Then there’s the Moscato Cottage, which takes you back to the 1850s. The stone cottage is also in a gorgeous rural setting and perfect for a romantic getaway.

Wine and Roses Bed and Breakfast
This multi award winning accommodation has everything you need for a relaxing getaway in wine country. The iconic 5-star B&B is perched in a quiet, residential area and is only 6km from the Coriole Vineyards and 12km from the gorgeous Aldinga Beach. Rooms include 4-poster beds, balconies and a private courtyard. Full breakfasts are provided.

The Vineyard Retreat
This stylish retreat has four guest houses; each with gorgeous views of the wine country. You’ll be staying in an elegant guest house which has all the modern necessities you need, along with old-fashioned double French doors to your very own outdoor verandah. There’s even an outdoor Jacuzzi, where you can enjoy ocean views with a wine in hand. There are also many luxury tour options to explore the region.

Sally’s Cottage Rural Escape
Sally’s Cottage is located in the Hope Forest area, with nearby wineries within easy reach. It’s also close to historic sites, walking trails and other towns such as Willunga and Mount Compass. This recently renovated 4 room cottage sits on 4.7 hectares. It oozes simple charm and tranquillity and has everything you’re looking for in a perfect getaway.

Also try Five Great Regions To Explore From Adelaide



Adelaide’s unmissable events in Spring

By Adelaide / Australia /

Adelaide is known for its amazing food, wine and culture. Spring is the best time of year to visit Adelaide, as the city comes alive to celebrate those things.

Hire a car from the Airport and get ready for these spring events.

OzAsia Festival (pictured)

The OzAsia Festival has been touted as Australia’s premier Asia-focused arts festival. It runs between September and early October. It offers the latest in dance, music, film, theatre and visual arts out of Asia. Its flagship event is the Moon Lantern Festival, where thousands of people will gather to watch Australia’s largest lantern parade.

Royal Adelaide Show

South Australians will flock to the Royal Adelaide Show every September. It’s one of the state’s biggest entertainment events of the year. There’s something for everyone at the show. Mystery showbags, live entertainments and thrilling rides are always popular. Every night there are fireworks to celebrate this iconic event on the city’s calendar.

Adelaide Fashion Festival

This fashion festival celebrates innovative design and style. The festival runs over five days in October. It showcases established and up-and-coming local designers. There are several designer runways hosting 20 events. The focus is on creativity and unique style – something Adelaide designers never shy away from.

Adelaide Film Festival

This international film festival was established in 2003. It’s held over two weeks in mid October every second year. It showcases some of Australia’s best new talent. It also launches new films and art to international audiences. This event continues to grow every year.

Victor Harbour Rock ’n’ Roll Festival

This September you can literally dance the weekend away at Victor Harbour. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival runs in the heart of one of South Australia’s most gorgeous seaside towns. This free festival is just a short drive from Adelaide. It boasts live rock ‘ n’ roll music over three stages. It also has more than 500 vehicle displays, market stalls, memorabilia and more.

Also discover 5 things to do near McLaren Vale or Fly to Adelaide and drive to 5 great regions



10 upcoming events in South Australia you can’t miss

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

Who’s up for some fun in South Australia in coming months? Start planning your holiday with these great upcoming events, book your Adelaide car rental and prepare for a blast in late Winter and Spring.

SALA Festival
1-31 August, statewide

The South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival is the largest visual arts festival in Australia. Its extensive state-wide program of visual arts involves more than 3000 artists and 500 venues that celebrate the diverse talents of South Australian artists. Don’t miss your chance to journey through some of this year’s best collections, held in various places and spaces to support the very best of visual art in the state.

Barossa Gourmet Weekend
2–4 September, Barossa

The Barossa is among the world’s great gastronomic playgrounds, renowned for its wine, fresh seasonal produce, beautiful landscapes and easy-going lifestyle. Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop always a big hit, as too a spate of cellar doors and beautiful eateries.  The Barossa Gourmet Weekend is a three-day celebration of the region’s food and wine culture and features long lunches, sumptuous dinners, wine masterclasses, winery days and workshops.

Royal Adelaide Show
2–11 September, Adelaide

The Royal Adelaide Show is the longest running and largest community event on South Australia’s calendar. It is an action-packed event for the whole family and includes carnival rides and attractions, as well as handicraft, produce, livestock, animal shows, and much more! The show’s celebrations go off with a bang thanks to a nightly fireworks display.

OzAsia Festival
17 September–2 October, Adelaide

The fortnight-long OzAsia Festival features performances, events and exhibitions celebrating the artistic and cultural ties between Australia and Asia.

Ceduna OysterFest
30 September–2 October, Eyre Peninsula

The Ceduna Oysterfest is Australia’s largest oyster festival. Ceduna comes alive with entertainment for all ages, and an abundance of oysters on offer. OysterFest will delight taste buds and surpass expectations with a celebration worthy of its colourful past.

Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations
1–31 October, Limestone Coast

The Coonawarra Cabernet Weekend is rated one of the top events in South Australia and it’s not to be missed! Choose from more than 30 exciting events and exclusive tastings at Coonawarra’s outstanding cellar doors. The weekend will be filled with great food, sensational wine, live music and once in a life time experiences for you to indulge in. Come and meet the locals, share in the community spirit and open your eyes to life under the big sky.

Renmark Rose Festival
15–24 October, Riverland

If you are a rose or garden lover you will thoroughly enjoy the Rose Festival in Renmark. Treat yourself to this delightful display of nature through the festival’s program including open gardens, activities, shows and demonstrations that will enthuse and enchant all who attend.

Adelaide Fashion Festival
October, Adelaide

The Adelaide Fashion Festival showcases modern, innovative and relevant fashion from established and emerging designers. It celebrates what’s special about South Australia – its creativity and design – while expanding the state’s fashion industry locally, nationally and internationally.

October, Adelaide

CheeseFest is a celebration of Australian specialty cheeses. Cheese lovers will enjoy every element of the festival – sampling, cooking, cheese making demonstrations and master classes – while overlooking the picturesque Rymill Park in Adelaide.

Australian International 3 Day Event
3–6 November, Adelaide

The Australian International 3 Day event is Australia’s premier equestrian competition and Adelaide is delighted to host the three days of dressage, show jumping and cross country in its city parklands. This event is unique to the world as it is the only one staged in the heart of a busy city.

Also try Four Great Things To Do In South Australia or Five Things To Do Near McLaren Vale




Five Australian resorts for a girls weekend away

By Adelaide / Australia / Brisbane / Melbourne / New South Wales / South Australia / Sydney / Victoria /

Looking for a girls’ weekend away? Here are five resorts, which are absolutely perfect for a some relaxing time with the ladies.

Smiths Beach Resort, Margaret River, WA

Experience the ultimate beachfront lifestyle at Smiths Beach Resort, which is nestled between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia. It’s heaven for beach lovers who are looking for a sunny weekend away with the girls. Spoil yourself with self-contained accommodation that boasts ocean views. In the resort you also have a cellar door, bar and restaurant at your disposal. Not to mention the many spa treatments available.

The Mineral Spa, Daylesford, VIC

This retreat is located in the heart of Victoria’s spa country. The Mineral Spa retreat offers you an indulgent spa experience, with its two warm mineral spa pools and a cool plunge pool that overlooks beautiful gardens. There are exclusive packages on offer when you have six or more friends. These include a choice of facial, massage, exfoliation, pedicure and manicure options – plus finger food and cocktails.

Crystal Creek Meadows, Kangaroo Valley, NSW

Crystal Creek Meadows boasts luxury, award winning country cottages, where you can stay overnight. Then there’s also a day spa retreat, which sets the scene for an amazing girls’ weekend away in the country. Rejuvenate and unwind with amazing massages, spa baths, aromatherapy and skin care treatments. There are also many local shops and dainty cafes to check out while you’re in Kangaroo Valley Village.

Glass on Glasshouse, 1hr north of Brisbane
If luxurious cottages with a spa bath, private patio and amazing views of the Glasshouse Mountains sounds like your idea of the perfect getaway, then Glass on Glasshouse is the place for you! The cottages feature floor-to-ceiling windows, which overlook the mountains, and in the winter months you also have a fireplace at your disposal. Relax with an on-site massage, or go sightseeing nearby.

Sticky Rice Cooking School and Villas, Adelaide Hills

This inspiring accommodation is set in the lovely town of Stirling. It features three gorgeous villas, with each luxury villa offering a different theme. Visitors can choose between Bali, Thailand and Japan style accommodation, before being immersed in the flavours of the world. Sticky Rice is also a cooking school, offering hands on cooking classes, where visitors learn from respected chefs on how to cook Asian, Spanish and Moroccan cuisine.



Fly to Adelaide and drive to five great regions in South Australia  

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

Adelaide is home to so many great areas that offer a range of activities. Next time you fly to Adelaide, make sure you hire a car and drive to these amazing regions.

Adelaide Hills, 25 km east of Adelaide

The Adelaide Hills i only a short drive from the capital city. Here, you can explore German heritage at Hahndorf, or go strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm. Head to the Mount Lofty summit to admire sunset views of Adelaide. Don’t be afraid to get in your car and get lost in the Adelaide Hills – you’ll be amazed at the gems you’ll discover off quiet roads. Drive along Onkaparinga Valley Rd for green scenery and historic towns. There’s also Melba’s chocolate factory waiting for you!

Clare Valley, 100 km north of Adelaide

The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. It’s the home of several great wineries, such as Sevenhill and Skillogalee, and the wonderful food being dished up at these wineries are equally superb. If you’re after a bit of recreational exercise, walk or cycle along the Riesling Trail. The 32 km track offers beautiful scenery of rolling hills. While in the Clare Valley, head east to visit the historical town of Burra. You’ll be taken back in time as you explore antique shops and heritage buildings.

Flinders Ranges, 360 km north of Adelaide (pictured)

Spend a few days in South Australia’s largest mountain range. The beautiful and rugged 540 million-year-old landscape holds fascinating fossil remains, peaceful gorges and unique wildlife. Wilpena Pound is the heart of the national park. Here, there are bushwalking tracks suitable for people of all experience levels, which allow you to take in a wonderful panorama. Serious bushwalkers can try traversing some of the area’s magnificent, rugged peaks.

Limestone Coast, 350 km south east of Adelaide

It’s hard to believe there are so many beautiful natural attractions in the one region. One of the popular activities on visitors’ to-do list include touring the fascinating, rugged Southern Ocean Shipwreck Trail, which has seen more than 100 ships sink. Then you can’t go past the stunning Mount Gambier Blue Lake without setting aside some time to truly admire its beauty. If you’re up for an adventure, take a tour of the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves and discover the fossils inside. These incredible finds are believed to be around half a million years old. 

Riverland, 140 km north east of Adelaide

Riverland’s gateway town, Blanchetown, is only a 90-minute drive from the state’s capital. The region was once the site of paddle steamers and a bustling river trade. There are still historic homes and hotels across the region, which has about 370 km of Murray River running through it. Activities include fishing, canoeing, water-skiing, camping and bushwalking.



Four great things to do in South Australia

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

From dives with Great White sharks, cave and opal mine explorations to some of the most exquisite and beautiful wine regions on the planet. Hands up who wants to visit South Australia?

Swim with the Great Whites

(Port Lincoln, 340km south west of Port Augusta)

IT’S often said that Great White sharks are the most misunderstood creatures of the ocean – yet that still doesn’t change the fact that you wouldn’t want to be stranded in open water with one nearby!

In Port Lincoln, however, you can safely get close to these apex predators in their natural habitat.

From the security of a cage, hold on tight as Great White Sharks swimming around the waters off South Australia interact with other members of their species and search for food. And take a good look at the human zoo in the cage.

Port Lincoln also one of the few places in the world – and the only location in Australia – where these one-day shark cage diving charters are run.

They grow to an average of 4.6 metres in length and you’ll definitely catch more than a quick glimpse of the 300 serrated teeth that line these creatures’ mouths. The great thing about this once-in-a-lifetime experience is that you don’t need a diver qualification or previous experience.

Explore caves and fossils

(Naracoorte Caves National Park, 100km north of Mt Gambier)

BELOW the surface of South Australia’s only world heritage site lays an ancient environment of stalagmites and stalactites.

These natural ornaments formed as water and minerals slowly seeped down from the earth above the caves more than half a million years ago.

The unique site continues to fascinate palaeontologists across Australia, finding itself at the centre of research.

The Naracoorte Caves contain Australia’s largest and most diverse collection of fossils and mega fauna and tour guides will eagerly point to fossils of extinct species dating back to 60,000 years ago.

Take your camera on a guided tour through the stunning Alexandra Cave, a beautifully decorated area with helictites that twist and defy gravity. Watch endangered Southern Bent-Winged Bats leave Blanche Cave at dusk in summer while in winter you’ll spot them hibernating and hanging from the ceiling of the cave.

Meanwhile, those seeking a challenge will find one crawling and squeezing through rocky tunnels with adventure cave tours.

Cycle the Riesling Trail

(140km north of Adelaide)

FAMOUS for its vineyards, mining history, cafes and galleries, Clare Valley also has some of the best tourist trails in the world, which take in vineyards and farmland views and historic stop-off points along the way.

Damian Cerini from cycling tour company Tour de Vines says the Clare Valley’s flat landscape makes it the “perfect region” for visiting cellar doors on a bike. With more than 40 wineries within just a few kilometres, the Riesling Trail (25-30km) is built on the old rail line.

Highlights include historical stops such as Horrocks’ Tree, Sevenhill Cellars, the Little Red Grape complex, Annie’s Lane, and after some gentle pedalling, a tasty share plate and wine tasting experience awaits at O’Leary Walker Wines. “Combine that with some gentle exercise while you breathe in some fresh country air and it’s a terrific way to explore a wonderful part of the Clare Valley,” Damian says. “It’s all about having fun and enjoying Clare – better still, there’s no Lycra required!”

A food market that rules them all

(Adelaide CBD)

THE Adelaide Central Market is considered the food centre of South Australia, the very heartland of the supply chain from the farm gate to consumer.

Stallholders proudly say it’s the only market of its kind in the country. Its colourful and aromatic atmosphere draws 8 million visitors a year, tempting them with food from a range of cultures, including Italian, Greek, Russian, Asian and Middle Eastern.



The hills are alive – five great ways to holiday in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

LOOKING for somewhere to sweep your loved one of his or her feet? Then head for the Hills. Adelaide Hills, to be precise, just a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD in South Australia.

It’s a land of the long lunch, with nature’s eye candy at every turn, delicious locally grown food and wine, and accommodation to match the country’s best when it comes to small luxury.

Here are five ways to enjoy your time in this little gem of a region tucked away in South Australia.

No.1: Sticky Rice Villas and Cooking School.

Now here’s a place you can get really messy … in the kitchen! The Sticky Rice Cooking School is where some of the best chefs on the planet, including Ty Bellingham, Mark McNamara, David Thompson and Katrina Ryan take a small class and guide them through creating a culinary feast fit for kings and queens.

The dining room setting is beautifully oriental with warm, soft colours, chunky cook books from around the globe lining shelves, a world of spices on tables and cooking tid-bits in nooks and crannies, and an adjoining industrial kitchen where all the action takes place for small groups from Friday to Sunday.

Ours was The Asian Adventure, as Japanese masterchef Yukiko “Yuki” Anschutz assembled her team of loyal helpers (us) and set about not only creating sumptuous goodies like Malay-beef stays with peanut sauce, Thai Red curry of chicken, lemongrass pork, and Cambodian char grilled calamari, but also little pearls of cookery wisdom along the way. After plenty of peeling, chopping, stir-frying, baking, laughing, learning and the occasional near miss, we celebrated our gastronomical achievements and new-found cooking skills over a four course dinner and wine (two sittings throughout the evening).

The accommodation opened in March this year with three architectural gems tucked away privately out the back. Each is inspired by the best villas from Thailand, Japan and Bali and offer plenty of space in two-roomed 70m2 of indoor living area, a private walled outdoor courtyard with beautiful gardens. Floor to ceiling glass surrounds in each villa allows plenty of light and views, and there’s the added bonus of under floor heating, designer furnishings and Jag kitchens with an array of magazines for superiors. So far so good!


No.2: Hahndorf Hill Winery (pictured) and Shaw & Smith

A little trip to the Hills can’t go without a little tipple or two. For something completely different, head to Hahndorf Hill Winery, not just a boutique vineyard where its Germanic and Austrian varieties take centre stage (Gruner Veltliner is dubbed the world’s most food friendly wine), but you can also keep your sweetheart sweet with the unusual yet sublime ChocVino experience. Some of the finest drops unearthed from the vineyard are matched with chocolates from throughout the world.

It’s subtle, elegant and brings a whole new sweet dynamic to food and wine pairing.

Up the road is Shaw & Smith for a contrast in winery experiences. Cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith realized a dream and produce some of the world’s best with their SB’s, chards, cool climate Shiraz and Pinot. It’s a great opportunity to taste some quality vino in a comprehensive winery operation in elegant surrounds.

www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au and www.shawandsmith.com

No.3: Bridgewater Mill Restaurant

With an historic giant waterwheel in full swing in a converted flour mill in the Petaluma winery, you’ll be making your own splash with your partner while whispering sweet nothings and feasting on sweet somethings at Bridgewater Mill Restaurant. It’s a quintessential statement in fine food created from mostly local produce, a winner wine list matched with the dishes, and five star service in a lovely setting.

The tasting menu option is outstanding for lovebirds: think venison chorizo, seared scallops, poached chicken with cucumber, woodear mushroom and sesame, squid balls with radish, peas and wasabi, a melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef number before finishing it off with a braised pineapple, coconut caramel and black sesame ice cream. Now that’s superior bliss! We didn’t just call a taxi to be taken back to our hotel – we called one to carry us out of there.


No.4: Go for a walk or drive and explore the hamlets.

You probably would have noticed by now all this  indulgence surely requires a bit of physical activity at some point to burn it all off. Hit the hills and either enjoy a bike ride or walk in the freshest of air, or go for a drive exploring some of nature’s finest countryside with sweeping valley views, rustic and well maintained rolling vineyards, and spend the best part of a day in a hamlet like Hahndorf which retains its strong German heritage. It’s a village like no other with Fachwerk buildings, old world ice creamery and lolly shops, chic cafes and restaurants such as The White House, Menz FruChocks Shop, the highly addictive Udder Delights Cheese Cellar, arts, crafts and pubs aplenty.


No.5: Mount Lofty House

Save the best for last and check in at one of the finest luxury accommodation venues in Australia. This gloriously restored 1850s country estate is set among English style gardens – great for a stroll – and is overflowing with antiques and fine art throughout, but, really, it’s all about the views while relaxing. Piccadilly Restaurant is a must and take time kicking back in the Chesterfields in the library or have a play in the billiards room. It’s posh, but that’s what makes it special.




5 great Aussie caravan parks in wine regions

By Adelaide / Australia / Brisbane / Melbourne / New South Wales / Perth / Queensland / South Australia / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

Where there’s a wine there’s a way, so jot down these five holiday parks close to vineyards throughout Australia.

1. BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park, SA

SOME travellers say Australia’s greenest wine region is the McLaren Vale, a must-see destination when in the South where the wine regions are some of the world’s best. Only 10 minutes from the wineries, BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park is considered the hot ticket venue for caravanners and campers to set up camp before experiencing the delicious home grown food and wine, popular beaches and nearby art galleries.

Famous for producing great reds and chardonnays, some of the best wines in the world feature among the 75 cellar doors you can explore in the region. Try Woodstock Wine Estate, Aramis Vineyard, Angrove McLaren Vale Winery and Cellar Door, and d’Arenberg for a real taste of the area. Even create your own food and wine trail by taking a car, walking or bike riding around the region and sampling the delicious regional produce.

Don’t miss the Willunga Farmers Market and go nuts with the abundance of fresh food on offer including, cheese, olives and bread to create your own perfect picnic. BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park has executive spa suites to a range of caravan and motor home sites. It’s perfect for cooking up a feast on the park’s barbecues while you uncork a bottle of local wine.

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2. Beachlands Holiday Park, WA

COULD there be a better place in winter than Busselton at Beachlands Holiday Park? Right beside the white sandy beaches of Geographe Bay, Busselton is widely considered the capital of the Margaret River wine region where you get the best of both worlds – gorgeous coastline and beautiful vineyards. The park provides a place to park your wheels before exploring the wineries, some landscaped gardens and nearby restaurants big on paddock-to-plate local produce. Over 150 wine producers call the Margaret River home, with many offering cellar door tastings and sales. Perhaps the best way to explore it all is with the Bushtucker River and Wine Tour which takes you to four wineries, a brewery and chocolate and cheese companies along the way. Accommodation options at Beachlands Holiday Park include chalets, spa villas, jacuzzi bungalows and camping and caravan sites. After a day of indulgence at the local wineries and restaurants, unwind in the heated swimming pool, enjoy a glass of Margaret River produced wine by the landscaped gardens or burn off all that recently consumed chocolate, cheese and wine on the NEOS equipment – the latest and greatest in fitness equipment.

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3. BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park, NSW

Hunter Valley wine region is as big as it gets when it comes to Aussie wines and BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park is the ultimate spot to relax and enjoy a holiday of wining and dining. Just a short distance from the main part of town, the park is set among Merlot grapevines and operates as a holiday destination and fully functioning vineyard. Discover many other award winning wineries in the area, including Arrowfield Estate, Drayton’s Family Wines, and Gartelmann Wines to name a few. Indulge yourself on the Rovers Wine Tour that departs from BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park most mornings where you’ll tempt your tastebuds throughout the day as you enjoy wine, cheese, chocolate and fudge tastings. Sit back at the end of the day while taking in the views from the balcony of your private cabin. BIG4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park has modern accommodation options available including two-storey apartments, villas and cottages, to powered tent and caravan sites with views of the grapevines or the resort-style pool.

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4. Badger Creek Holiday Park, Victoria

THE Yarra Valley is a treat for sore eyes in any season, but the crisp weather down south can bring out the best in misty morning views and lush valleys that run deep – and then there are all the excellent cellar doors to discover. Better still, only an hour’s drive from Melbourne is a little charmer called BIG4 Badger Creek Holiday Park in Healesville. This is as down to earth as it gets and aside from a great range of cabins, a games room, basketball courts and barbecue areas, the real charm lies in the cascading gentle trickle of little Badger Creek itself where you can set up a tent and enjoy a campfire under some of the brightest stars in the southern hemisphere. Nearby are more than 40 cellar doors offering some of the country’s best wineries, including famous Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. While you get the opportunity to rough it a little by camping by a creek, you can spoil yourself on the region’s sensational food and wine more suited to luxury travellers. As a bonus, wine tours or more information on local wineries can be organised through reception at the park.

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5. Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, Tamar Valley Region

EMBRACE great Tassie wineries, and cracking scenery and attractions in the Tamar Valley Region with a stay at Kelso Sands Holiday and Native Wildlife Park. A cool climate wine region, the Tamar Valley produces outstanding quality wines that reflect its environment, which, let’s face it, is pretty damn pure. Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are some of the best of the bunch. Dalrymple Vineyards has developed award-winning wines and is a fantastic place to bring a packed picnic to enjoy overlooking the perfect rows of grapevines. For a change of wine scenery, J Boag and Son Brewery is one for the beer lovers, where you can take a tour of the historic brewery. Your choice of stay includes the riverview cottages, holiday units and caravan and camping sites.

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