South Australia

Weekend getaways in South Australia for country retreats and seaside serenity

South Australia has beautiful coastal and countryside retreats that embrace the natural landscape of the state. If you've been contemplating a trip to SA then these weekend getaway locations will get to start exploring.

South Australia is famous for its world-class wines and dramatic coastal scenery, but it also happens to be a seafood mecca and the gateway to the outback. All this means that, for weekend getaways, South Australia has experiences to suit every whim. You can stay close to the city by visiting the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley or the Fleurieu Peninsula, or venture further afield to Coober Pedy, the Flinders Ranges or Port Lincoln.

Regardless of the way you like to travel, you’ll find plenty of things to entertain you. Here’s the down-low on the best weekend retreats in South Australia.

Indulge in a weekend getaway in the heart of Adelaide


For luxury escapes in South Australia, it’s hard to go past a city break staying right in the heart of it all in Adelaide—and you can’t get much more central than the Mayfair Hotel.

Taste some of the freshest local produce at the Adelaide Central Market and revel in history, art, and culture at the museums along North Terrace. Indulge in some shopping in Rundle Mall, being sure to pick up some Haigh’s Chocolates right across from your hotel. Adventure buffs can experience the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb, while foodies can opt to join one of the many food, wine, beer or gin tours that can guide you through some of the boutique venues Adelaide has to offer.

At the end of each day, your hotel is only a short walk away for a quick retreat back to your oasis of calm. You can relax and prepare for a night out on the town, or enjoy the in-house Mayflower Restaurant and a nightcap at the Hennessy rooftop bar with views over the city.

Mayfair Hotel

Top rated
9.6 Excellent (2018 reviews)

Stay underground on a family holiday in South Australia


For family holidays, South Australia has all sorts of memorable experiences, but one of the most unique is Coober Pedy. Your kids will love the excitement of sleeping in an underground room at The Lookout Cave Underground Motel. Stay in a motel-style family room or select an apartment with a full kitchen and space for family time. The underground rooms stay at around 24 degrees all year round so even in the middle of summer they offer a natural respite from the blistering heat above.

Spend your days exploring the history of opal mining in Coober Pedy and take your kids hunting for the elusive gems. Check out the underground churches, cafes, and stores, and meet some of the local characters—such as “Crocodile Harry”—who make the town the interesting place it is. While you’re in the area, venture out into the surrounding desert to see the painted landscape of The Breakaways and the Dingo Fence, the longest fence in the world.

The Lookout Cave Underground Motel

Top rated
Coober Pedy
9.0 Excellent (54 reviews)

Savour Barossa Valley wines in luxury surroundings on your weekend getaway


The classic weekend getaway in South Australia is a visit to the Barossa Valley for some world-class wine tasting. With more than 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding which of the amazing wines to taste.

The Barossa Valley is also a foodie’s paradise with plenty of other fresh produce on offer. Visit Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop or the Barossa Farmers Market for some of the unique local fare, such as Steinys Traditional Mettwurst or some Udder Delights cheese. Wine is not the only drink here, so be sure to stop by the region’s craft breweries and distilleries. Try Steins Taphouse for a variety of local beers or Seppeltsfield Road Distillers for gin.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to relax, and the place to do that is at The Louise. Enjoy the quiet of a secluded vineyard location and the comfort of beautiful suites made for tranquillity. Sip more delicious wine as you watch the sunset from your private terrace or relax in your own spa.

And there’s no need to go into town for dinner. Try the modern Australian cuisine at the fine-dining Appellation restaurant and you’ll soon discover why it’s one of the most well-regarded culinary experiences in the state.

The Louise

Top rated
Barossa Valley
9.7 Excellent (181 reviews)

Live out your rock star dreams in a historic beachside venue


Live out your rock star dreams by staying where some of the biggest names in the business started their careers: Largs Pier Hotel. This beachfront hotel was once home to a thriving live music scene—a reputation for being a little rough around the edges. Hang out in the front bar and you’re likely to meet a local who remembers those heady days and will happily regale you with stories.

These days, the hotel is a little different. The accommodation now features large, beautiful, historical rooms with all the modern conveniences. Take advantage of the balcony to sip a drink and watch the sun sink into the sea before enjoying an excellent meal in one of three dining areas.

After tucking into the delicious avocado and poached eggs for breakfast, explore the nearby historical Port Adelaide. Take a dolphin cruise to see the local Port River dolphins, or learn about South Australia’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum. And if all that sounds too strenuous, just cross the road and enjoy a day relaxing at the beach.

Largs Pier Hotel

9.2 Excellent (1085 reviews)

Enjoy a luxurious weekend escape to Kangaroo Island


Kangaroo Island is a must during your South Australia holiday and you may as well do it in style in the idyllic setting of Sea Dragon Lodge. The secluded property sits on its own private beach and all the villas have views of the rugged Kangaroo Island coastline.

Spend your days exploring Kangaroo Island’s natural beauty on hikes and swimming adventures. Or by sampling the wine and produce and simply relaxing and enjoying the tranquility of the landscape, complete with wildlife wandering past your villa.

Sea Dragon Lodge has a variety of accommodation available. Opt for one of the stunning eco villas for a romantic getaway, some of which come with a private jacuzzi. Choose from two larger options that sleep up to eight people for a weekend away with friends or an extended family break. And for a hassle-free break, all-inclusive packages are available, including all meals and a private safari to show you the wonders of the island.

Sea Dragon Kangaroo Island

Top rated
9.9 Excellent (90 reviews)

Visit the Flinders Ranges for an unforgettable gourmet meal


Really get away from it all with a weekend in the Flinders Ranges. Enjoy getting back to nature in this ancient landscape, learning about historical towns and aboriginal culture that dates back thousands of years.

Immerse yourself in the outback way of life by staying at an old traditional bush pub, the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna. This old railway town may not be much in itself, but the pub is the main attraction.

The Prairie Hotel provides true country hospitality with modern comfortable rooms and friendly staff. The highlight of a stay here, however, is the restaurant, which serves up gourmet local bush tucker affectionately known as “Flinders Feral Food”. You’ll find plenty of native animals on the menu as well as local flora, creating a truly unique dining experience. Try the popular Feral Mixed Grill, recognised as one of the top food experiences in Australia.

Prairie Hotel

9.2 Excellent (342 reviews)

Romance your partner with a weekend getaway in the Adelaide Hills


A romantic weekend in the Adelaide Hills is an easy luxury escape from Adelaide. And the most romantic place to stay in the Adelaide Hills is the historic Mount Lofty House.

Built in 1852, this renovated five-star mansion is both elegant and opulent. Spend your day relaxing by the pool with views over the rolling hills, or stroll through the nearby botanic gardens. For some pampering, the on-site Stables Day Spa purveys a variety of rejuvenating treatments and massages.

When a hankering strikes for a casual meal or delicious cocktail, visit the Arthur Waterhouse Lounge and experience the English country manor atmosphere. Warm up by the open fire when it’s cold outside while sipping on a restorative whiskey from the extensive menu.

As the sun goes down, indulge in a candlelit dinner in the acclaimed Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant. You’ll dine on exquisite gourmet food matched with the best wines from an extensive cellar.

Mount Lofty House & Estate Adelaide Hills

Top rated
9.5 Excellent (240 reviews)

Eat your fill of South Australian seafood


Port Lincoln is often called the seafood capital of Australia and with good reason—it’s home to the largest commercial fishing fleet, a huge aquaculture industry, and fascinating natural attractions. This means Port Lincoln is an optimal weekend getaway for fishing fanatics, adventurers, or just those who love chowing down on seafood.

After a busy day of charter fishing, cage diving with great white sharks, or swimming with sea lions, you’ll be looking for a comfortable bed and a great local seafood meal. The best place for both is the Port Lincoln Hotel, located right in the centre of town with sea views and options ranging from luxury suites to family rooms.

Eat dinner in Sarin’s restaurant for the freshest seafood, including the Southern Rock Lobster, which can only be found in the local Port Lincoln waters. For a truly local experience, pair it with some of the top-class wines produced in the area.

Port Lincoln Hotel

Top rated
Port Lincoln
9.4 Excellent (2058 reviews)

Hit up the links and then relax in the spa on the Fleurieu Peninsula


Couples that golf together, stay together, right? Well, maybe not, but they’ll at least have a great weekend getaway at The Links Lady Bay. Located on a clifftop overlooking the dramatic Fleurieu Peninsula coast, the main attraction here is the expertly manicured 18-hole golf course. Play a round or two or get some professional lessons—the choice is yours. And after a long day out on the course, the swimming pool will relax those tired muscles.

If golf isn’t your thing, make use of the on-site day spa for a day of indulgence and pampering. The hardest part will be deciding which of the treatments to indulge in—would you prefer a warm oil bamboo massage or a purifying honeysuckle facial?

Of course, your weekend needn’t be all golf and spas—The Links Lady Bay is also located on the doorstep of the McLaren Vale wine region. The spacious spa suites provide a heavenly place to retire after a full day spent tasting wines at local cellar doors including the quirky d’Arenberg Cube.

Lady Bay Hotel

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (1604 reviews)

Retreat to the countryside for luxury and serenity on your South Australian weekend getaway


For one of the best retreats in South Australia, head to the town of Paringa and stay at The Frames. Located on the banks of the Murray River, the tranquil surrounds are exactly what you need for relaxing days and indulgent nights.

The Frames is designed to be the reason you travel here. It’s the perfect romantic escape and each of its three suites has a luxurious heated pool or spa and stunning views. You can revel in seclusion during your visit by taking advantage of your own private chef or by pampering yourself with a wellness treatment. And if you’re after a little more stimulation, hop aboard a wildlife safari or sign up for a gin masterclass.

Whatever you choose during the day, make you enjoy a glass of wonderful South Australian Shiraz while watching the sun set over the river and the sky light up with millions of stars.

The Frames

9.8 Excellent (79 reviews)

This article was updated in September 2019
Feature image by Алексей Торбеев / Fotolia