Known as the 20-minute city for its convenient transportation, Adelaide serves as a good jumping-off point for an out-of-town itinerary that shows the best of what can be experienced beyond the city limits.
The Barossa Valley is arguably Australia’s greatest wine producing region. An hour’s drive from Adelaide is The Louise – a magnificent property sitting in the heart of the valley. All suites are cleverly designed, sensitively decorated and impressively appointed. Another accommodation option in the valley is a superb property known as Jacobs Creek Retreat at Moorooroo Park, which is no less impressive.
Built around the middle of the 19th century, the rustic farmhouse of Hentley Farm has been preserved and restored. The rammed-earth ceilings lined with heavy hardwood beams hang low over four atmospheric rooms including a cellar door for the adjoining winery – Hentley Estate.
Wines are skilfully paired with a meal that is the undisputed highlight of the evening. We’re astounded by executive chef Harley Ireland’s level of creativity and the finesse with which he presents his craft. Each course pushes the boundary of rural cuisine. Hentley Farm caters for small groups of up to 20; however, planned restoration of the adjacent barn will enable larger groups to enjoy the same experience.
Chateau Tanunda is another Barossa gem. A massive, bold building also from the 19th century, it was recently renovated. We’re here for a bit of team building – and there are no complaints, because we’re making our own wine. Competitive spirits are high, and our three groups vie for the honour of being honorary assistant wine makers. The exercise is great fun, with a tipple along the way.
At Vintners Bar and Grill, we tuck into fine contemporary Australian cuisine before setting off for Seppeltsfield where the wine odyssey continues. We taste 100-year-old wines which still zing in the mouth. The group gives a professional nod of approval to Seppeltsfield as a unique venue and quality incentive experience.
Back in town, the Adelaide InterContinental Hotel sits on the banks of the Torrens River. With the Casino abutting and the Convention Centre next door, the 367-room hotel is well placed for conference accommodation.
But we quickly move from town to the beach. Glenelg, Adelaide’s famous seaside resort playground, is home to the Stamford Grand Hotel – the grand old dame sitting by the beach. After a lesson in tai chi, we’re relaxed and in shape for a magnificent breakfast prepared by the hotel’s kitchens and served to us on the sandy beach. The Stamford Grand, with its 220 smart rooms offers a terrific option for group events in the fine Australian tradition of beach life.
The Santos Tour Down Under, a world-class cycling competition, is a major drawcard on Adelaide’s special events calendar. The city is alive with a carnival atmosphere and demonstrates the typical Adelaide style, which is warm and friendly.
On the city’s fringe at Messa Lunga, our skilled mixologist delivers some heart-starting refreshers. We follow with a fine tapas meal in the adjoining restaurant then walk home between the grand Adelaide buildings, linking in with the street vibe.
Our last day in South Australia, and we’re again in the expert care of The Tailor, a specialist ground operator that provides individual and clever group options. Drew Kluska, who owns the company, has left the best for last – Kangaroo Island. A 20-minute flight and we’re in a different world – a world of wildlife, beaches, native bushland and wilderness that’s swept with some of the freshest air on the planet. One of Australia’s hottest destinations, Kangaroo Island is packed with options that can’t be matched elsewhere.
Southern Ocean Lodge, a six-star, all-inclusive accommodation option is a stunning piece of Australian architecture which captures the sophistication sought by the most feted delegate. Offering 21 sumptuous suites of individual opulence and dining experiences that surprise and delight, the Lodge’s style belts out a strong juxtaposition against the rugged landscape of Kangaroo Island.
Nick Hannaford is an experienced special events operator. His latest venture and one closest to his heart – Lifetime Private Retreats – is pure gold. The Hannaford touch has created a venue of bush opulence where groups can embrace the rustic flavour of Kangaroo Island in style. Creative venues with an Australian flavour are balanced with fine food and wine.
A range of unique and stunning venues including an enormous fig tree provides Hannaford with the opportunity to deliver exquisite events on the island. After trekking over the ever-changing sand dunes, we come across a makeshift golf driving range prepared just for us. Is there anything you can’t do on Kangaroo Island? I don’t think so. Our trip is completed with a foodie’s romp around the Central Market back in Adelaide. Tours organised throughout the market give delegates a chance to sample some of the crispiest and freshest produce. If you had only a few words to describe Adelaide and her environs they would have to include food, wine, food, wine, food and wine. And it’s all served up on a table of sophistication and incentive class options.
contact: Adelaide Convention Bureau
Tel: +61 8 8237 0100