In the latest in our One Small Step guides to better living in South Australia, find out how you can see our state in a way you can’t through the windows of a hotel room – without leaving behind any of the luxury.
Your ultimate guide to luxury camping in SA
Discovery Parks – Barossa Valley Safari Tent
In a private area of Barossa’s Discovery Parks, a selection of “safari” tents have a backdrop of giant gums and vineyards. There’s a swimming pool with heated spa, and a barbecue and lounge area just for the tent guests. You get the best of both worlds: feel at-one with nature, while still having the option of ducking down the road for a wine tasting or two.
Tent on a Hill
While Isabelle Linde and her family were wandering around their McLaren Vale property, her son suggested they “invite people to come and camp in our bush”.
The Linde family thought it would be a great idea to share their magnificent views of McLaren Vale atop a secluded hill.
Tent on a Hill is set on 15 acres of a bush and farming block, with views of the vines.
There are two bell tents to choose from and guests can light a fire in the pit, break out the marshmallows and watch the kangaroos hop about while the sun sets over the vale — local wine in hand, of course.
A nature reserve surrounds the property, and there is no running water or electricity, but there is bedding, towels and water for drinking and washing. There is an outside non-flushing toilet and hand washing basin, with an open-air camp shower hanging from a gum tree.
Ikara Safari Camp
If there’s anywhere in South Australia you want to take up residence in a tent, it’s the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.
Guests can certainly get away from the hustle and bustle being 430 kilometres north of Adelaide at Ikara Safari Camp.
At the entrance to Wilpena Pound, the camp is a base for people to explore the ancient region.
There are 15 luxury safari tents, each with a king-size bed (which can be split), ensuite bathroom, luxury amenities, air-conditioning, power and a private deck and fire pit.
Guests can access the facilities at Wilpena Pound Resort, including the bar and pool. There are guided walks by Adnyamathanha guides, as well as 4WD tours, bicycle hire and scenic flights.
Arkaba Walk and Camp
The first two nights of Wild Bush Luxury’s Arkaba Walk are spent under the stars, where guests get a real outback experience at Black’s Gap Signature Swag Camp.
Guests can expect to walk into camp at about 5.30pm, where they’ll settle in, take a hot bush shower and enjoy drinks and canapes in the evening light.
The camp sits on a site between Bunbinyana Range and Wilpena Pound, once occupied by a shepherd in the late 1850s. His stone chimney is still there, and the camp overlooks the creek he took his water from.
There’s a three-course camp dinner, wine and stories about the area. Bed for the night is on a low timber swag deck. It’s closed on three sides, and open to the views of the countryside on the other.
The campground at Bellwether Wines sleeps up to 12 people, with two in each tent.
There’s a central communal campfire — the perfect spot to keep warm and enjoy a glass of Coonawarra wine.
By day, taste the wine Bellwether has to offer, and if you’re there during vintage, you can watch the process and join in if you want.
There are local restaurants to dine in, but if you prefer a more authentic experience, you can cook using herbs and produce from the garden, including fresh eggs.
On the other end of the scale, Bellwether offers a Table of Twelve dining experience for a touch of luxury.
Flinders Bush Retreats
Camp in comfort at Flinders Bush Retreats on the Willow Plains, where the McInnis family have owned land over six generations for 140 years.
The Eco Tent is a steel-framed insulated canvas tent, with a queen-size bed, linen, small kitchenette and ensuite with a hot water shower and eco-toilet.
The tent sits on a small rise in a secluded gorge, 21 kilometres east of Hawker, offering privacy in an almost untouched corner of the Flinders Ranges.
Guests can cook for themselves on a Weber Baby Q and gas camp cooktop, with kitchenware and utensils provided.
Wandering Souls made its start as a mobile service, setting up at events, but they’ve since put down semi-permanent roots.
They partner with land owners on Kangaroo Island to set up their glamorous tents, where guests are able to stay.
Their most popular offering is at the Bay of Shoals Winery.
The tent interiors are all styled with different themes, including Romani traveller, Hamptons, Australian luxe, medieval and Hollywood glam. A power pack is included to keep gadgets charged, and there’s a tea and coffee station in the tent.
While on a Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safari, guests stay at Kangaluna Camp.
The campsite was constructed and furnished using recycled materials. Tents have two rooms, with a queen bed and two single beds, as well as a private shower and toilet.
The camp is set in the Mallee bush, with lots of wildlife for guests to spot. Fresh on-site ingredients are used in the meals prepared for campers.
Curved roofs on the tents are designed to keep the air flowing and no vegetation has been removed from the site — it was created using natural fire breaks.
Hillocks Drive on the Yorke Peninsula has been known for camping for decades and, wanting to keep that theme running, Pam Bennett set up accommodation along Butler’s Beach, so guests could feel close to nature.
Warooka designer and fabrication expert Ashley Hayes came up with the idea for the Ocean Pods, which had to be hardy in the tough environmental conditions they sit in.
The floor of the Pod is finished with sand from Butler’s Beach and it’s run off solar power.
Water is collected from farm buildings, rubbish is recycled and there was no clearing of vegetation to install the Pod.
Guests are encouraged to explore the bush and marine environment, returning to the comfort of the pod, with double bed and two singles, hot shower and eco-toilet.
Guests can use the gas stove, grill, oven, barbecue, or cook on an open fire.
Alison Meaney purchased a former vineyard in the hills of the Clare Valley a few years ago, and despite being a wine lover, she didn’t want to grow her own.
She removed all the vines herself, and while in the process, came up with the idea of becoming her own boss. She fell in love with the idea of glamping tents, and opened two.
The response was overwhelming, so she added another two.
The Bukirk Glamping tents sit on 42 acres of farmland and are finished with queen, twin or king beds, comfy seating, fridge, heating and cooling and private en suite.
Guests can enjoy a morning coffee on the deck, or watch the sunset over the hills with a glass of wine. An outdoor sheltered area is equipped with a kitchen, barbecue, dining area, television and board games.
One Small Step is our new guide to better living in South Australia.
To read more in our series, go here.