For Valentine’s Day this year, we took to social media with one question: where is your favourite romantic spot in South Australia?
For many of us, February 14 is a day of celebrating our significant other. Chocolates, flowers and dinner dates are standard-fare, but it’s also a time when we remember our relationship milestones. Where did you go for your first date? What was your favourite South Australian holiday? And of course, where were you when Mr/Mrs Right-to-be finally popped the question?
From picturesque proposals in Coffin Bay National Park to young love blooming on the West Coast, here are South Australia’s top 10 most romantic places to visit.
1 Eyre Peninsula
It’s no surprise that the Eyre Peninsula comes in at number one. Nowhere else in South Australia is the landscape so varied. It’s the perfect romantic getaway, where endless moody coastline meets smooth farming planes. Immerse yourself in untamed wilderness or take a stroll through historic national parks and sandy beaches. Strengthen your bond with the earth, and each other, in the ancient, rocky Gawler Ranges or gaze at the stars above the beautifully desolate Nullarbor Plain. As the day draws to a close, retreat to one of many large towns with fantastic facilities and wide variety of accommodation.
If you want to woo your sweetheart with seafood, you’re in the right place. The Eyre Peninsula is known as South Australia’s seafood frontier and offers some of the best blue swimmer crabs, prawns, rock lobster and the most luscious oysters in Australia.
Facebook fan Lauren Walker’s favourite spot is Coffin Bay National Park, where her husband proposed to her at the stunning (yet ironically named) Avoid Bay. “My beautiful husband proposed to me in Coffin Bay National Park. He picked a picturesque lookout and got down on one knee. Afterwards we realised that the lookout he chose was called Avoid Bay! Luckily I didn't heed the warning and said yes! ,” Lauren reminisced.
2 Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula is a paradise for beach lovers. Ever-popular as a weekend escape, you’ll find countless holiday houses and bed and breakfasts right on the water. Take a stroll down to the beach as dawn breaks, or sprawl out on the sand as sun sets. Green hills border jagged cliffs, with ocean swells below. Only minutes away you’ll find quiet coves beckoning swimmers with calm, clear waters.
Of course, the Fleurieu is home to one of our well-known wine regions – McLaren Vale. Relax at cellar doors, where you can sip exceptional Fleurieu blends and enjoy a long lunch. For dinner, you’ll find upmarket restaurants on clifftops, cafés perched on the end of wharves and good old fish and chip shops aplenty.
Facebook fans Ross Guerin and Sarah Gascoigne have very fond memories of McLaren Vale. “I proposed to my amazing wife with the views of vines and sea, with the greatest picnic hamper of locally-sourced food from Blessed Cheese,” wrote Ross.
Sarah reminisced about her memorable night underneath a McLaren Vale meteor shower: “We lay back and watched stunning meteorites streak across the sky...and then he said he had a present for me. Before I knew it, he was down on his knee, giving me a copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion. As I opened the book he asked ‘Marry me?’”.
3 Yorke Peninsula
With more than 700 kilometres of coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some private time on the Yorke Peninsula. Pass through sleepy towns and stay at charming bed and breakfasts, or rent-out a beachside holiday house for the weekend. If you’re fond of camping, Innes National Park is a must-visit. Trade city-life for surf beaches, historic ruins, clifftop walks and sandy coves, then retreat to a cosy caravan, cabin or tent.
After two sons, eight grandchildren and an impressive 40 years together, Deb Kelly remembers the exact moment when she and her husband decided to get married, parked at the Port Giles jetty in Coobowie. “He never proposed as such but rather we both decided to get married during a conversation in the car at Pt Giles jetty. He was 20 and I was 17. Two sons, 8 grandchildren and 40 years later, it's still going strong,” she commented.
4 Adelaide Hills
So close to Adelaide and story-book pretty, the Adelaide Hills are an ideal setting for romance. Less than 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide’s CBD, the Adelaide Hills are dotted with quaint towns shaded by lush, green canopies. Stirling, Hahndorf, Bridgewater and Crafers are perfect spots for a long lunch date, with plenty of cafés and restaurants serving delicious local produce and local wines.
Speaking of wine, you’ll find your fair share in the Adelaide Hills, with over 60 cellar doors to explore. Facebook fan, Clare Draper Wood’s favourite Adelaide Hills spot is the aptly name Cudlee Creek, where after getting her lost due to a pre-lunch tipple, her fiancé finally asked the big question. “We got lost in the forest, as he had a glass of wine before lunch, and we wandered around a bit before he found the place where he wanted to pop the question. Underneath the pines and within pine needles I said yes,” she wrote.
Unsurprisingly, our wine capital – the Barossa – was one of your favourite picks. With over 80 cellar doors, some of the best wine in the world and beautiful scenery, it’s a recipe for romance. After a day of indulgence and exploration, return to a five-star retreat, opulent self-contained apartment, or quaint cabin.
Enjoy a glass by the fire in winter or outdoors in the leafy shade during summer, spring and autumn. Due to its climate (warm summers and mild winters), the Barossa’s Cabernets and Shiraz are unbeatable. Eden Valley Rieslings and Chardonnays are some of the best in South Australia; sip a glass or two under the Valley’s towering gums or amongst rows upon rows of leafy grapevines.
Facebook fan Melanie Ryan said “I do” at the old Grant Burge Cellar Door in Tanunda in 2012.
"My now husband and I went there regularly and always walked down to the fountain to throw in a coin and make a wish. On the 12th May 2012, we went back and instead of giving me a coin to throw in he pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.
“For our anniversary, my husband had this picture of the place he proposed printed onto a canvas. It hangs in our home and every time I look at it I get goosebumps,” she wrote.
6 Flinders Ranges and Outback
Escape to the Flinders Ranges and Outback, where you’ll find silent, dusty red roads bordered by towering ancient cliffs and deep craters. Take a week, pack the car and explore what feels like an entirely new universe.
Driving through the Flinders Ranges and Outback, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were navigating the unexplored face of Mars. Wake up to metallic grey-blue dawns, and retire to deep-red dusks. Pitch a tent and experience starry outback skies at the Flinders Ranges Caravan Park or take things up a notch at one of Rawnsley Park Station’s cabins or eco-lodges.
If you really want to treat that special someone, Ikara Safari Camp might be just what you’re looking for. Ikara offers guests a “glamping” experience: large tents complete with king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, luxury amenities, power and air conditioning.
7 Kangaroo Island
Get back to nature – just the two of you – on Kangaroo Island. The island has three main towns, but for the most-part, it has vast wilderness. Leave your inhibitions behind and let nature take over. Kangaroos replace bustling early-morning commuters. Instead of frantic shoppers, you’ll find lazy sea lions and pottering echidnas. Enjoy some well-earned time away with only sunrise and sunset to govern your days.
Kangaroo Island’s scenery is breathtaking. Travel through bushland, to beaches, over rolling hills and around rocky cliffs.
If you’re looking for an excellent date spot, Dudley Wines is a particularly classy affair. It combines jaw-dropping scenery with a well-established range of wines and local produce.
8 Adelaide city
Adelaide truly is a city of romance. Spend a night dining at award-winning restaurants, then visit eclectic bars pouring world-class wine, unique cocktails and gin.
Step out into the evening and stroll down Gouger Street, King William Road or Melbourne Street. Frome Street, Hutt Street and O’Connell Street are home to Italian, Indian and Asian restaurants. Melbourne Street and King William Road are known for the best French and modern Australian dining Adelaide has to offer. After dinner, explore our unique small bars in Peel Street, Vardon Avenue and Wright Street.
Adelaide isn’t all about food and wine though. Instagram user lily_mac360, told us a story of love blossoming on the way to the Adelaide Zoo. “My dad proposed to my mum on the riverbank before we boarded the Popeye to the Adelaide Zoo. I was 1 and now I'm 12! I still sleep with the elephant that they bought me that day to celebrate.”
Love is in the air, and on the water, in South Australia’s Riverland. Hire a houseboat from Mannum and set sail down the winding Murray River. Cruise past ochre-coloured cliffs, sleepy towns and native wildlife. Feel like lunch? Cast a line, or drop in to local café.
The Riverland is a natural playground, with shimmering pink salt lakes, wildflowers and sandy cliffs rising out of low-lying scrub. It’s a region brimming with things to explore and discover.
Step ashore and enjoy some great country hospitality. The locals will happily point out the best camping spots or the best time of day to see the spectacular wildlife, such as the hundreds of species of birds that call the river home.
10 Clare Valley – Editor’s pick
For many South Australians, love has bloomed among the vines in the Clare Valley. The Clare Valley is a scenic, 90-minute drive from Adelaide. With a wine-making history dating back to 1851, there are now almost 50 wineries scattered along a narrow 40km corridor, between the towns of Auburn and Clare.
The Clare Valley is known as one of our most picturesque self-drive locations. Cruise to Stanley Flat and Blyth, taking-in amazing views along the way. Rows of vines, farmland and bush intertwine, broken only by small towns and historic Clare Valley cellar doors.