Ditch Spotify's 'Dreamy Forest Music' or 'Rain Sounds' playlists and discover the real thing with an immersive, nourishing and soothing nature stay.
South Australia is brimming with peaceful retreats perfectly situated to refresh the mind and body, connect with wildlife and take in the stunning vistas. From forest bathing to saltwater immersion – research shows that spending time outdoors and in nature provides a range of health benefits, including reduced stress, improving mood, wellbeing and boosting immunity. But what doesn't reduce stress is hours spent trawling through accommodation booking sites trying to find your perfect #selfcare destination. So, we have done the shortlisting for you - check out some of the cutest wild and rugged retreats in South Australia for your next wellness weekend.
HELI-CAMPING EXPERIENCE, FLINGERS RANGES AND OUTBACK
Reaching some of the country's most beautiful and untouched corners, get your heart pumping and your feet dirty on a Heli-Camping Experience in the Flinders Ranges and Outback. Soar over Rawnsley Bluff and see Wilpena Pound from new heights before landing at Chace Range. Perched on your private cliff-top campsite, feast your eyes on otherworldly sunset views and breathe it all in – deeply. With your swags set up upon your arrival, enjoy the isolation amongst Australian wildlife while your guide prepares your two-course camp oven dinner. Fall asleep with galaxies shining overhead and wake up with the sun and rinse your face to the sounds of the Australian outback before tucking into a bush breakfast.
SLOW CABIN, CLARE VALLEY
Every feature at Slow Cabin has been carefully considered: from the skylights that flood the space with natural light to the marine cladding, chosen for its warmth and texture. This eco-cabin is set on 170 acres of vineyard, with a backdrop of towering gums and views across the valley. Small details are what make this stay so rejuvenating – the Aesop in the bathroom, the open fire pit under the stars, the nostalgic scrabble set and top-of-the-range cast iron cookware. This is the perfect hideaway to explore the rolling hills, wildflowers, blue gums, creeks and scrub of the Clare Valley in a high-end, off-grid style.
Arkimedes is one of South Australia’s most unique accommodation options. Best suited for a solo stay or romantic retreat, this luxury floating house right on the Murray River offers total nature immersion. ‘The Ark’, as it's affectionately known, offers a connection with the water without skimping on comfort. Wake up and watch the sunrise from bed, soak in the hot water bathtub on the deck before finishing the day cooking dinner under the stars. There is even space to set up a laptop and let your creativity flow with the tranquility of the river.
CABN KUITPO FOREST, FLEURIEU PENINSULA
The Kuitpo Forest Reserve is a large radiata pine forest on the Fleurieu Peninsula, less than an hour from Adelaide. CABN offers an off-grid experience nestled amongst the 50-foot pines in a sustainable, eco-friendly style. Guests are encouraged to practice ‘shinrin-yoku’, a Japanese method of connecting with and absorbing the atmosphere of the forest, breathing deeply to de-stress and boost health and well being. You can see why – the location is completely shrouded in the hum of forest trees.
THE RIVER BLOCK, RIVERLAND
The Riverland is an untouched gem in South Australia, only 2.5 hours from Adelaide, offering access to some of the best stretches of the Murray River in the state. The River Block is ideal for larger groups wanting to explore this natural playground. Set on a private lagoon and enveloped by a stone fruit orchard, secluded and simple, the River Block is fully equipped for your nature retreat with riverfront views, fairy floss sunsets and sparkling waters. Enjoy fishing or paddling in the canoes and kayaks provided or venture to nearby Banrock Station for a wine tasting.
ALDGATE VALLEY B&B, ADELAIDE HILLS
The colour green inspires serenity, renewal and abundance. Aldgate Valley B+B is a couple’s getaway completely immersed in green surroundings – almost like your very own fairy glen. A romantic cottage set amongst tree ferns and mountain mist, this is one of the most calming places to stay in South Australia. Bathe under the canopy in the clawfoot bathtub, meander through the stunning gardens and feel your stress ebb away in the shade of the stringybark forest. Adelaide Hills is known for its smooth, silky pinot noirs, so don’t forget to pick up a good bottle of red on your way.
ARKABA, FLINDERS RANGES AND OUTBACK
If you’re looking to reconnect with yourself and have nature provide some perspective on your place in the world, Arkaba is the place to go. Fully remote, Arkaba is a wild luxury lodge in the rugged Flinders Ranges, set on 60,000 acres of conservation bushland. It is home to mobs of kangaroos, emus and some of Australia’s most jaw-dropping outback scenery. This is an exclusive hideaway as you’ll be sharing the retreat with only 10 other guests. Staying at Arkaba is more akin to a superior safari experience, with Michelin-star food and a beautifully restored 1850s homestead. The great salt lakes, deep valleys and primordial landscapes are an unmissable time capsule of ancient Australia. Far from city smog, enjoy the stunning clarity of the vast night sky and cultural stories of Adnyamathanha Country.
BAROSSA PAVILLIONS AND GLASSHOUSE, BAROSSA
Dreaming of complete privacy and luxury? Barossa Pavilions feature six self-contained, architecturally designed villas with panoramic views over the Barossa hills and vineyards, along with the iconic Glasshouse. This is mindful accommodation, ideally situated to reap the restorative benefits of nature in an eco-sensitive style. As the evening chill descends, stoke the fireplace set in rough-hewn stone and curl up on the couch. Wall-to-wall expansive views reset the mind, and the heated towels and crisp white linen bedding will leave you feeling utterly relaxed and refreshed.
ECOPIA RETREAT, KANGAROO ISLAND
Ecopia Retreat is a registered wildlife sanctuary that offers boutique, luxury accommodation in harmony with the natural landscape of Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island has been described as ‘Australia’s Galapagos’ due to its diverse wildlife and unspoilt landscape, making it the perfect destination to reconnect with nature and enhance one's wellbeing. With a low-impact, solar passive design, these beautifully appointed and understated earth villas offer sweeping views of the natural surrounds. While you're there – take a deep breath and replace all of the oxygen in your lungs with the pristine air of remote Kangaroo Island, the next stop is Antarctica! Architecturally designed to be immersed in the beauty of the island, this is wellness tourism at the absolute highest level.
HOUSEBOATS, MRLC AND RIVERLAND
Water has the ability to calm the mind and reset the soul. There’s no better way to experience the unique waterways of the Murray than by staying right on it, in one of the Murray River and Riverland houseboats. The Murray River is ecologically unique, meandering through world-renowned wetlands and the largest river red gum forests in the world. It is abundant with kangaroos, emus, goannas, kingfishers and cockatoos. Fall asleep to the soothing sound of lapping water below the majestic trees in one of these unique stays.
Cosy up in South Australia...
Haven't found exactly what you are looking for? Check out our guides to South Australia's best glamping experiences to find your perfect escape from hustle culture.