Travel with kids, our highlights of South Australia

Barossa Valley - Jacobs Creek vineyards
Barossa Valley - Jacobs Creek vineyards

Lonely Planet voted Adelaide as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2014, so it was time to head to South Australia. What we discovered was that Adelaide has it really good!

Here are our travel with kids highlights of South Australia covering Barossa, Kangaroo Island, Maclaren Vale, Adelaide and surrounds.

Travel with kids, our highlights of South Australia

Barossa Valley

Bring the kids to the Barossa

Barossa is one of the prettiest wine regions we’ve been to, with vines, roses and rolling green hills. Not to mention the regions charming townships with their heritage Lutheran churches, beautiful tree lined streets and quaint stone cottages.

The highlights have to be sampling the many delicious wines at beautiful wineries. Although Barossa can be a sophisticated place catering for the romantic couple, more wineries are recognising that parents also indulge in a wine (or three or four) and provide facilities for children.

Barossa can be done with kids in tow, look out for my post Barossa with kids, a guide on how to survive a winery with kids, things to do and top kid friendly wineries in the Barossa.

Have ice cream by the lake at Maggie’s Farm Shop

Maggie Beer is a Barossa Valley icon, made famous from the Cook and the Chef TV series. She owns an equally famous and very busy Maggies Farm Shop, which offers free tastings of all her products on premise.

Dodge the crowds, grab one of the many delicious ice-cream variety’s from the freezer or order a light lunch from the cafe and enjoy by the tranquil farm setting outside by the lake.

There are lots of lovely spots for the kids to play as well as walking trails around the farm where you can view some of the local farm animals.

Explore charming Angaston

Angaston is one of the oldest towns in the Barossa Valley established in the 1830’s. Murray Street is a beautiful tree-lined main street, featuring historic churches, shop fronts and stone cottages.

There is a pretty little park where the kids can have a play amongst some well established trees.

For lunch, grab a pizza from roaring 40’s cafe,  still living off it’s 2009 best pizza in Australia accolade. To be fair, the pizza is really good!

Picnic at scenic Bethany Wines

Find a perfect picnic spot at Bethany Wines, perched atop a hill, under a shady tree is a picturesque view overlooking the valley. Grab some picnic supplies or pick up a pie from Apex Bakeries in Tanunda (wood fire ovens, burning since 1924) and soak it all in.

The kids will enjoying running down the hill exerting pre-cellar door energy. Their Shiraz is just as gorgeous as their view.

Lots more to see and do in Barossa Valley with kids, look out for my future Barossa with kids post coming soon. In the meantime Barossa Dirt is a great resource and very generous with their knowledge of the region.

Kangaroo Island

Walk with seals at Seal Bay

Take a guided tour along Seal Bay and walk on the beach where you can see these beautiful creatures lazing on the white sand.

Kids can come within 10 meters of seal cubs cuddled into their mothers or some more active seals playing by the foreshore. It’s a lovely walk, where kids get a little education on the seal colony and the importance of habitat preservation.

Visit Vivonne Bay, one of the best beaches in Australia

Apart from the plentiful wildlife, Kangaroo Island offers some stunning beaches. On the south coast is sheltered Vivonne Bay, once voted best beach in Australia.

A beautiful remote beach with clear turquoise water and soft white sand that stretches for 2 kilometers, such a secluded spot may have you feeling like you have the entire beach to yourself.

Vivonne Bay gives my fav beach, Whitehaven a run for it’s money, It’s just as beautiful, however take a few points off as the undertow is strong and the water coming from the Antarctic is pretty chilly.

Kangaroo Island is home to many more spectacular beaches. A more detailed guide to KI coming soon.

Climb Remarkable Rocks

The Remarkable Rocks are a collection of boulders siting high on a cliff with the wide blue ocean as a backdrop. Sculpted by the winds over time they are indeed remarkable. T

here is a series of child friendly boardwalks that extend through the rocky green landscape right to the foot of the rocks.

For the more adventurous kids, the climb up the cliff to the Remarkables, though on an incline is easily navigated by a 4 year old, though my 2 year old was best kept in a carrier.

There were plenty of happy kids scrambling through, around and over the different shaped rocks.

See and eat delicious farmed fresh Marron

Marron are freshwater crayfish indigenous to Western Australia but have been farmed locally in Kangaroo Island.

Andermel Marron is a walk-in Marron farm, winery and cafe in one. A large shed houses tanks of live marron of various edible sizes, which entertained the kiddies. Two Wheeler wines are also on premise for free tastings, the sparkling Shiraz is very nice.

Next door is a simple enclosed deck and cafe where you can dine on the freshly cooked Marron straight from the farm. For kids that are not inclined to shellfish, they offer a very generous serving of french fries as well as other kid friendly food options on the menu.

Fresh from the farm Marron
Fresh from the farm Marron

For more information look out for my Kids and Kangaroo Island post coming soon. Also check out Tourism Kangaroo Island for more information.

McLaren Vale

Sample standout Shiraz at family friendly wineries

Having been to the competition that is Barossa, McLaren Vale was a touch more family friendly. The staff were a little more accommodating of  kids with plenty of wineries set up with playgrounds, BBQ facilities and more of a selection in their toy boxes.

McLaren Vale is home of Shiraz, and there are some beauties here and dare I say it …rivals Barossa, it’s even closer to get to,  only a 40 minute scenic drive from Adelaide. The only way to decide is to visit both!

Visit Maclaren Vale tourist information site here.

Adelaide Hills

Watch jams being made at Beerenberg Farm

Sample jams, sauces and condiments of Berenberg Farm, a fun place to take the kids. The Farm Shop has been beautifully refurbished with a variety of products to taste, try their famous rose petal jelly.

Kids get to watch as workers bottle jam and make different condiments on-site from glass window overlooking the processing line next door.

Strawberry picking was still open when we arrived (October to April). For $4 an adult and kids under 13 are free. Grab a punnet and pick your own strawberries and wonder around the beautiful strawberry fields.

Be German for the day in Hahndorf

Visit Hahndorf the oldest surviving german town, with a beautiful kitchy german village feel. The main street is framed by big old elm trees planted by the first Lutheran German settlers. Read more about the History of Hahndorf here. 

Many of the shops are restored original cottages offering German themed souveniers, gifts, collectables, local produce, food and eateries.

Have a mammoth german platter of pork knuckle, sauerkraut, sausage and mash at the famouse Hahndorf Inn, followed it down with a stein of Hofbräu beer on tap. A great family friendly german style pub with a nice play area for the kids. Whilst they are entertained, take a look at the historical along the walls and read about it’s rich German heritage.

Let the kids run at Bird in Hand winery

Once you’ve gotten your German fix, a short drive away is Bird in Hand winery, treasured by locals. Drive through the pretty vines to reach the cellar door.

With manicured gardens, gold fish in ponds and hills for the kids to roll down there are plenty of things to occupy the kids, whilst you sample their assortment of tasty wines.

The large storage area right by the cellar door is a sight in itself with beautiful oak barrels stacked one on top of another which turns out to be a neat little open area for the kids to play hide and seek.

Adelaide

A little surprised and quite jealous of how lucky Adelaidians are. A hop and skip away from superb wine country with several exceptional regions, a gateway to Kangaroo Island known as the galapagos of Australia, a snazzy new Adelaide footy oval linking the parklands to the CBD, access to great artisanal foods and close proximity to kid friendly beaches are some of the reasons why South Australia is a top family destination.

Marvel at the new Adelaide Oval and explore the parklands along River Torrens

As a long suffering wife and biggest enabler of a sports junky husband, a trip to see the new Adelaide Oval was on the top of things to do in Adelaide. Luckily, this new classy landmark was worth the visit.

Located right by the River Torrens there’s plenty of open space and parklands for kids to run around. The new footbridge over the river will connect Adelaide central to the events held at the new oval with the new stands now seat  50,000.

Wonder through Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market is a must-see. A fabulous food market with providores of wonderful fresh produce, fine foods and local products. This place is a feast for your tastebuds.

We went at the hustle and bustle of lunchtime, if you can find a seat at any of the local eateries within the market, your stomach will not be disappointed.

Keep the kids happy with sweet treats at the Old Lolly Shop as well as delicious chocolates, cakes and frozen yoghurt at the specialist bakeries.

Dine out Gouge Street Chinatown

Adelaide has a thriving Chinese community and we are always in the market for some decent Chinese food. Influenced by mainland China and Taiwan as opposed to it’s East Coast cantonese style counterparts, think fresh hand-pulled noodles and Xio Long Bao (Shanghai dumplings).

Have a play in Semaphore

For families of young kids, skip Glenelg and head to Semaphore, with an equally impressive beach area and lots of kid friendly attractions.

Along the foreshore there is a great little fenced in playground and a kiosk for snacks afterwards.

The Semaphore Steam Train picks up passengers from it’s station right by the jetty, chugging alongside the Esplanade to Fort Glanville at Point Malcolm which is 2km away. It only operates on Sundays and public holidays. However, there are other family attractions such as the Amusement Park and Carousel.

For those wanting a bit of free fun, take a stroll out on the long jetty out to sea and chill out with the locals.

There is plenty to see and do with the above only being our highlights of South Australia trip.

Have you got any tips for Barossa, Kangaroo Island, McLaren Vale or Adelaide and surrounds? Any tips on where to go for kids?  Please comment below:

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