Where to go for a unique family getaway in South Australia’s national parks

Where to go for a unique family getaway in South Australia’s national parks



For a fam­i­ly get­away with a dif­fer­ence, look no fur­ther than these accom­mo­da­tion options – not far from Adelaide.


Keen to organ­ise an escape to spend time with fam­i­ly and con­nect with the great outdoors?

Make things inter­est­ing with a unique stay in one of South Australia’s nation­al parks – and don’t wor­ry, it won’t involve a tent.

From unique light­house cot­tage accom­mo­da­tion in Kan­ga­roo Island to retreats and lodges in the Fleurieu and Yorke penin­su­las, SA’s nation­al parks have you covered.

If you want to go a lit­tle fur­ther away from the city lights, then the south­ern Flinders Ranges might be the spot for you.

Here’s every­thing you need to know about unique accom­mo­da­tion in these pop­u­lar spots:

Kan­ga­roo Island

What:Sey­mour and Thomas cottages

Where:Cape Willough­by Con­ser­va­tion Park

What to expect: These her­itage-list­ed cot­tages offer spa­cious self-con­tained accom­mo­da­tion with large veran­das and scenic views of the coastal land­scape and Cape Willough­by Light­house. Each cot­tage sleeps up to 9 people.

How to get there: There are 2 ways of get­ting to Kan­ga­roo Island:

Dri­ve – Dri­ve about 2 hours (107 km) south of Ade­laide to Cape Jervis, catch a 45-minute fer­ry and then dri­ve a fur­ther 30 min­utes (28 km) from Pen­neshaw to Cape Willough­by Con­ser­va­tion Park. The SeaLink fer­ry oper­ates dai­ly (except Christ­mas Day) between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw.

Fly – Fly Qan­tas or Rex from Ade­laide Air­port to Kingscote Air­port (about a 25-minute flight) and then dri­ve about 60 min­utes (67 km) to Cape Willough­by Con­ser­va­tion Park.

How to book: Book this accom­mo­da­tion online, by phone on (08) 85534410 or by email.

What you’ll need to take: Not much, besides your clothes, food and a good book. All bed­ding, linen and tow­els are sup­plied, and a ful­ly equipped kitchen is also includ­ed in the self-con­tained cot­tages. If you’re plan­ning on cook­ing in the kitchen, take note that the near­est super­mar­ket is a 30-minute dri­ve away, in Penneshaw.

What you can do: Join a guid­ed tour of the light sta­tion. Enjoy spec­tac­u­lar views across Back­stairs Pas­sage from the top of the light­house. From here you can occa­sion­al­ly see large schools of salmon or hump­back, south­ern right and killer whales.

Head out along the Cape Willough­by Light­sta­tion Her­itage Hike, where you can gain an insight into the work­ing and liv­ing con­di­tions endured by the ear­ly light keep­ers in this harsh and remote envi­ron­ment. This is a mod­er­ate hike and will take you about an hour for the 2 km trail. 

You might also like to go for a dri­ve to Seal Bay. Book a tour and immerse your­self in the beau­ti­ful sur­rounds – white sands, blue skies and unspoiled vis­tas – while you observe this amaz­ing sea lion colony.

What you’ll tell your friends about it: After dark you’ll have the whole park to your­self – now that’s some­thing you don’t get to expe­ri­ence every day.

More ways to get the most out of your time on Kan­ga­roo Island:

Fleurieu Penin­su­la

What:South­ern Ocean Retreats

Where:Deep Creek Nation­al Park

What to expect: This self-con­tained accom­mo­da­tion ranges from rus­tic cot­tages to archi­tec­tural­ly designed eco-retreats. All are set in their own unique loca­tion with dif­fer­ent scenery, and sleep between 4 and 10 people.

How to get there: Dri­ve about 1 hour and 45 min­utes (104 km) south of Ade­laide to Deep Creek Nation­al Park.

How to book: Book this accom­mo­da­tion online or by phone on (08) 8598 4169.

What you’ll need to take: Just your usu­al per­son­al gear, includ­ing food. All bed­ding, linen and tow­els are sup­plied and a ful­ly equipped kitchen is also included.

What you can do: From the Cob­bler Hill Pic­nic Area you can take in the views across the ocean of Kan­ga­roo Island, or spend an after­noon walk­ing the Deep Creek Water­fall Hike from Tapanap­pa Lookout.

Go whale watch­ing as they migrate east dur­ing the win­ter months. Deep Creek Con­ser­va­tion Park offers great look­outs to see these mag­nif­i­cent creatures.

There are two 4WD tracks are avail­able in this park, so if you have a 4WD jump in your car and you’ll be reward­ed with stun­ning coastal views across the east­ern and west­ern sec­tions of the park. 

What you’ll tell your friends about it: This get­away will make you feel a mil­lion miles away from Ade­laide. You’ll have your own lit­tle sanc­tu­ary that’ll help you unwind and immerse your­self in nature, with pris­tine beach­es, wildlife and incred­i­ble views. You’ll quick­ly under­stand why this nation­al park is so popular.

More ways to get the most out of your time in Deep Creek Nation­al Park:

Yorke Penin­su­la

What:Man­agers Lodge

Where:Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park

What to expect: This lodge offers a warm gas fire, stun­ning views across Inneston Lake, beau­ti­ful tim­ber floors and quin­tes­sen­tial­ly Aus­tralian veran­das. It sleeps up to 10 people.

How to get there: Dri­ve about 3.5 hours (300 km) from Ade­laide via Port Wake­field, Ardrossan, Min­la­ton and Warooka.

How to book: Book this accom­mo­da­tion online or by phone on (08) 8854 3200.

What you’ll need to take: Linen and bed­ding is not sup­plied so bring your own sheets, pil­lows, blan­kets, tow­els and tea towels. 

What you can do: There is some­thing for every­one at Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park, from camp­ing, to fish­ing, surf­ing and bushwalking.

Dis­cov­er the park on walks rang­ing from 30-minute strolls to 4‑hour treks. You’ll spot an abun­dance of birds and ani­mals while you catch some of the best coastal views in SA.

All of the park is acces­si­ble by 2WD, so it’s per­fect for day vis­its and is a par­adise for beach-lovers.

Take the kids to Ethel Beach and look for the Ethel ship­wreck, which is often most­ly cov­ered by sand, to learn about the tumul­tuous mar­itime his­to­ry of SA.

You can also explore his­toric Inneston, an aban­doned town­ship sur­round­ed by bushland.

What you’ll tell your friends about it: You’ve got to vis­it Blue Pool beach locat­ed at the north end of Shell beach. It is a stun­ning place for a swim – you’ll see why it fre­quent­ly appears on Insta­gram!

Anoth­er spot you won’t want to miss is the stun­ning view from the top of Chinaman’s Hill, which over­looks Inves­ti­ga­tor Strait and the Althor­pe Island group, and has views of Kan­ga­roo Island in the distance.

One more great view is from the 360-degree look­out at West Cape, which offers a stun­ning visu­al of the South­ern Ocean and back across the entire park.

More ways to get the most out of your time in Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park:

Flinders Ranges

What:Alli­ga­tor Lodge Accommodation

Where:Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park

What to expect: This 3‑bedroom lodge offers a rus­tic, great out­doors’ feel that is per­fect for larg­er groups. It sleeps up to 10 people.

How to get there: There’s a few options to choose from depend­ing on where you’re com­ing from:

Dri­ve – Dri­ve about 4 hours (311 km) north of Ade­laide to Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park.

Fly – Fly Qan­tas or Rex from Ade­laide Air­port to Whyal­la Air­port (about a 50-minute flight), then dri­ve 2 hours (138 km) to Mount Remark­able Con­ser­va­tion Park.

How to book: Book this accom­mo­da­tion online, or by phone on (08) 8841 3400.

What you’ll need to take: Linen and bed­ding is not sup­plied so bring your own sheets, pil­lows, blan­kets, tow­els and tea towels. 

What you can do: Take the kids to Mam­bray Creek Val­ley. It’s eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and only a short walk from the Day Vis­i­tor Area at Mam­bray Creek.

You’ll find your­self on a trail enclosed by rocky out­crops, native pines, gums trees and wildlife. It’s very serene and makes you feel like you’re a mil­lion miles away from every­thing. Here, your fam­i­ly can immerse them­selves in nature as this is a great place for qui­et reflec­tion or peace­ful activ­i­ties such as read­ing, sketch­ing or bird watching.

Try to spot a yel­low-foot­ed rock wal­la­by in the park. They’re some­what of an elu­sive ani­mal, but your best bet to find one is along the Hid­den Gorge Hike, up on the Bat­tery Ridge, and along the Mam­bray Creek Val­ley toward Scar­fes Hut.

What you’ll tell your friends about it: It’s no sur­prise that a must-see at Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park is Alli­ga­tor Gorge. You can expect to be sur­round­ed by colour­ful rock for­ma­tions and nar­row­ly spaced cliffs. If the creek is run­ning, and there’s water in the gorge, it makes this peace­ful place extra special.

There are also some incred­i­ble views to be had. A favourite is the 960 m high Mount Remark­able Sum­mit that pre­sides over the Willochra Plain and looks out to the Spencer Gulf.

More ways to get the most out of your time in Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park:

For more accom­mo­da­tion options in nation­al parks vis­it the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice web­site. Tell us your favourites in the com­ments sec­tion below. 

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Novem­ber 2020.


This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living