Premier Steven Marshall has said “We want people to get out and explore our beautiful backyard and spend money in regional SA and help those economies move forward and create jobs”.
So the time is right for us to take this opportunity and travel in our own backyards – one can still enjoy some of the world’s most incredible experiences right here at home. From crisp desert landscapes and mountain ranges that time herself has forged in to rugged beauty, to the rich seas boasting a bounty of tasty delicacies and adventures.
“South Australians can redirect some of the $3.3 billion that they spend on overseas holidays in to the SA economy,” SA Tourism Commission chief executive, Rodney Harrex said. A sentiment shared by the Premier. It would go a long way to supporting one of the hardest hit employment sectors and breathe new life back in to our regions and tourist destinations.
So to that end, and with regional travel restrictions easing, Future Adelaide decided to send out Marie Barbieri so she could entice us with some quintessential SA getaways.
Our intrastate travel dimmer-switch is on the turn. Yes indeed, light is at the end of the caution-taped lockdown tunnel. After what seemed like no end in sight some two months ago, come sunrise, we’re beginning to leap out of bed more akin to spring lambs than rolling from the edge of the mattress like lethargic sea slugs. We may even air the PJs, and find ourselves audibly apologising to the hairdryer gagging to exhale, the abandoned itchy footed boot and the wallet waiting to spend.
So where should us pent-up punters put our dollars once restrictions lift. Observing the Keeping SA Safe & Strong Roadmap to Recovery, we can now plan those sensory pleasures that satiate our travel-hungry appetites. And hitting the road will help support our tourism providers and the local communities within which they operate.
An afternoon at Gorge Wildlife Park will directly support this family-run refuge at Cudlee Creek, where koalas masticate nonchalantly in your arms. Mount Lofty Botanic Garden flickers with seasonal bronzes, cascading its pond and gully-dressed hillside. You’ll find koalas in the canopy there too. Winter wildlife lovers should head to Whyalla to snorkel or dive with giant chameleonic cuttlefish. Or join Big Duck Boat Tours at Victor Harbor to marvel at breaching southern right whales.
Simon Burley from Coast & Co offers luxury tours of McLaren Vale’s wineries and the Fleurieu Peninsula’s resplendent coastline. Get cosy at The Kirche on the Grenache-rich grounds of Charles Melton Wines. This 19th-century-built church has been converted into an intimate luxury cottage. Or check into antique and artwork-dressed Thorn Park by the Vines at historic Sevenhill. The charming owners (one being renowned Clare Valley chef, David Hay) prepare dinner with produce harvested from the boutique stay’s garden.
How’s your diprotodon fossil knowledge? Rusty? Near Burra, Red Banks Conservation Park is one of Australia’s prized megafauna sites. Continue north to camp in a safari tent at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges. Our Southern Hemisphere skies are currently down-lit by the Milky Way. And “Ssh!” Williamstown’s Whispering Wall can spill a few secrets. Uttered cadences from its opposite side travel across the dam’s 100-metre span.
When it comes to coffee stops, South Australia houses a quirky bunch. The city’s Flinders Street Project, sourcing its beans from North Adelaide coffee roaster, Veneziano, drapes a ceiling chandeliered in thousands of wooden spoons. In urban regenerated Bowden, arty health foods flirt from bowls at Jarmer’s Kitchen.
Now boasting four city shopfronts, Abbots and Kinney brew beans from White Horse roasters. They recently offered free brews for doctors and nurses, and blended limited edition chocolates for diggers. On Wright Street, Le Cordon Bleu alumna, Emily Raven, runs My Kingdom for a Horse with her onsite coffee roaster. She also offers online brewing guides. And beneath its beamed ceiling in the cosy hills of Crafers is Atelier Café. This log fire-warmed hideout sells local artists’ works directly from its walls.
The Seller Door at Brighton offers a tasting space. And Nutrition Republic in Glenelg whips up organic coffee. As well potent elixirs, their coconut lattes actually please the palate (the menu is completely devoid of dairy, gluten and refined sugar). About to birth in Greenock, is El Estanco. The aroma of fine Columbian brews will permeate around the pottery for the planet that will be on sale. And at Chocol’ Art & Coffee on Kangaroo Island, the owner showcases his own photography for sippers to admire while enjoying the result of locally roasted beans, that partner with homemade truffles and pralines.
Jazz up the pantry with South Australia’s regional produce. Take a drive through the Riverland. Pick and choose from roadside honesty stalls feeling like a child in a sweetshop while supporting local farmers. Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop and Café at Nuriootpa will treat your taste buds to inventive curries and soups, and native fruitcakes. Reserve time to dine by her pheasant farm’s lake. In Hahndorf, the Paech family has run family-owned Beerenberg farm since 1839. In summer you can strawberry pick your way through their fields. Until then, a winter visit to their farm shop will replenish your pantry with chutneys, pickles, sauces and jams. Woodside Cheese Wrights offers ready-to-go seasonal cheese bags, native hampers, breads and sweets. Complimenting these goodies, The Farm at Willunga will drizzle you deliciously with extra virgin olive oils. Stirling’s Organic Market and Café offers wholefoods from fruit and vegetables to meat and dairy products, and nourishing foodstuffs lining the shelves.
How was the libido during lockdown? Pure Coffin Bay Oysters on the Eyre Peninsula will excite you with their bay tours and Shellar Door. Sample their freshly shucked molluscs at the oyster bar. Then take some home. And honey, you’re almost home. A bee sanctuary since 1885, Kangaroo Island produces the world’s last-remaining pure-strain Ligurian honey. Stock up at Kangaroo Island Living Honey, Clifford’s Honey Farm, Emu ridge or at Island Beehive.
You’re about to have a social life again. Head to Mylor for a biodynamic farm tour of Jurlique: Adelaide’s own skincare brand. Their plant-based products available from the farm’s shop will smooth out the bathroom cabinet. You’ll then be ready to chink to South Australia coming out of lockdown. Twenty Third Street Distillery in Renmark bottles spirits with labels you’d almost frame on your walls. From gin and vodka to whiskey, brandy and rum, stop by for tastings before replenishing your own cellar.
Stay safe on your journeys. Consult southaustralia.com and openyourworld.sa.gov.au for support, advice and recommendations on how you and your family can keep active and travel safely within glorious South Australia.
What does government and business need to do right now to get SA back on track after the coronavirus crisis?
The first of three live-streamed video forums featured business leaders Nick Reade, Jacqui McGill and Oliver Brown.
Adelaide is one of the world’s safest cities in which to work, rest and play. But the year has presented challenges. Summer brought bushfires across many fronts of the state and around the nation, then along came COVID-19, turning our lives and occupations upside down. But South Australians are resilient and businesses quick to adapt and it is already paying off, as we now set an example of resilience and recovery for the rest to follow.
Plaudits go to these South Australian businesses that retooled and reinvented themselves in a bid not to just save their own livelihoods, but the jobs and income of their employees and their communities. Collectively, they are returning South Australia back to work and a healthy economy.
Two other lateral-thinking Adelaide-based companies clubbed together during lockdown. Andrew Rogers Industrial Design and Kyron Audio pivoted from designing high-end speakers and other electronic and educational products, to the Ned’s Head Personal Protective Face Shield. Lightweight with anti-fog visors, the shields have been supplied to various retailers. However during lockdown, the increase in demand from frontline workers in SA hospitals shot up. The company is currently producing around 2,000 shields per day, with the ability to create 4,000.
When guide training for the May 2020 walk season was about to begin for Tony and Susie Sharley’s multiday Murray River Walk, an uninvited pandemic stepped in. Luckily, JobKeeper payments retained permanent staff, and 100% of guest bookings were rescheduled for 2021.
“Despite the disappointment of cancelling our walking season, the lockdown period allowed for some upsides,” says George, “namely, the expansion of our ecotourism business to develop two new experiences: Murray River Safari and Murray River Escapes.”
Now rebranded as Murray River Trails, Tony adds: “With our newly added walks, we will be creating further secure employment with our season increasing from five to nine months. We may even be back in operation by September this year. We’re excited!”
With SeaLink SA providing ferry services between Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island (and shuttle bus services from the city, and on-island transfers), the company took a brutal hit between the bushfires and COVID-19. But they found room to pivot.
They launched their Kangaroo Island You’ll Love it self-drive packages targeted at South Australian travellers (for now). And their Taste of Kangaroo Island Tour is soon to launch. “Guests will visit cellar doors and distilleries as well as some of the island’s other iconic locations,” says Julie-Anne Briscoe, Marketing Manager of SeaLink SA.
Another of the company’s successes during this ‘downtime’ was the reimagining of one of their touring partner’s products. Kangaroo Island Odysseys runs sensory, small-group tours on their wildlife-filled sanctuary. During imposed social distancing measures, guide, Nikki Redman, set about filming and running virtual tours from the company’s private 342-hectare property, allowing for digital nose-to-snout interactions.
There’s a reason why guide Nikki is dubbed Nikkipedia. She teaches wildlife-lovers about embryonic diapause, the habits of ectothermic goannas, and the 15cm-tongued monotreme that roamed the planet with dinosaurs. Wait until you see her video about the ‘roomantic’ shenanigans of marsupials urinating to attract a suitor (you know you want to). And the adorable koalas that Nikki calls ‘fuzzy butts’.
SeaLink SA also operate The Murray Princess paddle steamer. Lockdown has allowed her a replenishing ‘spa treatment’ in dry dock, and time for the planning of her 7-night Relocation Cruise, which may begin as early as June 2020, keeping crew employed throughout the process.
Adelaide businessman and co-director of the Big Easy Group, Oliver Brown, is a fine example of lateral thinking during lockdown. With his bars and diners screeching to a COVID-induced halt, he set out to save his staff and resuscitate his businesses. The Stag Public House became the base for The Big Easy Drinks: an online same-day bar tender- curated drinks home delivery service, with staff becoming the delivery drivers.
Chefs on Wheels has also been keeping hunger binges at bay. A collaboration between acclaimed Adelaide chefs: Paul Baker, Brad Sappenburghs, Terry Intarakhamhaeng, Emma McCaskill and Karina Armstrong, led to chef-curated dishes-cum-ready meals to order.
Vacuum sealed and freezable, meals have been delivered to the front doors of social distancing diners proud to #cookthemout. And additional good news is that the venture will continue post-lockdown, with meal kits currently being designed by our favourite chefs across SA.
And designers of 3-D printed body parts, Fusetec, created, in collaboration with Associate Professor, Alkis Psaltis, a detailed nasal swab-testing tutorial for medical workers. While working on extending their human anatomy libraries, they are investing heavily into post- pandemic production of 3-D parts for export predicting that medical institutions will be looking to move away from possible health risks associated with training with cadavers.
South Australian businesses have excelled with altruism and grace during this period of personal and economic turmoil. But between our home lives and workplaces, we’ve had each other’s back. They’ve thought quickly, innovated, produced and delivered, on the road to recovery. And in turn, its increased revenue streams and created professions. Our will to support our communities and our healthcare sector has been something that will continue to be recognised long after life returns to whatever guise our new normal arrives in.
Glasses are beginning to chink again for Never Never Distilling Co in McLaren Vale, which was a buzzing business on the block when COVID-19 gatecrashed its celebrations. In operation for just five weeks, its brand new distillery door had to slam shut. However, visionary founder, George Georgiadis responded intuitively. With his direct sales to bars also halting, his swift action led to all staff rallying together to go part time, saving the permanently employed. Enter, hand sanitiser…
It was a smart ethanol-fuelled move with the sudden global shortage of this equally sudden prized liquid. Says George: “Initially, regulation made it difficult, but then the TGA put an exemption in place to allow distilleries to sell hand sanitiser to help address the short-term shortage.”
During the peak of the COVID maelstrom, the Never Never team’s brain cells fired fast. Educating themselves on hand sanitiser ingredients and packaging, they soon supplied Adelaide’s healthcare professionals. “It was very rewarding to fulfil an important community need,” says George.
Promptly polishing up their search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media skills, the distillery then focussed on online gin sales. At the same time, they won the 2020 San
Francisco World Spirits Competition (held 13th -15th March), for their freshly launched Triple Juniper Export Strength Gin. Talk about timing!
And the company’s Ginache launched this week (26 th May 2020). A world first, produced in McLaren Vale, Grenache grapes from Chalk Hill’s Slate Creek vineyard are steeped in the distillery’s Triple Juniper Gin. ‘George the Juniper Revolutionary’ as he is nicknamed, has juniper as the base ingredient of his distinctive gins.
“I think this is the product everyone needed right now, says George. “It’s absolutely delicious and looks amazing, with a luminous cherry red colour which develops into a ripe watermelon pink when diluted with tonic.”
Through this turbulent time, Never Never Distilling Co’s email subscriber following has doubled over the past month, with an online increase in the sharing of drink recipes, stories and photos. “People have really lifted their home cocktail game during this period,” says George. “And our employee hours are gradually returning to full time, with gin-lovers excited about returning to our distillery door.”