Travel

Stressed out? Indulge in the ultimate relaxation with this South Australian getaway

Did someone say “wellness retreat”?
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Life, by nature, can be busy. The endless balancing act of work, family commitments, life admin and squeezing in social obligations can make you desperate to find a way to somehow add more hours into the day.


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Ok, so there may not be a way to bend the laws of physics to extend how much time there is in 24 hours but there is always the option of a little well-deserved break to get away from it all and recharge.

That’s where South Australia’s beautiful Adelaide Hills comes into play.

Home to remarkable natural scenery as well as wine and dining options that rival the best on offer anywhere in the country, the Adelaide Hills just exudes tranquility as soon as you step foot into the area.

And is there anything that whispers “calmness” more determinedly than a wellness retreat?  Embarking on the Adelaide Hills Wellness Escape by Untamed Escapes as well as checking out some other gems in the Adelaide Hills, we endeavoured to find out – all in the name of research, of course.

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Sequoia Lodge
Spacious, luxurious and an unparalleled view of the sunrise: Sequoia Lodge is pure heaven. (Credit: Supplied)

Where to stay: Rest up in style

Sequoia Lodge

Although Sequoia Lodge is not technically part of the Untamped Escapes wellness retreat, we kicked off our trip with one night at the incredible accommodation. With expansive views of the Adelaide Hills from the generously sized room (the sunrise is well worth waking up at the crack of dawn to see), a fireplace, a huge bathtub and endlessly luxurious fixtures and high-tech features all designed to cater to your every indulgence, this place is absolute heaven.

The Old Pear Farm South Australia
This secluded haven is your home away from home. (Credit: Supplied)

Untamed Escapes: The Old Pear Farm

Though we were reluctant to wave goodbye to the stunning Sequoia Lodge as we left with our gourmet breakfast boxes in hand (a much appreciated extra little touch), the disappointment dissipated quickly once we caught a glimpse of the spacious accommodation that we would call home for the next two nights.

The Old Pear Farm is the secluded and spacious house with five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a picturesque backdrop that plays host to retreat guests – which are capped at a max of 10 people. We couldn’t wait to settle in. Relaxation, we’re ready for you!

The Old Pear Farm bathroom
Natural scenery surrounds the Old Pear Farm. (Credit: Supplied)

What to do: Immersing yourself in the activities

Yoga

If you love yoga and nature, the Untamed Escapes’ Adelaide Hills Wellness Escape will have you warrior posingyour way into heaven. Day one saw us rocking up to Ten Miles East, an artisanal winery and cellar door in a Norton Summit valley (located about a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD). On approach, we were welcomed by the sight of yoga mats laid out on the grass that skirted a creek. Indulging in a little yoga al fresco, guided by Jen from Roaming Zen, we instantly transported into relaxation mode.

Following 45 minutes of yoga we were treated to homemade baked goods, made by Jen herself, then stepped inside the cellar door where we were treated to a a spot of wine tasting with the local drops.

The soul-revitalising yoga is one of the defining activities at Untamed Escaped’s wellness retreat. As well as enjoying the yoga at Ten Miles East, we settled in for three more yoga practices in the cosy but roomy loungeroom at The Old Pear Farm accommodation.

Mornings started by strolling out of our bedrooms and grabbing a cuppa before practising yoga flow. There’s just something about a crackling fire and fog steaming up the windows in the early morning while stretching out in front of such a picturesque view that hushes a busy mind. Evenings were just as calming, as we wound down with some slower paced Yin yoga.

Ten Mile East yoga
Yoga al fresco transforms you into instant zen mode. (Credit: Supplied)
Untamed Escapes yoga
Starting and finishing the day with yoga practice is an ideal way to wind down. (Credit: Supplied)

Mandala art class

Speaking of winding down, the Wellness Escapes package also leaned into mindfulness by teaching us how to create Mandala artwork.

Under the tutelage of Cathy Gray, we learned to draw these intricate black and white circle creations, aimed at slowing down the mind and releasing anxiety and worries. Hours flew by as we scribbled and coloured; you can see why the popularity of the method as a de-stress technique continues to grow.

E-bike tour 

One of the great things about the Adelaide Hills Wellness Escape  is that rather than staying on site, the package allows you to immerse yourself in activities in the surrounding area and really get out and explore the great outdoors.

Meeting our Bike About tour guide at The Lane Vineyard (where we’ll later enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch paired with wine), we head off on a winery tour via e-bike with the surrounding scenery looking like something straight out of a postcard.

My only regret was not having to foresight to strap a Go-Pro to myself or my e-bike to capture nature’s masterpiece as I rode: the burnt orange tinge of the fresh autumn leaves contrasting against the endless winery vines. Luckily, the experience of seeing that view will stay imprinted in my memory for a while to come.

Cathy Gray Mandala circles
Relax your mind by learning to creae Mandala circles. (Credit: Untamed Escapes/Instagram)

Jurlique Farm

Elsewhere on the retreat, we headed off to the Jurlique Farm to learn how the luxury skincare products are made. Skincare aficionados will have long held affection for the brand and this 90-minute tour gives an education into what goes into making your favourite serums, moisturisers, eye creams and more. The tour concludes at the gift store where you can snap up your favourite products at a discount. Bargain!

Forest bathing

Another nature-forward activity we got to experience as part of the retreat’s itinerary was forest bathing. As a city dweller, the concept of forest bathing isn’t something  I commonly come across in my day-to-day life so I was intrigued as to what it actually entailed.

Rain put a slight dampener on our plans – quite literally – so we were only able to get a short taste of the more stretched-out version as we made our way to the gorgeous Belair National Park. Even so, the experience of breathing in the earthly surrounds, being grateful for and mindful of nature and the gifts it presents was something that definitely had its appeal.

Harvest Mylor cafe
Dining outside at Harvest Mylor Café is next level in autumn and just as enjoyable the rest of the year. (Credit: Supplied)

Where to eat: Adelaide Hills’ gourmet food to die for

Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant

The three-hatted Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant holds favour as an award-winning establishment. Here, they draw upon the local produce and wine to serve up some of the most delectable fine dining with impeccable customer service. Known for its wine pairings, Hardy’s has a skilled sommelier who will assist you to make sure you’re drinking the perfect pick.

Harvest Mylor Café

The ultimate Instagram-worthy venue – especially in autumn  when fallen leaves abound – Harvest Mylor Café is the perfect spot for coffee (or wine!) and a casual bite to eat. If the weather is playing nice, choose a table outside and breathe in the fresh air while dining. And don’t forget to snap a photo in the hanging chair – it has to be done.

Harvest Mylor Cafe chair
Can’t go wrong with a snap in the cafe’s cute hanging chair. (Credit: Supplied)

Where to drink: Relax with a beverage and a view

There’s no shortage of top-notch wineries in the Adelaide Hills as well as places to drink wines from the region. And during our e-bike tour, we sure felt like we had earned a drop or two after all that pedalling.

Thankfully, a few of the pitstops ticked all the boxes. One of the first places we temporarily pulled up stumps for a mini-break was at Grunthal Brew. This microbrewery only recently re-opened its doors in a new location and successfully lures punters with its craft beers, cider, gin and wine. Its expansive outdoor and indoor area are ideal for enjoying a drink along with a top-notch cheese board.

Grunthal Brew
Head to Grunthal Brew for a pitstop with craft beer and cider combined with a cheese board to die for. (Credit: @grunthalbrew/ Instagram)

It’s almost sacrilegious to visit the Adelaide Hills without heading to one of their famous wineries, so we relish our next stop at Shaw and Smith to indulge in a little wine tasting. While each drop went down a treat, the 2021 vintage Riesling with its floral and citrus notes were a crowd favourite.

We topped off a fun-filled day with a long lunch at The Lane Vineyard where its gourmet dishes and perfectly paired wines were second to none. And the view? Unbeatable.

The Lane Vineyard
The Lane Vineyard is second to none. (Credit: @thelanevineyard/ Instagram)

Prior to the e-bike ride, we also managed to check out Goldings Wine, which is a popular wedding venue in the area – and it’s not hard to see why. Indulging in a diverse and delicious multi-course lunch, we walked away full and satisfied and still dreaming of the unique passionfruit dessert.

Wine not your thing? Not to worry, there’s an option that will sate your tastebuds regardless. Ambleside Distillers is a casual and sophisticated-but-unpretentious gin distillery that produces the spirit locally. Its core three gins have each been created by three family members: mum, dad and son. That’s one way to really ramp up a family rivalry! After all, there’s nothing like a little bit of friendly competition when it comes to deciding which gin to serve at family get-togethers.

For your own Untamed Escapes: Adelaide Hills three-day Wellness Escape adventure, BOOK NOW

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