Last year it was Hayman Island with a girlfriend. The year before, Melbourne.
Every year I treat myself to a weekend somewhere in Australia where I haven’t been before, as a break from household and mother duties – just some time to myself to wander around art galleries, shop, eat, drink, sleep-in and order room service. Many people are surprised that I do it on my own. I think its the best way! You can march to the beat of your own drum and see and do what you want, when you want.
This year its Adelaide. The promise of excpetional wine and local food was very appealing. And it didn’t dissapoint!
Day One: Friday
The weekend away kicked off with the most leisurly domestic flight I have had in nearly four years. With no toddler in tow, and only one bag to check in I kept looking around to see where my missing “stuff” was – it was so easy! And the fully automated check-in system now with Qantas means the check-in hall is errily quiet and almost deserted it’s that efficient! However the security check-point is still the same lengthy wait as always!
Despite a half hour delay on the tarmac, I didn’t care – I could watch a movie in peace. I had forgotton the delight of travelling on one’s own – it was almost a bonus enforced chill-out time.
Arriving in Adelaide I was impressed with the shiny new and very clean airport. Several wine bars and good food outlets gave a hint as to what lay ahead for the weekend. A short taxi ride into the city had me at my hotel right on time. Very impressed.
The Sebel Playford Adelaide was a wonderful choice for my sole-sojourn. Voted “Best Luxury Hotel” by SA tourism in 2010 it was both intimate and world-class. Small touches to make me feel welcome such as bringing me magazines to read as I had a wine at the busy lounge bar, so that I didn’t feel out of place were personal and welcomed. The award winning restaurant appealed for a light snack which I ordered in room, and exhausted I fell into bed.
Day Two: Saturday
AM: Friends had told me about the Adelaide Central Markets – a foodies paradise. And they weren’t wrong. An undercover market heaven of bustling vendors selling local product – everything from fruit and vegetables, to seafood, breads, hams, pies, cheese – the list goes on.
I located a trendy little cafe and had the best green eggs and ham ever – local organic free-roaming scrambled eggs served with home made pesto and regional prosciotto on a home made ciabatta. I wished I had a spare suitcase to take back all the amazing local food – they are very proud of SA produce and for good reason.
PM: The South Australia Art Gallery was fortunately showing the major exhibition by Patricia Piccinini – those lifelike creatures which are half human half beast, taking its central theme from the future of humanity as seen through genetic engineering. It was very interesting.
An afternoon siesta of book reading and sleeping back at the hotel was mandatory, especially as the soft rain set in.
To top off a great day I had a free movie pass (as part of the hotel booking) so I took a cab to North Adelaide’s cafe strip of O’Connel Street to the Wallis Cinema to see the hilarious “Bridesmaids”. First though was a stop at iconic Haighs Chocolate Store in the city to get some essential treats.
Evening: Never one to mind going out to dinner by myself, I tried to pick the best wine bar in Adealaide City to try some local red. Luckily the award winning “The Apothecary 1878” wine bar and restaurant was just around the corner from my hotel. Styled on a Parisien wine bar, the building was actually an old Pharmacy and still retains many design features of that day. It is dark, with deep timber and candlelight, and I tasted the most heavenly SA Red – a “2008 Robert Johnson ‘il trittico’ merlot cabernet sauvignon sangioves” ($32 a bottle) and dined simply on fresh Adelaide Hills Persian Fetta with ciabatta, and duck roulade on a lentil salad. So good.
Day Three: Sunday
A late sleep in (For me) of 8.30am was relished! I then treated myself to the hotel breakfast – apparently one of the best in the city. The Continental choice alone was more than I could eat and the choices of dishes was so wonderful and different to the norm that I simply have to list here what was on the fruit selection of the buffet menu:
AM: Following this I was lucky to be in town on the one Sunday of the month for the Gilles St Markets. A vintage fashion market, this is the place to find treasures and clothes (some old, some new) for a steal. The sun shone and the morning was crisp and delightful.
PM: With a few hours to kill before checking-out I took a tram out to Glenelg. With no expectations I was very surprised to see a modern beachside suburb with high rises, a restaurant precinct on the boating side and “The Beach House” – the most massive kids play arena ever – with two major waterslides operating even on this chilly winters day. Sort of like Sydney’s Darling Harbour but prettier – perfect for families.
Time to head back to the airport after a swim and steam at the hotels gym. Again, no dramas flying home – I just told myself to make the most of the ease of travelling alone. It won’t be happening again for another year.
The Writer was an independent traveller, with no paid-for comment.
About the Author: Ilka Brookes lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband, three year old Jemima and Labrador-X-Ridgeback, Murphy. Originally a Queenslander, Ilka and her family love to take a driving holiday up north every winter.