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Towns and regions impacted by the summer bushfires have plenty to entice families, writes ANGELA SAURINE

A family meeting the emus at Cleland Wildlife Park. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission-Adam Bruzzone

Each summer, Aussie families flock to the coast – and increasingly the mountains – to bask in the sunshine and spend quality time together as they enjoy a vast range of leisure activities during their annual break. But this year was different, with many trips interrupted and plans thwarted by unprecedented bushfires that ravaged some of our favourite holiday playgrounds. A few months on, these destinations are continuing to recover, with bushland regenerating and wildlife returning.

A festival at Barristers Block Wines. Image: Adelaide Hills Wine Region-South Australian Tourism Commssion

Many parts of this region, just 30 minutes’ drive from Adelaide, were badly impacted by the Cudlee Creek bushfire that began before Christmas 2019, with more than 80 homes lost. But many towns were not directly impacted, including historic German village, Hahndorf. All roads and tourism businesses have re-opened, and the region is welcoming visitors with open arms.

Hahndorf Farm Barn. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission-Adam Bruzzone

While three of the area’s most family-friendly wineries lost vines in the fire, the cellar doors and gardens at Golding Wines in Lobethal, Barristers Block in Woodside and Anderson Hill in Lenswood were saved are great places to support local businesses.

Happy kids on the cargo net obstacle course at Woodhouse Activity Centre.

The northern townships of Birdwood, Gumeracha and Cudlee Creek narrowly escaped the fires and are home to some of the region’s favourite family-friendly attractions, including the National Motor Museum, The Big Rocking Horse & The Toy Factory, and Cleland Wildlife Park. Animal lovers will also love Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in Mylor, and Hahndorf Farm Barn, where you can try your hand at milking a cow, take a pony ride, bottle feed baby lambs and hand feed the camels and donkeys. Melba’s Chocolate and Confectionery Factory in Woodside was also saved by firefighters. Set on a 54ha property, Woodhouse Activity Centre in Piccadilly, offers a multitude of activities, including an obstacle course, disc golf, orienteering and tube slides. Stay in a heritage-listed stone manor, rustic but cosy chalets or book an unpowered camping site.

The town of Hahndorf. Image: Michael Waterhouse

Other accommodation options in the area include vineyard cottages, country pubs, farmstays, eco retreats and holiday parks. BIG4 Hahndorf Resort has a jumping pillow, a pool and mini golf, with modern resort rooms, units, cottages and houses for groups of up to 10 people. In Hahndorf, try The Studios by Haus for self-contained studio apartments set just off the main street, or The Manna by Haus. In wine country, consider the homestead at Longview Vineyard in Macclesfield and self-contained country cottages Esto House at Crafers and The Other House at Piccadilly.

Angela Saurine
Angela Saurine
Angela Saurine is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer and proud mum who lives in Sydney. She started out in journalism in local newspapers before setting off to explore the world for two years, living at Whistler ski resort in Canada and in London. On her return home, her passion for adventure led to a role as national travel reporter at News Corp Australia – a position she held for four years before embarking on a freelance career. She loves skiing, islands, expedition cruising, eco-tourism and Indigenous tourism.