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Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

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Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Hello! Below is a first draft of an itinerary for Christmastime. We will be a family group of 5 traveling together: my husband and I and his brother, wife, and 5-year-old son. My husband and I will be in Fiji for a week prior, so we shouldn't be terribly jetlagged, but the other 3 will be just be arriving our first morning on a marathon flight from SFO-LAX-SYD-ADL.

We are very interested in wildlife and want to visit a few places in Adelaide before heading to Kangaroo Island. The adults are also interested in some wine tasting. My husband and I love the shiraz and other reds from McLaren Vale and Barossa. D'Arenberg and Two Hands are must-visits, as is Penfolds...we actually don't drink much Penfolds, but we really want to do the tour where we get to make our own blends. :)

Please let me know this itinerary makes sense and if you have any further tips or suggestions. I also have a few specific questions that I'll ask in my itinerary and a couple of general questions after:

Sunday 12/22

Arrive Brisbane around lunchtime

Check into hotel

Explore CBD

Zoo

Monday 12/23

Adelaide Hills wine region

Cleland Wildlife Park

Hahndorf & other kid-friendly stops

Tuesday 12/24

Barossa Valley

Question: Any way to make this day out fairly kid-friendly?

Wednesday 12/25

Spend day at Glenelg beach?

Question: What will be open on Christmas Day? What are our options for activities?

Thursday 12/26

Question: Another day in Adelaide? Or do we want an extra day on Kangaroo Island?

Friday 12/27

Check out of Adelaide accommodation

Drive through McLaren Vale and on to Port Jervis

Ferry to Kangaroo Island

Saturday 12/28

Kangaroo Island

Sunday 12/29

Kangaroo Island

Monday 12/30

Fly from KI to ADL at 8 am

Fly ADL to SYD

General Questions:

Looking for a rental car to pick up in Adelaide on 22 Dec and return in Kingscote on 30 Dec, all we're finding is Hertz. The other major chains appear to have no availability. Are there perhaps a couple of local car hire options a well?

Is the Intercontinental the nicest hotel in Adelaide? The TA reviews are mixed, but we're not seeing anything that looks better...

Many thanks!!

Edited: 15 April 2013, 23:31
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1. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

I'll leave the itinerary to the experts and just chat about the accommodation.

In terms of official AAA Star ratings, only the InterCon, Sebel Playford and Rendezvous Grand are rated 5 star. However nothing else comes close in Adelaide in terms of size and presence, and the former Hyatt Regency is very popular with both product and location. Having said this, it really comes down to your perception of "nice". There are numerous other hotels in Adelaide that rates a mention, such as Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Stamford Plaza as well as Stamford Grand in Glenelg - but none are officially above 4.5 star.

If you choose to stay at the InterCon, Sheik is a great restaurant, and you certainly won't be disappointed with the hotel.

Edited: 15 April 2013, 23:47
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2. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Correction...Shiki restaurant.

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3. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Thanks, KVE. We generally like Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, etc. On the Sydney portion of this trip we'll spend 4 nights at the Shangri-La. (We stayed at the Four Seasons our last time in Sydney). I'm not convinced that the Intercontinental is truly 5*, but it's also not terribly expensive, so as long as we get what we pay for it's not that big of a deal. Just wanted to see if there was a gem out there that we had missed in our internet searching. :)

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4. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Re 22/12 & the Zoo. If the 22nd is the first day for those doing the very long haul, perhaps just a wander around the gardens and parks (dependant upon heat) of Adelaide would be a better idea? I'm not sure where Brisbane fits in? You could also catch the tram to Glenelg and dip your toe in...

The Zoo is one of very few places open on Christmas Day in Adelaide and is where we spent a few hours last Christmas Day. The pandas were given wrapped presents and we spent nearly an hour watching them open and devour them... There is a restaurant at the Zoo as well as a cafeteria and you can have a "proper"Christmas dinner there at not outrageous prices. (We didn't so can't comment on content ) Something to perhaps consider other than spending many hours turning crispy on the beach @ Glenelg....

As to the 24th - I would check the opening hours of wineries you intend to visit in the Barossa on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately there is little to make a day visiting wineries child friendly except for letting him let off steam in playgrounds in the local towns and perhaps showing him the large vats, oak barrels etc, which may be interesting for a few minutes :-)

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5. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Thanks, Perthite. The mention is Brisbane is a typo from a cut and paste...we were originally considering flying LAX-BNE and staying a couple of days there before flying to ADL for 6 nights in Adelaide/Kangaroo Island, but we decided against it. Sorry about that!

Excellent news about the zoo!! We may not want to take our main meal there (although, depending on what else is open, we may!) but a Christmas Day visit sounds like a great plan! We're not huge beach people, actually, but just aren't sure what our options will be on that day.

We'll definitely look into the Barossa wineries more thoroughly. I've looked at a couple and they said they were closed on Christmas Day only. But if the locals know that they tend to be 'unofficially' closed on Christmas Eve, or close very early, please let me know!

Was hoping that there might be more child-friendly attractions in Barossa that I just wasn't seeing...more like the variety of stuff that appears or be on offer in the Adelaide Hills...

Thanks again!

Edited: 16 April 2013, 01:15
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6. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

A few points that I'd mention

Barossa - Kid Friendly - there's a train to climb in the park at Angaston and you could always go Kangaroo Spotting in the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation park if you wanted to stretch their legs. The Barossa doesn't have a lot for kids, unfortunately. Clare or McLarenVale have more family friendly options.

The Barossa has a strong european heritage and, as such, Christmas Eve is when these families celebrate their Christmas. I would definitely check to see which ones may be open before assuming that they are.

Best hotel? Well my preference is the Sebel or, if apartments are suitable, then the Embassy or similar on North Terrace. The Hilton isn't too bad, some rooms have been refurbished but the Intercontinental is about to undergo a massive overhaul. I'm about to check to see when they intend to start and the timeframe they are looking at but bear it in mind and ask if renovations will be underway during the time you are looking at staying...

Other than that your itinerary looks entirely do-able. I think that you could wander the botanic garden and zoo in a few hours but youd need to justify that against the entry charge.

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7. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

"...We may not want to take our main meal there (although, depending on what else is open, we may!)"

Restaurants open on 25th are limited and the good places are scarely expensive (wages are high for working on 25th - fair enough) and are booked out in some cases by mid year...hence my suggestion for the Zoo for your main meal. The options for non locals on Christmas Day are primarily limited to BYO picnics or expensive meals - a few lower price Asian restaurants were open last year in Gouger St but it was hit and miss as to when they opened/closed.

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8. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

Thanks, TW. I'll double check with the key wineries in Barossa regarding Christmas Eve.

Any tips for kid-friendly activities in McLaren Vale and vicinity? We're planning on driving through McLaren Vale and then out to Port Jervis to ferry over to Kangaroo Island. I read about Victor Harbor and the carriage rides over the causeway to Granite island. Anything else?

I am going to suggest to my family that we visit the zoo and botanical garden on Christmas Day. Might go to the beach, too, but just for a bit. Unless you already have advice to give, I might post again closer to the date asking about restaurant options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Interesting that the Intercontinental was until recently a Hilton. I'll ask them about construction and will look into the other two properties you mention.

As for the rental car, I think Hertz is the only chain that will let us pick up in Adelaide and drop off on Kangaroo Island. It's the only one that still has availability and is listing on the major search sites anyway. But, per your response to my KI post regarding our mound of luggage, I'm going to talk to my family about taking the ferry back to ADL. In that case we'd both pick up and drop off at ADL and that gives us more rental car options.

Thanks!

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9. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

>>>generally like Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental<<<

Oh dear. There's going to be problems if theyre the standards you're after. Are there MO properties you like in particular? San Francisco? Paris? Tokyo is my favourite. I happen to know a few people in that chain. Unfortunately, there's nothing in Australia (or for that matter in many countries around the world) that even comes close to the levels of Mandarin Oriental. As you're more than aware with your previous stay at Four Seasons Sydney, that even they would struggle against the likes of George V and Four Seasons NY.

It's also interesting that you mention that you're not convinced that InterCon Adelaide is 5 Star - and neither are the inspectors. There's currently a dispute about this years AAA audit, and currently do not have a rating listed. If you've seen the sister properties in Melbourne or Sydney, they are absolutely nothing alike. They are truly five star, and they current hold the upper hand for government contracts such as the G8 summit and the last two US presidential visits.

Now after all of the above, a city like Adelaide simply does not have the demand for such hotels - although it's growing - so it's a matter of settling for whatever is available and enjoying the other aspects of your stay. I personally like the quaint feel of the Sebel Playford.

Four Seasons Sydney is getting better and better and has recently acquired a few NYers into their stable, as well as managing to keep a few of the crowd favourites like George Souza the Chief Concierge.

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10. Re: Adelaide Itinerary - Christmas 2013

>>>Interesting that the Intercontinental was until recently a Hilton<<<

Used to be a Hyatt Regency.

The changeover occurred 2009, which was quite controversial at the time