The perfect staycation for families who play together
Desperate for a break? Can't afford to travel overseas? Maybe you simply don't want to drag your kids on a long haul flight? Well, you don't need to! Instead, I urge you to indulge in a staycation.
Only an hour and a half from Adelaide, in the humble coastal town of Normanville, is South Shores. Nestled against the sand dunes is a resort-style village boasting a vast number of two-story architecturally designed villas.
The villas are privately owned, but lucky for us - a lot of them are rented to holidaymakers looking for a home away from home. If I'm being honest, the set-up in the villa we rented was nicer than some of the houses I have lived in. Floorboards, Smeg appliances, Caesar stone bench tops and beautiful timber decks - which just happen to be the perfect spot for settling down with a chilled glass of wine.
I digress. Many of the villas overlook a lagoon, giving the feeling of floating on the water. Initially, I was worried that my kids and I would end up smelling like Aeroguard all week - but you wouldn't know it… there wasn't a mosquito in sight! Other villas overlooked parklands and some had great views of the main swimming pool.
Each villa has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a relaxed open plan living space. Our family of 4 stayed with another family of 4 and there was plenty of room for everyone.
The resort really is like a small community. A feeling of the 'good ol' days' washed over me when we drove through the coded security gates and saw kids happily riding their bikes and skateboards - footloose and fancy-free. The perfect Aussie summer, so safe.
For those who prefer to swim in the ocean, well there is a boardwalk for that. Yes, South Shores has its own private boardwalk which winds through the sand dunes and makes its way to the pristine beaches of Normanville. A brilliant spot for beach cricket, swimming, relaxing or even having a picnic - there is something for everyone. Then, when you've had enough for the day, you can just pack up your beach bag and make your way back to your villa for a wine. Am I digressing again? Sorry.
Back to the logistics, which is a must for all the Mum's wondering how much of their house they need to pack. In the town centre, about a 5-minute drive from South Shores, there is a Foodland, a Bakery, a Butcher, a Seafood shop, a chemist and a medical centre. So, if you wanted to, you could simply pack bathers, a few changes of clothes, toiletries, the obligatory iPads and you're good to go. For my kids, I just took the staples - Weetbix, Nutella, honey and some two-minute noodles, then I bought the rest there. Definitely reduced the stress levels.
For meal times, there's an abundance of options, so you can either opt to kick back and eat-in, or put on your best baggy beach pants and dine out. The standout spots for us included the Normanville Kiosk & Cafe, which had an awesome kids meal deal for only $10 - this was a winner with our group. The place which placated our caffeine addiction every morning was One Little Sister on Main Road. Our go-to pit stop into and out of Normanville was the Yankalilla Bakery, and the Normanville Hotel, affectionately known as the Normy, is the venue for a classic pub meal.