Life is full of pressures these days, and it is difficult to get away and really relax, so we recommend staying off the grid in the Flinders Ranges as a great way to completely unwind and relax.
After our numerous ‘hustles and bustles’ in our lives of late, we decided that it was time for a family getaway.
Just like anyone else living in this fast-paced world, we always take such moments to clear our minds. By have some bonding time together, and enjoying the beauty of freedom and the wonders of nature, we find we relax and destress as we reconnect as a family.
For this trip, we needed a location that would not compromise on any of our expectations. After a serious search, we found the perfect spot – The Yacca Valley Cottage.
This incredibly hand-rebuilt cottage is located at the foot of the Yacca Valley. It has an architectural style that combines old and new and has been loving recreated by the owners and their family. Two of the stone walls have been restored from the original cottage of the 1800s that was built here by pioneers to the area.
We enjoyed several nights at the cottage, and here are just some of the many things we loved about it:
The Owners Are Very Hospitable
Regardless of how amazing a place looks, if you do not feel welcomed, then it can be a disappointing experience. However, we really felt welcome from the minute we arrived. We are glad that the owners of the Yacca Valley Cottage are very hospitable and love and care for this property as much as they do. They allowed us to feel at home all through our stay, providing us with so much information. This information assisted to make our stay memorable and comfortable. They shared their vast wealth of knowledge about the area. Plus they advised us on best places to visit and how to access some of them.
Staying Off The Grid
Staying off the grid might be daunting for some, but let me put your mind at ease. If I can do it as a single mother, so can you. The Yacca Valley Cottage is in a completely secluded valley. Each morning I was able to wake up and make a coffee (using the bottled gas stove) and then sit out on the lounge under the verandah that overlooks the valley before me. There, kangaroos, wallabies, and beautifully coloured Australian birds grazed freely on the native grasses.
When Explorason woke, he would join me, as he lay on the couch beside me and watched the wildlife. Being off the grid, there is no interruptions of mobile cell phones, or social media, or neighbours blasting their music. Rarely could traffic even be heard on the distance roads. The stillness was magical as we listened to the insects and birds in the trees.
With off the grid, electricity is by a generator, and guests can choose the times they wish to run this, and it is located away from the house to lessen the noise. We usually came back in the afternoon, switched on the generator and enjoyed a lovely hot shower. Then we would charge our cameras etc., and use the generator power only for a few hours. With 12 volt electricity to run the lights, we had little need for it otherwise.
This allowed us to stay in style and comfort in this lovely little cottage and yet to be off-grid and self-sufficient.
A Walk Back Into History
Yacca Valley Cottage has a rich history that goes back to the 1800s. It is for this reason that when it was refurbished, it acquired a mix of traditional and modern-style architecture. A walk through the front door and into the lounge room feels like a trip through a time machine. It beautifully takes you through a journey of the past and present.
You will definitely love the vintage elements in it as you take this ‘journey’. The cottage is two bedroom and sleeps up to four persons. So it is a good size for a family time away for a few nights. So, we might say that this is those rare places where old meets new, and peace exists.
We loved the fact that even though there was a TV with hundreds of movies available, each night we chose to play a board game or to complete a jigsaw. This gave us that quality old-fashioned family time we needed.
Dog Lovers Are Welcome
Being off the grid means that Yacca Valley Cottage is also a haven for pet lovers. Unlike some accommodations, visitors coming to this cottage are allowed to bring along their dog. We were happy about this since we love dogs and believe that they form part of most families.
So, if you decide to visit this accommodation, do not leave your dog behind with a pet sitter. Just ensure that the cottage guidelines for pets are respected. With such precautions, nothing and no one will ruin the moment. We aim to find dog-friendly accommodation whenever we can.
What was funny was, that on one day when we were out driving we found a lost dog right as I was talking about dogs. As I opened the door of the car, there this little-lost dog was. We located the owner and they came and saw her safely home again. We had a laugh about the conversation happening at exactly the same time as the little doggie appeared too.
Although we didn’t have a dog with us on this occasion, we did select Yacca Valley Cottage knowing we could bring a four-legged friend here. And the great thing is that it is a completely fenced and gated area, so your much-loved pooch is safe in the large yard area of the cottage grounds too.
Close to Attractions
Other than the beautiful valley this cottage is nestled in, there are other attraction sites both near and far that being off the grid allow you experience.
Some of these sites, of course, include the famous Flinders Ranges. This is where you will have a rare opportunity to see different species of plants and animals as well as trek on its beautiful tracks.
The ranges themselves are only some few minutes away, or if you want to you can drive north. But, as you will discover, Yacca Valley Cottage is one of the best strategically place accommodations for all those wishing to visit the area.
Port Germein Gorge, Wirrabara township, Wirrabara forest with the giant king tree, Port Germein township (and the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere), Port Pirie, and Stone Hut with its famous petting zoo and bakery are also nearby.
As we left the cottage, we couldn’t believe the number of places that were so close, and we could stay a little longer. There is even Blesings Garden Wines vineyard and cellar door winery adjacent to the property! It’s like having your own private cellar door right next door.
We also loved the quirky letterboxes pictured above that we found driving to the cellar door too.
You won’t be able to resist the urge to put on your hiking boots and have a breather as you walk into the bush. If you aren’t much of a walker, the just before sunset is a great time to take just a small walk (or drive) to the top of the hill. Here you can watch the sun as it sets over the nearby coastline.
Walking is a relaxing exercise that helps you free your mind of any stress as you have a great bonding session with your family ‘in the very moment’.
If you have your dog with you, then you will enjoy walking with it too. Just make sure you take a walk at the right time when the sun is not at its peak, and the weather is more conducive for a walk.
Of course, being Australia, you need to be aware that it is a great idea to walk with a stick. And if you are not one to walk in the grasses, the stick to a walking trail, or one of the dirt roads.
The number of wildflowers we saw when we were in this area was just stunning too and that made staying off the grid even more enjoyable.
Open Fire – Inside or Out
There is an indoor fireplace that keeps the cottage lounge room warm and hospitable should you stay here in the cooler months. Many people would agree with us that an open fireplace always creates a relaxing atmosphere for a conversation.
A combination of the open fireplace and the vintage elements in this accommodation makes it even more welcoming. It is a type of feeling we recommend you go and experience for yourself – it really gives the cottage that rustic charm.
Or, use one of the two outside fire areas to sit outside under the stars as a family in the evening. There are a million starts that seemed to twinkle above in the clearest of night skies. The silence apart from the crackling burning wood is just wonderful.
We toasted marshmallows on our very first night! I sat out with a lovely glass of wine one evening as we use the fire drum. It is located on a balcony of land that juts out over the valley. It is surrounded by corrugated iron and true Australian country outdoor charm. We pulled up a couple of seats and had a wonderful time.
The Flinders Ranges has a set Fire Ban period that commenced November 1st, so please check which time of the year works for you if you wish to enjoy an open fire.
There is a gas BBQ right outside the kitchen area and adjacent to both outdoor entertaining areas. We brought the meat with us, so used this on our very first night. It was clean and ready to go, and a fun way to start and enjoy BBQ cuisine our stay at Yacca Valley Cottage too.
Getting There and Returning Home
Depending on how you drive to Yacca Valley Cottage, you can meander through the Clare Valley. Or, alternatively, take the coastal road and pop into Port Germain en route from or to/from Adelaide. Flinders Ranges is divided into two areas. The north Flinders Ranges can take you a lot longer to get to if you are planning a few days away than the southern gateway to the Flinders.
However, the southern Flinders Ranges is an ideal area of the Flinders to base yourself. It is the closest point to Adelaide and allows you day drives into the ranges, the coast or the vineyards. For those with a limited time, we would suggest staying in this region in the south. Thus enabling you a taste of the Flinders without the massive drive.
The beauty of the Flinders Ranges is famous, so bring your camera, and pack your car with supplies. To stay off the grid for a few days is to experience total relaxation in comfort and style.
After our visit, we can only say that this is an ideal getaway for every family seeking to create a stronger bond. You will have fun and experience ‘home away from home’. It is the perfect place where everything conspires to create a memory that is unending. My son didn’t want to leave on our last day! You should try it and experience all it has to offer for yourselves.
Questions and Comments
- Have you ever stayed off the grid before?
- What are your favourite memories of visiting the countryside?
- How was the experience?
- Tell us in the comment section below and let us keep talking.