Christmas getaway in Adelaide - Crowne Plaza

Doin' it in style... Normally, our little family goes camping just after christmas, but this year we decide not to. The last few years, we have had 40 degree plus days, and when we are camping with little kids, it's no fun at all. And this year, it is set to be no different. 35 degrees on New Years Day, and then in the 40's on the 2nd. No thanks. I can just imagine trying to pack up camp in that heat - no thanks.

But, just because we haven't gone camping, doesn't mean that we have to stay home all the time. Hubby and I leave the kids with Granny for a night, and head off to the Crowne Plaza. The last time I stayed here, I was super impressed, so my expectations are high.

We attempt to check in on Boxing Day, half an hour too early, but are unfazed. After all, it is Boxing Day, and there are big sales on just a few steps away in Rundle Mall. Excitedly, we are soon surrounded by colour and people. The pace is fast, and we feel like ants being shuffled this way and that in the crowd of thousands. We last about an hour before retreating back to the hotel. My idea of a good time is not being pushed around, looking at messy displays, and then waiting in line to buy goods.

Our Junior Suite is ready, overlooking the square and Pulteney Street below. It is nice, but I'm not sure if I would pay the extra for a Corner Suite again since I only sat out there for about twenty minutes. The room seems very similar in styling and size to the Deluxe Balcony Room.

Details of Junior Suite

Two hours are relaxed away in the pool, spa, steam room and sauna on the second level. We jump between everything, not knowing what to do first. With kids, it's spent playing 'catch me', helping them swim, or splashing about in the shallows with squeals and shrieks that could rattle glass.

Redsalt Restaurant is downstairs, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the square. We enjoy people watching as we sit with a bottle of D'Arrys Footbolt, chomping on prawns, wood-oven bread, and fish and chicken main meals. Beautiful flavours, but ultra small portions on the fish platter is disappointing. I can't say the same for the breakfast - absolutely fantastic. I am not normally too positive about Australian buffets, but I can fill my belly here. I squeeze myself some veggie and fruit juice, order poached eggs (with some sneaky bacon) and nibble on bircher muesli. The home-made baked beans nearly has me going back for seconds, even though I'm bursting. Of course, there is all the usual suspects on the buffet as well - pastries, all kinds of eggs, sausages, cheeses, fruit, yoghurt, toast, cereal...

Final verdict? Great city location close to the mall and Rundle Street, quiet rooms, chilled bar and fab breakfast. Staff are polite and very helpful. Concierge remembers me from a few months back - that's impressive.

Junior Suite

Beaches… 10 South Australian differences

Middleton091114-5013 I travel a lot. Aussies can travel a lot. But for near perfect beaches, many Aussie beaches can't be topped. Compare the beaches in South Australia (let alone Australia) to Bali or Phuket - beach destinations we flock to.

10 South Aussie differences:

1. White, smooth sand that doesn't hurt to walk on

2. Clean sand and water

3. Beautiful clear water (most of the time)

4. You leave the water without itching from sea lice

5. No touts to harass you

6. You can drive to a number of suburban beaches within half an hour of the CBD. An hour drive to the Fleurieu beaches of awesomeness.

7. Litter doesn't float to shore as you swim or surf

8. You don't have to sniff some strangers armpit as you lie on your towel, squeezed on a snippet of beach

9. Experienced surf lifesavers patrol sections of beach for safety

10. There is a beach for everyone - placid kids splash-around beaches (Horseshoe Bay, Glenelg, Kingston Park), trendy 'be seen' beaches (Henley), nudist beach (Maslin), all to your own beaches (KI, Eyre and Yorke Peninsula), and surf beaches (Mid Coast, Middleton, Waitpinga, Chiton, Parsons… all close to Adelaide).

Anyone have any favourites?

A girly weekend out... with just the iPhone.

Lunch on Goodwood Road. Funky decor.

Yummy burger.

Coffee requisite.

Breakfast on King William Road


'I love it here. I just love it here.' I hear myself repeating my words, as the warm night breeze blows my hair. I could be on a beach, in a little ranty shack in Brazil. Or anywhere that oozes eclectic, eccentric, ramshackle. But no, I'm in Adelaide. Grenfell Street, Adelaide. Little Miss Mexico.

I'd heard about it for ages, and have never been. Mainly because I haven't been out in town for ages. Having two small children does that. And it wasn't til I asked a mate about where to go, and he says 'come here, no age bias, chilled tunes and great atmosphere' I get there. The description is not wrong. There's turtles in a tank. Fairy light tangled crates as lighting. Rickety makeshift bars. Old lounges. Uneven concrete. Galvanised island. Painted murals.

Having walked the breadth of Adelaide CBD from Benjamin on Franklin, I feel worlds apart. I've come from old world charm - muskiness stained in the sagging leather seating of the Library dining room, slick coffee cocktails and mirrored walls, to having margaritas in recycled jars and sangria by the bottle in an alley.

I feel like I'm on holiday. Gingers Cafe on Goodwood Road for lunch, surrounded by all the cool people. Checking into a two bedroom apartment at Mantra on Frome Road. Swirling wine in Benjamin on Franklin charm, and now chilling out with good vibes and relaxed crowd at Little Miss Mexico.

Do I have to go home tomorrow? Not before breakky at Colins and Co on King William Road.

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