It’s only an hour and a half’s drive from the centre of Adelaide, but Saltbush Farm feels like you’ve arrived at the edge of the world. The remote Cape Jervis property sits atop a hill at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula – with unobstructed views across a stretch of ocean known as the Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island. That’s to say, it’s secluded.
Once you turn off Main South Road onto the unsealed route towards acres of farmland, rolling green hills and eucalyptus trees, you’re unlikely to see another person or car for the duration of your stay. The only movement you’ll see is from the resident kangaroos at dusk, galahs and cockatoos flitting between the gums, and the crashing waves of the strait – best viewed from the heated circular plunge pool.
The serene and picturesque property is the ultimate escape for an off-grid group getaway (particularly if you’re done wistfully eyeballing everyone’s Europe trips on Instagram). The luxurious modern farmhouse, set on 100 acres of bushland, has four bedrooms and sleeps up to 10 – with views from every bedroom and bathroom as well as the kitchen and living room.
A rammed-earth wall through the centre of the house is said to keep the temperature regulated so it stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer. If you want to dial up the cosiness, there’s an internal double-sided fireplace (and plenty of wood stored outside the house) plus an outdoor firepit you’ll want to gather around in the evenings. There’s also a picnic basket, rugs and lawn games available for wholesome daytime activities, but if you’re trapped inside by the weather, there’s Netflix on the television, backgammon and card games. Or you can stargaze while curled up in your king-size bed. If you really want to push the boat out, you can also add on bespoke in-house facials and body treatments for a fully restorative getaway.
The interior, which features Jardan furniture, Robert Gordon pottery and Sheridan linen, takes inspiration from the Australian landscape with gum-tree-green and wattle-coloured couch cushions, paintings of local flora and fauna, sandstone features, native flowers and a cow-hide rug.
The peaceful retreat is the work of partners Gabrielle Barker and Jim Bungey, who left their respective communications and marine careers in 2022 after purchasing the dream property. “We came up with the name Saltbush Farm, not only for the native saltbush plants to the region, but because it is where the salt from the ocean hits the native bush on the land,” says Barker. “That was something so special to us when we first saw the property, you can see the fresh eucalyptus trees and the ocean. We had wanted to find a property to showcase Australian farm living and to promote the beauty of Australia and this property had exactly what we were looking for.”
The property is a five-minute drive from the Sealink ferry terminal, so it’s an ideal base before a stay on Kangaroo Island, or a hike along the Heysen Trail, which includes a spectacular costal walk along the peninsula. The closest beach is Morgan Beach, nestled below 50-metre high cliffs, with a sandy stretch you can drive a four-wheel drive onto. But if you don’t want to stray from the house, be sure to stock up on goods on the way in Aldinga (or take a quick detour to McLaren Vale) before you get to Cape Jervis; the kitchen only stocks tea, coffee and basic condiments, but it has all the utensils you’ll need for a big communal cook-up.
Barker and Bungey want to introduce more animals, crops and a produce garden to the property, with plans to eventually offer farm-to-table dining experiences for guests. They also want to expand their accommodation offering with smaller off-grid cabins among the farm’s native bushland.