We stayed at Woodhouse Activity Centre…
and we’ve got your comprehensive guide to what it’s really like!
(Spoiler alert… you’re going to love it!)
It’s a big call, but after spending a weekend at Woodhouse Activity Centre, I think it might just be one of Adelaide’s best kept secrets.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a review online of Woodhouse that really does it justice.
Woodhouse Activity Centre is only 15 minutes drive up the freeway and truly offers a unique experience for kids and families; it’s like a time warp in the best possible way, taking you back to the days where kids had scuffed shoes, grassy knees, and mud smudged faces. The times when they were exhausted by the end of the day because of non stop adventuring, running, jumping, climbing and yes, maybe even falling.
Without a Nintendo Switch or Netflix account in sight.
When I think Woodhouse, I think of old school adventuring. The kind of outdoor escapades we had, and our parents had, as kids. Switching off the screens and running amok in nature, having a lark, getting wet, or muddy, falling on our bums and getting right back up again.
This is exactly the experience you’ll get if you go to Woodhouse Activity Centre for the day, or stay for the weekend like we did.
Play at Woodhouse Activity Centre
I don’t think I can overstate how fun the tube slides at Woodhouse Activity Centre actually are.
The Tube Slides at Woodhouse are the only tube slides operational in South Australia and, honestly, if you haven’t tried it you haven’t lived.
If you’re not sure what to expect, think waterless waterslide, or a snow free ski run where you whizz down 100m+ synthetic slopes in big rubber rings that spin, bump, turn and basically give you a fun, fast and fabulous ride!
And you know what, you also have to work for it, which I kind of love! What comes down…. must also go up! In order to get to the top of the slide you have to drag your own tube up the slope to the launch pad, which was actually pretty awesome because a) it meant I could work off the sticky date pudding I’d eaten the night before and b) it meant the kids learnt that in order to do something fun, sometimes you also have to put a little effort in. And I have to say, they must have ridden the tube slide in excess of 50 times each, so they certainly got their step counts up over the course of the day!
The Tube Slides are open weekends and public holidays from 11.00am-3.00pm and only when predicted rain fall in Piccadilly is less than 5mm and 50% chance of rain. There are always 4 staff members operating the tube slides, unlike the other activities at Woodhouse which are largely self guided and accessed at your leisure. This is so the slides are maintained properly while they’re being used, to hand out the correct sized tubes for sliders and for everyone’s general safety.
There could not have been a more perfect activity for my energiser bunny children. They couldn’t have loved Challenge Hill more, and honestly, we all got involved, it’s an activity that truly isn’t just for the kids. This type of obstacle course reminded me of my youth, where playgrounds were wooden, not brightly coloured plastic, spinning, high tech engineered gadgets that you can probably see from the moon.
Obviously modern day playgrounds have their place, but Challenge Hill at Woodhouse Activity Centre harks back to the the old school obstacle course that you tackled as a young scout or cub.
You’re going to climb, you’re going to swing, you’re going to clamber, you’re going to balance, you’re going to crawl, you’re going to get muddy; and you’re going to have a darn good time while you’re doing it.
Challenge Hill is more than just fun though. It’s about team work, conquering your fears, being brave, overcoming challenges, encouraging each other, and learning how to be a good leader.
These are the types of lessons that sometimes get lost on our children when they’re busy trying to figure out how to complete Super Mario Odyssey, but the kind of old school teachings that we desperately need to get back to instilling in them.
The littlest in our crew (an almost 6 year old) wasn’t always able to complete every challenge on the hill, but gave it a darn good crack and it was so lovely to see her older brother and sister (both 8 years old) give her a hand, and see if they could guide her through some of the techniques, or just give her the courage and encouragement to try!
By the end of our stay at Woodhouse Activity Centre, my three kids had completed the course three times, and each time attempted something they hadn’t succeeded at the round before. It’s that kind of perseverance, determination and tenacity that Challenge Hill will bring out in even the littlest among us!
The giant split-level maze, with a fun fireman’s pole, a slide and 2 flights of stairs adjoining the 2.8m drop from top to bottom tier, is an epic challenge for big and little people.
Yes I got lost, and yes I was waiting for David Bowie to suddenly step out resplendent in full Labyrinth garb and majestic 80’s hair blowing in the breeze at any given moment. No such luck!
The internal panels of the Labyrinth at Woodhouse Activity Centre are interchangeable so even if you or the kids think they’ve mastered the route, (which is 135m directly from start to finish), the team at Woodhouse change it up regularly so you never know quite what you’re going to get, it’s always fresh, and the kids will have an a-MAZE-ing time trying to get through it each time you visit, or even from one day to the next.
External to the Labyrinth at Woodhouse Activity Centre there’s a web of interconnecting underground tunnels that the kids loved bolting through as well.
Some cool extra facts about The Woodhouse Labyrinth
- 270 beams adjoining each panel in the Labyrinth were made out of recycled materials.
- 10,530kg of waste material was diverted from landfill.
- 5,265kg of waste plastic was up-cycled.
- An approximate 63,180 x 2 litre milk bottles were recycled in this one project.
- Approximately the annual milk bottle usage by 1,215 SA homes.
Stags Activity Centre
If you’re looking for a change of pace, or a break away from the weather, or just want to try something a bit more low key at Woodhouse, you can always head to Stags Activity Centre.
The old scout shed is decked out with 2.4 metre high bouldering walls, and over 300 climbing holds, so little people can get the feel of what it’s like to rock climb, but with the safety of low walls and a padded flooring beneath.
Stags Activity Centre also has a basketball hoop, giant floor checker board and a novelty sized game of noughts and crosses which were all popular with my kiddos when it was raining outside and they were exhausted from a few rounds of Challenge Hill.
We were unfortunately rained out before we could have a round of Disc Golf (which honestly has, I think, got a bad marketing wrap and should probably be called Frisbee Golf because it was wildly different to what I was expecting when I saw the words Disc Golf).
The game is much like traditional golf but instead of a ball and clubs, Disc Golf players use a frisbee. The aim is basically to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of frisbee golf, fewest number of throws).
A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the elevated metal basket. As a player progresses down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw landed.
Stay at Woodhouse Activity Centre
If you fancy more than just a day trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre, there is a variety of options for accomodation onsite.
We were lucky enough to be staying in Chambers Chalet for the duration of our time on the property, one of three smaller cabin offerings for families or couples.
If you’re expecting the Ritz, then that’s not what you’ll get, but the whole point of a trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre is the old-school camp experience, and the chalets offer a humble, rustic, homely option for those not wanting to stay in a tent (i.e. me).
Our cabin was big enough to suit our family of five, and the opportunity to unplug, reconnect, and not have any of the kids fighting over the remote control or what to watch on Netflix was a welcome change. Instead, on the evening of our overnight stay, we played Jenga and sat around the fire pit outside listening to the sounds of nature around us and the banter of other campers nearby.
Each cabin has split system heating and airconditioning; it was the dead of winter during our stay, and everyone stayed toasty warm. You’re responsible for bringing your own bedding when you stay, so if you are worried about getting cold, just bring an extra blanket!
Other modern conveniences of the cabins include a fully functioning kitchenette (think all the basics that you need for a short getaway; fridge, toaster, kettle, oven, microwave) and (PRAISE BE) a private toilet and shower.
Chambers Chalet also has a lovely front deck, BBQ and outdoor seating, and the view wasn’t too bad either.
Larger group accomodation
Woodhouse also offer large group accomodation by way of bunkhouses, dormitories and the old manor house, which can all host bigger numbers, camps and youth groups.
Camping and Caravans
The property is enormous and also hosts campers and caravans, as well as your good old peg in the ground tents and swags.
Our trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre was on the last weekend of the July School Holidays, and as such, wasn’t as typically busy as it tends to be during school breaks or on long weekends, but if you’re worried about not having enough space, just remember, this place has played host to 15,000 young scouts at Jamboree’s in years gone by, so you’re not going to have any trouble with crowds, there’s plenty of fresh air to spare!
Meals (and coffee!) in the area
Unless you’re cooking over a camp fire, using one of the onsite BBQ’s or utilising the kitchen facilities of your cabin or bunkhouse, there isn’t any ready made food available to buy at Woodhouse Activity Centre. We used the opportunity to take a night off and headed to neighbouring Uraidla and had dinner at the Uraidla Hotel.
I can honestly say this is my favourite pub in SA, the food is incredible, the ambiance is spot on and the decor is on point for Hills charm. There’s also a swing set and slide outside for warmer evenings, the kids menu is excellent and the chocolate sundae for dessert the best my kids have had at a pub anywhere in SA!
And because coffee is a necessity for us to function like normal human beings, the following morning we ventured back to Uraidla to the Uraidla Bakery for coffee which was top notch, hot chocolate for the kids and we took an incredible freshly baked sour dough loaf back to Woodhouse to devour for lunch. Winning.
We really can’t say enough good things about our time in Piccadilly at Woodhouse Activity Centre and the team at KIDDO highly recommend taking a trip up the freeway and immersing yourself in some back to basics fun with your crew!
For more information or to plan your day trip or stay at Woodhouse:
37 Spring Gully Road, Piccadilly
p: 8339 3333
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