Discovering is all part of learning, and learning is all part of discovery. Over the Easter long weekend I got to experience both. Who knew that South Australia was home to some incredible architecture in places that one would never even think to look?! South Australia truly does have surprises around every corner.
As we went for our usual Sunday drive we decided to venture down to Clare, a place that I’m quite familiar with personally and have fallen in love with time and time again; However a simple and unexpected right turn led us to the little township of Mintaro.
From what I understand, the town is entirely heritage listed. The untouched building and lifestyle are reminiscent of yesteryear and are just darling. I, myself, am a sucker for old style, nostalgic looking cottages and this little town left me feeling like a big warm blanket had been draped around my shoulders. As we drove through, we came across something very exciting and completely unexpected.
I give you, the Mintaro maze.
This made was designed by a man called Michael Morris and, in 1995, his family and a group of willing friends planted over 800 castle Welland gold conifers. Still owned by the family to this day, the maze has bought many hours of joy to families exploring and enjoying all The secret nooks and crannies, statues and relics, fruit trees and and a beautiful fairy fountain in the middle.
The little cafe which features coffees, tea, sausage rolls, cakes and toasted sandwiches, offers a gorgeous atmosphere to be a part of all to sit and enjoy the serenity. Children and adults alike will enjoy playing the giant board games like chess, checkers and Jenga , or just enjoy the stroll through the beautiful hedges and a gander at the cute little gnome garden.
As we ventured further into Mintaro, we were pleased to discover yet another incredible hidden masterpiece. Martindale Hall, which was actually featured in the movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, is an absolutely exquisite specimen of South Australian luxury. The Mansion consists of some 39 rooms and was home to wealthy pastoralists during The 18 and 1900s. The house was built for £30,000 in 1879 and featured polo grounds, cricket pitch, racecourse, boating lake, football ground, and an incredible seven room cellar beneath the residence.
Outside from the obvious history, the mansion was aesthetically breathtaking. The rooms were adorned with the relics of the stunning past including an elaborate smoking room, drawing room, and artefacts donated by the South Australian Museum and library.
To walk through what is absolutely a well kept South Australian secret and feel as if you were a part of the story is something that needs to be experienced on your own. The ornate tapestries from France, ancient Chinese musical instruments and other beautiful imported memorabilia from around the world makes it a truly unique experience.
The Clare Valley region is also home to many incredible Vineyards, cellar doors, art studios and other historical sites. Definitely a must see for South Australian locals and international visitors alike.