Before kids, hubby and I used to go camping. A lot. And not just fluffy caravan park camping. We went all-out no toilet, no shower, no power, shivering-our-butts-off-cold-so-we-“snuggled”-for-warmth camping. It was glorious! Now that we’re parents, however, our camping experiences look quite different.
Recently we booked a two-night family getaway to go glamping in Clare Valley South Australia, at Discovery Holiday Park. I say “glamping” because anything that has access to a toilet, shower and electric kettle is pretty bloody great.
Famous for its 35km long Riesling Trail, as a wine lover, I was ecstatic to be visiting the Clare Valley, a wine region I hadn’t yet experienced.
Check-in to our accommodation was at 2pm so we decided not to waste the day, leaving home at 9.30am to stop at Mintaro Maze for morning tea and a bit of fun.
“It’s just a big garden maze, surely it’s not that exciting?” Hmmmm I think Mr Bo from SA From Above helps to put into perspective just how spectcular the maze really is.
Entering through the gift shop you’re greeted by wonderful, engaging staff that genuinely love what they do. They give you an activity sheet to find objects throughout the maze and surrounding garden to help create a bit of wonder and intrigue for the kids. If the weather is as hot as the devil’s ass on curry night like it was for us when we visited at 37 degrees, or the opposite with rain belting down , you’re well looked after with an assortment of free loan umbrellas to protect you from the elements.
There are clean public toilets, tables and chairs, and plenty of shade to enjoy a picnic lunch and really take the time to stop and enjoy yourself. The kids will love looking at the fairy and gnome garden too, there’s heaps to look at!
Children 4+ $8
Children under 4 are free.
After our shenanigans at Mintaro Maze we stopped for lunch at The Middle Pub in the Clare township. Although the pub itself, the prices and the other staff were lovely, I wouldn’t rate it as a place to visit thanks to a shitty chef who decided that eating chips from my plate was perfectly acceptable, hint: never touch my fucking food let alone eat it off my plate, so let’s just skip past this like last week’s washing still sitting in the basket on your bedroom floor and get to the good stuff.
Glamping in Clare Valley – The Digs
Discovery Holiday Park was lovely. When we arrived the owners were welcoming and friendly, it’s no surprise why they have so many raving reviews online (4 stars).
Accommodation ranges to suit any preference and budget, from family cabins, standard cabins and budget cabins, to powered and unpowered camp sites. Prices range from $153 per night (deluxe villa) to $24 per night (unpowered camp site).
As you enter the park there’s a playground, jumping pillow, swimming pool and huge grass oval with lots of shade thrown by huge majestic gum trees for the days you don’t feel like going anywhere. We really loved the undercover camp kitchen with open fire and looking over the main grassed oval, pizza ovens and BBQ’s. It would be a great place to get together on the chilly winter nights and enjoy a glass of red with your partner and/or friends.
For the campers, there are neat and clean secured showers, toilets, laundry and caravan/camper sewerage dumping point.
At the top corner of the park was the Clare Valley Tourism and Information Centre showcasing the very best the region has to offer. With a chance to sample and purchase products from the region, grab a map, and talk with staff to get hints and tips on the best things to see and do its a good place to check out once settled in your accommodation.
During our glamping in Clare Valley trip, we chose to bunk in a standard cabin. It gave us a little more privacy and flexibility than a budget cabin because of the separate room for J man so we could close the door, making it easier to settle him to sleep.
The best part about glamping is not having to pack as much stuff as we usually do. All we took were a bag each for clothes, an esky full of food and drinks, and J man’s toys. Quick and easy!
Glamping in Clare Valley – Things to Do
Clare Valley is all about the food and wine.
We took ourselves on a self-guided wine tour along the Riesling Trail visiting three beautiful wineries; Knappstein Winery & Brewery, Jim Barry Wines and Pikes Wines. Don’t worry if you’re not that into Riesling, there’s plenty of other wine varietals to enjoy.
Knappstein Winery & Brewery have a gorgeous cellar door, and a lounge and shop area in the brewery room to sit and relax. Parents! They even have a small toy corner to keep little kids entertained #mustvisit.
We bought a bottle of the Knappstein Pinot Gris, Knappstein Shiraz and hubby bought a four pack of the Reserve Larger.
Next stop was Jim Barry Wines. When we visited, the car park was gravel however, it looked like they were doing some work to upgrade the area so it will be interesting to see if this has been completed now. The cellar door is quaint, sitting atop a hill overlooking the valley below. Lots of slate and exposed timbers with humble staff happy to tell the Jim Barry story an help you choose a great drop.
Here we bought the Lodge Hill Riesling and The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pikes Wines was our final stop before making our way back to the park for a late lunch and J man’s nap time. The cellar door is housed in a stately old stone building separated from the fully functioning restaurant to the side of the car park. The restaurant was closed when we arrived but looked like a nice place to stop for a bite to eat, overlooking the vineyards.
From Pikes Wines we bought the Gills Farm Viognier.
Glamping in Clare Valley was such a wonderful weekend away and we’ll definitely be booking a longer stay very soon, happy to book again at the Discovery Holiday Park.
Glamping in Clare Valley – WHY GLAMPING TOTALLY ROCKS
- Nothing beats jumbo marshmallows toasting over the fire at night. It feels like camping even though you’ll still go to sleep in a proper bed.
- No setting up or packing down. Need I say more!
- Oh ok, I do? well…toilets and showers.
- Glamping is the perfect way to experience nature while still enjoying everyday comforts every exhausted parent needs… Like coffee from an electric kettle, not a billy that takes 10 fucking years to boil water over a fire. #itsthelittlethings
- Having an experience the kids will never forget. They’re always drawn to the jumping pillow and have an almost unhealthy infatuation with bunk beds. They’ll remember these things for the rest of their lives.
- At the end of the day, it brings everyone together.
Have you ever been to the Clare Valley?
Read my Top Tips for a Safe Family Road Trip Here.
Read about my Holiday Bucket Trip Destination; The Grampians Here.