Far from the madding crowd: a Summer escape to the Clare Valley

Traditionally Aussies head to the beach or river when Summer arrives, but more and more visitors are discovering the cool charm of visiting the Clare Valley during the warmer months. Now school is back in session, there’s also a great opportunity for those who aren’t limited by the school run or the daily grind of 9-5 work, and can escape midweek, or for a long weekend, to get a taste of country life at its best.

Once you start exploring the region, you will discover what we love about the Clare Valley at this time of year, including:

  • Early mornings on the Riesling Trail. Join the locals cycling or walking along the tranquil Riesling Trail through townships, vineyards and farms. If the weather is forecast to be warm, you may want to just do a shorter stretch, perhaps from Clare to Sevenhill, in time for coffee and morning tea at the bakery in Sevenhill or general store in Watervale. 
  • Relaxed tasting sessions at boutique wineries, where the person who greets you at the counter is more often than not the winemaker and/or the grapegrower, who can provide you with (uninterrupted) insights as they talk you through a wine selection tailored to your tastebuds.
  • Long lunches at wineries, where the wine, food and beautiful surrounds perfectly complement eachother. Our favourite spots for lazy Summer lunches include Pikes WinerySkillogallee, Reillys and Pauletts.
  • Appreciating the local art scene, as not only can you have an unobstructed view at many of the region’s art galleries, but if you admire the style of a local artist, you can sometimes arrange to meet them and view some of their other works.
  • Get a dose of retail therapy, including visiting the beautifully styled farmhouse studio showcasing Mickelloo and other Australian designers, or popping into Lalt, Open House, Peekaboo Kidz or some of the other great shops in the region.
  • Catching a glimpse of the past, as you really feel like you’re stepping back in time when you visit properties like Martindale Hall and Bungaree Station during the quieter midweek period. Refreshments, including fresh coffee, a range of local wines and beers, and produce platters are also available to enjoy in the sun at the recently  renovated Station Store at Bungaree – along with free WiFi if you need to stay “connected”. 
  • Relaxed dinners at a restaurant or pub, where the chef may pop out of the kitchen to give you a rundown on today’s menu. The creative menus at Terroir and  Seed  showcase local produce at its best. 
  • Wide range of events that make the most of the beautiful weather, ranging from Shakespeare in the Vines at Sevenhill Cellars, and Fringe events coordinated by HATS, through to a Jim Barry Race Day and the Clare Rodeo.

Another bonus for visitors at this time of year is the availability of a wide range of accommodation – whether you want to sip cold Clare Valley Rieslings on the verandah of a self contained 1860s cottage, or stay in a serviced suite at one of the local motels or Country Club, it is likely you will find the accommodation that suits your needs in the Clare Valley.

To celebrate this glorious time of the year, Bungaree Station is currently offering a “Late Summer Special” on available accommodation for stays between 18 February – 4 March, with savings of 20% off normal prices. You can check availability and make a booking online or by contacting Bungaree Station.

 

Fun creative art event at Bungaree

Get creative with “Paint and Plonk” at Bungaree, 3 March

1pm- 4pm, Sunday 3 March 2019
$65 per person

Please come join us for a fabulous fun afternoon of “paint and plonk” at Bungaree and create two acrylic ink artworks inspired by our wildlife and grounds. 

The group will be guided by the talented Meg Mader from The Journey Studio. She will not only provide step-by-step instructions but also all art materials. All you have to do is turn up and have fun.

Enjoy a glass of local wine, beer or soft drink on arrival (with more to purchase during the event) along with a shared local produce platter for grazing while you create.

Absolutely no artistic experience is necessary, just a sense of fun!

Bookings for this event are essential and can be made through the Journey Studio’s website.

 

2018 Wedding Review

A big New Year’s greeting from the Bungaree Events Team!  As we prepare to welcome in 2019, we have taken a moment to look back at all the weddings we have had the pleasure of hosting here at Bungaree in 2018. We have had such variety, with each wedding so unique and wonderful in its own way. We have hosted everything from intimate chic to glamorous showstopper weddings – the beauty of our venue is the adaptability, come rain, shine, wind or frost.

To help those bridal couples planning their upcoming nuptials, here are some of the trends and tips that have stood out for us this year: 

  • Foliage. This timeless element makes any wedding instantly Instagram-able with guests and photographers alike. Eucalyptus and Pepper tree in particular have been favourites in 2018 and work beautifully being part of our station surrounds… they also bring an incredible aroma. Foliage has not only been used as wall or ceiling decorations, but also as table runners – a brilliant way to add colour and texture to the tables without blocking the view of guests.

  • Ceremonial Arbours and Head Table Crowns. Framing those special moments is really important not just from an aesthetic perspective, but also for event flow and structure. By having signature pieces that frame the bride and groom, whether that’s an arbour at the ceremony and/or a crown above them at the reception, will tie everything together. Immediately guests know where the focus is, as it guides their eyeline to where the bride and groom are. Arbours and crowns come in all shapes and sizes and this year we have had a few we were pining after….
  • Catering. What a year for variety: formal seated functions, food trucks, cocktail soirees and dégustation  dinners. Bridal couples have really maximised the flexibility of utilising their preferred caterers to tailor the menu and style of their celebrations. We have a wonderful selection of local and national caterers that pump out amazing food whichever style is chosen… having sampled many of their offerings ourselves, we can make suggestions to help you in the right direction.
  • Into your coffee? This year we have found that the most popular guest at the post-wedding BBQ breakfast/brunch is the Red Hot Shot Coffee van. Alternatively, guests can pop into our recently renovated Station Store where fresh coffee and a range of leaf tea is also available to kick-start their day! 
  • Music. Our Woolshed dancefloor has seen some memorable Travolta to Timberlake moves this year. We have had indie to hip hop to countryto rock’n’roll. My personal favourite for not only singing abilities (incredible voice – think Adele meets Vera Blue) but also for supreme DJing skills would have to be Sofie Bozzetti. The Lady is talented.
  • Speeches. One of our favourite parts of the day has to be the speeches. Chortles, cheers and crying, from the guests… and staff alike at the cracking speeches we’ve heard this year. So much love,  entertainment, shame and heckling. Our favourite memorable line:   “It’s been an emotional day, even the cake is in tiers!” 
  • This year, several bridal couples chose to have their speeches before their main reception, opting for a more casual approach in the Homestead Gardens, following the ceremony and bridal photos. Canapes were circulated, along with champagne, ahead of the speeches. Stools and vintage sofas were an ingenious addition as some guests could rest their legs whilst listening to the speeches. Best of all, those who were nervous about public speaking could relax and enjoy the celebrations once their speech was done. Brilliant.
  • Seasons. Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. We have been busy all year round with weddings. Spring and Summer have been mostly floral and colourful with stunning summer cocktail dresses. Autumn and Winter brought wood fires for cosy evenings, followed by beautiful crisp mornings and guests donning velvet and lace attire surrounded by autumnal shades and big winter blue skies. So whenever time of year bridal couples are considering, we have an option for all seasons.
  • Extended celebrations.  Many of our couples this year have chosen to extend their celebrations by booking our accommodation from Thursday to Monday for their stay. This ensured lots of time for setup as well as more time to catch-up with loved ones, particularly those that had come from further away. It also meant that the bridal party and other guests had more time to get to know eachother, sometimes through ice-breaker games (see some great suggestions from the Bride Box) and often just over a relaxed BBQ the night prior. For guests that were staying longer, this also meant they could explore the Clare Valley and its attractions,  with some bridal couples organising a wine-tasting tour around the region. 

What. A. Year.

Well, that about wraps it up from us. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the weddings this year from guests, staff, caterers and entertainers to our little Pepper dog, who sometimes makes an unintended appearance to entertain children and snuffle stray canapes! We couldn’t have done it without you…So, we ask you to raise your glass, and cheers to the next one!

Charlie and the rest of the Bungaree Events team xx

Photo Credits: Bungaree team and Nadinne Grace Photography

For information about celebrating your wedding at Bungaree, or to book an appointment to see our venues and discuss your requirements in more detail, please contact us

12 Days of Christmas Specials

At Bungaree we are celebrating not only Christmas, but also our 177th anniversary! In the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we have had many special offers on our facebook and instagram pages to coincide with these celebrations, some of which could be purchased in our Station Store farm shop and others that can be purchased online or by contacting us directly.

While most of our “12 days of Christmas” specials concluded on Christmas Eve, there are 3 specials that will be live until New Years Day, for bookings in early 2019, including:

• 20% off new accommodation bookings for 3 night stays in January 2019. These can be booked online via our website or by contacting us by phone or email. A 3 night stay at Bungaree will enable guests to settle in and have time to discover the cool charm of visiting the Clare Valley during the warmer months for themselves, whether they want to cycle the Riesling Trail, enjoy relaxed tasting sessions at boutique cellar doors or catch up over long lunches at wineries. Guests at Bungaree can also explore the historic property at their leisure, meet some of the friendly animals or simply relax by the pool.

• 50% off conference venue hire from January – March 2019.  Bungaree is the perfect venue for executive retreats and regional meetings, where teams can get down to business without distraction. Full catering and accommodation is also available, as well as free WiFi. Contact us for further information or to check availability.

• Special Summer Garden Party packages, including venue hire, food and beverages from $55 per person, from January – March 2019.  The Homestead Gardens are perfect for relaxed celebrations on a beautiful Summer afternoon. Contact us for further information or to check availability.

Booking terms and conditions: Please note that these special offers are valid only for new bookings. These bookings are not transferrable to alternative dates.

Our special Christmas Pud and other festive traditions

Traditions run strong at Bungaree and the very serious business of Christmas pudding preparation and consumption is no exception.

Christmas Day is a particularly significant date on our Bungaree calendar, given the Hawker brothers – George, Charles and James – first camped under two gum trees here on Christmas Day 1841. History does not record whether they had Christmas pudding packed in their tucker-bag, but today, some 177 years later, our Bungaree Christmas pudding is certainly jam-packed with tradition.

There is no shortage of great tasting Christmas puddings that can be purchased in Australia, but there is undoubtedly something special about making your own. Our Bungaree Christmas pudding has evolved over the years and isn’t based on a single recipe, but inspired by several.

Our pudding preparation takes place over several weeks, beginning with the soaking of the fruit in October. South Australia’s local brandy “St Agnes” is dutifully added (and regularly topped up) to a bowl of glacé cherries, dates, prunes, raisins, sultanas, dried figs, grated apple, currants, cranberries, dried apricots, orange and lemon zest. The fruit is varied from year to year but our rules dictate that there must be at least 12 types of fruit in the mix. 

The fruit is soaked for at least 1-2 weeks, and is then added to our pudding mixture. Mixed spice and nutmeg along with locally sourced suet, and a dash more brandy is added to the pudding mix, before it is all stirred – as per tradition – east to west by all available members of the family, from the youngest members of the 6th generation through to their 4th generation grandparents. 

Recently, we have been able to inject even more history into this classic pudding by adding a 1925 threepence, a 1944 threepence and a 1913 shilling. These coins were all found on Bungaree in 2017 by metal detecting enthusiasts Roz, Dale and Stan. We do suggest that it is best to warn your guests if the pudding contains coins before they tuck into the delicious steaming pudding on Christmas Day!

Everyone has their own favourite accompaniments for pudding, but we generally cover all bases with not only brandy butter but also custard and locally made Golden North icecream.

Note to self: remember to label brandy butter as brandy butter so it is not mistakenly put onto breakfast toast – it doesn’t go so well with Vegemite according to the children!

Like our Christmas pud which has become richer by the influence of others over the years, so have our other Christmas traditions, including:
  • Selection and decoration of the perfect pine Christmas tree: we have no shortage of pine trees growing at Bungaree, with the ideal tree being well balanced and trimmed to size so it is just touches the ceiling in the Homestead
  • Catching up with family and friends: it’s always tricky to squeeze in all festive drinks and celebrations around the annual harvest and other commitments, and the geographic spread of family and friends. Many thanks to the Anama and Calcannia Hawkers for hosting catch ups already this festive season.
  • Church service: usually held in St Michael’s Church at Bungaree, although other local services are sometimes also attended 
  • Playing “snapdragons”: this a test of nerves in snatching fruit and nuts from a tray of flaming brandy, usually in the evening when the dancing of the flames appears more dramatic! 
  • Our annual UK-Australia malteaser rolling challenge: a competitive challenge with some good friends in the UK, based on the longest distance a chocolate malteaser can be rolled down a measuring tape into one’s mouth (Bungaree proudly holds the record with a slightly nerve-racking roll over 10 metres from the Homestead balcony to the recipient on the lawns below, without any damage to the recipient’s teeth)
  • Consumption of a special Christmas tipple: Clare Valley wines and homemade sloe gin always makes an appearance, but sometimes an additional Christmas cocktail or beverage will appear. This year we are looking forward to tasting the “Quince Brandy” that has been maturing in our cellar following last season’s bumper quince harvest! 

We do hope that you and your friends and family have a wonderful Christmas, and look forward to seeing many of you again in 2019. 

From the Hawker family and the rest of our great team at Bungaree

Please note: Bungaree will be closed to the public from 25 December 2018 – 2 January 2019. 

Annual shearing of Bungaree’s famous flock, 2-8 October 2018

Visitors doing a self guided tour of Bungaree will see the shearing team in action from Tuesday 2 – Friday 5 October, and on Monday 8 October, during the property’s 176th annual shearing.

The Woolshed at Bungaree is one of the oldest working woolsheds in Australia. Built in 1842, the woolshed at Bungaree has seen the “de-fleecing” of the property’s famous merino sheep for 176 years. In its heyday, up to 100,000 sheep were shorn in the shed, over a 6 week period by a team of 50 shearers. Today shearing of our 4500 merinos takes closer to 4 or 5 days, by a local shearing team managed by Neville Clarke.

Our visitors are always fascinated by shearing, with frequently asked questions being:

  • How much does a wool bale weigh? Wool bales usually weigh between 180 – 200kg.
  • How many fleeces in a wool bale? The number of fleeces that fit into a wool bale depends on the age and size of the sheep being shorn, but generally between 20-30 fleeces per bale.
  • How many sheep can a shearer shear in a day? It depends on the skill of the shearer and the size of the sheep. Generally each of our shearers will shear between 150-200 sheep per day.
  • How often do you shear? Only once a year, although we “crutch” some of the flock (shearing around the rear and tummy) as required at other times of the year.
  • What is the micron of your wool? It ranges with flock and age, but generally between 19 – 21 micron.

Visitors will find out all this and more when they do the self guided tour of the property and see shearing in action. The self guided tour also takes in the Station Store, Church, Homestead Garden and Stableyard, with a series of audiposts (including audio stories specially selected for children), signs and displays around the property.

The self guided tour is available between 10am and 4pm daily, at $15 per person and $7.50 per child for day visitors, with shearing dependent on weather.

Refreshments, including coffee and tea, Clare Valley wines and beers, local produce and cheese platters, can also be purchased from the Station Store “farm shop”.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Bookings for the self guided tour and accommodation can also be made online.

 

Spring into School Holidays in the Clare Valley

The year has flown past and just like that, the Spring school holidays have arrived! Located less than 2 hours from Adelaide, with a range of attractions enjoyed by adults and children alike, the Clare Valley is the perfect place for a short escape or longer family holidays. With so much to see and do, here are our team’s tips to help you plan your holiday in the Clare Valley these school holidays, whether you are staying at Bungaree or just passing through:

  • Animal feeding at Bungaree (Bungaree residential guests only): We know it’s school holidays when there’s a line of kid’s bikes parked by the Store first thing in the morning and parents lining up for their caffeine hit before animal feeding. Animal feeding usually takes about an hour and as the mornings can still be fresh, do make sure the kids have a warm jumper. Please note that this is only available for our guests staying at Bungaree and not available for day visitors.
  • Self Guided Tour with Shearing at Bungaree: This year our annual shearing will coincide with the first week of the school holidays (pending any changes due to weather!). Our residential guests and day visitors doing a self guided tour of Bungaree can see our shearing team in action from Tuesday 2 – Friday 5 October. The self guided tour also takes in the Station Store, Church, Homestead Garden and Stableyard, with a series of audiposts (including audio stories specially selected for children), signs and displays around the property. Any students registered with the Children’s University can also earn credit for their program through completion of an activity booklet. The self guided tour is available between 10am and 4pm daily, at $15 per person and $7.50 per child for day visitors and is complimentary for our residential guests. Refreshments, including fresh coffee and pots of tea, Clare Valley wines and beers, local produce and cheese platters, can also be purchased from the Station Store.
  • Wineries and breweries: Spend some time sampling the local wines and beers at the Clare Valley’s cellar doors. Children will enjoy the Bush Garden at Paulett Wines, the lawn and outdoor games at Sevenhill Cellars and the great pizzas at Stonebridge Wines. If you stop at a few playgrounds along the way, such as the fantastic “playscape” near the Sevenhill Oval, and the kids won’t even notice that they are on an informal wine tasting tour! There’s also some great Clare with Fresh Air events on in October, pairing Clare Valley wines with Eyre Peninsula seafood.
  • Get lost in Mintaro Maze: the Maze is open daily during school holidays and also has a range of oversize board games to enjoy with your coffee.
  • Cycle the Riesling Trail: Bring or hire bikes to cycle all or part of the 32km Riesling Trail. It is a great way to burn off some of the children’s excess energy, and really make you feel like you’ve earnt that lazy lunch at a winery or bakery along the way. For those with younger children who still want to cover longer distances, tandem bikes, bike seats and carriages can also be hired locally.
  • Head along to a country event or show: The Royal Flying Doctors “Spring Art & Garden Fair” is being held at Melrose Park in Clare on Sunday 30 September. As well as a range of art, plants, food and wine, there will be the Flying Doctor flight simulator, jumping castle, face painting and model train rides for the kids (big and small!) to enjoy. The Clare Show also falls during the school holidays, on Saturday 13 October, and is a fantastic agricultural and horticultural show, with all the animals, sideshows and stalls that you find at a classic country show.
  • Walking trails at Bungaree (Bungaree residential guests only): The countryside is looking stunning at the moment, a tapestry of yellow paddocks of canola amongst the green crops, pastures and native vegetation. A scenic walking trail through some of our paddocks provides beautiful vistas with some great picnic spots along the way. Pop into the Station Store for a map and any additional local produce or snacks to add to your picnic.
  • Hike through Spring Gully Conservation Park: Choose between 1.2 – 2.6km loop walks through this pretty conservation park and keep your eyes open for flowering native orchids and wildlife.
  • Barbeques: This Spring weather is perfect for enjoying a BBQ in the sun. All of our cottages, and most accommodation in the region, are equipped with a BBQ. Pop into our Station Store to pick up some Bungaree lamb, or visit one of our great butchers in Clare to sample other local meats.
  • Bonfires (Bungaree residential guests only): With fireban season kicking in at the end of October, it is your last chance to toast marshmellows while enjoy your favourite local wines under the stars this Spring. By prior arrangement, small bonfires can be set up in drums by your accommodation (cost for wood/setup) – so pack the marshmellows and send your kids off searching for the perfect toasting sticks.

We hope this list has given you a few ideas for a fun family holiday in the Clare Valley this Spring.

If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, please contact us or check availability of our accommodation online.

For more information of what to see and do in the Clare Valley, visit clarevalley.com.au or pop into the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre.

Childrens University Australia, Adelaide

Bungaree accredited as Learning Destination for Children’s University Australia

Bungaree Station is now an accredited Learning Destination for the Children’s University Australia, an innovative program that encourages students to seek and engage in learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

Children cannot aspire to what they don’t know. The aim of Children’s University Australia (CUA) is to encourage children (aged between 7-14 years) to try new experiences outside of school-based learning activities and recognise their achievements through the award of formal certificates at a graduation ceremony held at the University of Adelaide. Schools register in the program and students obtain a membership “passport” in which they can record activities at accredited learning destinations. The learning destinations and activities are varied, enabling students to engage in a wider range of learning opportunities in different areas of interest.

The accredited activity at Bungaree Station is an extension of the self guided tour offered to day visitors, which offers insights into South Australia’s pioneering past and agricultural history through a series of signs, audioposts and displays around the station complex (including the Station Store, Homestead Gardens, Church, Stableyard and Woolshed). The accompanying “Jackaroo and Jillaroo” Activity Book needs to be completed by participating students to receive up to 2 hours of stamped credit in their Children’s University Passport.

The self guided tour and accompanying activity book is available every day between 10am – 4pm, except when the property is closed for private functions.

Given the importance of the Children’s University program in fostering educational aspirations and a love of learning, special discounts for the self guided tour are available for Children’s University Passport holders and their accompanying family:

Adult: $15.00, discounted to $12.75 per adult when accompanying a student with a Children’s University passport.
Child: $7.50, discounted to $5.50 per child with a Children’s University passport, or when accompanying a child with a Children’s University passport.

Please note: The self guided tour is complimentary for guests staying at Bungaree.

Visitors should come to the Station Office on arrival, where the information and map for the self guided tour can be obtained, as well as the Activity Book for Children’s University Passport holders.

For further information about Children’s University Australia, please visit their website at childrensuniversity.com.au .

 

 

Image of sheep sales at Bungaree in 1920s

SA History Festival Event: Guided tour with Devonshire Tea, 12 May

A special guided tour of Bungaree Station will be just one of the many events held in May to celebrate our State’s rich heritage as part of South Australia’s History Festival.

As part of the History Festival, we will be conducting a special guided tour, with Devonshire Tea, on Saturday 12 May at 10:30am. Visitors will obtain a unique insight into Bungaree’s 175 year history while exploring the iconic village-like property, that was  established at a time when Australia rode “on the sheep’s back”. Key sites visited will include the Woolshed, Store, Church, Stableyard and Homestead Gardens. Devonshire tea is included, as well as activity booklets for children.

Tickets are priced at $15 per adult and $7.50 per child. Bookings are essential and can be made by phone, email mail or online.

If you are unable to join us for the special guided tour on 12 May, self guided tours of the historic village-like property are available daily between 10am and 4pm every day during the History Festival.

For other special events happening around South Australia as part of the History Festival throughout May, pick up a copy of the full program at your local Council, Library or Visitor Information Centre or visit the SA History Festival website.

SA State Youth Band Concerts at Bungaree, Sunday 21 January

It’s not often that you have the opportunity to hear over 20 of South Australia’s most talented young brass band musicians demonstrating their talents, and even rarer to have these musicians performing in the Clare Valley.

We are honoured to have the SA State Youth Band staying at Bungaree this week, having 3 days of rehearsals in our historic Woolshed before playing at concerts at some our region’s most picturesque venues. The impressive sounds of brass instruments will fill the air at Sevenhill Cellars, Mintaro Maze, Martindale Hall and several other venues, before the band’s final performances at Bungaree on Sunday 21 January.

The band will provide the music for a special Church Service in St Michael’s Church at Bungaree at 10am on Sunday and then hold its final concert in the Homestead Gardens at 1pm.

St Michael’s Church is located just inside the main entrance gate to Bungaree Station, a short 8-10 minute drive from Clare. The Homestead Gardens are located further down the driveway and there will be appropriate signage to direct visitors to this special concert. A map and directions can be found on our website.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Bungaree Station.

SA State Youth Brass band concerts in the Clare Valley during January