Plans for a nationally significant $25 million tourist attraction designed to showcase Australian pastoral life and celebrate the richly historic township of Kapunda – located on the doorstep of the iconic Barossa Valley – have been unveiled today.
Drover’s Encounter will be a uniquely Australian destination for locals and visitors of all ages, offering culinary, cultural and entertainment experiences.
The project will consist of a huge range of attractions including an adventure playground, restaurant and experience centre.
The restaurant will be a destination in its own right showcasing farm to plate local and native produce within an iconic heritage homestead.
Telling the story of local Barossa icons, The Drover’s Encounter Experience Centre will be an immersive learning experience of Sir Sidney Kidman, Frederick Dutton and the Seppelt Family and their connections to Kapunda, Light Country and the Barossa Valley region.
Another major attraction, The Stockman’s Arena, will host live horsemanship shows and experiences while the Activated Historic Copper Mine is an interactive experience on the site of Australia’s first commercially successful mine which dates back to the 1830s and the birthplace of some of Australia’s most famous companies today.
With competition expected by December 2023, Drover’s Encounter has been designed to be a dynamic and constantly refreshed destination and is set to have a strong appeal for locals as a key social anchor across the region and SA.
This will see it have strong and authentic visitor appeal, as a locally loved and celebrated icon for the region. Light Regional Council is now inviting investors and operators to secure key opportunities within the project.
“The Light Country area, which covers nearly half of the internationally renowned Barossa Valley, is already one of South Australia’s most iconic destinations,” says said Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TICSA) CEO, Shaun DeBruyn.
“By offering something so unique, whilst being authentic to the region and embraced by locals, Drover’s Encounter will unlock Kapunda’s potential as a key destination for national and international tourists.”
The Barossa Valley currently attracts 1 million day-trippers and 285,000 overnight visitors each year. In addition to being perfectly placed to build on the region’s profile and further enhance visitation to the famous local region, Drover’s Encounter will benefit from planned key upgrades to surrounding tourist routes, positioning Kapunda as a must-visit destination on road trips to the Clare Valley Region and Flinders Ranges.
Locals can expect major boosts from the project, with preliminary designs by internationally renowned architects Woods Bagot through their Adelaide studio, promising the varied multi-dimensional offering will complement the existing landscape.
“With a prime position on Kapunda’s historic Main Street, Drover’s Encounter will deliver major economic benefits, including job creation and increased trade and footfall into town-centre businesses,” said Mayor of Light Regional Council, Bill O’Brien.
“Drover’s Encounter will bring welcome growth, celebrating our stories and preserving our local values for future generations. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Drover’s Encounter is part of an integrated portfolio of projects in the township and region that create a strong and compelling tourism destination. This includes public and private investment, proposed and underway, to create an exceptional visitor experience and high-quality tourism infrastructure.
This includes a new segment of the Great Australian Wine Trail connecting Kapunda to Tanunda via more than 40 tourism destinations, forming part of 280 kilometres of cycling trails connecting five celebrated wine regions. The $5.9million dollar expansion is projected to bring 5,000 cyclists in the first year.
It also includes silo art installations and street art, an upgrade to Kapunda Town Square and Main Street and myriad of luxury accommodation developments across the region.
Public feedback will be a critical component of shaping this initiative and feedback is welcome. Visit their website to have your say.
Construction on the project at 96-104 Main Street, Kapunda, is targeted for 2023, with operations to commence in late 2024 / early 2025.