July 27, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo
One of Australia’s most exclusive and best-known properties has just opened as an events destination in the Barossa Valley after a $10 million renovation and redevelopment.
Kingsford The Barossa is an 1856 homestead possibly better known from the award-winning Nine Network series, McLeod’s Daughters. The show, which sold internationally broke ground as one of the first series with two female leads. It ran from 2001 to 2009.
Fourth-generation family businessman, Stefan Ahrens, who is MD of Australian engineering, construction and mining services company, Ahrens, bought the 225-acre property from Kerry Packer after the show ended and has turned it into an exclusive luxury retreat.
It was a passion project and labour of love for Stefan Ahrens and wife Leanne who describe themselves as “custodians of the property since 2009”, that reflects their own sense of history as the fourth generation now running Ahrens, started by his great-grandfather who opened a blacksmith’s shop in the Barossa in 1906.
Kingsford The Barossa can host 32 guests in 16 suites, including some 18th century cottages. The property has also board rooms for eight to 14 plus a degustation restaurant and event spaces for up to 260. There’s also a blank canvas for event planners in the old shearing shed. Guest amenities include a saltwater pool and outdoor fire pit and bar area.
Team building options abound across the acres of land with its numerous walking trails. Also popular will be cocktails in the gardens in front of the historic two-storey mansion built of imported sandstone from Edinburgh.
A key element of the development is a large wine tunnel and underground vaults to secure one of Australia’s most exclusive wine collections, including the complete range of Penfolds Grange (otherwise only on display at the winemaker’s Magill Estate in Adelaide). Other vaults have major brands including Henschke, Yalumba, Rockford and Peter Lehmann. A feature of the cellar and likely to be in demand for incentive experiences is a huge banquet table able to comfortably seat more than 40 guests.
Ahrens anticipates Kingsford The Barossa will appeal to both local and out-of-state visitors as a new tourism drawcard, corporate retreat, wedding location and special events venue, whether as a space for celebration just for two, or a group looking to use Kingsford as a base to explore the region.
“Leanne and I, along with the Ahrens family, believe we have created something really special. Kingsford is a place we really want the region to be proud of and a destination we can all share with the world,” he said.
South Australian Tourism Commission Chief Executive Rodney Harrex said regional tourism is booming across South Australia, and that the addition of a world-class property to the Barossa presents an exciting opportunity.