As a travel writer it’s a bit embarrassing to admit you’re lost, and sometimes it’s a little bit frightening – although, often the best experiences can come from losing yourself in a destination. I experienced this recently when, travelling alone, I got completely and utterly lost, with no idea where I was, where I was going or how to get where I didn’t know I was going. Thankfully, it wasn’t too traumatic (well maybe just a little), but it was down right hilarious.
I got lost… in a maze. Which is the whole point of mazes I guess.
I was at Mintaro Maze, near Clare in South Australia. Mintaro, population about 90, was once famous for its slate, which was used around the world for billiard table surfaces. Now the tiny town is a state heritage area. Morten Bay figs and gum tress line the main street (more like a country lane) with its bluestone buildings and vine-draped storefronts.
One of the key attractions in town is Mintaro Maze, designed and planted by Michael Morris in 1995. Now the towering Castlewelland Gold conifers make impenetrable walls, herding and drafting visitors through the labyrinth. Cheeky gnomes peek out from under the hedge and fairytale characters ease the frustration of getting lost. And get lost you will. I entered the maze just before closing time, determined to walk it as quickly as possible, but within minutes I was lost – hopelessly, pathetically lost. You can read all about here.
Another fascinating place to visit in Mintaro is Martindale Hall, the Georgian-style mansion featured in Peter Weir’s movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. The home, grandly furnished much as past owners left it, is now a museum and heritage accommodation. It’s worth a visit just to see the enormous dining table, but my favourite spot is the smoking room.
The smoking room is a veritable museum in itself. It is crammed with artefacts collected from around the world. It’s a tribute to the state govenment, to whom the home was transferred after being willed to the University of Adelaide, that it is available as accommodation. It’s makes the perfect spot for a slumber party or a murder mystery.