Victor Harbor will soon be home to South Australia’s first Florida-style family golf resort as part of a major upgrade to Business Victor Harbor member McCracken Country Club.
The G’day Group, purchased the property just before Christmas, and will invest around $40 million developing a range of family-friendly experiences to boost tourism in the region.
The just-released masterplan for the property includes a splash park, flying fox, playground, jumping pillow, minigolf, more than 60 revamped 2-bedroom units and over 100 powered caravan sites, as well as new amenities and camp kitchen. It includes a vision to have one of the best restaurants in the region, with a large alfresco bar.
An additional splash park, outdoor resort pool, indoor pool, nature play and modern accommodation will open at Discovery Parks – Goolwa which was also purchased by the company prior to Christmas. Guests staying at the McCracken and Goolwa properties will be able to use facilities at both properties free of charge.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the development would reinvigorate regional dispersal and create more than $12 million in economic benefit to the region in the first year and 118 jobs during construction and $17 million per year additional economic benefit and nearly 130 jobs ongoing.
‘Many South Aussies have fond memories of Greenhills Adventure Park. For decades Greenhills was an iconic family attraction, and since its closure the region missed out on the day-trippers, longer stay tourists and boost to the local economy that a park of this nature brings,” said the Premier.
“Golf-tourism is a big opportunity. Across the world we are seeing appeal grow for family-friendly golf resorts rather than traditional golf clubs. SA will soon be home to one of Australia’s only – and best – golf resorts.”
McCracken Country Club, with its panoramic valley views by the seaside, is already a popular conference and wedding venue offering 65 rooms, two restaurants, and international championship standard 18-hole course and a bottle shop.
G’day Group CEO Grant Wilckens said the proposed development would enable the McCracken Convention Centre to accommodate bigger and better events.
“Golf tourism is huge in the United States and we’ve taken inspiration from properties in Florida to develop our masterplan for McCracken,” said Grant.
“This development will provide the fun families have been craving with an adventure park complete with mini golf, splash park and flying fox that will get kids rushing outside in the morning.”
“There’ll also be some innovative nature play so kids can just enjoy the freedom of being kids, getting dirty and letting their imaginations run wild – as well as great accommodation for all budgets – it’s what we are all about.”
“Importantly, the increase in accommodation quality and capacity means the region can host bigger events. McCracken’s current accommodation allocation is quite small, restricting the Convention Centre from securing decent events,” said Grant.
The McCracken masterplan is part of the G’DAY Group’s vision to diversify into golf courses, events and conferences, building on its high-end offerings such as glamping and restaurants in some of Australia’s most spectacular locations.
The Group, with assets of $1 billion, is Australia’s largest regional accommodation network with nearly 300 properties in its Discovery and G’day Parks portfolio. It is famous for reimagining the camping experience.
The Group has rebounded strongly from the challenges of 2020-21, announcing more than $100 million in acquisitions this financial year, including the iconic El Questro, (WA) and Kings Canyon (NT) resorts, and in South Australia, the Hahndorf Tourist Resort, Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, and Goolwa Caravan Park.
The group and its 95 per cent shareholder, Sunsuper, have a string of development and hospitality projects in the pipeline, building on the success of the Discovery – Rottnest Island resort and restaurant which opened to international acclaim and a WA Tourism Award in 2019.
McCracken Country Club – Business and Residents’ Q& A
What does the McCracken Master Plan propose for the site?
The G’DAY Group plans to invest around $40 million ($22m for McCracken and $18m for Goolwa) to develop family-friendly experiences that will draw tourists – and jobs – to the area.
Our vision is to create a Florida-style golf resort that offers luxury and fun experiences for parents and kids.
The proposed development includes
- a vision to have one of the best restaurants in the region, with a large alfresco bar.
- a splash park
- a jumping pillow
- more than 60 revamped 2-bedroom units
- over 100 powered caravan sites
- new amenities and camp kitchen.
Who is the G’DAY Group, where is it based and what does it do?
The G’DAY Group is Australia’s largest regional accommodation network with more than 280 properties in its network of owned Discovery Parks and independent, licensed G’DAY parks.
Based in Adelaide, G’DAY Group is famous for reinventing holiday parks with touches of luxury and experiences and aims to appeal to camping enthusiasts as well as those who might never have tried camping or holiday parks before.
The group operates parks ranging from the resort-style Discovery -Rottnest Island, complete with acclaimed Pinky’s Beach Club, to the Cloncurry work stay park in Qld. It has recently acquired iconic properties including the Kings Canyon Resort in the NT and El Questro in WA.
Won’t turning the property into a holiday park devalue it?
The G’DAY Group’s investment is designed to create luxurious family-friendly accommodation and draw day trippers to the region by providing a range of experiences that appeal to young an old alike.
G’DAY Group has proven its credentials in operating world-class restaurants and its Pinky’s Restaurant in Rottnest Island has even been featured in an episode of MasterChef.
The new McCracken restaurant and bar are expected to become a tourism drawcard and we’re confident that the investment in the conference centre will enable us to attract larger events.
Will you use local tradespeople?
Yes, we definitely will where we can, but it depends a bit on availability. We expect to recruit more than 30 tradespeople including electricians, plumbers, landscapers and civil engineers.
Will the development have economic benefits for the region?
Absolutely! As well as using local trades, our waterparks, golf, events and fabulous new restaurant and bar will help draw people into the region and we’ll be encouraging them to explore while they are here.
Did you know that Austrade research in 2020 shows that every dollar spent on tourism generates another 91 cents in other parts of the economy – a higher multiplier than in mining, agriculture and financial services.
Will we lose our golf course?
The existing golf course and conference facility is not financially sustainable in its current format but the G’DAY investment will provide a lifeline for the golf course.
Golf-tourism is a big opportunity for us. Across the world we are seeing appeal grow for family-friendly golf resorts and the market is diversifying. SA will soon be home to one of Australia’s only – and best – family friendly golf resorts.
Will we lose any holes from the golf course?
No – this development will preserve the golf course.
The golf course will remain a full 18-hole golf course but there will be a minor reduction in the 1st, 10th, 18th holes, with netting protecting the 3rd and 1st holes .
Will locals be able to use the facilities?
Yes, G’DAY Group offers day passes to waterparks and facilities so the local community can enjoy them too.
Greenhills Adventure Park was popular but ultimately unsustainable – how can the G’DAY Group make a success of this development?
The G’DAY Group has a range of systems and practices, including our Discovery Way service standards, cutting edge digital marketing and group procurement that help us to run cost effectively. We can leverage these competitive advantages to maximise our occupancy and minimise operating overheads.
The proposed development will ensure that we can attract larger events to the region and our sophisticated marketing can be used to promote the region as a destination.
The McCracken Masterplan, together with our investment in the Goolwa holiday park will give guests at McCracken and Goolwa reciprocal access to waterplay attractions.
Will the development be noisy and disruptive and how long will it take?
As with any development, there is likely to be some minor disruption through the construction period but the G’DAY team is expert in managing developments.
Our team works to rigorous standards, within council guidelines around noise, and aims to minimise disruption to our neighbours. We want to ensure enduring positive relationships with our regional communities and we’ve done that successfully many, many times before – including in Rottnest Island in WA and Lake Bonney and the Barossa, SA.
Won’t the development damage fauna and flora around the site?
The team is very experienced in sensitively and carefully developing sites even in some of Australia’s most fragile environments – for example in the sand dunes at Rottnest Island.
We work with local authorities to ensure the impact is minimal and that we can help preserve the environment – after all, that connection with nature is such a big part of the holiday park experience!
Will roads be improved / will there be road access issues?
While we acknowledge there is likely to be an increase in the number and type of vehicles, Discovery commissioned a traffic report to identify the capacity of the road network to accommodate any increase in traffic caused by the proposed development. The Traffic Assessment does not indicate a need for an upgrade in traffic infrastructure.
What is the timeframe for the development?
The McCracken Development is expected to be completed by Christmas 2023 and the Goolwa development by 2022.
Will there be lots of construction noise and will it block my views?
We’ve been sympathetic of visual aspects for residents and guests within designs. Where possible, elements have been set downhill to preserve views
Will the development be done in stages?
There may be some construction staging but our development application is for the full development.
Will there be any separation between golf and the children’s areas?
There will be netting on the edge of the golf course to minimise golf balls entering the children’s play spaces.
What consultation is taking place?
The consultation process is led by Council and we understand it to be a 15 day structured consultation.