Cumulus Studio has unveiled its first major tourism project in South Australia, titled Ponderosa. The project features a collection of five luxury tourism pods, as well as an adapted stone-walled cottage set amongst the state’s Fleurieu Peninsula. 

Given Ponderosa comprises six individual parts, Cumulus decided to approach each design as such. Each pod and the cottage has been carefully considered by the practice, with certain characteristics, aspects and attributes providing a unique experience of each location.

“As our first major tourism project in SA, I feel that we’ve achieved something fairly ambitious for Ponderosa alongside our client,” says Cumulus Associate Architect and Project Lead, Jet O’Rourke.

“Instead of creating a uniform set of cabins, we designed each one pod as a different getaway experience for guests, offering a different way of connecting with their surroundings — the views, the flora and fauna — which you can do both from outside and inside of the pods.”

ponderosa cumulus studio

Each pod is ideally suited for two people, and is privately nestled among outcrops and grazing pastures with views of the Southern Ocean. With their own distinctive character and interiors, each pod contains a king size bed, kitchenette, and a luxurious bathroom promoting a sense of warmth and enclosure.

In order to bring affinity to the distinct designs, the practice opted for surface charred timbers for the predominant exterior cladding. External baths and covered outdoor areas also allow guests to calmly connect with the landscape.

The five forms range from the angular Eucalyptus tunnel pod, which channels the local vegetation of Hindmarsh Valley, In the round, featuring exposed concrete culverts that create a sense of continuation of the landscape from within the pod, and the larger Split level, a two-storey pod that can accommodate up to four guests.

ponderosa cumulus studio

Ponderosa’s additional five-bedroom Cottage has been adapted by the practice to reference the gabled roof forms of the original structure in a contemporary manner, offering an outdoor area perfect for gatherings all year round.

A distinct lap pool sits parallel to the cottage and provides an infinity edge view towards Encounter Bay’s rugged Bluff headland. The Ponderosa builds on Cumulus’ growing list of unique tourism projects, such as Corner Lookout, Darkwood Residence and the Pumphouse Point Hotel in Tasmania’s Central Highlands.

The pods will be constructed locally at Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation District with completion scheduled for mid 2022. For more information, visit