June 2021 – Mark & Pip’s Holiday Adventure
South Australia was awesome folks. We loved it. So much history, great little towns dotted all over the place with original stone buildings and interesting architecture.
Getting there wasn’t without adventure though. It seems 2021 wasn’t done with us quite yet. This holiday was meant to be a road trip, but an encounter with a large kangaroo just outside Salmon Gums ended that very quickly. The big buck jumped on the car and made confetti of the front drivers side of our Kluger.There wasn’t even a recognizable headlight left. The roo basically going at full speed and just ran into us!
Anyway, after some re-organising and much assistance from family we still got away to SA. This time via the flying kangaroo, Qantas into Adelaide where we picked up a hire car and carried on.
Highlights and Recommendations
Visit the National Wine Centre in Adelaide – an opportunity to taste and experience 52 different wine styles from across Australia. Head sommelier James Boden has created a great experience, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a Vineyard 28 wine in the line up from time to time.
Robe – a gorgeous seaside village that we arrived in via travelling along the Coorong from Meningie, made famous by Heather Ewart in her ABC series ‘Backroads’. Robe had fabulous cliffside walks or cycle tracks if you like two wheels, and like many towns some fab old buildings. If you’re traveling with a caravan then head for the Beachport Caravan Park, all grass overlooking the beach. It would be superb in summer.
Flinders Ranges – definitely put this on the list. You can 4-wheel drive, haul a caravan in or just travel in a car. The most spectacular scenery. We stayed at Rawnsley Park Station and did some walks there and day trips. Absolute best thing was a helicopter flight over Wilpena Pound, gifted to us by our kids (they thought we needed cheering up after the car and kangaroo incident). Flinders is an amazing, ever changing landscape with just so much to see.
Wine and Food
In terms of wine regions, McLaren Vale was cool, we found lots of interesting alternative producers like ourselves there, Oliver’s Tarranga, Lino Ramble and Coriole were our faves. Of course we had to visit D’Arrenbergs – ‘The Cube’. Great views from up there, and if you like quirky weird art and creations then you’ll enjoy this place. We had one of our best lunches there with a great view out over the region.
In Adelaide Hills we also found a quirky cellar door with some interesting art and wines called ArtWine. We drove the Coonawarra strip, where there were grapevines for miles. Pip was happy that they weren’t hers to prune!
Bellwether was our favourite along here, housed in the 1868 Glen Roy shearing shed. So much atmosphere, and some delicious wines enjoyed beside the open fire.
Our last stop for a few days was in Tanunda, Barossa before flying home. Great little town to stay in with fabulous wine bars and food. You could almost wine taste and eat your way down the main street in the evening. We would recommend the 1918 restaurant, housed in a house dating back to 1918. Great wine list and delicious food. A great base to explore the Barossa in all directions.
Best Wine of the trip
Mark’ pick was the Wangolina – Gruner Veltliner
Anita Goode is the winemaker a Wangolina. Her winery is in Mt Benson, about 15 to 20 mins from Robe. Like many of us Anita has a keen interest in the lesser known varieties. A bottle of her Lagrein found its way home with us.
Pip’s pick was the Lino Ramble – Arinto.
Lino Ramble is in the Mclaren Vale. It is Two friends and a common thread: childhood adventures on the faithful treadlie, lino floors, vinyl records, and board games. Their grape varieties are chosen with a focus on sustainability, intrigue and above all else, drinkability.
Best Wine Experience – That’s a tough one, as we had some great wine tasting experiences.
One has to be Yalumba which surprised us. Sitting by an open fire, being led thru a tasting by a very knowledgeable guide in a building steeped in history. Having the opportunity to taste their flagship Cab Shiraz, “The Caley” and for Mark seeing the cooperage where they make their own barrels of course.
The other would have to Oliver’s Tarranga, a small stone cellar door. Getting to taste wines, again with a very knowledgeable guide, but accompanied by warm oven roasted almonds, lavosh bread and a soft sheep’s cheese.
We would highly recommend exploring South Australia, so diverse a countryside with so much history tucked away in it’s little towns. There was always something to see. Of course the wine and food was also pretty good too. In the spirit of business research of course, we tasted lots of Italians – Fiano, Dolcetto, Barbera, Montepulciano and Vermentino. There were some great examples of these, and occasionally some not so great. Different growing conditions, climate and wine making make for interesting tasting experiences. Quite a few have made their way home, so we’ll have to let you know how they go.