Over Easter we packed our bags, jumped in the car and drove to South Australia. There were four of us myself and Graham, and our teenage son and one of his mates. Its a long drive, about 9 hours with coffee stops etc but we were well entertained by the two boys and were heading into the wilderness to a place we hadnt been before! Graham and I have been to South Australia but we were heading to Normanville on the Fleurieu Peninsula where we hadnt ventured.
We drove through the Wimmerra Region of Victoria, and over the Murray River and into the Adelaide hills, past McLaren Vale (a well known wine region in Australia), onto the tiny coastal town of Normanville.
South Australia is quite flat except for a few hilly regions, and is famous for its wine, from both The Barrossa Valley and McLaren Vale and also for its churches in the capital Adelaide. Its also famous to me as my mother grew up in Adelaide and we have family all over there.
The Fleurieu Peninsula is a protected region situated along the coastline of the Gulf of St Vincent. As a result the beaches are very calm and the water is crystal clear. The area is the home of the sea dragon, leafy sea dragon and also Southern Right Whales come here in the winter to give birth. Although the water is a little chilly at this time of the year the beaches are sublime and well worth a visit at any time of year. It is pretty, clean and their is plenty to do.
On our first day we just walked around and took in the local sites. Went for a bit of a drive and just relaxed. We were staying in two apartments one for us and one for the boys, the boys did some fishing and took along their skateboards and laptops, and had plenty of time to themselves and some time with us.
|On the ferry going to Kangaroo Island|
On Easter Sunday, We boarded the ferry and headed to Kangaroo Island where we checked out the markets and the little town of Penneshaw, giving Sam and his friend Lochie a chance to go fishing, it was a little bit wet but the sun came out in between showers and dried us off.Kangaroo Island has great organic produce and lots of wildlife too, there is great food and wine and a lovely village atmosphere, I would soooo like to go back for a long weekend or maybe a week. Many people go there planning to stay for a short visit, and they never leave, and I can see why.
|Penneshaw Hotel Kangaroo Island|
The next day Graham and I left the hotel and went to McLaren Vale to visit some of the wineries and the local Lavender farm. The most famous vineyard in this region is Rosemount Estate.
Which was established in 1850 by George Manning, the pioneer of wine growing in the area. The property was then called Hope Farm and he produced his first vintage in 1855, a muscatel wine which he made for home consumption and sold some to neighbouring farms.
The property has changed hands many times since then and is now one of only 7 original vineyards whose wines were developed before federation in 1905.
This is only one of many we visited, and many many more we just didnt get to!
|Rosemount Estate homestead|
|Rosemount Estate Cellar with the big old American oak barrells|
|Goreous gardens at Coriole Vineyards|
|More gardens at Coriole|
Some of the Vineyards have a strong German influence and others are Italian owned. It means the wines produced are wonderfully diverse and the culture and gardens at the various property vary hugely. I would love to do a trip of the all the wineries and write about the gardens. Because just about as much work has gone into the gardens on these properties as has gone into producing the wines!
After extensive research into the wines in this area we returned home to our hotel for our next adventure, a visit to Adelaide the capital of SA.
Adelaide, the city of Churches is a beautiful old town (by Aussie standards) and is one of only a few which was not established with the help of convict labour. The old homes and buildings were built using the local materials, mainly sandstone and slate. It gives the buildings a sense of permanence, history and warmth.
|One of the beautiful sandstone cathedrals|
|The Magistrates Court|
|The Supreme Court|
|Old Uniting Church|
Where I live in Melbourne many of the homes are built from brick, as we live on a very heavy clay base here, and the older homes are often built from bluestone, which is very cold and hard on the eye. Sandstone is much warmer and more inviting and we enjoyed the fact that it had been used so well. Even on the beaches the beautiful stone made a statement of its own.
|Adelaide Central Market|
We took the boys to the Central Market and wandered around looking at all the delightful food stalls and I must admit to being blown away at how reasonably priced everything was. The food on offer was diverse and fresh. Mushrooms were 2.50 a kilo which is way better than here in Melbourne! They had all types of food from fresh fruit and veggies all types of meat and fish and even sweets shops with candy flying saucers!
Later in the week we also drove up to the Barrossa Valley and had a look at several wineries up there, among others we went to Richmond Grove,
|Richmond Grove Wineries|
|Grant Burge Wineries|
|Jacobs Creek making good use of Solar power !|
Thats all about our trip to SA I could rabbit on for hours but will finish up, needless to say a good time was had by all and it was well worth the long drive. I'll leave you with a beautiful South Australian sunset!