Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY
19 January 2004 to 19 January 2004

Monday 19th january 2004

Today we finally made it into the Barossa Valley and 'one of us' was really excited about this, the 'other one' wasn't in raptures about it though because they had to drive. What could be greater torture than being in the Barossa Valley with all it's fine wine, and not being able to consume any! Well only one glass...

First we went to see the 'whispering wall' which is a reservoir wall that has amazing acoustics that carry a whisper at one end the full way to the other, a distance of about 140 metres, well that's what they say but it was closed today due to the high fire danger in the area so we have to take their word for it.

We went through Sandy Creek, Cockatoo Valley, Barossa Reservoir (the whispering wall), Lyndoch, Tanunda and Nuriootpa. In doing so we passed numerous wineries with names we new of and many we hadn't heard of. The first winery that we stopped at was Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre which is a very modern building with a number of interactive video displays, a dining area and a very comprehensive wine tasting section. 'One of us' sampled several white wines here and decided it was too hard to decide which one was best so two bottles were purchased from Jacob Creek.

Having sampled a drop or two 'one of us' expressed the 'need for feed' so we then called in at the Kaesler Winery and Restaurant which is just out of Nuriootpa. This was the 'wining and dining' that we were looking for to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and although it may have been a couple of days late, it was worth the wait. Although not a cheap restaurant, it was worth the $102.50 for the three courses plus three glasses of wine (two white and one red). The meals were prepared superbly and the ambiance was delightful. I am told the white wine was very crisp and very nice (Reserve Riesling). The one glass of Cabernet Sauvignon was absolutely top shelf and we were told it was rated as one of the world top 100 in a recent judging in Europe. I would believe that and at only $36.00 per bottle is one worth considering.

After the wine and food, 'one of us was feeling a little like they needed a siesta, so we decided we may have to re visit the Barossa before we move on from the area. We then made our way back to Gawler for that well earn afternoon nap.

The view from Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre

Fine Food & Wine - it's Pammy's Heaven!

Tuesday 20th January 2004

We woke up this morning thinking that we would be moving into the Barossa Valley a bit further this morning, but then changed our minds almost as we were driving out of the caravan park, so off to Hahndorf was the late decision. (Promising ourselves that we would be returning to the Barossa in the winter or spring sometime in the future)

We left Gawler at about 09:50am and headed south via Sandy Creek, Williamstown, Cockatoo Valley, Kersbrook, Gumeracha, Loberthal, Woodside, Balmhanna, Verdun then Hahndorf. After leaving Sandy Creek, this drive was through the Adelaide Hills and although the roads were very windy and at time quite steep, if was really a very scenic, even in the summer with dry brown grass, it would be magnificent in the winter or spring when everything was green. I would recommend this drive to anyone.

On arrival at Hahndorf, we booked into the caravan park and set ourselves up for the next couple of days or so. Our caravan overlooks a small lake and a valley that is just covered in trees. The lake has some canoes on it and there is a tennis court for the more energetic as well, it could be exhausting ... watching people make use of these facilities. All the cabins have been built in a way that that represents our perception of old style German housing structures. It really is a pretty spot to be in, life is tough isn't it!

This caravan park is also a resort with a large number of these cabins and is the place that I spent a week at some years ago as the WA State President/representative at a National Blue Light Conference. I remember it all well... or at least most of it!

After having lunch (a mistake, the food in Hahndorf looks good!) we ventured into the town itself and although parking is not easy to come by, even on a Tuesday, we found a spot at the top of the street and walked up and down the length of the town. There are buildings of all vintages in the main street, mainly old, that now house shops of all kinds, from dolls to clocks, from lollies to hamburgers and of course there are a couple of pubs that sell counter meals and German beer. (It's not bad either!)

One of us had to go into many of these shops, particularly the sweets (lolly) shops and came out of each one of those with 'a little something'! The 'other one' didn't buy anything much, only important stuff like a pint of German beer. (Well when in Rome....)

We have now seen Hahndorf, but intend to feast on one of the counter meals at some stage before we leave here, which may be in two or three days time. Perhaps tomorrow will see us visiting the McLaren Vale vineyards and a drive around the coastline south of Adelaide.

Hahndorf Main Street

Heritage preserved

After a hard day...

Wednesday 21st January 2004

Today started with a visit to the local Internet Cafe after a Devonshire Tea in a quaint little cafe in the main street of Hahndorf. We checked out a few new caravan designs and deliberated for some time on what we would like to have if we were to upgrade from what we have. Sounds ridiculous when we only purchased the one we have last July....

From Hahndorf we drove down the freeway through the picturesque hills into Adelaide's southern outskirts then headed south along South Road toward McLaren Vale. We drove through the vineyards and the town of McLaren Vale, then returned to Hahndorf through a number of small towns or villages in the Adelaide hills. This drive was quite different to the steep hills that the freeway descends, but was well worth the drive. We couldn't help thinking how scenic it would be when the grass was green and everything was at it's best. We passed a camel farm and also a number of small farms that look like they were raising dairy cattle.

Once back at Hahndorf, Pam met up with a lady who is on a working holiday and comes from High Wycombe (about six km from our home in Kalamunda WA). They had a long discussion about caravanning, the availability of work when traveling (as long as you are willing to take on any kind of job) and from the time they were talking, I would say they discussed many more important issues as well.

After another hard day, it is time to put the feet up and consider where we will move to next an when that move will be..

Approaching McLaren Vale

Back at the Hahndorf Resort Caravan Park