Trip 45, post #7 – The Barossa Valley, Hahndorf and the Fleurieu Peninsula

People. People everywhere we look. People everywhere we go. And then there are these little people running around as well, yelling and screaming – I think they’re called “children”..

Sucks to be us, but that’s what happens when you park the van in a caravan park, just 60mins from Adelaide at the start of the S.A. school holidays. Having said that, we did enjoy our stays at both the Barossa Valley (staying at the Discovery Park Tanunda) and near Hahndorf (staying at the Mt Barker Caravan Park, just a few km down the road). Luckily the Mt Barker Caravan Park was largely kid-free and very quiet.

Unfortunately, Jules was feeling a bit under the weather whilst in the Barossa so that slowed us down a bit, but whilst here we managed to enjoy:

  • Wine tasting at Langmeil Winery
    • Family-owned and run winery, with great history. A lovely open fireplace, lovely host, good vibe and great wine!
  • Wine tasting and a lunch platter at the Kalleske Winery
    • One of our favourite wineries! Cameron, our host, was great and regaled us with information and winery stories. Jules then found a pic of us in Kalleske’s Winter newsletter, with the pic showing us with Troy, the winemaker, after we’d won the magnum during the Perth wine-tasting dinner we attended back in Nov’23.
  • A lovely roast beef and veg, cooked in the camp kitchen oven.
    • Yum – nuff said.
  • A self-guided tour and wine tasting at Chateau Yalandra
    • Wow, what a surprise and delight. I hadn’t intended to visit here, but whilst plotting a loop drive for the morning, I saw it was easily put on our path and I remembered that BJ had said he’d never visited one of the Barossa chateaus’ before. Pulling up, the buildings and gardens are beautiful and impressive. We were then informed by Susan, that a tasting costs $10/person, but includes a self-guided walk through the building, including through the warren of underground wine cellars, where thousands of bottles of wine rested. And, to top it all off, the wine was lovely.
  • Morno’s at the Lyndoch Bakery
    • You can’t go past good coffee and a hot bakery pie. It’s not the best we’ve ever had, but it’s good.
  • A visit to the Lyndoch Lavender Farm
    • All things lavender, including aromatic, cleansing, moisturising and edible. Unfortunately, the main lavender fields were not flowering at this time of year so no pics.
  • A beautiful drive up through the rolling hills to the Southeast side of the Barossa Valley
    • What a find! I’d noted a lookout called Steingarten in the vicinity of the hills I wanted to explore, so following GoogleMaps we found ourselves entering various sheep paddocks, through multiple farm gates, driving along the ridge with views to die for.
  • A wine tasting at Rockford Winery
    • We’d had a few people recommend Rockfords. The buildings were great, and the wine was ok, but I didn’t think anything special.
  • A not-so-great experience at Barossa Valley Brewing
    • Literally across the road from the caravan park, we hoped to top our day off with a beer paddle and a quick bite. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any vibe going on. In fact the lady who we believed to be the bar manager, managed to put us right off the place, by shouting out to her co-workers the whole time, then wandering out back to have a fag (not far from where we were sitting), and then by using the warm tables inside the bar for her laptop and some work she was doing, rather than providing that space to the patrons. Some of the beers were ok, whilst others we felt we were simply overdone and over-sweetened. Overall, we came away disappointed, and wouldn’t go back or recommend.
Trees and flowers along the road as you enter Tanunda
A church in Tanunda
Sampling wines at Langmeils
Jules is stoked to have bought and wear her new Merry People Boots.
Chateau Yaldara
Jules chilling in the foyer
On our self-guided tour, we found this small bar with a pic of the queen from when she visited the chateau.
Self-guided tour through the cellar
More cellar
Me in the cellar
Wine bottles
150yr old barrels storing port
Most of the barrels had one of these little sculptures on them, collected when the owner visited Europe in the mid-1900’s
A close-up of one of the barrel sculptures
An old grapevine, now on display
Me playing with processing techniques on pics of the buildings around Chateau Yaldara
Me playing with processing techniques on pics of the buildings around Chateau Yaldara
Me playing with processing techniques on pics of the buildings around Chateau Yaldara
One of the views along the ridge
One of the views along the ridge
One of the views along the ridge
One of the views along the ridge
One of the views along the ridge
About to sample Rockford wines
Sampling Rockford wine
Building at Rockford Wines
Building at Rockford Wines
The old manual grape press, we were advised that is still in operation at Rockford
Beer Paddle
Beer Paddles
Sampling beers
Grape vines in winter colours

With a short, 80km drive between the Barossa and Mt Barker, we stopped en route for a hike. We figured this would kill some time during the day so that we didn’t arrive well before check-in time, and would also earn us back some fitness credits for all of the wine we, well me (Tony) had been drinking.

We had intended to hike a conservation park, but there was no parking for the vans, so we drove through and ended up at the Warren Reservoir where there was plenty of parking. The three of us did the short reservoir wall walk, and then Jules and I quick-hiked ourselves around the 8.8k m northern loop, admiring the birds, roos and scenery. Then it was off to Mt Barker, stopping in at the Woodside Bakery for a yummy lunch and good coffee.

With the vans setup and clothes washing done at Mt Barker, we were ready to chill tonight, in anticipation of catching up with Plodney tomorrow who just happened to be in town this week for work.

A pair of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos
I think it’s another Little Grass Bird
It’s not easy being the odd one out
Follow the path to the teddy bear picnic in the trees

Ah Hahndorf. One part authentic German heritage, another part tourist trap, but they do it well.

Jules, BJ and I Uber’d into Hahndorf this morning in anticipation of partaking in one, or more, German beers during the day. Meeting up with Rod and his workmate John, we wandered down the main strip of Hahndorf, exploring some stores, and bypassing others, before spending an hour enjoying a coffee in a coffee shop with an open fireplace. Then it was across the road and repeat the exercise back up the street, although this time stopping at the Hahndorf Inn for a German Beer Paddle, before checking in for our lunch reservation at Haus Restaurant. This was followed by as much pork and German sausage as one person could safely consume, chased by more beer and a Whiskey paddle for BJ. Following this, none of us had the energy to do anything, what with a food coma and the meat sweats setting in, so Rod kindly dropped us back at the vans, where we gestated our food for the evening whilst Rod and John headed back into Adelaide to prepare for their work tomorrow – sucks to be them.

Five German Beer Paddles thanks!
Jules tried to drink as many of the beers as she could whilst we were discussing sampling notes and taking pictures.
More beer and our meat share platter for two. BJ, Rod and John were smarter, they shared the same meat platter between three which was a much better idea.
BJ and his whiskey paddle

With our remaining day in Mt Barker, we had planned to drive south to experience the Fleurieu Peninsula and wow, the Fleurieu Peninsula is spectacular! Having spent the last couple of weeks exploring and experiencing the Eyre (largest), Yorke (2nd largest) and today the Fleurieu Peninsula (you guessed it, the smallest), we were blown away, both literally and emotionally by the Fleurieu Peninsula.

A not-so-spectacular day weather-wise, we left Mt Barker this morning before 9 am, travelling down to Victor Harbor for our first stop, some exploring and mornos. Victor Harbor was sleepy as, but still felt like a nice place. A seaside town, with good history and a strong development vibe going on.

After mornos at the bakery, we did a little walk, then drive around town, ending up at The Bluff which provided some awesome views of the town and coastline. From there we drove down, then up an awesome steep-sided gully, just outside of town, before heading Southeast towards Cape Jervis through some absolutely beautiful wild and hilly countryside. The heavy clouds, rain showers and wind added to the drama of the landscape, but unfortunately made photos hard to take.

It was fairly blowing a gale force wind at Cape Jervis which is the ferry launch point for Kangaroo Island. There’s heaps of construction work going on down there at present which meant the cape felt pretty dirty and unfinished, but the coastline North of Morgans Beach was stunning in the wild weather.

As has happened only once or twice before in my (Tonys) lifetime, I re-experienced wind strong enough to literally blow me around. As I approached my chosen photo-taking spot, the wind decided better and “picked me up and threw me round like a rag doll” (Monsters Inc. movie reference), literally making it impossible for me to stand still in the one spot for my photo-taking.

From there, we were again blown away by the dramatic and stunning hillsides and vistas through to Rapid and Second Bay. These are definitely locations to be revisited again in the future.

Noting that we were only 90’odd km South of Adelaide city, as we drove further North, the landscape and vibe turned progressively summer-holiday hotspot location. On a day like today, with crappy weather, the beaches were void of people, but come summer and calm days, they’d be chocka-block with sweaty, paled-skinned humans all vying for the best beach possie. Doubtless to say, the further North and closer to Adelaide we got, the less engaged we felt with the Fleurieu Peninsula. However, we did finish the day and our drive on a high, dropping in to visit the Snowys Camping Store in person, just a few km outside of Adelaide CBD. Snowys is an online store we visit, and buy from a lot, so it was good to do the physical, in-store thing. Better still, walking out without succumbing to buying some random item we didn’t need but wanted at the time.

A door in Vicor Harbor
A random roadside pic (out of the car window) of the dramatic landscape and weather
The Lighthouse at Cape Jervis. The ferry to Kangaroo Island was just to the left. I’m not sure what those people were waiting for on the helipad.
Looking along the coast from Morgans Beach
A field of trees cast shadows behind Morgans Beach
Rapid Bay coastline – stunning
The hills and field on the road into Rapid Bay
The hills and field on the road into Rapid Bay
The hills and field on the road into Rapid Bay
A Dragon Boat sculpture as you enter Rapid Bay
More dramatic coastline taken from the HMAS Hobart Memorial Lookout, south of Normanville

Don’t get us wrong, we enjoyed our little jaunt back into civilisation, but we can’t wait to go bush again. That however will need to wait for another week or so, as we’re now heading out to Mount Gambier for a couple of nights, before dropping into Victoria to catch up with my sister and her family, and my mum and dad. Then, we’re planning to go feral and into the bush again – can’t wait!.

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