Australia

Wine, Art, Beer and Whales!

First, to Tanunda, in the Barossa Valley to sample the wine & maybe do a little walking. Then, through the Adelaide Hills to Hahndorf. They say it’s more German than Germany.

It was the home of Sir Hans Heysen, the noted artist, many art galleries and also to Grumpy’s Brewhaus, a micro brewery where they make (and sell)great beer. Finally, Victor Harbor, where I really recommend crossing the causeway to Granite Island, hopefully to see penguins, whales, dolphins and seals.

Adelaide

When you arrive at airport in the afternoon you could either hire a campervan straight away or head into city and stay at accommodation and collect it Saturday morning.

For a really good night out, I recommend the Bombay Bicycle Club at No 1, Torrens Road, Hovingham. 100 beers from all over the world, and great curry! There’s a fairly regular bus service from the city centre. You can plan your journey here.

For budget accommodation in Adelaide, I’d suggest the YHA, at 135 Waymouth Street.

Barossa Valley

There’s a direct route along the main highway from Adelaide to the Barossa Valley wine-growing region, but there’s also at least two scenic ones through the hills. We went out by one, and returned by the other. You can go out by one and return by the other. Take the Main North Road (A1) out of Adelaide; at the Grand Junction Rd (Gepps Cross) follow the A20 to just outside Gawler then the B19 (signposted) to Lyndoch, Tanunda or Nuriootpa.

Our first call was at the cellar door of a household name. Jacob’s Creek. I know what Jacob’s Creek tastes like, you can buy it in the supermarket at home. Not this one, I was told. Try a taste! The vineyard made for some good photography and you can walk a short distance, to photograph Jacob’s Creek, after which the wine was named, itself. You can also wander around the visitor centre, finding out about Jacob, after whom the creek was named.

For other wineries, there’s a pretty good map you can get for free in the tourist office at Tanunda. Or, if time permits, it could be picked up in Adelaide at the SA Tourism Office; where a whole slew of informative free stuff to cover the whole route can be picked up. In fact, some of SA’s free tourist information is the best I’ve ever seen, anywhere.

If you eat at the Peter Lehmann winery, the fare looks rather expensive at first … but, they’re sharing platters! And, for a real foodie experience, don’t fail to visit Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. We just had a coffee there … but the tranquil surrounding can’t be faulted

We chose the Bethany Winery, set on a hillside above the valley and one of the oldest established winemakers in the Barossa Valley. I recommended this because I’ve been before, and knew of its reputation for some of the best views over the Barossa Valley. And, there’s even better ones from the low hill behind the winery. But, while some of us were photographing, others tasted the wine … and we came away with several bottles.

There are caravan parks in Lyndoch, Nooriootpa and Mount Pleasant, but driving back Adelaide is also an option (but, would you want to, after sampling all that delicious wine? :D)

Hahndorf

High in the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf has always had the reputation of being ‘more German than Germany’. Which isn’t really surprising, as it was founded by German settlers fleeing religious persecution in their homeland. Nowadays, it’s home to boutiques, craft shops and restaurants. But, the buildings they occupy are still mainly traditional, and the High Street, in which most of them stand, are lined with maple trees which are ablaze with colour in the Autumn.

It is also home to South Australia’s most famous painter, Sir Hans Heysen. We have a couple of prints of his paintings on our walls. In fact, I think this is the first time we’ve visited Hahndorf and not come away with pictures. Sometimes, I think if you threw a stone at random anywhere in Hahndorf, there’s a better-that-even chance it would go through the window of an art gallery. The ‘must see’ is ‘The Cedars’, former home of Sir Hans Heysen, which is open to the public, and shows many examples of his work. We had lunch in … wait for it … the German Arms, which is mainly noted for selling the unfortunately named Duff Beer. Of course, I had to buy some; it lived up to its name; it’s not beer I’d cross town to buy. You can get good beer in Hahndorf, though; the boutique brewery Grumpy’s Brewhaus is just on the outskirts. I didn’t see any Grumpy’s at the German Arms, but, their Jaegerschnitzel was worth walking miles for.

If you don’t drive back to Adelaide, I’d suggest the B10 from Angaston via Eden Valley, Birdwood and Woodside. If you do, it’s a straight drive along the South-East Highway (A1)

The closest caravan park is at Mount Barker, about 10 km. away. However, to return to Adelaide would only be about an hour’s drive. (BTW, it’s Victor Harbor … American spelling … unless you work for the railway, who spell it the British way!)

Whales, Dolphins and Penguins at Victor Harbor

Note: Because you fly out Monday afternoon you could always swap the Victor Harbor day with the Hahndorf day to give yourself more time by the seaside – especially if you return to Adelaide after the Barossa day. In which case, you should take the Unley Road out of Adelaide, and head for Victor Harbor via Willunga. There’s a back road from nearby Goolwa to Hahndorf, via Meadows and Echunga … reversed, if you don’t take this option.

Among other attractions, Victor Harbor is a great location for spotting marine wildlife. The best location for this is from Granite Island, which is connected to the mainland by a wooden causeway. You can walk along this, or take the horse-drawn tram, which carries passengers across the causeway to the island. There is a restaurant called The Reef Restaurant and Cafe on Granite Island. We just had a pie and a cup of coffee there … but you can check them out.

Here, in their season, you can see whales, seals and dolphins … there’s also a penguin colony on the island. And, if you don’t want to watch for the sea creatures, there are plenty of short walking trails to enjoy. There is a caravan park at Victor Harbor on Park Bay Road.

Takeaways

More than the wine! I wrote about the view from the Bethany Winery; take a short trip up nearby Mengler Hill for an even better one, passing through a sculpture park on the way.

Art, walking and beer! As I said in the main body, Autumn is far and away the best time to visit Hahndorf. For a taste, as well as a sight of Germany, the Jaegerschnitzel at the German Arms can’t be beaten.

The Cockle Train If it’s running on the day of your visit, try a ride on the steam-hauled ‘Cockle Train’ to nearby Goolwa. This is claimed to be the first railway in Australia, and connects Victor Harbor with Lake Alexandrina and the mouth of the Murray.

The Heysen Trail (named after Hahndorf’s most famous citizen) is close by. You won’t have time to walk the whole thing, but several pleasant short walks can be based on it.

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