The Road Trip trip around the Barossa Valley can take one day. We have enjoyed spreading out our time here, wandering, investigting, visiting, tasting and trying all that is on offer.
We are members of the CMCA. One of the privileges of membership is access to over 250 park over properties. One such place near Gawler was an absolute delight to stay at.
Our hosts were very hospitable with delicious cups of coffee and chats about the area.
One of the most delightful places we went to visit was the Whispering Wall. The wall is the Barossa Valley Dam. The dam supplies water to the Gawler area. It was one of the lifeblood requirements of setting up the community in this area while gold was mined.
The curve of the wall of the dam, creates an audible experience across 140m, Geoff and I could whisper sweet nothings to each other and hear what the other was saying.
There are interpretive panels explaining how and why the dam came to be. The area is also a picnic spot and would be lovely on a warm spring or autumn day. This is one of those places of interest that is worth making the effort to go to.
While staying in the Gawler district we took advantage of train travel into Adelaide to go exploring. A $10 day pass allowed us to travel for the day on buses, trains and trams. There is also a free hop on, hop off bus and tram service available in the inner city.
For me places that are about food at always a highlight. We thoroughly enjoy visiting the Chinatown food Hall with food from around Asia was available at reasonable prices.
The food hall is part of the central market, open Tuesday to Sunday, but we found quite a number of stalls were open on Monday as well.
We also booked a spot on the Hague chocolate factory tour. Geoff was a reluctant starter as he believes chocolate isn't good for us. However he was slow to offer to give up his samples of chocolate (in fact he didn't share),
With the explanation of how chocolate is made right from the growing of the cocao plant, and from the pod to the seed, to the processing right here, the tour was really enjoyable. We were able to hold parts of the plant to smell, touch and feel that really was made the tour with while.
Of course some supplies where required and we did purchase seconds which supplied us with desert after our evening meal for the next three weeks.
Finishing our Barossa Valley road trip with a wander through the old gold fields, now a popular recreation area with walks varying from 30 mins to 2.5 hours, It is a popular area for the locals to walk their dogs.
At the foothills of the goldfields is Lyndoch. A small village surrounded by wineries and full of cafe's and quirky little shops. Our final cellar door experience was at Kies Winery where the specialty is fortified wines.
They are a small winery and only sell their produce and product at the cellar door or online.
I came away with a bottle of blonde port and thoroughly enjoyed the visit, made fun by Mat, even with his hand bandaged, he managed to look after a group of four young ladies who didn't really drink wine, as well as us. It was quite an amusing visit. Most of the ladies left with a bottle or two under their arm.
Next stop Yorke Peninsula.
When you say Barossa Valley, people already know it is one of Australia's wine regions. What we didn't fully appreciate is that we have come from one of the top wine regions in the world and finding a wine that we like was a very hit and miss affair to start with. That was until we discovered a little winery in the tiny village of Greenock. Actually this village sports two wineries and a brewery. But the Kalleske winery, one of the oldest in the Barossa Valley and has been in the Kalleske family since 1853. Our wine tasting experience was warm and convivial as we were led through the vines and their history, along with stories about the wines and wine makers. The price of the wines was down to earth too. .We chatted with an Irish couple who had lived in New Zealand, returned to Ireland and eventually settled in Australia. Our hostess looked after three tastings at the bar and three tastings seated at the tables and it was all spaced out nicely, giving enough time to fully appreciate each variety.
No Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir. But wine made from old vines where the grapes struggle with minimal watering adding depth to the wine. This lady walked home to where we were camping in the nearby oval very happy,
At the beginning of our day, we visited the Herbig family tree. This is where the family lived until they had an actual house to live in. The Herbig homestead is on the opposite side of the road. Standing inside the tree, we would also have been happy to camp here.
The road trip continued on to the Eden Valley lookout across the Barossa Valley and the Sculpture Park (see photo above), as the weather closed in. The Autum rain had started early.
The Sculpture Park resulted after a stone symposium in 2008. The work of the sculptures is here for people to enjoy. See at the end of this post for photos of some of the sculptures. My favourite is the one with the small hand and foot carved into the stone as if a child has stepped into cement.
After sampling cheese in Angaston, we quickly move on to Pheasant Farm, the home of Maggie Beer, to arrive in time for the two o'clock cooking demonstration. I thought this would be one of the highlights of the trip for me, and it would have been, except Maggie herself arrived, looking for her head chef. She stopped to say hello and welcomed everyone. She is so warm and natural, just a genuine person. The kitchen is a replica of Maggie's kitchen. When she was making the TV series "The Cook and the Chef" there were 40 people involved in production. At the time, Maggie's children were small, so the interruption to family life needed to be kept to a minimum, in the family home. Maggie arranged for a replica kitchen to be built at the farm shop. Maggie is a guest on the latest Masterchef series. Her cooking is the basics and rustic. For example, you leave the onion skins on - no tears for the cook put the skins to the side of your plate. It's the first cooking demo that Geoff has been to with me. He couldn't see how he would use any of it on the BBQ, whereas I saw heaps of things we can do. The balsamic apples worked a treat. I still have to take the skin off our onions - BBQ chefs instructions.
The next day was Saturday, so we made our way to the Barossa Valley Farmers Market, between Nuriootpa and Angaston. It was everything I think a farmers market should be. The farmers (or their staff) on hand to talk about their produce. No middle man, just the real deal. It's a very popular market and it wasn't easy finding parking for the motorhome. We eventually got her parked far enough off the road to go in.
After topping up our fresh fruit, vege, meat, cheese and bread we wandered our way to Kapunda. Down into the iSite cellar we went to meet the characters who created this town.
We then went out to the copper mine ruins to walk the rim of the mine. I've never been a fan of Cornish Pasties because of that thick lump of pastry on the side, but guess what! You don't eat that lump of pastry. That's the bit the copper miner holds on to while he eats down in the mine on his lunch break, then discards because he doesn't want copper in his system. The walk used interpretive panels to paint the life of the people at the mine and we enjoyed it - although we had to cut our walk around the open cast bit short as the rain came down. We scurried back to the van for our own lunch of Barossa Valley farmers market fare.
Down in the cellar of the iSite meeting the characters who built the town, via video sitting on hide skins.
The walk up to the chimney gave a good view of the copper mine area. Originally the copper mine covered an 80 acre section when the copper was discovered and the land was surveyed in 1842. Kapunda was the first successful mine in Australia and the area grew on the wealth it created.
Horses were used to drive a wheel to pump water out from the mine, but they weren't Clydesdales as in Clyde, the statue. The statue is to honour the pit ponies who carted equipment and ore. A replica of the wheel that was driven by horses walking in a circle has been created, is movable. The kids on the walk ahead of us had fun pushing it around, as did the big kid that travels with me.
We were able to walk down into the open cast mine. The colours in the rocks, resulting from the copper are really pretty.
The miners used to report hearing strange noises in the mine, named Tommy Knockers, the spirit creatures of the underground.
We found the interactive panels around the mine area helped paint a picture of the life and business around and in the mine.
Our road trip for the day concluded with a drink in the Gungellan Pub in Freeling, known as Gungellan in the TV series McLeod's Daughters. A wall, just inside the door has been dedicated to the filming of the series. There were a few new subdivisions in Freeling.
McLeod's daughters Gungellan Pub in Freeling. As we entered the town a group of teenagers gave us a friendly wave. I'm guessing that they have been told how much visitors give to the economy.
McLeod's Daughters country, heading towards the motorway, and back to Greenoch where we bush camped at the oval, for a couple of nights. It is set up with a dump station, fresh water and rubbish bins.
And so ended one of the best days on our road trip so far.
Two Kiwi's who have retired early to travel the world. Share our journey with us.