Victor Harbour to the Barossa Valley

11th August, 1994
12th August, 1994
13th August, 1994
14th August, 1994
15th August, 1994

Day 13. Thursday 11th August

Granite Island tram photo

The Granite Island Horse Tram, Victor Harbour, South Australia

Drop cap ictor Harbour turned on what I feel is real VH weather - an incredible wind freezing although not wet. I remember fifteen years ago nearly being blown off the Granite Island causeway. We went first to the Whale Information Network a very new venture in VH, its only been open five weeks. It is very interesting, lots about whaling in history and VH in particular and then lots about saving the whale and whale watching. They have a board which shows where whales have been sighted recently, there was one in VH last week! None this week unfortunately.

Granite Island Photo

Granite Island, Victor Harbour, South Australia

Drop cap hen we went to Granite Island by the horse-drawn tram. We could probably have walked faster but the wind was incredible. The old Clydesdale plodded on phlegmatically and took us over the causeway to the island where we climbed up the steps to the top and turned around and came back, also by tram. We had coffee and went to an art gallery accessing it through the back door art school because the wind was too bad to open the front door! Then we drove to the Bluff or Rosetta Head where we explored a bit, had lunch at the Bluff Cafe and then headed off for Cape Jervis.

Drop cap fter exploring every little town on the way (a group of 13 kangaroos just outside Yankalilla) we arrived at Cape Jervis Tavern where we are sleeping tonight and tomorrow. After the slighting comments of our travel agents ("very basic - I suppose if you only want to sleep there...") what else!, I was very agreeably surprised by the Tavern. It has a restaurant as well as counter teas and the seven motel units are well away from the pub and very comfy. We can leave our gear and the car here, they run a shuttle to the ferry. Breakfast in the general store first thing tomorrow, then ho! off to the island.

Day 14. Friday, 12th August

Drop cap ell, the best laid plans of Macs and men gang aft agley! After a near gale last night the sea was so rough that the ferry was cancelled! It couldn't leave the island and they couldn't give us a time when it might arrive, therefore our tour was unable to go. The Sealink people gave us a full refund and when we got in touch with the agent in VH they said they would honour the refund. So we gave up Cape Jervis and headed for Adelaide via Hahndorf in the hills district outside Adelaide.

Drop cap t was still blowing a gale and started raining as well so we didn't see Hahndorf at its best, but we looked at the quaint Germanic buildings, saw an exhibition of Hans Heyson originals and went to the Model Train exhibit. We had lunch there in one of several dozen coffee shops (in Hahndorf, the only thing there is more of than coffee shops is craft and australiana for the tourists).

Drop cap e then drove on towards Adelaide, turning off for Glenelg and finding a Budget Motel near the beach. I hope it stops raining tomorrow, it's no fun sight-seeing in the rain. We had a delicious gargantuan Mexican meal at a local cantina - burritos, but thinking of the size of the ones I make I thought we would need more so I ordered an entree of nachos. Absolutely yummy, but a huge platter, we were full before the main meal came and the burritos were three times the size of mine. Talk about bloated.

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Day 15. Saturday, 13th August

Glenelg Tram Photo

The Glenelg Tourist Tram, Adelaide, South Australia

Drop cap p at a reasonable hour for once. The sun was shining, the wind had dropped, a perfect winter's day. We walked to the famous Glenelg Tram terminus, purchased all day excursion tickets which were valid for all public transport and headed off for the city. Arrived at Victoria Square, the other end of the tram line and walked up King William Street to the Tourist Bureau, where we made enquiries about the Barossa.

Drop cap fter that we walked to Grenfell Street and there we caught the O-Bahn to Tea Tree Plaza by the Modbury Interchange. The O-Bahn is a bendy bus, which travels along a preformed concrete guideway. It has small horizontal wheels mounted just in front of the front wheels. These guide wheels are mounted on pistons which controls the steering and the bus runs in a concrete channel without the necessity of the driver steering it at speeds of up to 100 kph. The tyres of the bus are constructed on a solid core so that in the event of a blowout the bus can continue driving to the end of the O-Bahn section where it can be driven out of the path of following buses. Mac asked the driver, who volunteered all the above information. We used our transport tickets for the O-Bahn as well as the tram (1 hour on the tram, return, 1 hour on the O-Bahn return and another bus from the Gardens to Victoria Square, all for $4-00. I think it's a good deal.) Coincidentally, while on the O-Bahn we encountered again two families we had met at Cape Jervis, one French family with an Australian host family, all speaking French slowly and clearly. I was able to understand the French lady when she asked if we had enjoyed the trip in the boat and when I told them the story in a mixture of French and English I understood her comments. They had been on Kangaroo Island the day before we were to go and were complaining of mal de mer from the ferry on Thursday night when it was working itself up to Friday's effort.

Drop cap nyway, we had coffee and raisin toast at the Tea Tree Plaza, a Westfield Shopping Centre, very like Parramatta or Penrith, then returned to explore Adelaide's major shopping area, Rundle Mall, before meeting Steve at 2:30. The Myer Centre in Rundle Mall is unbelievable. It is huge, at least 8 or 9 stories high with glass lifts and the last floor has a roller coaster type ride built in for the kids.

Drop cap e met Steve exactly on time. He hasn't changed much, a bit more grey in the beard and hair but haven't we all! He was wearing a black sweater over white shirt and a lovely silver Celtic cross. He took us to the street markets out of the upmarket Mall area which had lots of craft like "Druid" made Celtic designs which he is very fond of. We had coffee and chatted for an hour and a half then Mac and I went to the Botanic Gardens to the fabulous rainforest conservatory. We only had 10 minutes because it closed at 4 p.m. but it was great, it even has its own misty rain system. By this time my feet had given out, one little toe was bleeding and I have huge blisters on my heels. It took 8 band aids when we finally got back. Dinner at Sizzlers, just up the road. Tomorrow the Barossa.

Day 16. Sunday, 14th August

Barossa Junction photograph

Barossa Junction Motel, Tanunda, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Drop cap he Barossa Valley. It is lovely, very NEAT. I suppose it's the German heritage. It doesn't seem to have the Australian attitude of "she'll be right, build where the horse dies" type of outlook. The Lutheran churches are a case in point. They are neat, tidy, no unnecessary extrusions. We bought a picnic in Tanunda and ate at the reserve in Bethany, a historic German style village with even some slab-sided, thatched roof sheds left from the earliest days.

Drop cap e found ourselves a motel between Tanunda and Nuriootpa called "The Barossa Junction" It is like a railway station, the rooms are in reconditioned railway carriages. Ours is great, with a brand new bathroom. They gave us 20% off the normal price (I don't know why, exactly) and threw in a continental breakfast as well. We found the makings in the fridge and cupboard when we got back from a heritage tour guided by brown signposts around the area. We are organising (I hope) a Valley Tour, picked up and deposited back here tomorrow. Then we won't have to worry about tasting the wine (and swallowing it).

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Day 17. Monday, 15th August

Barossa Valley photograph

Sculpture Park overlooking Barossa Valley, South Australia

Drop cap lept very well in our carriage last night, woke to our provided breakfast, then went on our Valley Tour. The driver, Frank Anderson, is a bit of a character, like a mobile garden gnome, and knows everything about the Barossa. He used to be a grape picker or planter or something and knows everyone.

Drop cap he only other people in the bus were a German family, mother and two sons , one at school (high) and one at University and the grandmother. They spoke German among themselves but all spoke good English, particularly the mother and the eldest son. They live close to the Kaiser Stuhl, near the border of Alsace Lorraine and when they heard that we were going to France and Switzerland next year invited us to visit them. We exchanged cards and addresses .

Drop cap t was a very pleasant day. We visited three wineries to taste and passed by all the other features of the Valley, including Angas Park dried fruit packing house, where I bought some sugar free confectionary for Geoff and some spiced mustards to try. Then we went all round some historic areas, lovely National Trust homesteads and the horse stud and training grounds of Colin Hayes the prize winning racehorse trainer. It was a fabulous place, on a scale to make Dick Francis green with envy and I've seen Newmarket.

Dorrien photograph

Wine Storage Tank, Dorrien's Winery, Barossa Valley

Drop cap ur first winery was Bethany Wines, a small family run organisation. We tried all their whites and I was quite impressed by the Rhine Riesling and the Spatlese so I bought a bottle of each. Frank, the driver, was obviously like one of the family as he went behind the counter and sliced up metwurst, a smoky German salami type sausage, and helped with the pouring. We toured Bethany again (we did it on Sunday) then headed for Nuriootpa and Dorrien's winery for tasting and lunch. This winery also had cider and mead so we tasted those. The cider had no apple quality, we thought, rather tasteless. There was a ginger flavoured one but you could only taste the ginger. Mac had some spiced mead, which smelled like it would clear his sinuses, (he has a cold) particularly served warm. He bought a bottle for future reference. Then we had lunch at the gourmet restaurant attached to the winery(all part of the price of the tour)They had kangaroo and venison as well as more conventional stuff. Mac had venison hot pot soup, roast venison and port wine trifle, I had pumpkin soup, a fisherman's basket and apple strudel. Lovely.

Drop cap fter lunch we had another winery, Peter Lehmann's. It was very attractive with an open log fire and big leather chairs. We didn't like the wines enough to buy any, but the others did. That was the end of the tour. I had rather hoped for Seppeltsfield but, like Orlando Jacob's Creek, you can buy Seppelts anywhere, so the tasting doesn't matter. But I wanted to show the buildings to Mac. This is our turning point. From now on we are on our way home - much faster than getting here.

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