Pauline and I picked up the hire car from the other end of the CBD but not without incident. Pauline was the driver and she decided to brake suddenly when a car came up the parking ramp but her reactions were a bit too excessive. She complained that the brakes were too hard while I abused her for almost making me spill coffee all over myself and getting a seatbealt burn. It was a good start to the day. 🙂
We drove back to the hotel to pick up the others, with me getting shotgun because I was navigator. The exit out of the city was really easy, I think because Adelaide streets are mostly two lane and because it was well designed. Within 15 minutes we found ourselves on the Princess HIghway where we could have kept going to Melbourne if we wanted. It felt like as soon as we got on the highway we had to get off again to drive up to Mt Lofty, Adelaide’s answer to Brisbane’s Mt Cootha. The view of the city was hazy when we were there but I could still pick out the extremely straight road that cut through the landscape for ages. Flinders had a big pole up on the mountain which was really the only thing to look at on the actual mountain other than the restaurant and tourist shop. I was kind of ready to go after 5 minutes but I had to wait for everyone to go to the toilet first before we could leave.
Our next stop was at Bridgewater Mill after driving through a pretty town called Stirling. The Mill was used at one stage for power but is now a restaurant and winery. Basically we just took pictures, avoided the sprinklers and drove off.
Hahndorf was the town we had all been looking forward to on this trip. It’s a town that was settled by Germans and therefore had a very european feel (apart from crocodile dundee’s legs sticking out of the ground???). There were german bakeries, a pub where you could order brattwurst and a steinlager and a cookoo clock store. All of us had fun in the lolly store, kelly bought pigs and I bought eggs. We had a brattwurst dog in a little cafe because at that point we didn’t realise how done up the pub was. The brattwurst was still nice and huge enough for us to share between two. We probably spent about an hour and a half in Hahndorf and still didn’t see everything in the main street. I liken it to Mapleton on the Sunshine Coast.
We took the backroads to Birdwood, not even stopping for the Melba chocolate factory. Kelly, Pauline and I raced through the Australian Motor Museum while Mum, Sue and Fiona wandered the streets and then relaxed in the foyer of the museum. I wasn’t expecting much when I saw the 1980s magna on display out the front but actually found the museum really cool. They had a Telecom Phone car that actually worked, a very green and orange sportscar owned by Twiggy and some great old Holdens and Fords. It really did focus on cars that have an iconic status in Australia but maybe I was sold on the place thanks to the special display for the Vespa and the Adelaide Scooter club. I would have perhaps liked to be able to sit in an FJ Holden or something but that would be my only criticism.
Another short stop in Gumeracha to see the Big Rockinghorse and the toy store where Pauline made friends with the cockatoo and Auntie Sue laid on a bench then it was off to the Barossa. Let me pre pend this with the stories I had been told over the previous 3 days. “I’m gonna get so drunk”, “I can’t wait to try all those wines”, “I’m going to buy the stores out”. At this point of the journey I became designated driver because I wasn’t drinking. Kelly picked our first stop which was the Chateau Barrosa. I guess I can’t blame her for the fact that they are better known for their liqueurs than their wine but I wasn’t prepared for what happened when we got inside. We walk up to the tasting area and suddenly I can hear the wind blowing, tumbleweeds spinning by and everyone is showing a little bit too much attention to the walls. Um guys… aren’t you wine tasting? Well sod it, I didn’t come all this way so I’ll make the first move. Hey lady, I’m a newbie, show us this tasting lark. Oh look, the walls aren’t interesting any more. 🙂 We walked out with some grape syrup while Auntie Sue walked out with a huge box of stuff.
While we had waiting for Auntie Sue we decided we’d go to Richmond Grove as we had had a great Dry White from them a few years ago. They took a bit longer than we expected to ring up Auntie Sue’s purchases so it ended up being a mercy drive to make the Grove in time before they closed. Auntie Sue was actually kind enough to ring ahead to see if they were still open and when we rocked up with seconds to spare we were surprised that the building actually looked like it did on the label (except for the vast warehouses behind it that were pumping out shitloads of wine). Inside in the tasting area no one liked anything on offer so we were out of there quick smart. A huge disappointment to discover they no longer make the dry white and nothing else worked for our palates.
Since we aren’t the greatest wine connoisseurs in the world we thought we’d go with what else we knew – Cockatoo Ridge. The best bargain was they threw in a free wine to mum and auntie sue when they bought a wine cooler. On our way there we had seen a sign for the best Merlot in Australia award so we thought we’d go investigate that since Pauline liked her Merlot. We drove through the roses and no one thought it was open so I walked in to check. I looked through the window but couldn’t see anything and was walking away when the guy opened the door and said come in. Everyone else bar mum came inside and tasted the wine. Of course the only non planned winery we visit ends up appealing to everyone. Pauline and Sue liked the merlot, the winemaker sold Kelly on some sweet white wine that appeals to new wine drinkers and I loved the pickeled onions. Vinecrest Wines really impressed us with both their wines and their friendliness.
After that we decided we’d seen enough wineries and decided to head back to Adelaide via the Torrens Gorge. But before we reached the gorge we thought we’d stop off at the Whispering Wall near Williamstown. We were really just intrigued by the name and we got there about 5 minutes before it closed. Unexpectedly it was really really cool! Yeah, it’s just a dam, but when you stand on one side and someone stands on the other, you can just talking normally and hear what the other person is saying. I’ve uploaded a video as an example (you may need to up your volume to hear kelly):
And this was Pauline’s initial reaction:
The drive through the Torrens Gorge was very windy and would be hard for someone who had car sickness. It was worth it though as it was very scenic and beautiful even if it was pretty brown. I would have loved to have seen it green but we still saw more water than what Brisbane has. It’s quite bizarre because the location seems really remote until you emerge the other side to see roofs that all look the same and you are in the middle of suburbia. Once out of the gorge you can sleep because the road is pretty much straight to get to the CBD. Pauline, Kelly and I were really hungry when we got back to the hotel so we dropped off the others and decided to get something to eat.
I’d had a hard on to eat at the Apothecary once I found out it used to be an old chemists and was still decorated like that. There is a restaurant downstairs but we chose to sit up at the bar and go for the tapas type meals. We shared our orders, the prosciutto salad going well with the chicken and brie. In fact the chicken was so well received it was ordered again. Kelly and I went for desserts also and were thoroughly pleased with our choices – Kelly going for chocolate while I fell in love with my honey baked ricotta pudding. It took a lot of work from me to convince Pauline and Kelly that it was worth finding a car park for and I’m glad it worked as we all walked out happy.
Our day hadn’t ended yet however as we wanted to squeeze the most out of hire car. We picked up Sue and Fiona as Mum was feeling quite ill by then and went out to Hindley Beach. On the way we passed a Chitty Pharmacy (geddit) which kept us amused for a while. At the beach there was another jetty that we walked along (at one point I thought a guy was masturbating until I realised he was massaging a lady’s foot in his lap lol). We drove along the promenade where all the expensive looking houses were and then headed back to the hotel. I managed to navigate the car down the tricky driveway and went to bed totally shattered tired.
For more photos, check out the Day 4 Photo Gallery.