Hmmm, difficult to write about Adelaide as the things that make it a good place to be are also the things that make it dull! It is clean and well laid out with plenty of shopping and good public transport. The point of us being there was that as part of the train trip, we got two days touring the surrounding area and tasting wine from the most famous Australian regions.

Our first day was a tour of the McClaren Vale and Adelaide Hills. An intimate arrangement of Sarah and I, a German girl and our tour guide. It started out well, with a plate of local cheeses, and improved. The wineries were not any that we had heard of before, they were smaller scale and geared to what is know here as “Cellar Door”, that is tastings and direct sales, however at no time were we made to feel like we were being sold to, it was much more of a fun learning experience about Australian wine. We were having lunch in the toasty mid-day sun of a winery garden, when one of the groundskeepers asked us if we would move inside. Apparently a brown snake had been spotted in the garden. Australia has more poisonous (the really rather deadly sort of poisonous) critters per square foot than I care to mention, so we raced indoors. Once indoors I realized I was missing a photographic opportunity so I raced outside to watch a madman poke a deadly snake with a stick. We left the winery, full of lunch, but with a deadly and now rather angry snake still loose on the grounds. Later in the day we visited a small winery called Arranmore, where John, the owner and only employee talked to us in detail about the Australian winemaking process, and proving you don’t need to be a big company, or have vast amounts of equipment to make a good wine.

The second day, at the more famous Barossa valley was in comparison a disappointment to us. The wine making there is much more commercial, Sarah and I are very familiar with the first stop – Wolf Blass. The wines were excellent, but the tour group was much larger and the scale of the operation was intimidating. A wine highlight was a visit to some vineyards which may hold the worlds oldest shiraz vines, we even got to taste the amazing wine from these low yield plants. The true highlight was finishing the day in a helicopter over the vast and mostly empty valley where the sunburned Australian country can really be appreciated.

We had a free day in Adelaide before leaving for the Great Ocean Road. We visited some museums and enjoyed a low-key time in a small and manageable city. Sarah had a monster steak!

I have started to notice, in Australia, that there is a paranoia here; every where there are signs saying that that you are being filmed, even in taxis which could pass as armored tanks. Shops routinely have signs saying bags will be inspected on leaving. I have never felt safer on any city streets, yet at the same time I have never felt more like a criminal! Bizarre!

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  • Scott Blish

    Dec 12th, 2007

    Hey guys:
    On your way down the Main South Road as you headed towards McLaren Vale on the Fleurieu Peninsula, you might have noticed a turnoff for a place called Seaford about 5 km north of McLaren Vale. That’s where I used to live. 😉 I actually worked (as a completely illegal migrant worker, mind you) in one of the McLaren Vale-area wineries a little bit further down the peninsula, called Aldinga Bay. I definitely agree with you about the McLaren Vale wineries; they are extremely underrated as compared to the much-better-known Barossa Valley mainstays. Interesting to hear about your encounter with the brown snake, but down in that area it’s the redback spiders that are more likely to get you and make the rest of your stay extremely unpleasant. 😉 Just out of curiosity, where did you eat while you were in Adelaide, and did you get to see Rundle Mall at all?

  • We stayed on Hindley Street, so we were very close to Rundle Mall, and went there several times. It was really nice, especially as it was decorated for Christmas. We ate at the Pasta Palace, the Woolshed and Burp! We did enjoy Adelaide, but it’s true that it’s not cheap anymore!

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