VICTOR HARBOR - McLAREN VALE

Trip Start May 08, 2008
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21
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Trip End Jan 31, 2012


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Where I stayed
Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Monday, March 30, 2009

VICTOR HARBOR - FLEURIEU PENINSULA March 25th - April 1st, 2009

On the way out of Narracoorte we passed the police station and courthouse and couldn't resist a photographic opportunity. The murals on both of these buildings were fantastic -check out the photos. We are so lucky to be Aussies and have such a great sense of fun about the serious business of keeping law and order. Of course, it may have been because of graffiti!!

We headed out of Naracoorte and onto the Riddoch Highway, then the Dukes Highway for our destination Victor Harbor (spelt incorrectly by an unnamed SA government official !! what a claim to fame)!! located on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The road was excellent - straight and flat as far as the eye can see. Very arid landscape once again and actually passed some salt lakes and salt bushes.

Drove through the Padthaway vineyards (no tasting as it is too early in the morning). Richmond Grove, Stonehaven, Seppelts, Eliza are just of few of the wineries and the vines line both sides of the highway and just go on, and on and on....The vineyards themselves are much larger than the Coonawarra area, which surprised us. We also passed through the Langhorne Creek vineyards. Had morning tea at a little town called Keith and lunched at Strathalbyn which was originally settled by the Scottish. Wow, sometimes we get such a surprise as we head into an unknown town and it is just so beautiful. There is a beautiful park with roses in full bloom and colourful gardens - another lovely old church, rotunda, etc. History abounds in these areas with all the old buildings beautifully restored.

Arrived at Victor Harbor about 3.30pm. A great town to wander around in and the park is right on the beach with the town 15 mins walk away, along the esplanade accessed via our back gate.

We took the famous horse-drawn tram from Victor Harbor to Granite Island - a 20minute trip one way along the causeway which is 632 metres long. Clydesdale horses are used - 8 in all and rotated every 3 hours. Initially it was built, or extended along the causeway to Granite Island to service large American and European clippers. By the 1800s 25,000 bales of wool from western NSW and Qld were being paddled down the Murray, freighted by train to Victor Harbor and then shipped to the world. (Thank goodness for travel brochures otherwise I would never remember all this stuff)! There is a huge breakwater made out of granite off the island and it was built entirely by human power and Clydesdales. None of the rocks blasted and used were under 20 tonne! What an amazing feat.

Granite Island is home to fairy penguins and we walked around the island checking out their burrows. The burrows have becomes quite exposed becase of the drought and the vegetation dying off. We visited the rescue station on the island and the penguins are just s-o-o cute!! Watched them in their natural habitat - or as natural as it can be - and they also had some burrows with viewing windows (not much privacy for the poor things) and just happened to see two penguins settling into their burrow. They are getting ready to mate, with the males being the process of making the best burrow he can as this is how he will be chosen as "the one". I think these penguins know what it's all about.

Also had a visit to Cape Jervis where the Sealink ferry takes visitors out to Kangaroo Island. We decided against this trip as the fares for us, the car and the van were very, very expensive. In fact we could have travelled to Tassie for less than it would cost to go over to the island - 40 minutes away.

Our last day we spent in Port Eliot and visited Horseshoe Bay. It was a beautiful spot and a great day weather wise again. Had coffee at a cafe on the beach and walked around the cliff tops. Were once again lucky enough to see some seals skimming through the waves.

Had a picnic lunch at The Bluff, a beautiful scenic spot overlooking Victor Harbor, Encounter Bay and the ocean.

McLAREN VALE - March 30th, 2009

A beautiful day for our visit to the wineries and we were tasting just a few today - too good to miss.

The first winery was recommended to us, by Sheila, a friend of Geoff & Adele's, and just as well as we had never heard of it and it was such fun. It was called Samuel's Gorge and the winemaker is only a very young man and passionate about his wines. Kept referring to his wines as "booze" which we thought was most unusual and totally irreverent about his talents. The buildings were all so very old, stone fences, old stables etc. with absolutely beautiful views. His wines were also amazing particularly his 2006 Shiraz. His Shiraz cleanskins were fantastic as well. Did buy a case of these, but won't do too much purchasing - not enough room.

Also went to Chapel Hill, another nice environment, and Settlment Wines and had a great anti pasto platter for lunch at Coreole Winery - you could almost get the feeling of being part of the history of the area, and pretend that you were anywhere in the world, looking out over the vineyards, drinking their great wine, and eating fresh, local food.

Off to the Barossa Valley tomorrow.....should be hic! fun....

Still enjoying the caravan life - maybe I will fill you in on some of our minor mishaps this trip later ..not many this time thank goodness...still getting a lot of :

"howya goin' mate - nice day"
"love ya van - "
"ya live in Kiama - nice spot - whatya doin' here?"

and so on and on it goes....also meet a lot of "havechats"!
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