Big Drives through South Australia

Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
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Trip End Dec 05, 2011


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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday 9th April saw us leaving Port Elliot and heading north towards the Flinders Ranges, which everyone seems to rave about. The weather had turned to rain (again!) so the kids played in the house while we packed up, then we all headed into the sweet little town of Port Elliot to get a coffee fix before heading towards Sellicks Hill for lunch.


Alex had arranged to meet up with her friends Jared, Racquel, Amelie (7), Ruby (5) and Henry (18 months) again and so we met them at this historic restaurant.  The boys were delighted to see their friends again – Jamie and tomboy Amelie seemed to hit it off really well, mostly because I think Amelie loved having boys to run around with.  Girly Ruby joined in a bit but was also pretty happy to stay with the grown ups.

We had what was probably our favourite meal yet:  great food, great wine and some really great company.  Jared and his family were really good fun laid back people and it was brilliant having  a big noisy table in what was a great spot.

Reluctantly we piled back into the campervan at 3ish ready to head north.  It would have been very easy to turn around and head back to Adelaide with the others for more relaxed meals and time hanging out with great people…..

But we chose the scenic route north, skirting through the Barossa Valley which is home to some of Australia's most famous wines.  Jacob’s Creek is located here, and is fairly dominant to say the least.  They have clearly pumped loads of money into the local town which was lined with flower beds full of roses, have a huge Visitor Information Centre, and across the road a truly enormous factory for churning out their wines, complete with shipping crates sitting waiting to be loaded up.

We continued our journey north through beautiful wine and farming country and quickly realized that our plan to hit Burra for the night was a bit ambitious so we ended up in a lovely little campsite in Riverton, a very sleepy town just south of the Clare wine district. 

Next day, following a quick play in the fantastic playground (voted the best yet by the kids) we headed to Burra for second breaky.  What a surprise this town was:  it was the site of a large copper mine in the mid 1800s and has probably changed very little since.  It still has an old town centre complete with well and rows of old workers cottages.  And to complete the picture we stumbled across an old car rally so stopped to watch 7 or 8 old Fords heading off. 

Second breaky took the form of amazing home made scones, clotted cream and jam.  Absolutely delicious and we all decided that Burra was a great little find…..

Off up through the rolling hills of the Clare Valley which one of Australia’s leading wine experts  likes to compare to Tuscany:  "The Clare Valley occupies the same special place in my heart as does Tuscany...they share the same softness, the same intimacy, the same palpable sense of history, the same lack of 20th century pressure."

Don’t get us wrong we thought the countryside beautiful too, but honestly the history and beauty of the place can hardly be compared to Tuscany, with the likes of Florence, San Gimignano, Sienna and equally stunning little villages dotting the landscape, nor the history of 600 years of continuous warfare. 

Heading north we went through numerous little towns, some being of historical importance due to the railways (Peterborough) and others being agricultural towns and now gateways to the Outback (Orroroo).  Finally as the villages became fewer and farther between we reached Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges. 

This was our stop for the night, and did not disappoint as we spotted our first herd of emus as we headed into the campsite.  More were found wandering around the campground, as well as a few kangaroos.  The children were delighted to find that the campsite was in the middle of a fantastic eucalyptus forrest providing a wonderful natural playground. 

Brad hit the Visitor Information centre, coming back with tales of great coffee and muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast, and walking trails up to Wilpena Pound, 
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