Driving west from Wellington along the northern shores of Lake Alexandrina, we travelled through open grazing country with sheep and cattle aplenty. Eventually vineyards and olive groves became more prevalent and the closer we came to Langhorne Creek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia) where vineyards and cellar doors were common. We drove through the village of Langhorne Creek on to Strathalbyn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strathalbyn,_South_Australia) where we booked in to the local caravan park for the evening.
There are many historic buildings (http://www.heritagebuildingsofsouthaustralia.com.au/strath.htm) in the town which appears to be a bustling community; a visit to the town centre found us in a park on the banks of the Angas River; the Soldiers Memorial Gardens is a pleasant spot with ducks and bird life aplenty – perhaps some of the bird life is too plentiful as the corellas frequenting the park seem to be in almost plague proportions and the damage they are causing to the trees is quite evident. One of the unique features of the park is the Children’s Bridge (http://www.flickr.com/photos/in-hindsight/3472839718/) across the river. This bridge leads to the Soldiers Memorial featuring a living memorial in the gardens which depict the words “Remember the Anzacs”.
After lunch we decided to visit a couple of the local vineyards to sample their wares. We travelled back to the Langhorne Creek region and visited the Potts Family owned Bleasdale estate – the company motto is “Your’re lucky we didn’t drink it all ourselves…” (http://www.bleasdale.com.au/the_wines/). With some of their drop on board we next headed to Angas Plains Vineyard (http://www.angasplainswines.com.au/) to sample their wares. We tasted some wines and purchased some and also enjoyed delightful coffee and scones at the cellar door.
Next morning we moved on to Victor Harbor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Harbor,_South_Australia) a journey of some 50 kilometres. We had booked into the Adare Caravan Park (http://www.adarecentre.com.au/) a property owned and operated by the Uniting Church of Australia. We were very pleasantly surprised when we booked to discover that since we are seniors a five day stay would only cost $75.00. The park is situated out of the hustle and bustle but within walking distance of the center of Victor Harbour.
We stocked up on essentials before lunch and afterwards walked back to the town to take a closer look. The Information Centre yielded more literature and we picked up information about local attractions and locales that we would like to visit. The centre is adjacent to the Causeway to Granite Island so we decided to take a ride on the horse drawn tram to the Island (www.horsedrawntram.com.au/). Once on Granite Island we took a walk up the cliff face via the timber steps and walkway to the signal light to take a look at the views; you can walk the perimeter of the island on well defined, and in some parts well-constructed, pathways but because of the unsettled weather and cold breeze we chose not to. Once we had finished taking photographs we walked back along the causeway to the mainland and then through the centre of town, pausing now and then at various shops, back to the caravan park.
Next day, Wednesday, we decided to take a drive to see some of the sights and visit some interesting places. Heading back towards Adelaide we turned off at Willunga Hill and drove north easterly to Hahndorf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hahndorf,_South_Australia). Strictly speaking Hahndorf is not included in the Fleurieu Peninsula but is considered to be part of the Adelaide Hills region. Nevertheless we had a brochure indicating a drive along the Old Princes Highway from Hahndorf to Murray Bridge and this sounded quite interesting (http://www.adelaidehills.org.au/images/PDF/hahndorf%20and%20the%20old%20princes%20highway%20final.pdf).
Hahndorf has a Germanic heritage and this shows in the style of building and the various items on sale in the town. The early buildings have been largely preserved along the road frontage of the town with new building generally taking place at the rear of the older heritage style structures; this makes for a most attractive look and is obviously designed to attract tourism. We did the park and walk trick where you can see much more than just driving through the main street. Managed to buy a few necessities – like chocolates and coffee – and generally found the whole experience most interesting and very worthwhile.
Driving towards Murray Bridge from Hahndorf, just a couple of kilometres from town finds the Beerenberg Farm (http://www.beerenberg.com.au/) and factory where many sauces and conserves bearing this well-known name are made; additionally one can visit the strawberry fields and pick one’s own delicious berries. Following our visit to the site we can now enjoy some of the products on sale at the factory and we are well provisioned with jams, mustard and chutney.
The road from Hahndorf to Murray Bridge passes through a number of small towns that have been bypassed by the construction of the Freeway to Adelaide. The bypassing of these towns has had a seemingly deleterious effect on some of the centres while obviously making a positive contribution to others such as Hahndorf. We drove through towns including Littlehampton, Blakiston, Nairne and Dawesley and stopped for lunch at Kanmantoo; then we drove to Callington and Monarto and into Murray Bridge.
At Murray Bridge we fueled the vehicle then set out for Wellington, Strathalbyn and Mt Compass. We wanted to visit a cheese factory at Mt Compass but when we drove up to the factory in the morning we found the factory didn’t open until 12 noon. At about 3:30pm we rocked up to the Alexandrina Cheese Factory (http://www.alexandrinacheese.com.au/) to sample the cheeses made at the factory. After several samples we decided to buy these different varieties and also to sample the ice cream made on site – all very tasty.
It was Anzac Day today and we decided against attending the local dawn service. We decided to drive to Cape Jervis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Jervis,_South_Australia) some 60+ kilometres from Victor Harbor. We drove over hills and range spurs through open grazing country with sheep cattle and alpacas plentiful; there were patches of forestry where timber was being harvested and new areas with small trees recently planted.
Cape Jervis is where the Sealink Ferry (http://www.sealink.com.au/) for Kangaroo Island departs. We had planned to visit Kangaroo Island while we were in South Australia but were unable to secure a place on the ferry on the days we wanted to cross. A two day tour was considered but we thought the tour price was more than we could afford so will have to wait until next time to visit the Island. When we arrived at Cape Jervis the ferry was being loaded with cars and trucks for an imminent departure. We watched the process from the nearby car park until the ferry embarked on its journey then drove up to a nearby lookout to take some additional photos.
After leaving Cape Jervis we drove north towards Adelaide passing the point where a marker has been erected to HMAS Hobart D39 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Hobart_%28D_39%29) which has been sunk to form an artificial reef off the coast. Then we drove along to Normanville then inland to Yankalilla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankalilla,_South_Australia). At Yankalilla one can drive north toward Adelaide or turn south-east to drive back to Victor Harbor; we drove toward Adelaide turning off the highway to visit Myponga Reservoir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myponga_Reservoir). The view from the lookout above the reservoir is quite spectacular.
Driving north we passed Sellicks Beach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellicks_Beach,_South_Australia) and Aldinga Beach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldinga_Beach,_South_Australia) to the turnoff to Willunga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willunga,_South_Australia). At Willunga there is a delightful park, The Rose Garden, supported by three service clubs – Lions, Rotary and Probus. The garden was constructed as a partnership between the City of Onkaparinga and the South Australia Government (http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/targetwork/pages/projects/rosegarden/?reFlag=1) and appears to be a very popular local venue. We stopped here to eat our sandwiches but soon retreated to the car to avoid the cold wind blowing across the area.
After our lunch we drove north to McLaren Vale and had a look at the town. It was very busy and we didn’t stop for long deciding that a day trip back to McLaren Vale might be in order when we are in Adelaide. We drove out to Hugh Hamilton Wines (http://hughhamiltonwines.com.au) and popped in to the rather unique cellar door – it also was very busy and we didn’t bother about any wine tasting that day. From McLaren Vale we returned to Willunga and enjoyed coffee and cake at the Three Monkeys (http://www.3threemonkeys.com.au/); the business is for sale if anyone is interested and may be a good investment as it seems to do quite a trade.
While we have been travelling around the Fleurieu Peninsula we have been amazed by the varieties of animal manure for sale; we have seen Cow Poo, Horse Poo, Pony Poo, Chicken Poo, Pigeon Poo, Sheep Poo, Horse Exhaust, Unicorn Droppings (just the droppings not the unicorn) and even Jack Shit (presumably from a donkey). There is obviously a good market for roadside poo sales.
It was a glorious day when we woke this morning so we went to look at Goolwa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goolwa,_South_Australia) and drove the short distance from Victor Harbor to the Goolwa Wharf and Train Station. At the station trips on the Steam Ranger (http://www.steamranger.org.au/) can be arranged. This heritage railway has been very busy while we have been in the area and the train whistle sounds regularly while the train carries passengers between Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
The PS Oscar W and the Barge Dart are also based at the Goolwa Wharf; the Oscar W (http://www.oscar-w.info/) still operating with a regular schedule with the Dart land bound on a platform. The Steam Exchange Brewery (http://www.steamexchange.com.au/) also is located at the wharf and opens regularly. The brewery was open when we visited but it was a little early in the day for me to sample the wares.
While in the area we crossed over to Hindmarsh Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindmarsh_Island) and took a drive out to the mouth of the Murray River (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_River) to see where Australia’s longest river meets the sea. It was an interesting trip and we were surprised to see the extent and type of urban development on Hindmarsh Island especially closer to Goolwa. After a stroll around the town we returned to Victor Harbor in search of fish and chips and enjoyed a pleasant lunch of King George Whiting at the “Original Victor Harbor Fish Shop” – we chose to dine in but the popularity of the establishment was demonstrated by the continual queue of take away customers which didn’t diminish during the whole time we were in the shop.
Saturday will be consumed with domestic chores and on Sunday we will move on to Adelaide for a time.