Wine and Views

It’s one week today since we arrived in Australia.  We traveled to Adelaide, South Australia from Melbourne on Monday.  Then we rented a car and drove down to McLaren Vale.  I must say, it’s a very beautiful part of the world.  McLaren Vale is located in the Fleurieu Peninsula, which is hilly on the outer edges, near the sea and flatter and lower inland.  It must do something special with the climate, because it seems to be a fantastic place for growing grapes and making wine.

We stayed in some nice apartments right in the center of town.  Unfortunately, no Internet, and the data service for my iPhone is not working, so we were off the grid until now.

On Tuesday, we drove all around the peninsula, from McLaren Vale to Port Jervis (ferry to Kangaroo Island) and then on up to Victor Harbor.  Along the way we drove in and out of various places to see the ocean views, and we sighted wild Kangaroos just along the roads.  That’s a pretty big deal for us, as we don’t get to see Kangaroos just hanging around like they do here in Australia.

The scenery is beautiful, I could go on and on and on.  Once we made it down to Victor Harbor, we visited the South Australia Whale Center — they had no whale sightings that day; they had some the day before, but not luck for us that day.  Then we walked across the causeway to Granite Island.  We didn’t get to see the horse-drawn tram, as they were down for 3 weeks while making some repairs to the tracks.  Bummer.

Granite Island is small but spectacular, and is home to the little penguins, also known as Fairy Penguins, and they are only found on the south coast of Australia.  They’re fairly rare, and I dare say they’re probably protected, but I would have to research that, I don’t remember them saying so.  We met with a tour guide just after dark and he walked us around to the nesting sites.  The male penguin prepares a cave, and tries to attract a female.  To prepare the cave, they use bits of grass and mulch to decorate the outside, like making a little patio.  Inside the cave they make a nest and line it with the little pinfeathers and down from their coats.  Soooooo soft… what girl could resist?

It’s late in the season so there aren’t that many around… the chicks have all left the nests and the males are just starting to scope out their territories.  But we did see a few and it was a very interesting time.

We ended up back in McLaren Vale around dinner time — Tony had to drive through rain the whole way back — but we had a great dinner at The Barn (verrry nice!) and then back to the apartment.  We were tired and happy to have had such a nice day out.  Amy said she calls it Boonie driving… but it was fun.

On Wednesday we were picked up by Greg of Wine Diva tours, in his Mercedes Mini-van.  Sooo posh.  We were driven around all day to visit various wineries, and taste and buy some great wine.  I had no idea that the wines in this region are soooo good.  It was really hard not to buy absolutely everything.  There were very few I didn’t really like.  But I did favor the Grenache and the Shiraz.  The tour was worth every penny because when we got back from dinner, it was lights out at 8:30 p.m.  Wanna guess why?  Ha ha … 🙂

Thursday morning came all too quickly and it was time to say goodbye to McLaren Vale and drive back up to Adelaide.  As I’ve said before, there always has to be something funny… so we arrived at Buxton Manor, early… but they let us in anyway.  Then after dropping our things we went to return the car.  We forgot about filling the gas tank, so we had to look around for a gas station.  It took us over an hour of circling around to finally find one, and then only after I ended up making a phone call for directions.  Then when we tried to get back to the car rental office, we had to circle around to get into their driveway, since there was an unexpected median that got in our way.  That was so funny.  It should have been 15-20 minutes top.

Once we were rid of the car, we found some lunch in a pub and walked over to Adelaide Central Market. Not as nice as Melbourne’s… but good in its own way.  Tony recognizes a few places here and there, from the days when he used to live here.  We found the free bus (not as good a deal as you think) and rode it back here to our manor house.  Amy thinks it’s spooky and she’s sleeping with the lights on.  Not just a light.  All the lights.  Overhead, lamps, everything.  I don’t feel anything in this house.  I’m sure there’s a lot of history here, but I don’t think spirits are active.  Wait ’till you see the pictures.

Tomorrow morning we’re getting picked up at 8:30 a.m. for another wine tour, this time in the Barossa Valley.  I’m definitely looking forward to it, but will pace myself a bit better this time!!  The hardest part, as I’ve said, is to refrain from buying everything in sight.

Anyway, I’m uploading some more pictures, but the speeds are pretty slow so it might take a while.  I’ll start some up before I go to bed and hopefully by morning they’ll be done.

That’s it from the Southern Hemisphere for now!  Hope you’re enjoying the news so far.  I’ll check in again soon!

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