Wallabies, Koalas, and Kangaroos, Oh My!

Yesterday (Friday) we had another wine tour, this time in the Barossa Valley.  Our driver and guide, Tracy, picked us up at our “Manor House” in Adelaide, and drove us up to the Barossa Valley, where we picked up one other couple. We all got along very well. They were a young couple from Brisbane.  All the way up to the Barossa, Tracy was telling us all about Adelaide, and the area we were going to visit. She asked us what kinds of wine we liked, and what sort of other activities we might like. We didn’t have any idea and left ourselves in her capable hands.

Throughout the tour Tracy was telling us all about the region, the wine growers and companies, and let us in on some insider information. Without her, we would never have learned so much about the area and its wine industry.  I must admit, the Barossa is much more commercial than McLaren Vale, more developed, and older.  McLaren Vale overall was more relaxed and casual.  Tracy told us about many wine-making families who have, over the years, disagreed and broken up, and then just moved down the road and opened up new wineries.  It’s a passion for some people.

Of course, Tony likes to drink beer, and does not drink wine. Being the good natured sort that he is, he went along on not one, but two wine tours with us.  This time, he was in luck; Tracy took us to two wineries that also have beer which was a big hit with him.

We also stopped at Maggie Beer’s (no beer) Farm Shop and a Cheese Shop. Next time we go I will ask to stop in Bethany, a little town with a Lutheran Church, and a winery.  I wonder if the people around here go back for seconds at communion.  Also I would request chocolate… I now know there are a few little shops that specialize in chocolate in the area.

Today, we had a leisurely morning, and we decided to drive up into the Adelaide Hills to visit the Cleland Wildlife Park and then visit the little German village of Hahndorf.  We had to talk Tony into it, because it meant he had to drive again, but finally he caved.  We rented a car and drove up to Mt. Lofty (700 meters) and had a great view of Adelaide right out to the sea.  Then just below Mt. Lofty is the Cleland Wildlife Park.  We chose to go there because they allow visitors to hold a Koala and have their photos taken.  We weren’t expecting much… but wow… you walk along these open pathways and there are dozens of Wallabies and Kangaroos just hanging around and you can go right up to them and pet them as they are all tame.  We bought little packets of food (grain pellets) to feed them and they just eat right out of your hand.  I think they look a lot like little deer in the head and face… so cute!!  There is a fence around the outer perimeter of the area, and a wild Kangaroo came up to the fence and looked so forlorn, like feed me, please… but when I went closer to the fence it hopped away…keeping its distance.

We saw these huge Wombats and many different birds, water birds, and finally the Koala… Kuddly and Kute.  Her name was Clover because she was found in a patch of clover after her mom was killed by a car.  😦  There were many Koala in captivity there because they were injured or orphaned.  There are many wild Koala in the area, and we heard one calling but didn’t see it.

Oh, and there were all these little critters running around, and I think they were some sort of roo… but they looked a bit like a rat… but they aren’t rats… they were cute but just skittered around and would also let you feed them.

We literally  had to scrape the roo poo off of our shoes after the day.  How many times can you say that has happened to you?

We had a little time to see Hahndorf, and we ran into our first rude Australian there.  I guess there had to be one.  It’s a cute little village, but pretty commercialized.

Back to Adelaide in time for a nice dinner and then packing.  Hopefully we get to Cairns with all bottles of Vino intact (thank you Australia, for not restricting liquids in carry-on luggage).  We are staying at another very unique resort, this time in a rainforest.

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow, right now it’s too late and I need to pack up the computer.

That’s it for now from the Southern Hemisphere!

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