Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 22 - Purposeful Meandering around Oz

Point Turton – Clare – Adelaide
Kilometres          27187 – 28025 km

It was another lazy start to our week as we attuned ourselves to the lifestyle of the Yorke Peninsula. The kids had a small amount of school work to do on Monday before we headed out for another sightseeing drive. We headed south through the golden fields of wheat. Many of the farmers in this area are working from dawn to dusk 7 days a week in an attempt to harvest their crops before any heavy rains make their paddocks unusable. On numerous occasions we stopped by the road to watch the big combine harvesters slash the wheat or tractors and semi-trailers cart the wheat off to the bulk storage facilities. We bounced along the coast from one fishing town to the next. Many of the towns looked like ghost towns with the majority of them being holiday havens….. At one point we stopped at a massive wind farm where 50+ wind turbines generate electricity for much of the peninsula. At another point on the peninsula we stumbled upon the grain terminal of Port Giles, here the semi-trailers queued 10 long waiting to unload the wheat while ships were loaded for overseas export.
Golden fields
On Tuesday it was sadly time to leave the Yorke Peninsula, we’d fallen in love with this area, its relaxed lifestyle and beautiful vista were hard to leave. We headed north towards the wine region of Clare Valley. Along the way we detoured into the small town of “Snowtown” which is synonymous for the 1990’s “bodies in the barrel murders”. Having read the book we soon spotted and stopped outside the bank in question for the typical touristy gawky photo of this morbid crime. Pressing on we were soon arriving in the picturesque town of Clare, this part of SA is the home of Riesling wines and our base for the next few days. We grabbed some info on the region and a few supplies before checking into the nearby van park where we once again caught up with some of our traveling companions who’d come from the Flinders Ranges. We spent the rest of the night swapping tales of our recent travels.
Wheat harvesting
As we’d planned a day of wine tasting on Wednesday there was no urgency to our morning. I don’t know about anyone else but drinking wine before lunch has all the wrong conjugations so we waited till just before lunch to head out. Our first stop was one of the yummy bakeries in town. From there we visited a one or two lookouts and a few wineries. The heat of the day meant we spent more time trying to find relief in the shade than tasting so by mid-afternoon we were back at the vanpark using their pool. A few hours by the pool proved much more relaxing and a nice way to finish our day.
Wind Farm - Wattle Point
On Thursday our friends Karen and Stuart and their boys moved on leaving our kids fumbling for play mates. The weather was a lot cooler so we headed out to sample a few more wineries and on a number of occasions we walked away with a bottle of their finest red or white. Throughout the day we visited some of the other delights the Clare Valley has to offer, all the time being surprised by how localised this wine region is, a kilometre either side of the valley meant we were back out in the wheat country.
Welcome to Bodies in the Barrels
All too soon it was moving day (Friday) again, but this time there was an “air of excitement”. This was our 3rd capital city of the trip and we were all looking forward to spending an extended time in the one place. We’d scored a last minute deal with our booking and were happy to be situated on the coast in suburban Adelaide. Just after lunch we were setting up, Sam was super keen as it was her job to put up the Christmas tree and many of the other decorations she’d made, the solar lights were strewn all over the annex and for the first time it started to feel like Christmas….. The kids quickly made friends in the park and we had a big game of caravan cricket happening out the front. While the kids played some of the parents enjoyed a festive happy hour. We finished our first day in Adelaide with some homemade pizzas as the van park had 2 pizza ovens for use.
Sevenhills Winery - Clare
Saturday dawned as our first full day in Adelaide and after a slow start we headed out to make a dent in our Christmas shopping. We headed into Rundle Mall where I’m sure everyone else in Adelaide had decided to go, or was it that we hadn’t experienced any Christmas crowds to date. Either way, we got the one gift that we’d had on hold and headed out to find a suburban Westfields. It was here that we battled the car park crowds for 30min simply trying to find a spot to park. We both wondered was it really worth the effort but eventually we joined the hordes of other shoppers as we browsed the shops for a good few hours. Obviously with the kids in toe we didn’t get too much but we now have a list of things a mile long…. Returning to the van we had a quick bite to eat before I took Ethan out to watch our first A-league soccer match. While we were keen to see Western Sydney win, Adelaide were too classy and we quietly blended into the crowd not wanting to show our true colours.
Adelaide United V's Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday turned out to be one of those days where there was never enough hours in the day. We joined other geocachers at the Adelaide Geocachers Xmas party, the kids got some lollies from Santa while I got to catch up with a few old caching friends and an old school friend who is also a fellow geocacher (small world). From there we headed to Mt Lofty witnessing the spectacular views of the city where once again we met up with another school friend who I hadn’t seen for 30+ years….. After an all too brief catch-up we were on the move again, we headed across town for dinner with some friends we’d met back in Perth and Albany. They’d been home for a few weeks and were keen to hear of our travels, the kids played like they’d known each other for years and we all enjoyed a beautiful bake dinner (our 1st in 5 months)….. The day’s activities had been a lot of fun with us not returning to the van till late in the night.


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