Glorious Adelaide and surrounds

When you say Adelaide, most Melbournians roll their eyes and talk about that small country town feel and how they used to host the F1. I’d been before, when I was about 8. All I remembered was the big rocking horse.

Adelaide now brings so many memories. Of the first ever day night test, of glorious beaches and open fields, of beautiful wine and stunning wineries. And it’s modern. Easy to get around, with great cafes and bars, and some of the best smashed avo I’ve tasted in a while.

Our trip started with 2 days in sunny Adelaide, staying in the delightfully fresh Glenelg.

glenelg

We enjoyed a morning stroll along the foreshore before checking in early to our hotel.

glenelg-foreshore

A short tram ride into the CBD and we were in our seats ready for the start of day 2 of the first day night test.

Adelaide Oval shone in the hot sun, as did many bald heads after a few too many beers. As day turned into night, the wickets tumbled, the crowds parties and the sun set in a sky of purple.

After the match, the crowd emptied into the bars and nightclubs of the CBD. We had an average beer at the Lady Burra Brewhouse before ending the evening with a couple of tastier beers at the Kings Head.

With a result imminent, we headed back to different seats for day 3 via a couple at the Wheaty.

A controversial review during the first innings had helped Australia to a winning position. We were enjoying a great match, and the sunset was only making it more enjoyable.

adelaide-oval-10

With night falling, the pink ball dominated and we only just fell over the line, a limping Starc helping Sids to the last few runs. The three wicket win ensured a series win, with a 2-0 lead over the Kiwis.

adelaide-oval-11

Monday saw a change of scenery, from the metropolitan CBD to the rolling hills of McLaren Vale. Monday afternoon involved a few wineries, a shout out goes to Chapel Hill for a great experience. We then risked the (turns out amazing) local bus network back into McLaren Vale for a dinner at the Barn Bistro where the rustic Italian food was matched with the huge walk-in self-service wine cellar.

A rainy Tuesday morning turned into a beautiful day for a ride when we grabbed some bikes and cycled the Shiraz trail, a reasonably easy 7.5km (15km return) cycle down the old railway line via a few wineries and a lovely platter lunch in the quaint town of Willunga. Arriving home, we managed a quick late afternoon stroll on Aldinga Beach before a lovely dinner at the Victory Hotel, tasty food in front of a sunset that was somewhat dimmed by the low lying clouds.

From McLaren Vale we headed south. All the way to Goolwa, for a tasting at the Steam Exchange Brewery. We fought off the retirees for a surprisingly modern lunch and watched the tourists visiting the paddle boat and steam train.

goolwa

From Goolwa, it was a long and winding trip up to the Barossa. Fair to say, Michael’s highlight of the day was Prancing Pony, where he soaked up the atmosphere and added quite a few beers to his growing list of Untapped reviews. My disappointment was the nearby Hahndorf, famous for its German heritage but filled to the brim with tourists and cheap tacky stalls.

prancing-pony

What to do in the Barossa? Let’s think. Wine tour anyone? One Aussie couple and a knowledgeable American walk into a winery or five in the Barossa. Crisp Riesling, full bodied Shiraz with its friend Roussanne, and sweet dessert wines followed. We finished the day with lighter pockets and a beautiful beer and pizza dinner in the courtyard of Barossa Brewing.

Our last full day in South Australia (and the morning after) was spent visiting some of the more spectacular wineries, strolling around their gardens and taking in some stunning buildings. Highlights included Langmeil Winery (a former blacksmiths with a very well stocked cellar), Chateau Tanunda (built in the 1860s) and Yalumba (beautiful gardens not quite matched by its overcommercialised and overpriced wines).

So thanks Adelaide and surrounds for a relaxing time, beautiful scenery and high quality food, wine and beers. You surpassed expectations and I will never ever call you a small country town again.