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About South Australia
It was a stormy and rainy last night as we left. But, managed to get past that phase and after rest here and there and some pit stops, we finally entered South Australia. As we got closer and closer to our home, Adelaide, we were feeling more and more accomplished to have completed this extraordinary trip.After an intense 5 days of travelling, visiting new places, meeting old mates, new experiences and adventures, we have completed a trip that was never to be forgotten and I could only imagine a handful of people to have gone about to do something like this.
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We stopped in Adelaide for a few days, couchsurfing with Tony C. He’s a good guy, but like many Australians, he’s quite the character. Adelaide is one of those cities that at first glance is pretty, well-ordered and gives every outward appearance of a comfortable prosperity. People still say, “thank you” to the bus drivers here when they reach their destination. And indeed, Adelaide is in a bit of a bad spot. There isn’t enough water for South Australia’s growing population, and the economy isn’t growing as fast as it could be. It has the lowest average wage of all of Australia’s major cities and the highest unemployment rate. Young people have been moving to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth in search of better opportunities. Part of the problem is the country’s location. While Perth is often called the most isolated big city in the world, it’s still got a thriving port, a vibrant mining industry and access to world markets via the Indian Ocean. Likewise, Sydney and Melbourne are both closer to Pacific ports than Adelaide is. South Australia and Adelaide is an inconvenient distance from both hubs and from Darwin on the northern coast. There’s little incentive for companies to locate near Adelaide. I guess that’s why they make such good Shiraz and Riesling wines in the region. I managed to pick up a bottle of excellent Wolf Blass Shiraz when Tony, Julia and I popped into the winery one boozy afternoon.
Where: AustraliaSituated off the coast of Adelaide, the Kangaroo Island is a protected natural reserve as it serves as a home to several wildlife species, including endangered ones. Sea lions, koalas and of course, kangaroos are native to the island, and are seen in abundance. The Kangaroo Island is a perfect destination for wildlife lovers.Weather: Average temperature remains a chilly 15 Celsius throughout July. But the minimum temperature drops as low as 4 degree Celsius. Note that July is the peak of winters in the Southern Hemisphere.
By 5pm we made our way back to highest point of Hampi- Matunga Hill, most famous to get an aerial view of the landscape and ideal place to watch sunrise and sunset. I am speechless to describe how the large burning red figure melted down far across the horizon leaving us stunningly breathless.
Hentley Farm Wines
You can sample right from the barrel, including the current 100-year-old vintage and the one from your birth year. I had several great meals in the Barossa, but none topped the seven-course extravaganza at the Hentley Farm winery. Chef Lachlan Colwill creates showstopping dishes like bluefin tuna, chicken liver, and toasted sunflower seeds in a shroud of cured egg yolk—an unlikely symphony of flavour, texture, and temperature—all well paired with the winery’s vintages and served in the original stables. It was the perfect expression of what the Barossa is all about: a beautiful marriage of the rustic and the refined.Clare Valley
Shut the Gate Wines
A maverick spirit permeates one of my favourite Clare wineries, Shut the Gate, where winemakers Richard Woods and Rasa Fabian are working with purchased fruit to produce some fascinating wines, like their intensely minerally Fiano and a restrained Shiraz expressing plush red fruit and smoke. They sell local cheeses and terrines in their rustic cottage, so you could pick up a few snacks, select a bottle, and while away an afternoon in the pretty garden out front.
Skillogalee Winery And Vineyard
One afternoon I had a leisurely lunch at the beloved winery and restaurant Skillogalee. I sat on the terrace under the shade of an olive tree facing the vines as swallows and butterflies careened by, and after placing my order I went into the stone farmhouse. In a narrow room with a stone floor and blazing fire, the staff generously had me taste every wine on off er (a dozen!), and I selected one to drink with my meal. The experience felt simple and sweet and deeply hospitable and—although both the food and the wine were delicious—that was the magic of the place.McLaren Vale
On one end of the spectrum is d’Arenberg, which makes some knockout Shirazes and is currently building an ambitious piece of modern architecture called the Cube; when completed it will house a restaurant and cellar door where visitors will be immersed in a ‘wine fog.’ I had a lot of fun doing the blending course, in which you taste and learn about the juice that comes from different parcels and then craft your own wine.
The Standish Wine Company
At the Standish Wine Co, Dan Standish uses organically and dry farmed grapes to craft only a few wines per year; his 2014 Standish Shiraz knits concentrated blueberry and stone into a wine of exceptional depth and purity. It was a standout among the hundreds of wines I tasted in a week.
After the fixtures at Adelaide Oval don't you dare step back to your hotel room. Adelaide Zoo Pandas. Well we all agree that they are the cutest. Make some time for these adorable bamboo suckers after your date with cricket.At the center of the city, Adelaide zoo is the second oldest zoo of Australia and is the only non profit one. It is the home for Australia's Pandas and is also a major attraction with over two thousand species.
Penfolds Barossa Valley Winery
I love discovering smaller makers like these, but you’d be remiss if you skipped Penfolds’ slick tasting room, where you can sample the full range of what this famous producer does, including the Grange, one of the country’s most cellar-worthy reds. And don’t miss the recently restored 19th-century Seppeltsfield winery for a glass of port—called Para Tawny here.
Heading north out of the Barossa the landscape shifts from vineyards to vast fields of wheat and canola, sheep and dairy farms, and Victorian villages of stone buildings with lacy ironwork. When the topography grows hilly and you see vines again, you know you’ve arrived in Clare. You could describe Clare as the Sonoma to Barossa’s Napa . It’s quieter, more agricultural in feel, and the conditions—steeper, cooler—lend themselves to doing things at a smaller scale. This is Riesling country, probably the best place to taste the Australian way with the grape: bone-dry, flinty wines with notes of citrus or green apple and a strong acid backbone.
With over 29 million cows in the country, it is easy to see why certified Aussie Angus steak dominates the palate. Ranching is a massive and proud industry; yet, by current environmental standards, we should be eating more kangaroo. Roaming “The Centre” in uncountable numbers, ‘roos produce less methane, graze more sustainabily and cause less ground damage than their bovine neighbors. So Chef Ceaser skinned ours first, carefully removed the sinew and turned it into a sweet and sour soup. The result tasted like Australia itself: a solid broth with an infusion of ethnic spices, and a kick as strong as that from the feet of a giant Red ‘roo. Distinctive and powerful.
Brash Higgins Wine Co
There are also avant-garde producers making wines you’ll likely never find at home, like Brash Higgins, where former New York sommelier Brad Hickey is making Zibibbo and Nero d’Avola in clay amphorae, or Primo Estate, a gorgeously modern winery where Joseph Grilli is showing what Australia can do with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.
I loved the wines at Bekkers, stylistically some of the most elegant I tasted on my trip, like the 2013 Syrah with typical blackfruit and chocolate notes but an unusually perfumed nose, and fresh liveliness on the palate.I happened to be in McLaren Vale during the annual convention of the region’s winemakers. They gather under a big tent in a field, have lunch, and enter their wines in a competition judged by their peers. When I arrived the lunch was over, and the group was mingling over more wine and discussing the winner from SC Pannell, which took first with one of its Touriga blends. It was a true community gathering, and even though I was an interloper, I was welcomed with a hearty handshake and a glass. It felt so emblematic of this place, sophisticated but casual, serious but fun-loving. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.The DetailsGetting There- Adelaide is the gateway to South Australia, with frequent connections from other Australian cities.Hotels
Take the pretty Onkaparinga Scenic Drive northeast from the Adelaide Hills and you’ll follow the path of the German settlers toward the Barossa Valley, the beating heart of Australia’s wine industry. There are tidy towns of Lutheran churches, busy farmers’ markets, and bungalows festooned with roses, but mostly this is a broad, gently undulating landscape with row upon row of vines stretching to the horizon. There are upwards of 150 producers in the valley.