Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

Today we spent a fabulous day ashore in beautiful Adelaide, South Australia. I didn’t write a blog yesterday because basically we just vegged out around the ship. The liveliest part of the day was the after dinner dance in the ballroom when the Beatles Experience tribute band played flat out for an hour. It was rammed with people like us no doubt dislocating their hips and wreaking havoc on their lower backs!!!!
Today we steamed into the harbour at about 8am and we were secure and able to go ashore at 0850. Two of our table companions had opted to come on the private tour with us, so there were 12 of us in the minibus. I’d booked a See Adelaide and the Barossa ship’s tour with a company called Enjoy Adelaide. It sounded a great mix and was about 1/3 of the price of similar Cunard tours.
Our chap, Adrian, was waiting for us with a very nice small bus just outside the cruiseport and we were off. The port is about 40 minutes outside downtown Adelaide. It was a nice ride in along the shore and through the suburbs. Adelaide is not a large city. Around 1.2 million people. It has only existed for about 170 years and it was meticulously planned by a British surveyor and laid out on a grid system in the middle of the coastal plain/basin, roughly 20 minutes from the sea and the same from the mountains. There are lots of beautiful Victorian era buildings because the settlers of Adelaide were not convicts, indentured servants or poor Irish. They were wealthy British and German people seeking religious freedom. There are many churches in Adelaide and it has always lead the movement towards freedom of choice and equality. All very interesting to find out about.
We also saw the huge cricket ground where Donald Bradman played and the Cathedral (Protestant) that gives one end of it its name. There were many lovely buildings and parks to see.
We left the city and drove up to a viewpoint on Mount Lofty, in the Lofty Mountains overlooking the city. We could see the ship in the distance and from up there the nice size of Adelaide was very evident.
After that, we headed up to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. It is a very charming town, established in 1839, by German settlers and it has an undeniable German flavour even to this day. In fact it is the oldest surviving German town in Australia. It is full of bungalows with pretty terraces and gardens and choc a block with restaurants, pubs, craft shops, foodie delights, boutiques, antiques….. a shoppers paradise really albeit very touristy. We had a great walk up and down the main street visiting lots of the shops. I went into one that stocked boho women’s fashion and was literally grabbed by the woman and manhandled into lots of outfits I would never have normally tried on in a million years i.e brightly patterned harem pants teamed with a camisole, wide leather belt and a kimono all in rather clashing bold patterns. She kept bursting into the changing room and bringing more and more stuff. In the end I did buy a lovely kaftan top from her just to be able to leave the shop LOL!!!
We had lunch in the Hahndorf Inn which was the original German inn. We had a shared board of sausage, sauerkraut and mustard and also a beer sampler. All very nice and the sauerkraut was quite the best I’ve tasted. Normally I don’t like it at all.
After lunch it was time to head off to the Barossa valley, one of the most famous wine regions in Australia, which is saying a lot. We passed through lots and lots of eucalyptus forest before reaching there. Something so very “Australian” about that scenery! It is picking time here and the vineyards were thick with grapes. Some of the smaller ones had the vines covered with netting. There was also a lot of fruit being grown. We stopped at two vineyards to taste wines. Very generous pours I must say and no charge at all. Some of the vines in this region are 150 years old because of course Australia has never had a war fought on its land to rip them up and also its geography protected it from the diseases that ravaged European vineyards in the 20th Century,. Thoroughly enjoyed all our tastings which included champagne, red, white, rose, port and dessert wines. We surprised ourselves by buying a bottle of tawny port which was absolutely yum. Australian wine is lovely but its nowhere near the bargain that South African wine is. Most bottles were over 25$ ie around £13 each.
Headed back to the ship and got in about 5. Desperate for a cup of tea by then. Some people got off today and some got on. Most of the ones who got on today are on a short taster ending in Melbourne on Sunday.
We saw quite a few indigenous Australians today, mostly sitting about in a rather depressing state. First we’ve seen. What we didn’t see were any kangaroos or koala bears!!!! Every Ozzie I meet tells me they are all over the place, complete nuisances, and a traffic hazard. Well….. they’re keeping a low profile so far on this trip. Another lovely port, another lovely part of Australia.

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