South Australia – Agriculture and Adelaide

None of us had ever been to South Australia before, so we figured “why not?” Returning our rental car to Melbourne from the Grampians would be a three-ish hour drive, and getting close to Adelaide would be five, so…

It wasn’t exactly a mistake, but please know that the drive from the Grampians to the Adelaide area is very long and extremely boring. Luckily, we have Spotify:

A true true friend helps a friend in need…. (If you aren’t familiar with the song stylings of My Little Pony’s Twilight Sparkle, you obviously have a different road trip companion than we do.)

And there was one really weird tourist attraction:

This is a Land Rover on a pole. It’s on Tourist Attraction signs as “Land Rover On A Pole.” I love this.

The drive landed us in Willunga, which is at the southern end of McLaren Vale, one of Australia’s famous wine regions. I’m not going to say that McLaren Vale was underwhelming, because that’s not fair. It’s a lovely spot; I think it just wasn’t quite the right place for us at the time. For the first time for us in Australia, the weather didn’t really cooperate. It was mostly breezy, chilly, and cloudy, with spots of rain. And I was a little nervous and stressed out about our upcoming flight to Bali; they were requiring a negative COVID PCR test to get in, and Julie was working through some cold symptoms. We were just a little off – so much so that the host of our B&B knocked on our door after the second day to check on us, noting that we looked a little lost when we checked in. We just weren’t quite ourselves.

Given all that, we did do some fun stuff! If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and go to Down The Rabbit Hole winery, where you can do a tasting in a converted school bus and eat the most amazing mezze platter pretty much ever.

Also, the Maxwell winery, where we went the following day, has a killer conifer maze.

But our best find was the Jungle in Willunga, which is one of those weirdly off-beat places that still exist in corners of the world. It’s a nursery, but also kind of a rainforest botanical garden with hidden animal statues everywhere, and a multi-hammock climbing web for kids to go nuts in. We went two days in a row.

Two goofs hanging out in the biggest hammock ever. I was going to include a video of Julie launching herself through the hammock tunnel, but it’s a little embarrassing.

After our three nights in Willunga, we made our way to Adelaide. Adelaide is cute! The guy at the Jungle recommended that we hit up the central market, which did not disappoint. I love a giant market hall, and we snacked and gawked our way through on our first day there.

Then we just kinda hung out. I’d gotten something in my eye back when we were in the caravan, so I stopped by an eye doctor to have it checked out. Here’s what went down there:

  1. Nothing was wrong with my eye, but I had mistaken some long-term UV damage for an eye laceration.
  2. The appointment was about $50US.
  3. Eye docs in Australia have really cool equipment. I saw an amazing rendition of my retina, which they used to discover a retinal freckle. Neat!
  4. Did I mention that my appointment lasted an hour and was fifty bucks? Every time I experience medical care outside of the States, I’m astounded at what we put up with. But that’s another entry for another time.

We also got our COVID tests at 11:30am on our last full day. Results were supposed to come back in twelve hours, but I got an email at 6pm.

“Jules, we got results,” I said. My heart rate jumped by about sixty beats per minute as I opened it, and… three big, bolded “Not Detected”s.

Cue the three of us, jumping up and down in our hotel room, shouting “We’re going to Bali! We’re going to Bali!” We celebrated that night with a wonderful dinner at Bread and Bone, followed by (naturally) ice cream. The server at dinner recommended a place called 48 Flavors in Chinatown, and… yep, they have a lot of flavors.

Burgers, beer, fresh-squeezed apple juice, and wine at Bread and Bone in Adelaide. It was perfect.

And the next day we went to Bali, wrapping up a full month Down Under. There are a few more things to say, which will show up in another post, but… we do love Australia so! We’ll be back.

Have we also mentioned that Australia has the best coffee in the world? It does. Every single place we went does things that would warrant huge raves on American food blogs. Anyway, this is how we feel about Australia.

2 thoughts on “South Australia – Agriculture and Adelaide

  1. I suspecgt that you will be quoting lines from “My Little Pony” as family in-jokes for years, just as we did with lines from the recorded “Star Wars” and “The Brave Little Tailor.” And don’t even let me think about the ear-worms in Anne Murray’s “Songs from Sesame Street.”


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