Australia · Travel

South Australia Trip: Day 3-5 – Gorge Wildlife Park and Barossa Valley

Jacqueline was really looking forward to the day ahead. It was the best day of our trip in Adelaide to visit the Gorge Wildlife Park. Here, we would get to experience the uniqueness of the Australian fauna. It was only a short drive away from home, so we went there around the middle of the day. We encountered our first animal before we got to the Park. At the end of our drive, we stopped our car because we found a koala up a tree. We stopped and watched it for a while, before continuing on to the park.

We bought a bag of animal feed at the entrance and then started wandering around. I had been to the Park many times before, and so knew my way around well. First up, we went to the walk through kangaroo enclosure, where we were able to go up to many of the kangaroos and feed them a selection of nuts and grains. Jacqueline was timid at first, but was excited to see a group of five or six kangaroos surrounding her, one with a joey in pouch, trying to feed from her hand.

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We walked around through the ibis lake, to the walk-through wallaby enclosure. The wallabies were much more timid than the kangaroos and only a few wanted to be fed. From there, we walked through the rest of the enclosures, checking out an array of Australian birds and marsupials, including eagles, fruit bats, wombats, koalas, and parrots. One of the great things about the Gorge Wildlife Park is that they include koala holding sessions with the ticket price. We went along to their middle session, and queued up diligently to go into the koala holding. Jacqueline was greatly impressed, she had been looking forward to this for quite a while. The koala was relatively young, and like all koalas was disinterested and rather sleepy.

We went through the final few exhibits, including the new bilby exhibit which we were both enamoured by, before heading out. Keen for food, we drove around to the nearby Cudlee Café for lunch, getting a nice homecooked meal to counteract the cold day. I had a gourmet sausage, whereas Jacqueline had some soup. We then headed home to do some household jobs, notably clearing a road that had been covered in trimmings from a glory vine. We put all of the trimmings into the tractor and drove it up to the fire heap. Through this process, we got to play on Dad’s tractor and the smaller, nicer, lawn-mower, which we used to carry firewood to the house to keep a fire going to keep warm through the night.

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By the next day, it was time for Jacqueline and I to go and visit one of the most famous regions of South Australia, the Barossa Valley. The Barossa is famous for its viticulture and foods. We had a series of culinary experiences to taste. The first was in Mount Pleasant, a small farming town which hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday. Small business and private sellers have stalls throughout the local showgrounds selling different kinds of produce or baked goods. We wandered around the stalls, Jacqueline picking up some soup to warm up on the somewhat cold day. From there, we picked up a bunch of foods and ingredients to put together into lunches and dinners over the next few days. Most of the vegetables had come a shorter distance than we had to get there.

With a box full of vegetables, we got back into the car and drove along to Eden Valley, where we went up to the lookout to see the view out to the Murraylands. But it was cold and windy so we headed back to the car rather quickly. Instead of coming into the Barossa through the Angaston, we instead came over the back of Mengler’s Hill, which also had a lookout over the Barossa Valley itself.

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Our next destination within the Valley was the town of Nuriootpa. We went to a butcher which sold excellent smallgoods. Jacqueline picked up some bum-burner sausages, which she had grown quite fond of over the course of our trip so far. Just south of Nuriootpa was Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, a boutique store that sells gourmet jams, spices, oils and preserves, which we got to sample from.

The next destination was Seppeltsfield Road, which runs towards the family Seppeltsfield winery and a family mausoleum. Notably, it is lined with palm trees that give it a distinct tropical feel. We looped around and headed back to the town of Tanunda. We headed into the Peter Lehmann Winery, where my childhood friend Conor was now working. My mother had informed him to expect a visitor today, but he was still surprised when I walked in the door. I hadn’t seen him for a number of years and we quickly got to chatting about many things. He helped us sample some wines and we stayed at the winery for a very nice lunch. We left with a bottle to take back to our housemates in Cambridge.

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We left the winery and drove back through to Lyndoch to pick up a final culinary experience of the day from the Lyndoch bakery, which is famous for its wide variety of gourmet pies. We each got an interesting pie each, and headed back towards home. There was one more sight to see. At Williamstown, we diverted to see the Whispering Wall, a dam wall which carries an echo from one side to the other. We got back home soon after and put together dinner based on what we had bought at the farmers market earlier in the day.

Since we had been going flat out after leaving the UK, it was time for a bit of calm and relaxation. We stayed home the following day, relaxing by the fireplace.

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