T-Team @ Home — Barossa Valley

[Travellers to Australia often overlook Adelaide, South Australia as the poor cousin to the eastern states. Situated in a distant corner of the globe, the city and surrounds have the reputation of too hot, too dry and too awkward to visit.

Welcome to my home city and state.

Many thanks to Mohamad Al Karbi for giving me the opportunity to share the T-Team’s life and adventures in South Australia.]

T-K Team Take on the Barossa Valley

Shortly before the Swiss relatives arrived, panic of the brothers-K set in. Yes, we were going to the Barossa Valley. But where?

My husband and his brother P1 cobbled together a plan of the day; wine-tasting, sight-seeing, a bakery for lunch and of course, toilet stops at regular intervals.

We converged as the formidable family of ten at Williamstown, eventually in the carpark next to, yes, you guessed it, after a scenic drive through the city and hills, the toilets. Most of the group needed a coffee and although we’d been warned that on Sundays, many bakeries are closed, we found a most accommodating bakery-come-art gallery, where cappuccinos and chai teas revived us.

Photo 1: Dummies in carpark © L.M. Kling 2017

Stuffed dummies, one of whom was named Cyril, waited by the stone wall of the carpark. The sign touted that they were part of a scarecrow trail that weekend. I guess they were doing their bit for tourism.

Energised, and, with the help of a most cooperative mobile phone navigation app, the K-Team whisked over to the Whispering Wall; a dam holding Adelaide’s water-supply. I wandered over to the wall while the others raced to the other side. My husband’s voice sounded as clear as if he were standing next to me. Eerie.

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Photo 2: Whispering Wall © L.M. Kling 2017

Next stop, and most important, Chateau Yaldara Winery, where we commenced our wine-sampling tour. Our Swiss visitors enjoyed their “schlucks” of Shiraz hosted by a salesgirl with a broad Barossa-Australian accent. I relished the photographic delights of the historic mansion and feature fountain.

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Photo 3: Chateau Yaldara fountain © L.M. Kling 2017

Once again, scarecrows were lurking around the garden.

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Photo 4: Scarecrows in garden © L.M. Kling 2017

Every road or laneway around here leads to a winery. The Barossa produces some of the best wine in the world. Nineteenth Century migrants from Prussia-Silesia (now East Germany and Poland) came to South Australia and settled in the Barossa around Tanunda. Some were my ancestors.

My husband told our visitors, ‘The Barossa has some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world having been planted as early as 1847 by Johann Friedrich August Fiedler.’

The K-Team arrived at a tourist-crowded Jacobs Creek winery. This popular winery permitted five free tastings before paying for more. Happy with five small samples, the K-Team admired the view of vineyards, leaves turning autumnal gold and rows of vines stretching to the hills, plus a meander along the trails around the winery. Not to be out-done, scarecrows lounged in the lawns by the tennis court that sported over-sized tennis balls and racquets.

P5-JC insidecpP6-Jacobs Creek Scrowscp[Photos 5 & 6 of Jacobs Creek Winery and surrounds with Scarecrows © L.M. Kling 2017]

After purchasing supplies for Tuesday night’s party, we tested our breath with the complimentary breathalyser. All the K-team drivers were deemed safe to drive.
So, a jolly, but not too jolly, K-Team progressed to Tanunda in search of a bakery. I spotted the Red Door Café and led the team there. A waitress guided the K-Team of 10 to the courtyard garden out the back as inside was full. We sat at separate tables, my husband and I with our younger Swiss cousin and boyfriend next to Kids corner. Most of the K-Team supped on the Café’s specialty burger. Good choice as it was a late lunch that would tide us over for tea.

Photo 7: Burger © L.M. Kling 2017

Satisfied with this most welcome and tasty lunch, the K-Team set off for Seppeltsfield Winery. After driving through kilometres of road lined with giant date palms, the K-Team arrived at the grand estate. The hall, a massive shed, actually, teemed with tasters. After more sampling and marvelling at the beautiful grounds, complete with vintage cars, we picked up our ordered wines at the designated shop.

P8-Septsfld groundscpP9-Sptsfld MSMcp[Photos 8 & 9: Seppeltsfield and surrounds © L.M. Kling 2017]

As one of the oldest wineries, the Seppelts family were so rich, they built their own family mausoleum that presided over their estate. The K-Team made an impromptu stop to climb the steps to the family monument and then absorb the breath-taking view. The sun broke through the clouds, so completing the magical scene.

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Photo 10: View from Mausoleum © L.M. Kling 2017

Peter Lehmanns Winery was not so far. Plenty of time, so we thought. But when we arrived, the carpark appeared deserted. The owners emerged and informed the disappointed K-Team that they were closed for the day. The toilets, though, weren’t and the K-Team made good use of them while I took photographic advantage of the mellow tones of Peter Lehmann’s garden.

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Photo 11: Peter Lehmanns garden © L.M. Kling 2017

The K-Team reserved the late afternoon for Mengler’s Hill that features an assortment of sculptures. We puzzled over the meaning of some of the international artistic offerings, but I guess the collection seemed happy to be presiding over the Barossa. I observed that by this time, the scarecrows had slunk away and were nowhere to be seen.

Photo 12: View of Tanunda from Menglers Hill © L.M. Kling 2017

Then, finally, as the sun sank towards the horizon, the K-Team hiked the one hour circuit of Kaiser Stuhl National Park.

‘Wildlife is best seen at dusk and dawn,’ P1 said.

During our walk, we detected an echidna, then later on, kangaroos. Any koalas, though, remained hidden from view.

Photo 13: Echidna © L.M. Kling 2017

While our Swiss guests hunted for wildlife, I caught the sunlight on eucalyptus trees and the gnarled forms of branches and trunks with my camera; future subjects for paintings, I hope.

P14-KSNatPkcpP15-KSNatPk Tree studycp[Photos 14 & 15: Trees and light, gnarled trees © L.M. Kling 2017]

It had been a long and full day, and my husband’s mobile phone, drained of battery-power and starved of tower transmissions, was by this time, grumpy. As revenge for being deprived of its usual mobile-phone fixes, it became intent on leading us astray. In Angaston, when we finally arrived there after the phone’s GPS took us on a meandering scenic route, the phone demanded in a passive-aggressive voice, ‘Take the next right.’ Then, ‘Take the next right.’ Then again, ‘After thirty metres, take the next right.’

‘Hey, it’s taking us in circles,’ I said. ‘Ignore it and go straight ahead.’

The phone cut in. ‘Take the next right,’

I pointed at the sign to Adelaide. ‘No, follow the sign.’

As we drove down the highway to Gawler, the phone bleated, ‘At the first opportunity, make a U-turn.’

‘No!’ we shouted.

The phone insisted. ‘Turn left and make a U-turn.’

I filmed the phone-map spinning in every direction. ‘It looks like it’s going nuts,’ I said. ‘I’m turning it off.’

I switched off the phone, and we completed the journey to Adelaide in peace.

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Photo 16: Sun setting on Barossa Hills © L.M. Kling 2019

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2019
Feature Photo: Jacobs Creek vineyards © L.M. Kling 2017


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