CLARE- REISLING, RAIN, REDS, & A RIDE
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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FRIDAY MAY 28 2010
Journey: Adelaide, Clare including a tour of the Barossa
Mileage @ Adelaide 15760kms
Weather: Overcast, 18degrees at 12.30; wet & 13 degrees at Clare.
Overnight (3): Clare Caravan Park-$29 pn with power.
Before leaving Adelaide, we visited our local favourite café, O'Furno for coffee with Kath’s mum and managed to drive out of Adelaide at 12.30 on our way north; it was overcast and rain started only about 50 kms north.
We took the Main North Road to Clare- long, flat straight road through agricultural and grazing land and arrived at the Clare Holiday Park around 4pm after a visit to the excellent Clare Information Centre. Here we collected brochures and maps for our journey to the Flinders Ranges and the "Outback". At this stage we are not really sure of our journey!
The Holiday Park was situated amongst lovely old gum trees and had good facilities including an excellent camp kitchen with a brand new stainless steel oven; no! We did not do any baking but we made good use of the stoves. Rain confined us to the van on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday; our first neighbours were a couple from Holland Park in QLD on a very similar journey to us so between showers we had some good chats.
Saturday was a day for blogging and reading the weekend newspapers and sneaking out of the van when the rain eased. Of course no one is complaining about the rain because a lot of these northern areas have been in drought and farmers who planted seed, hoping for rain are dancing in the rain! Clare actually recorded 31 mm over this weekend!
Clare is known as Australia’s home of Riesling although we have to admit some pretty good reds can be got from here. About one and a half hours from Adelaide it is a popular weekend destination for wine lovers and tourists. There a many B&B establishments and old historic buildings. Vineyards, about 40+, are set amongst rugged bush and we loved the autumn colours all around us. The first vineyard, Sevenhill, was established here in 1851 by Jesuit priests and is still in operation today and is a treat to visit with its old buildings, religious history and physical beauty.
Clare is close to Australia’s other famous wine producing are, the Barossa and on Sunday we decided to pack up the van and make a return visit to the area; strangely the towns were very quiet with bakeries and cafes closed- and Sheila was so keen to find her favourite “beesting” pastry that she was disappointed that after a journey of 200kms around the district the best we found was a delicious beef pie!!! Maggie Beer’s Farm was open and we bought some “burnt fig jam” and sampled quite a bit of her delicious produce before heading back to Clare and yes, it was still raining.
So it was a TV night and we had to borrow a coaxial cable from the manager of the park to get good reception and we did. It was very cold and wet as it has been since Friday! On Saturday we tried out the warm air cycle of our air conditioner for the first time ever (yes it was freezing) and it was wonderful with the extra benefit of drying the damp outside air!
The other interesting attraction is the Riesling Trail, a 25km walking/bike track along what used to be the old railway line; we were keen to ride this trail, so waited patiently for the rain to clear on Monday morning and took the bikes down for a tour. It was only 10 degrees so we kept the jackets on for most of the ride and it was a great experience; wide track, no traffic and interesting story boards telling the local history. Of course there are wineries to visit along the way, and we called into the Sevenhill establishment for a very enjoyable 30 minutes. It was too early for wine tasting, just a long drink of water and we were on our way.
We were back at the van by 1pm and then fast track to Port Pirie for grocery shopping and a quick bite; the Vietnamese bakery was recommended to us at the Port Pirie Information Centre, another very professional centre and lo and behold Sheila unexpectedly found her “beestings”. For those ignorant of this German pastry, it is a yeast type cake, filled with cream and topped with an almond toffee! She was in raptures and ate an extra half plus bought a serving for the next day. By the way, Lonely Planet insists that Port Pirie is a drive through town only, so we did not feel too sad about rushing on.
We were keen to reach Mount Remarkable National Park and the wonderful “Mambray Creek” camp ground by 4pm as the sunsets around 5pm and darkness descends! It is the first day of winter tomorrow!