A Walk in the Bush

After picking Joe up from work, we packed ourself some sandwiches and headed out to “the bush” for some good walking, and hopefully some wildlife viewing. People told us to reward of snakes in long grass, so we stuck heavily to the trails.

angaston

This was at the Kaiserstuhl Reserve, which is just barely outside angaston.

pine

I was mesmerized by all the interesting plants. Also, we say some very bright beautiful butterflies. We even spotted Kangaroos! However, the are fast and shy so I have no photos of them. But they were there, and it answered our wildlife wishes.

plant

Tasting in the Barossa

Our first full day in the Barossa was spent doing a little bit of tasting. First we went to Chateau Dorrien. Their building which they use as a tasting room is an old winery. All of the old tanks are still there, and they have since had an artist come in and paint murals on the tank walls depicting the history of the region.

tank mural

Along with their wine, they are the only producer in the valley to make mead. The mead is really what drew me in. There are only a handful of brands in South Australia that are fermenting the honey beverage, and I was very curious to taste.

It definitely had a more refined taste than some of the meads I’ve had in Washington. Additionally they are the only people in the world to make this:

chateau dorrien

It’s a mead liqueur flavored with quandong fruit which grows in a desserts of Australia. It was great to taste something so unique.

 

Stop number two was the iconic Penfolds. Their winery is massive. My friend and I were looking at how many tanks there were, and just how large the warehouses appeared.

Their tasting room was welcoming and modern, and I could hardly contain my excitement about going.

Enfolds

I was a very happy camper.

Penfolds

For the non-wine drinkers they also have a cafe which serves coffee and snacks.

And the wine- oh goodness. If you’re ever in the Barossa, you really can’t leave without tasting here. They had quite a few wines on the list to try, and they also had a side by side comparison of two Shiraz wines from different regions. I was like a kid in a candy store.

And I fell in love with the port.

So much in love that I went back to the airbnb and took a nap, dreaming about it.

Angaston

Well, sometimes you go to school in a small town in Washington State, USA.

And then sometimes you meet up with some of those very same people in Angaston, South Australia.

Can you see Skylar in the tree? At 6 foot 5 it’s difficult to make him look short, but I think the tree and I made it work.
skylar

After picking him up in Glenelg, we drove to Angaston (stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way). That is where we met up with our friend Joe, who also went through the Walla Walla Enology and Viticulture program with us.

czarny

After lunch he took us to the winery where he is working for some tasting. It’s a lovely place called Lambert Estates. It was a great first stop to taste and get our bearings in the Australia wine scene. It’s so awesome how climate and soils and just the general place where the grapes are grown can have such a predominant impact on the wine. After tasting to much wine from Washington, I am super excited to try everything I can here.

Lambert Estates

Also, this tasting room was beautiful. Here’s to wishing Joe an excellent harvest.

 

Granite Island Walk

granite island

When you arrive on this island you are indeed met by actual granite. Who would have thought. A whole pile of it. And this pile has a little sign telling you that it’s been here since the discovery.

granite island

Oh, and a stunning view. The view back on the harbor is arguably the best part. UNLESS, you are a nerd and like to talk about nerdy soil/parent material/geologically based topics. In that case, you’re busy staring at flecks of rock that make up bigger rocks.

And the other tourists look at you funny.

granite island

There is a whole path that goes in a circle around granite island that you can take. It’s not very far at all, but when you wander off to take close up photos of the previously mentioned rocks, you can end up spending quite a bit of time doing the full circuit.

granite island

The wind was pretty strong when I was there so the waves were making a whole lot of noise. I think some people find the sound of waves relaxing, but these were not.

granite island

The side of the Island facing land however, has beautiful calm waves that you could easily be mesmerized by.

granite island

Visiting Granite Island

granite island

This is what you see when you stand on Victor Harbor and look across to Granite Island.

horse drawn horse and harbor

And this is one way to get there! Of course, you could walk, but why wouldn’t you want to partake in history and tradition?

Exactly.

Well… to be perfectly honest there were a lot of overly enthusiastic small children who were also opting for this method of transportation. So, if that’s not your thing, perhaps walking is the better choice.

Victor Harbor

I arrived in Victor Harbor safely after taking a shuttle from Kangaroo Island. I’m staying at an Airbnb here which is proving to be very nice. I love getting to meet locals and other travelers everyday.

I think one of the great things about travel is how many other opinions you hear, and how many different customs people are used to. It puts life in perspective in the sense that you yourself are just one person on this whole planet full of people who are all living a unique experience.

victor harbor

This is the harbor part of Victor Harbor. I took myself for a beach wander first thing in the morning (I arrived late at night). When you go early on a weekday, you essentially have the entire place to yourself. And it’s stunning.

urchin

Lichen

Lichen

Lichen are composite organisms. They contain fungal cells in addition to algal cells, or cyanobacteria. These cells have a symbiotic relationship, which means that they work together for survival.

This here is crustose lichen, and you can tell by it’s crusty appearance. Crustose lichen is one of the major groups that lichen can fall into. In this case, the organism is the only thing living on this boulder. Over time, it will break down the granite and eventually render it into soil.

This has been your daily nerdy tidbit.

A Day of Driving

After getting my rental car I spent the next day driving around Kangaroo Island.

First stop: Emu Bay

Emu bay Emu bay

You may be pleased to know that since this is an extremely safe beach, I went for a very quick little swim.

And then spent the rest of the day with dried salt falling off of me.

Tasty.

Stop 2:  The Lavender Farm

farm farm wagon

Might I just say that this is one of the best smelling places I have ever been. It’s close enough to the beach to have a sea breeze, and additionally, all the plants were in bloom.

Stop 3: Distillery

The Kangaroo Island Distillery was the next stop, and home to some truly remarkable gin, liquor, and most importantly affogatos.

Yes, there is homemade ice cream with the leftover walnuts from their honey walnut liquour. They then drizzle the mentioned beverage over the ice cream and serve it with a shot of espresso.

Holy Fishfins.

It was marvelous.

Next stop: Sheep dairy farm

sheep farm sheep

They make all their own yoghurt, cheese, and spreads. For a small price you can taste them all. Which, obviously, I had to do.

Stop 5: A bee farm.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love bees? I think they are just the cutest insects.

Anyway, I had to pay them a visit.

Stop 6: Wine Tasting! (it was a very busy day, I’ll have you know)

The current vintage they were tasting was ten years old, and had enough tannin to make your taste buds stand on end.

It was very interesting.

Kangaroo Island is the youngest growing region in the area, and they seem to be very much growing right now. I will enjoy seeing where these wines are headed in the coming years.

Sealink Tour

The first stop on our tour of Kangaroo Island was Seal Bay. Les, our bus driver spent a few moments before we arrived telling is all about the vegetation on the island, and just general interesting facts. He has been with the company for over 10 years, and I’m fairly certain could answer any question that we could have come up with. When we arrived, he introduced us to Don, who was going to guide us to the beach. I liked this guide a lot. He reminded me of one of my extremely paternal professors in college.

Seal Bay

Seal bay Seal bay

It’s called Seal Bay, but these here are Australian Sea Lions.

It was beautiful. Sea Lions are extremely lazy when they are on the beach. They spend three days out and sea hunting, and then lounge for three days to make up for it.

We got back on the bus and headed out to the park for some Koala sighting.

koala

And some birds were there too (this photo is for you Leigh).

Bird

Then the bus took us to the Remarkable Rocks (yes, that’s actually their name).

remarkable rocks

Evidently some hot lava never actually made it out of the ground, and then hardened. Over time, the weathering has eroded away the surrounding soil, and the remarkable rocks are what remain.

It’s cooler in person. And when Les explains it.

Overall between stopping for other photo opportunities, and lunch, and the driving between locations, it was a full day of fun for the tourists.