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Saturday, March 24, 2018

South Australia roadtrip from Adelaide to Port Lincoln and back through the Barossa Valley wine region


April 21 - 24, 2017

While my main reason for traveling to South Australia was to cage dive with Great White Sharks (see blog post here), I had an amazing time road tripping to Port Lincoln from Adelaide and spending a few final days in the Barossa Valley.  These aspects of the trip deserved a short post for those looking to visit the area. I’d recommend a minimum of 4 full days to do the drive and probably 3 full days to properly do the Barossa wine region.  We did all of it in 4 days plus the cage diving, which was a little gruelling.  Good old Australia… so much to see and none of it close together!  

We only spent the evening in Adelaide.  It’s quite normal but filled with delicious restaurants like Africola.  It was one of the best meals I’ve had in Australia.  There’s also a ton of cute bars off Hindley Street that’s apparently awesome; we didn’t go out because we had an early start.



The first half of the drive to Port Lincoln is BEAUTIFUL.  I wish we’d had more time to explore some of the beaches and parkland on the Adelaide side.  They come highly recommended.  Mount Remarkable National Park was a great pit stop.  You really feel like you are out in the middle of the bush, surrounded by wildlife.  So many kangaroos (and spiders).  We stayed at Mambray Creek Campgrounds which provided exactly what we needed - nature, a car park and tent area and bathrooms with showers.



The second half of the trip to Port Lincoln was a little less scenic.  You pass through a lot of small petrol-stop towns filled with more industrial structures than natural ones, before you reach Port Lincoln.  We stopped to hurriedly set up camp while it was daylight, and then continued on down the coast to Farm Beach.   

It was pretty meh, so we continued on to Greenly Beach which was well worth the terrible dirt road we had to drive down.  The car park is on a cliff and you walk down to the most secluded, lovely beach.  Very romantic!  We spent the rest of the day there and caught the sunset before heading back to Port Lincoln. 



Port Lincoln is apparently quite lively on Friday and Saturday nights.  There are a couple bars on the water.  We had an early morning for the cage diving so we didn’t make it out but we were told it was good fun for a night.  We stayed in the Port Lincoln Tourist Park a little ways out of town on the ocean, which was nice but I kind of wished we’d been within walking distance of town.  Kind of up to you, what you’re looking for.



I was up at dawn to head to the port for cage-diving.  You can read about my experience here.

Back in Adelaide, post road trip, we dropped the rental car and took the train out to the Barossa Valley for our final day/night of the trip.  We arrived very late at Discovery Parks Tanunda, which was straight out of an American summer camp movie.  Our cabin was made completely of wood paneling and straight out of the 70s.  It was pretty hilarious.  


It was pouring rain so we ran to the first restaurant that looked open.  The neon “Open” sign swung in the rain, the restaurant dark behind it.  Straight out of an 80s horror flick!  But inside The Barossa Valley Brewing was cozy and had "all you can eat" chicken wings!!!  YUM!

Within minutes we’d made friends with the only other patrons of the pub, a few young people who worked at some of the wineries.  Before we knew it, we’d been offered a private wine tour for free!  It was the guy’s day off and apparently he loves nothing more than showing people the grapes.

The next day we hit four wineries throughout Tanunda.  The scenery along the way was breathtaking!!





Our new friend works at this winery.  It felt like an upscale family estate.  Everything in place, a nice hearth and two adorable dogs napping near the entrance, but perhaps not quite cozy or unique.  I thought the wine was quite good though!


This is my type of winery.  Small, cozy and uniquely decorated like an upscale hunting lodge.  And the wine was delicious.  Definitely my favourite stop of the day.



What a beautiful outdoor area for a quick lunch and wine tasting.  It felt like an old, brick Italian villa with flowers and sunshine all around you.  I soaked up the wine about as fast as I soaked up the sun. Mmm.



Australia's oldest family winery; you can feel the history here.  It's a huge, sprawling property that feels resort-like yet comfortable.  It felt like a family estate.  The wine and the cheese/meat board were yum!



Our lovely friend returned us to the train station so my friend could head to the airport and I could crash in Adelaide before leaving the next day.

Overall, South Australia was a lovely holiday.  I wish I'd had more time to spend here.  I would definitely come back!

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