Monday 24th August – off to the Adelaide Hills and Wellington

It was a lovely sunny day. We packed up our belongings and took off for the walk to the Avis Car Hire office to pick up our hire car. En route we stopped off at a very trendy breakfast establishment for a light repast prior to embarking on our journey which will deliver us to Melbourne on Saturday.

When we eventually found our way out of the car park (!) it proved very simple to get out of Adelaide and on to the highway. Our first stop was Hahndorf, a delightful Germanic town just outside of Adelaide. It was a treasure – a real touch of the Tyrol in the midst of the Adelaide suburbs. There were German cakes and wooden toys and all sorts of lovely things. The information office (‘manned’ by a jolly lady from Kendal) held all manner of goodies. We spent a very happy hour strolling in the winter sunshine along the Main Street looking in windows and generally poking around. Two purchases were made. First was another case – we succumbed to the fact that even off loading one or two bits along the way, we are acquiring more than we are making space for. Disaster! So another case was purchased. The second purchase was for gloves. It really is that cold at times.

Purchases stowed away we set off to meander our way to Wellington, where we were to stay a couple of nights with Tony Wightman’s parents. I have met them before but fleetingly at various functions. Keith has not met them.

Our route took us out of the suburbs and into rolling countryside. Sheep and cattle grazed. Sleek horses idled under the shade of leafy trees. Crops were growing. The grass was green. It could have been Derbyshire. Our route took us off the tarmacked road and onto a sandy track which we followed for several kilometres up and over a a hill. Before us lay hills and valleys of green as far as the eye could see. Apart from trying to avoid the pot holes in the road, it was an idyllic drive. We eventually came out onto a main road and picked up speed again. By now we were beginning to see evidence of the Adelaide Hills wine industry. Field upon field of immaculately pruned vines. I have never seen such neat vineyards and I have seen a few! We came across several signs for ‘Cellar Doors’- these were retail outlets for the wine houses.

We stopped at one to purchase some wine for our hosts and sampled their excellent soup into the bargain. We came away very happy with our repast and wine but somewhat mystified by the first aid training taking place in a side room. I had been rather unnerved by a man seen from a distance to lie down behind a pot plant and seconds later I saw a lady kneeling down beside him……. It took us a little while to identify what was going on and it seemed a slightly odd pursuit to be taking place in a wine cellar. Ho hum!

A very short time later we were arriving in Wellington to be warmly greeted by the Wightman’s – Jenny and Ross. They have a lovely house on the Murray River. We were soon inside, luggage stowed and chatting happily over wine and nibbles. We could have known them for years! It was very comfortable. We were delighted to find that Ross liked Cider, so the cider purchased at the Emu Eucalyptus Distillery was broken out and Keith and Ross ruminated on the finer points of the brew. We had dinner at the Wellingtom Hotel not a hundred yards from the house. This had few other diners but served us a good meal and we heard about local characters and gatherings. The conversation flowed, as did the wine, and it was quite a riotous assembly that returned home to ‘night caps’ and further yarns. A really lovely evening and we had obtained dispensation from an early start for the next day. No sunrise – Yeah!

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