Day 8. A luxurious end

Words by Andy Le Roy. Images by Creolumen.

Our stay in Clare came to an end today as we headed for our final holiday stop in the Barossa Valley. The Barossa is one of those places everyone always thinks of when they think of Adelaide. It’s the oldest wine region in the state and full of olde worlde charm.

Our morning in Clare was capped off with a coffee at Daily Grind and a quick duck around the Lifeline Shop. Ragers, aren’t we? We drove south through Auburn and saw just how far we rode yesterday, making ourselves tired thinking about it all over again as we drove through the actual towns those old railway station signs we swept past related to.

The countryside gets even greener as you approach the Barossa wine region with yawning green fields and velvety hills rolling along in the distance. The roads wound alongside more canola fields, some in flower, others nearing their time to bloom. Lambs and calves roamed some of the fields amongst the herds and the pubs and cafes along the way looked like they were all doing good business this morning.

We reached Tanunda at about midday and had a little wander around town looking through some of the shops. The 19th century buildings are well kept here, and there are some immaculate grand old bungalows throughout the residential streets. With plenty of time up our sleeves we decided to check out Maggie Beer’s farm, only about ten minutes away in Nuriootpa. It’s a gentle drive through tree lined streets and across a creek past some old, well preserved stone farm buildings. If there’s one thing South Australia does really well, it’s maintain its historical buildings.

Maggie Beer’s farm is well laid out and receives hundreds of visitors a day. To the rear of the shop is a lake where you can see turtles lazily swimming about, and there’s a farm walk that takes you around various sections of the property. Starting at the quince tree plantation you take a stroll past the pheasant run, where you will also see roosters and geese. I’d never seen pheasants before and was really taken with their vibrant colours, and the speed at which they darted about, chasing each other around the pen. Across the way is an aviary that houses more pheasants and several breeds of duck, quails, guinea fowl, a peacock and a couple of peahens. The colours in the pheasants and Mandarin Ducks rival the iridescent beauty of the peacock’s plumage, making for a psychedelic visual treat.

Back in Tanunda we dropped into the 1950’s diner for a bite. There’s a stack of memorabilia for sale from James Dean and Marilyn Monroe to Betty Boop pedalling Coca Cola and Elvis, Elvis, Elvis! Yes, I’m sorry to say, there is such a thing as too much Elvis, with his music blaring from the speakers inside and out. The food is what you’d expect for a 1950’s diner. Chris had a burger and shake, I had a hot dog and frappe, brain freeze included, and with our bellies full again, we set off to check in at our accommodation for the evening.

Jacob’s Creek Retreat was a last-minute “let’s stay one more night” decision and it’s nothing short of opulent. We’ve got a converted loft in what was once the barn and every detail is alluring. Exposed beams in the ceiling, a large bathroom with full spa bath and the creaking wooden staircase that twists its way upstairs to the sleeping quarters all make for very cosy accommodation.

The gardens are French inspired and regarded as one of the best in the state, which we’ll take the full opportunity to explore while we’re here. Long established roses climb the old barn wall which dates back to the 1840’s. Patches of lavender, stone pathways and steps leading to hidden sections with their own charm, including fountains, plant-filled urns and an infinity pool. Definitely a place to be in summer!

We’re off to 1918 for some more fine dining tonight before downing some Gaviscon in hope of a restful night’s sleep.

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