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Published: January 13th 2010
Day 256 - Eden Valley and the surrounding area
Our alarm went off at six this morning, I’ve no idea what my reasoning was for setting it so early but before I could give it too much thought we’d both nodded back off for a quick half an hour! We won’t be able to do that for much longer so we’re just making the most of it while we can.
Within two hours we were up, showered, dressed and ready for a bit of exploring so headed to the new scenic lookout just up the road in Eden Valley. It’s beautiful and gives us some great views. The local walking community look to have put a lot of effort into making it a bit more comfortable to spend time up here with the extra seating and the plans for a small shade shelter. We need to remember to drag ourselves up here for sunset before we leave as the change in light would be lovely across the vineyards.
Ahh, vineyards. There’s no missing the acres and acres and acres of vineyards! Driving through Eden Valley itself is just beautiful, there are fruit orchards and alpacas and sheep and
cattle and ducks creating a beautiful country atmosphere for its population of 200 or so people.
We continued our drive through the glorious town of Angaston and the outskirts of the much bigger Nuriootpa following the map within the Barossa Valley booklet we’d picked up from the showground. It details the gravel tracks as well as the sealed roads and also indicates the position of several lookouts. From the Mengler Hill lookout we get a tremendous view back across the Barossa Valley and can start to see the extent of the vineyards in this, the next valley area. They make for a very picturesque outlook and the sculpture park gives it all a very arty feel.
The drive up the hill from here was hard enough for a car but for cyclists, phew it must be tough. The Barossa prides itself on being cyclist friendly and as such is included as part of the route for the Tour Down Under which starts at some point next week. We watched a chap puff and pant his way to the top of this particular climb, he made it but with too few muscles left for a smile!
Stuhl conversation park is our next stop, we’ve actually been looking for this place since first thing this morning hoping to do a walk while it was cool but I just kept missing the tracks to take us there! Nevermind, the heat isn’t too evil when we arrive so we choose the 6km return loop walk as it looks pretty easy and has elements of shade along the way. We spot Kangaroos and plenty of birds then a stumpy tail lizard but the elusive Echidna remains elusive!
About half way round we follow signs for a lookout which takes us through a beautiful forest area and then up over a rocky outcrop looking down across the valley. It’s stunning and very worth the extra 30 minutes or so. On we wandered and were a bit surprised when we came to a walk entry section with all the boot cleaning apparatus that had also been at the point where we started. Closer inspection of the walking display board reveals that the loop track is closed due to environmental & weather damage so we’re asked to return the way we came. We’re not particularly keen on doing that and although this
isn’t a wise thing to do we decided to find the closed track and follow it back to the beginning. Our only assumption is that it’s a volunteer group who look after the walking tracks here and therefore because the track is a bit littered with fallen trees and debris they’ve been unable to clear it. It’s such a shame because it’s a lovely, lovely walk and we made our way through it with no problem at all eventually joining up with the original track. Safe and sound back at the start we checked out the walking board and can now see the tiny piece of paper that would have told us the loop walk was closed has fallen down! We’re in the clear! We clean our walking boots at the station and hop back in the car.
From here we drove through the most picturesque of areas towards the GBA Parsons lookout passing through Pewsey Vale along the way. Just stunning scenery every way you look.
The Whispering Wall was next on the hit list plus by now it was lunch time and we were starving! In a natural bush land setting the massive curved retaining wall
of the Barossa reservoir is a 140 metre long acoustic wonder. You can literally speak in a normal voice at one end to be heard clearly at the other however, the lady that walked across & ‘whispered’ just before us could be heard for miles! The couple were soon telling us all about how they do house ex-changes between Australia and the UK for 6 months each year and urge us to think about doing the same. Mum and Dad K have discussed this scenario often in the past as a way of seeing the world. It sounds a really good idea and obviously works for these two! Although to be fair this bloke sounded the sort that could turn water into wine given the opportunity.
There was still plenty of time left in the afternoon so we followed the tracks to the Para Wirra National Park with the intention of heading for The Knob lookout. The temperature had climbed well into the high 30s now though and from the entrance map it looked and was described as The Knob ‘hike’ which neither of us fancied! Wimps! You really shouldn’t walk in the ‘mid-day’ heat especially not strenuously, or
that’s what we’ve been told and today that excuse suited us quite well.
Instead we got back in the car, switched the air con on (you see, now you know it must have been hot as Mr Howells does not generally ‘allow’ the use of air con unless we have visitors / extreme temperatures!) and fast forward through Birdwood and past the giant rocking horse.
We just made it back to Eden Valley in time for a bit of wine tasting, or so we had thought. Unfortunately the Irvine cellar door is housed within the local hotel and as such they stop the tasting sessions at 3pm, we got there at 6 minutes past! Drat!
Not quite done with our excursion for the day we decided to set out to find the soldiers settlement or memorial out up in the hills behind Eden Valley but only found what was possibly the old Jutland settlement, whatever that was, which seemed to consist of a shack house in the middle of the field. And we’re done with exploring!
The evening whizzed by with arrangements being made to meet up with Jacquie who was with us on the Calypso
snorkelling tour we did from Mission Beach all those months ago. She’s now touring Australia herself and blogging as she goes so we’ve been keeping half an eye on each others whereabouts figuring at some point our paths would cross again. She’s currently staying about 45 minutes away from where we’re camped, house sitting for her cousin. We throw a few ideas around and eventually settle on a picnic lunch in Hahndorf tomorrow.
Plus, our very good travelling friends Jane & Tony have also put us in touch with friends of theirs who live in the village of Bethany in the Barossa Valley. I’d left it very late to get in touch with Marion & Russ but she rang tonight and has already put the wheels in motion for a BBQ on Sunday plus Russ has offered to take us round the Wolf Blass winery where he works late tomorrow afternoon. With all these plans being made we’re very excited about the next few days as you can imagine!
It’s now some ridiculous temperature for this late in the evening, something mid 30’s probably. A quick visit to the loo gave me an introduction to the resident red
back spider nestled below the toilet U bend! I think it’s a red back anyway but I didn’t bring the camera with me - I mean who would under normal circumstances! Ok, I will take it with me tomorrow!!
Love to everyone
Dar and Sar
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