Monday, January 1, 2018

South Australia: Wine Country, Victor Harbor, Cape Jervis

Kangaroo signs are common along highways throughout Australia, as are eucalyptus trees
In early December, the beginning of the southern hemisphere summer, we spent two weeks in Australia, first in Sydney and Melbourne and then in South Australia. To get to our vacation destination of Kangaroo Island, located off the coast of South Australia, we flew to Adelaide. From there we drove south in our rented car, taking a detour along the way through  the beautiful wine country of McClaren Vale and then to our overnight stay in the beach town of Victor Harbor. The next morning we continued to Cape Jervis where we caught the 45 minute car ferry to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island.
Coriole Vinyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia
The rolling hills of South Australia are covered with vineyards, well-known for their excellent wines. We stopped for a tasting at the Coriole Vineyards and a walk through their gardens, which were bursting with early summer blooms.
Artichoke blossom
In the kitchen garden behind the restaurant the artichokes had flowered and were crawling with bees collecting nectar.
On our return trip, we went back to Coriole for a delicious lunch on their patio.

Hay bales outside Victor Harbor
From McClaren Vale to Victor Harbor we drove past spacious farms before descending to the coast. Our lodging for the night, Austiny Bed and Breakfast, was just out of town. A sign near the entrance warned to watch out for kangaroos, and that evening, as we returned from dinner in town at the Anchorage Hotel, we spotted a mother kangaroo and her joey grazing along the side of the road.The next morning they hopped by the patio of our B and B as we were eating our breakfast.
Sulphur crested cockatoos are typically seen in large groups. This one perched briefly on a branch before joining the rest of the flock.
The spacious gardens around the Austiny were filled with birds--tiny superb wrens, sulphur crested cockatoos, magpies and more--which we enjoyed watching from the porch of our comfortable room.
Petrel Beach near Victor Harbor
The next morning we drove to the bluff overlooking the bay of Victor Harbor and then took a walk on Petrel Beach, totally deserted except for us, before setting off for Cape Jervis, about an hour's drive away.
Beginning of the Heysen Trail. South Australia’s 1,200km Heysen Trail extends from Cape Jervis, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, to Parachilna Gorge, in the Flinders Ranges, traversing coastal areas, native bushland, rugged gorges, pine forests, vineyards, rich farmland and historic towns.
We were early for the ferry to Kangaroo Island, so we parked and took a walk on the Heysen Trail, a path along the ocean through fields of early summer wildflowers.
View of Kangaroo Island from the Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis
Across the water we could see Kangaroo Island, our destination for our week's vacation. 
Car ferry to Kangaroo Island from Cape Jervis
Then, we lined up with the other cars until our turn came to board the ferry and we were off to our week on Kangaroo Island.

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