Hangin’ Out With Ma Honey
Friday was the start of some couple time in Adelaide. It was really fun to show Joel a few spots I’d stopped at while he was in the conference, but even more fun to stop at a few places for the first time together.
We had already booked a food and wine tour for the day to start our adventures out right. In my reading I had heard some about the Adelaide Hills (just inland from the city- about a 20 min drive), but it was really fun to be along with some locals to hear more about the area.
Eat Drink and be Merry
Just after 9am we were greeted by our friendly, Aussie guide for the day, Danny. He arrived with a full-sized van, a warm welcome and sturdy handshake. I liked him right away.
We eventually found out Danny was once a teacher at a tech school in the area, but found it wasn’t his deal. We were grateful to have his gift of teaching to share stories of the past as we drew closer to koala country.
He shared all sort of pearls as we travelled through downtown. All about the history of the city, the things that had changed and saved over the years of Adelaide evolution. We were 2 of 5 passengers on the tour that day, 2 locals celebrating a 50th birthday and one American on her way through a whirlwind tour of Australia.
The crew was cordial, but by the third cellar door… we were friends.
I was really hoping to see a koala bear or kangaroo, as ordinarily we would be thick in their part of South Australia, but we’ll have to save that for another trip. The cute critters were hiding while we headed for the lookout at the top of the hills. We were able to gain a survey of the coastline from our vantage point. Beautiful. Blustery.
Our day was structured around food, drink and culture. Our first stop encompassed two of those elements (and culture in more than one way). Cheese.
We got our first glimpse of the oldest German town in Australia. The locals on our tour were eager to inform us (several times) that in South Australia, the people immigrated as traders, explorers and settlers… not criminals. But more on that later.
Udder Delights is a quaint cheese shop set in a sunny yellow character home on the main street of Hahndorf. We were greeted at the front counter by a cheery young lady who passionately offered us a handful of cheeses to taste (but she wore gloves and proper utensils).
We were impressed with most of the flavours, but really wished we were able to pack some of the dutch gouda back with us. Yum.
Chocolate was up next. Named after Nellie Melba, a famous Australian opera singer who frequented the area to sit for a portraitist years ago, Melba Chocolates features every chocolate-covered concoction one could imagine. We saw chocolate covered coffee beans, every dried fruit under the sun was doused in the sweet stuff, liquorice, you name it… it was there.
We sampled a few tasty treats, and headed home with the most sprinkle-covered chocolate bar I’ve ever seen and white chocolate coated Swedish berries. Delicious!
Neither Joel or I are big wine drinkers. It’s just kinda of an occasional situation, generally with friends who are more seasoned in flavour profiles and the like, but the Adelaide Hills are known for their vineyards and wine.
The hills are more recently being recognized as a hub for cellar doors and wine tours, and because of it’s cooler temperatures the region is gaining buzz with their white wines, specifically- sauvignon blancs.
I was a good sport with trying several wines, but the highlights of the vineyards for me were the passionate employees, the views and the history.
I love hearing people speak on their passions, and there is no shortage of such people in wine country. People have beautiful stories of when they drank the perfect wine in the most scenic atmosphere. Peoples bodies seem to breathe air in differently when they’re talking about the things they love. They come alive-this is such a cool thing to witness.
One vineyard we visited had this incredible barn with barrels and barrels of wine waiting to come of age. They host weddings and functions amongst the barrels, and this was the first of many times Joel and I noticed how awesome it would be to have your wedding in Adelaide. There are perfectly picturesque spaces all over the city!
Then there were the stories of how wines from the area began to gain interest, and that one of the biggest pests to wine makers there are kangaroos. Very cool.
Lunch in the Motherland
In 1839 Hahndorf was settled by German immigrants who arrived by boat, and hiked up the hill for their piece of paradise. They were able to establish themselves as a self-sustaining community. Most of what they needed was readily available and crafted for use by the population (clothes, food, building material, etc.).
Women from the village would pack up produce and other items for sale, they would leave at midnight and hike all the way down into the city to sell their goods at the central market- which, in spite of being in a new location, is still operational today (I went there and wrote about it in my previous blog post, JFYI).
They hiked through an area that was well-known to be dangerous as robbers frequented it, but there’s no record of the robbers ever bothering the ladies of Hahndorf. My guess is because they were big, tough ladies with arms and legs strong enough to snap their necks like twigs if provoked… but that’s speculative.
The women made the trek to the city several times a week. A 12 hour round-trip hike, where they brought goods down and brought any supplies they needed back home- including 2 large stone each that were used for the construction of the town church.
Anyways… we had fun exploring Hahndorf. Our time in town started with lunch at a german pub. Both Joel and I had the platter of 3 different German sausages with warm potato salad and sauerkraut and a wonderful homemade apple strudel with ice cream was dessert. It was so decadent, we felt we should follow in the Hahndorf maiden’s footsteps to work it all off.
Instead we wandered around town.
With such a fun, full day, there’s no need to explain this next picture:
Saturday arrived with the promise of some sun, so we headed out to discover more of the city.
We started off towards the zoo. The walk there was lovely. We took a slight detour in order to go through the botanical garden again on our way to see the animals. Joel was really impressed with the beauty within the wrought iron gates. We made a plan to circle back Sunday to take our time in the gardens.
Joel really enjoyed coming across the free mason hall on our walk towards the zoo as well. It was a massive building on a main road by the university. Pretty eerie!
The zoo wasn’t very big, but had a lot of really interested animals to watch. One of our favourite sights was an elusive little orangutan that we walked by twice; the first we didn’t see him, but read he likes to hide under blankets. The next time we walked by his enclosure, we caught a glimpse of him pop up from under his fleece, adjust himself- being sure to cover his head and then hunker down again like a moody teenager. He held us captive for several minutes as we hoped he would come out again. No luck- but it made us rich with joy and memories.
Joel, of course- loved the giraffes, and I enjoyed making it look like he was in a cage. This tiger was looking rather majestic, too:
With some rain threatening to dump on us, and my hangry-tendencies looming we headed back towards the city centre for a snack and indoor activities.
We found ourselves at the museum, which was another free stop. I was impressed with the number of activities that are made available for the public in Adelaide: botanic gardens, art gallery, museum… and more. Very much appreciated.
For something a bit different Saturday evening, we ventured out to see if we could get a seat at a top 5 restaurant in Adelaide, Peel St. We were told all their reserved spots were taken, but it might be possible to catch a table if we stopped in.
We walked over, taking our chances in the first few minutes they opened. Our gamble paid off, and we were able to snag a tiny bar-table that was set up around a brick pillar in the middle of the restaurant.
The place was tiny, but packed. We were happy to have any table at all for this unusual experience. The interior was very simple- exposed brick and ceiling beams completed the raw vibe throughout the space. It was both industrial and inviting- a great mix.
The only paper menus available were the wine lists, the food menu is all seasonal and ever-changing, so it’s described on two massive chalkboards.
We were told to order 1-2 ‘small’ items and 1 large to share. So we did. Each plate that passed us to it’s intended group looked similar- white, oval platters mounded with greens and veggies. We quickly learned, that the dished may look alike, but each have this fabulous individuality.
Our first course was pork belly and prawns with Asian greens, peanuts, pineapple, chilli and lime. This was our favourite of the three options. The meat was tender and flavourful and the mix of tastes were expertly crafted, balanced and inventive.
Dish two was a parmesan and thyme crusted roast pumpkin with whipped feta, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, capers and tomato salad with walnut and green olive dressing. This was another winner, very interesting and full of flavour.
Lastly we had our main dish, Vietnamese grill beef with onions and curried lime dressing. This was probably the tastiest beef we’ve had since being away from Alberta.
It was fun to be a part of the Peel St. experience. The place bustling the while time we were there, and it had this really cool community-vibe as friends shared family style gourmet gastro explorations.
Sunday Funday (as they say)
There wasn’t much on the schedule for Sunday, so we decided to hit up a breakfast place Joel had been interested in. It was outside the CBD, so we tracked our route on city transit, and went to find Long Lost Friend.
It was a beautiful day to adventure, lots of sunshine and a simple trek to land us at our destination.
We enjoyed a lovely breakfast and coffees before walking a ways and ending up at the botanical garden for a proper tramp around the grounds. Throughout the gardens, it seems like every turn leads to a kodak moment. There are greenhouse with exotic plant species:
Emergency exits that look like they’re straight out of Jurassic Park:
Manicured water-features and different structures throughout help to accentuate the grounds:
Joel and I loved the hilariously over-sized doorknobs leading to the waterlily pavilion (Joel maybe a bit more than me):
It was the perfect place to explore on a sunny Sunday. We took in as many building and exhibits there as we could before heading back for a rest at our hotel.
With our early morning departure, we allowed ourselves lots of downtime on our last full day. Our hotel was the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, so we thought it only right to enjoy it’s *majestic roof garden*. We order ourselves a cheese board and headed for the roof with our hot tea and laptops (actually, Joel’s laptop kept overheating and shutting off inadvertently… so he had a hot laptop, too). It was a good lazy day.
With many burger joints around Adelaide’s CBD, we thought our last meal there should be burger spot. We ended up at Grill’d, which was about a 3 mins walk from our hotel. It advertised itself as a ‘healthy burger’ place, but I don’t know how true that is. Their burgers were good, and the decor was cute (looking like you’re in a backyard more than a restaurant).
I thought the best part of Grill’d was their initiative to support local charity groups. With every order you get a bottle cap to vote to support 1 of 3 local charities. There are different charities every month, and three jars with their names on them. The jar that’s most full of bottle cap votes by the end of the month get a $500 (I believe) donation and the other 2 get a smaller donation, too. What a cool idea!
We had heaps of fun in Adelaide. It was a blessing to have be able to bundle our adventuring with a work trip this time around. I would definitely make a trip back to South Australia. Joel and I both commented that we needed more time in the city just to experience all the great food options! The city was just cool, though. Easy to navigate and lots to see and do.
On to the next kiwi adventure, I suppose! Tomorrow we head south. Joel and I have both been to New Zealand before, but have yet to see Wellington- this weekend is our opportunity! We are really looking forward to our time in this city of coffee, food and art. Oh- and the All Blacks, we’ve got tickets for their game again Wales on Saturday. Lots to see an do again 🙂