Exploring Adelaide, the Barossa Valley & Kangaroo Island
Featured destinations: Australia, South Australia
Published 29 September 2016
South Australia: a glorious concoction of lush vineyards, laid-back towns and fabulous food. Here, long sunny days are spent strolling along golden beaches and summer evenings disappear in a haze of fine wine. Offshore, Kangaroo Island plays hosts to a cacophony of wildlife, while state capital Adelaide is a lively friendly place. Round the World Experts’ Paul Longman, recently returned from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island, tells us more about his adventures in the Festival State.
Adelaide city tour
On arrival into Adelaide we met our driver Terry who gave us a grand tour of the city, showing us the flowers and trees of the Botanic Garden and taking us to the tempting food stalls of the Central Market. Terry knew everything there was to know about the city, and gave us lots of insight into the history of Adelaide and the surrounding area. Did you know for example that the city was named after Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV?
Jacobs Creek Winery, Barossa Valley image: Paul Longman
After the city tour, Terry drove us an hour or so to the Barossa Valley wine region and the Jacob's Creek winery, whose name you might recognise from the UK supermarket shelves. There we met Jules, who showed us around the vines, which covered various grape varieties from merlot to sauvignon blanc.
Wine samples ready for tasting image: Paul Longman
After this we headed inside Jacob’s Creek’s state-of-the-art Visitor Centre, where we immediately hit the bar for a comprehensive tasting session with Jules. For someone who is not a wine drinker I managed to taste a few that I quite liked, although it’s a shame the two bottles I enjoyed the most are not sold in the UK. Of course I had to buy them to take home!
The wine tasting was followed up by an amazing meal which consisted of a mezze starter followed by a platter of rare roasted beef with caramelised onions, roasted chicken on a bed of lentils, a pea and broad bean risotto with parmesan crisp, and some seasonal vegetables, along with wine of our choice.
Paul with his SMG wine image: Paul Longman
Feeling full from lunch, we headed to Penfolds Magill Estate Winery to attempt to blend our own wines. All dressed in lab coats, we were shown the ropes with good humour, including quite a lot of drinking and plenty of spillages. My blend was made from 53% Shiraz, 33% Mourvèdre and 14% Grenache grapes, making it an SMG wine. This blend has a lovely aroma with just a hint of dryness and a very full taste – the perfect combination, or at least I think so.
Pennington Bay, Kangaroo Island image: Paul Longman
We were picked up from our Adelaide hotel the following morning for a scenic drive through the spiralling hills of South Australia to Cape Jervis. From here we took the 45-minute ferry to Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest island.
Seals lazing in Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island image: Paul Longman
Wild seal watching
After an unscheduled stop in Pennington Bay, which had some amazing beach and bay views, our driver took us to Seal Bay, an incredible stretch of coastline where you can get up close to wild seals.Paul at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island image: Paul Longman
We called in at Vivonne Bay, which in my opinion is one of the island’s most beautiful spots. After a short play on the sand and a tasty lunch, we had a go at sand boarding on the dunes of Little Sahara. It was an epic fail on my part, and the sand got everywhere imaginable, but everyone else was quite good at it. I think I will stick to snowboarding in future!
Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island image: Paul Longman
Paul at Remarkable Rocks image: Paul Longman
Flinders Chase National Park
Next morning we called in at Flinders Chase National Park where our first point of call was the Remarkable Rocks. Here, thousands of years of wind and wave erosion has created amazing shapes in the rocks. Next, we visited Cape du Couedic, where there is a lighthouse from the late 1880s as well as the most amazing erosion hole, called Admirals Arch. The seals like to hang out here when they are not in the water. Later, after a brief stop off at Flinders Chase National Park’s visitor’s centre, we went for a walk through a gum tree avenue where we saw numerous koalas snoozing in the branches.
Swimming with dolphins
In the afternoon we set sail on a marine cruise from Emu Bay. Our skipper told us that we would see wild dolphins and get a chance to swim with them, but none of us really believed that this would happen.
But within seconds of throwing a fishing line overboard, dolphins were chasing the boat down on both sides. As promised we were given the chance to get into the water with them, equipped with a snorkel. We jumped in and were amongst them fairly quickly, although we couldn't keep up. So the skipper hauled us back into the boat and said the best way to see them was to chuck a rope over the side and for two of us to hold onto it. So me and a fellow traveller took the rope and jumped in amongst the cetaceans. There were 20 or so dolphins swimming within a few metres of our faces. This was the most surreal experience of my life! Once I got back on the boat I was shaking as I couldn't believe what had just happened! Definitely one to tick off the bucket list.
Admirals Arch, Kangaroo Island image: Paul Longman
Back in Adelaide
Soon it was time to leave Kangaroo Island and return to Adelaide. We took the free tram to Rundle Mall in the city centre, and wandered around the shops and markets, including a tempting chocolate shop. We just had time to head back to the hotel for some time to relax and chill out before returning to the airport, as our time in South Australia had come to an end.
Paul travelled to South Australia on a tailor-made version of Round the World Experts' South Australia in Depth holiday. Chat to your Expert for further information and to book.