Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Adelaide to Loxton - 7th of September
Gavin and Pia get up way to early for the likes of we holiday folk, so they had already left by the time we had managed to drag ourselves out of bed, coffee, breakfast, shower and pack. In fact they would have had to have stayed home 'til 11 to witness our morning faffing. We drove the few kilometers over to Beej and Tracey's to say one last goodbye and then we were off. Out of the city again - on the road - free. As much as it was lovely to catch up with our friends, it felt great to be getting out of the city and back in to the countryside. For some reason, the TomTom decided that the quickest way to get through the city was to go through the city. So, we got one last extended look at Adelaide before the seemingly endless drive through the northern suburbs. These seem to suddenly disappear however and suddenly we were on the highway with the Barossa off to one side and fields of grapes and canola (given the unfortunate name 'rapeseed' by Europeans). This gave way surprisingly quickly to scrubby outback - the first bit of this type of countryside we'd seen and was perfect for clearing the city cobwebs from our minds.
It was a fairly easy drive and around lunchtime I decided we'd stop in Blanchetown for some food and a break. Apparently known as 'the entrance to the riverland', this was our first proper view of the once-mighty Murray River. And while the river is still quite amazing and beautiful, Blanchetown isn't. We drove down to the river and 'lock 1', the first of the many locks and weirs along the river. There were Pelicans everywhere waiting for fish to be funneled through one part of the weir. I assume this is easier than trying to find fish in the Murray as it is quite muddy - practically opaque. Oddly enough, large fish were jumping out of the water right in front of us which they seemed to ignore. This was the most interesting (and active) part of the town and there was nothing else to really speak of and certainly nowhere that looked like it would serve food. So we pressed on to Kingston-On-Murray and in particular the Banrock Station winery. Now Banrock Station wines do not pretend to be anything other than what they are. They are decent quaffing wines and price themselves accordingly - around $9 a bottle. Their building however is spectacular and is grander than anything we saw in McLaren Vale outside of Adelaide. On a slight ridge, the view overlooks the countryside for miles (see pic at the top of this blog) and when we arrived there were two storms off in the distance adding to the majesty of the place. After a brief tasting of their reds (and their white shiraz) we grabbed a couple of emergency bottles and got back on the road to Loxton enjoying more views of the Murray along the way. We arrived in Loxton about 5ish and checked into our room which was a fairly standard motel block but it had a view (again of the Murray) and we had been given complimentary beer which was waiting for us in the fridge. After unpacking, we took a little stroll around the town which seemed quiet and mostly unspoilt. Unfortunately there were only a couple of postcards of Loxton, none with the name 'Loxton' on it and no magnets to add to our collection of places we've stayed in. We then went down to the pub for a couple of beers and some food. That night we opened the Petit Sapin cheese we'd bought at the Adelaide market and had that with some red wine while watching Good News Week.