An Autumn Day in the Adelaide Hills

The very first time Travis and I visited the Adelaide Hills was in April of 2015 (here). Being from Texas neither of us had ever experienced a proper Autumn with crisp morning air and leaves changing, so we were taken back by how stunning the scenery was. Ever since then I have wanted to live somewhere with real seasons. When we found out we were moving to Adelaide, and in Autumn no less, I was more than a little excited.

When my mother in law and her friend came to visit back in May I knew I wanted to take them out to the Hills. I had heard great things about the Botanical Gardens in Mt. Lofty and also the small town of Stirling, so that was our itinerary.

We headed out to the botanical gardens first thing in the morning, it’s an easy 30 minute drive from Adelaide. When we arrived it was COLD. This is when I learned to add a layer when we go out to the Hills, because it is that much colder.

The gardens looked like a painting. There were orange, red and yellows everywhere you looked and you understood why people come from all over to see them during this time of year.

Leighton especially loved the ducks in the pond.

We strolled around for a while before we decided to head into Stirling to grab a coffee to warm up. While I grabbed takeaway coffees for the grownups the kids had a play at Steamroller Park (pictures from a later visit- we have been a few times since) before we wandered into a cute local bookstore to browse. Stirling is such a sweet little town and the park in right next to the shops and cafes, so a great spot for the kids to run around.

By then it was lunch time so we headed to another spot recommended by friends, Patch Kitchen and Garden. The restaurant is in a cute old house and has a garden with a cubby house for the kids in play in. We sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine while the kids ran wild. The menu was pretty small but our food was really good. Leighton especially loved peaking at the chickens in the coop around back.

Since our visit we have been back to the area a few more times. Another spot we enjoyed (and came recommend) was The Stirling Hotel, the food was really good but you definitely need a booking on the weekends. So if you catch yourself in the Adelaide area during Autumn, you can’t miss a visit out to the Hills.

Life Lately: March 2019

Hi friends! It has been a while over here. As you may already know we spent this month moving across the country.

We arrived back from Texas on the 12th of February and by the end of the month our house was all packed up and we were saying our good byes (see you laters!).

We spent our last two weeks in Brisbane spending as much time with all of our friends and visiting our favorite spots. Our sweet friends even threw a going away party for our whole family at the Victoria Park golf club restaurant. It was perfect because there was a playground and plenty of room for the kids to run around while we caught up. Leighton misses all of her sweet friends so much, we talk about them everyday. Continue reading

A Girly Weekend in the Barossa Valley

When our friends, Ashley (aka Otto) and Allen, were planning their trip to visit us there was one event only the boys were on board with- shark cage diving. Travis had been dying to do this since we moved here, but I would never give in (scaredy cat for life). Obviously, he was ecstatic to finally have someone who wanted to go with him. The next thing to decide though was what would us ladies (Leighton included) do while they were on their adventure. The shark cage dive is located in Port Lincoln in the state of South Australia and a short flight out of Adelaide. Guess what else surrounds Adelaide? WINERIES galore!

Our last trip to the South Australia wine country was with my parents when Leighton was still in my tummy, so I jumped at the chance to go back. We all flew down to Adelaide together and did a bit of exploring before parting ways. Adelaide is a great destination for food and drink options. Since Travis used to travel there almost biweekly he had quite a few recommendations for our short trip.

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Easter Weekend in South Australia {Part 2}

In case you missed part one, you can check it out right here.

After a relaxing night at the house, we were up bright and early Saturday morning for breakfast with a view.

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Our first stop after leaving the house was the Tanunda visitor centre where we took advantage of the photo booth props, and got the run down on what was going on in the Barossa Valley Easter weekend.

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Easter Weekend in South Australia {Part 1}

Hi! Remember me? I didn’t mean to take a two week blog break but our first week back at school after the break was pretty crazy and the only thing I wanted to do when I got home was crash.

So without further ado, I will (finally) begin a recap of our amazing Easter weekend…

Ever since our trip to South Australia’s wine country last year, we have been dying to get back. When we were planning my parents trip we knew we wanted to take advantage of our four day weekend over Easter and go somewhere. My dad is a wine lover himself and we knew he would love Barossa and all the surrounding regions, so our decision was pretty easy.

Even after finding out I was pregnant and wouldn’t be able to partake in the wine tastings, I was still so excited to get out into the country and enjoy the scenery.

We started our journey by flying into Adelaide Thursday night after work. Friday morning Travis had to go into the office, meanwhile we hunted for an open cafe (NOTHING is open on Good Friday in Australia) and picked up our rental car.

We headed out to the McLaren Vale first knowing that it would be slim pickens  as far as open wineries. After a quick stop at the visitors centre we headed off with a list all the wineries hours for the holiday weekend (SO helpful!).

Our first stop was Fox Creek, where everyone enjoyed a tasting out on the covered patio. Next up we took my parents by one of the prettiest vineyards we visited last time, Coriole. We knew the winery was closed but just wanted to show them the grounds.

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When we pulled up we were greeted by the owners letting us know they were closed for the day and having a family gathering. She explained that there are only two days a year they are closed (Good Friday and Christmas Day) and the family can use the property. She was happy to let us wander around and check out the gorgeous gardens and rolling vineyards while giving us some background on the family and property.

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Afterwards we stopped by Zimmermann where we heard a lots of information about the wines (and quite a few other topics) from the owner.

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By this point I was starving and very hangry so we tried to skeedaddle out of their as quickly as we could to find lunch.

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Since most places were closed we decided to continue through the Adelaide Hills to the quaint but touristy German town of Hanhdorf. Everything there was bustling and only a few places were closed for the day. Hanhdorf does Autumn really well, and the trees lining the streets were really showing off.
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After lunch and some browsing at the antique shops, we took advantage of an open grocery store and loaded up on some essentials for the weekend (namely cheese, crackers and sandwich supplies) and set off towards our Air BnB in the Barossa Valley.

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All of the bed and breakfasts were full by the time we went to book, so we turned to our favorite source- Air BnB. We found the perfect country house nestled in the heart of the Barossa Valley with amazing views. It more than exceeded our expectations and we loved hanging out and taking in the views from every room in the house. We couldn’t believe what a great find it was.

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We were all pretty exhausted from our big day, so we chose to hang out at the house and enjoy some of the yummy treats our host left us and have family game night.

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Sidenote: Australian 1982 trivial pursuit is really hard.

Well that’s all for Part 1, next up will be our day out in the Barossa. I will be back later this week with some more recent of updates on our life lately!

Barossa Valley Vintage Festival

When I left off, we were heading through the Adelaide Hills and McClaren Vale toward the Barossa Valley.

When we booked our last minute wine country weekend we had no idea it coincided with the Barossa Valley Vintage Festival. We also had no idea what a Vintage Festival was.

After a little research we learned that every two years the Barossa Valley wine region celebrates their heritage and history along with the ending of harvest (or vintage) season. The community has many different events going on throughout the wineries and towns for visitors of all ages. This explained why we had such a hard time finding a place to stay. Luckily, a church group that rented an entire BnB backed out a week before and we were able to snag a room super last minute. We arrived at the Blickinstal Bed and Breakfast Friday afternoon, walked into our room and were welcomed with delicous homemade brownies for afternoon tea.

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I could not recommend the Blickinstal more. It’s the cutest seven room bed and breakfast nestled on a vineyard in the tiny town of Bethany. Within minutes from award winning vineyards, you are truly at the heart of the Barossa. The owner, Sue, is as sweet as they come and a mean cook as well. Breakfast each morning, served in the cafe style dining room, was mouth watering. The first morning we started with poached pears and caramel followed by the traditional bacon, eggs and toast. Add on coffee and fresh juice- that would have cost us at least $60 each at a cafe anywhere in Australia!

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Our first evening we hung at the BnB for a while before heading to our dinner reservation in nearby Tanunda. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at 1918 Bistro and Grill, only a five minute drive away. The restaurant is set in an old house and is adorably quaint.

The next morning after breakfast we headed back into Tanunda to check out the parade before hitting the wineries (remember 10am is magical wine tasting time). The town was so excited for the festival and parade, families were posted up all down the main road, set up with snacks, tents and wine, of course. We picked up coffee and strolled around the town while we waited.

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After a couple of hours, we started growing impatient watching those precious wine tasting minutes tick by so we decided to creep out of Tanunda before a single float made an appearance.

DSC_0148Our next stop was by far our favorite- Hentley Farm Winery.

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While we waited on our tasting we warmed up by the fire and enjoyed the first glass of the day.

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This is also when Travis added a new step to the wine tasting process- listening to the wine…
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After making a few purchases, we bounced around to several other spots including…

Maggie Beers food shop, where we hung out with some wildlife.

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where we found the coolest meeting room downstairs

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and Travis locked me in it,

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and we took awkward photo shoots in the vineyards.
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We drove down the palm tree lined Seppeltsfield Road.

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Then hit up the Barossa Comes Home food and wine festival (in the rain)…

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and people thought I was a real photographer and asked me to take their pictures…

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so I just went with it. I was too awkward to explain I was just taking pictures for my blog.

The next morning we said farewell to the Blickinstal,

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with another awkward solo photo shoot. Maybe we should look into obtaining a selfie stick after all.
DSC_0288We drove to nearby Angustown,

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enjoyed a cup of coffee and strolled around town while we waited for this gem to open…

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we tried some yummy cheeses, bought some souvenirs and officially became the first Texans to visit this quaint little cheese shop.

DSC_0360We made one last winery stop on our way out of the valley- Rockford Wines.

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They had one of the most unique and authentic looking cellar doors, and they also sold delicious homemade jams and mustards (which we bought three of).

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With no more room in our luggage we headed back to Adelaide (with a short stop in the Hills first) to catch our evening flight back to Brisbane. In case you were wondering, Australia has pretty lenient carry on rules for domestic travel and you can carry on up to 6 bottles of wine each.

It was the perfect weekend of relaxation, wine tastings, good food and gorgeous scenery. As I do after every trip in this country- I declared it my new favorite part of Australia and began planning a return trip, visitors welcome ;).

 

Through the Adelaide Hills

When I last left off on our South Australian wine weekend, we were heading back on the road after spending the morning in the stunning McLaren Vale region. Our BnB for the weekend was in the Barossa Valley, north of Adelaide, so we began off in that direction. Our GPS took us on the most scenic route possible, through the gorgeous Adelaide Hills region. Apparently there was a quicker way that just took you through the city but I am so glad that it didn’t take us that way.

We had to keep stopping to take photos of all the wineries, orchards, autumn colored trees and the fun animals roaming through the vineyards.

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On our way to the Barossa we drove through the cutest little German town with tree-lined streets and cute shops. I was half asleep and we were trying to get to our BnB so we stopped back on Sunday before our flight. 
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Hahndorf was quite the tourist attraction, and the streets were bustling with families that Sunday morning. It didn’t stop Travis from posing for some classy photo opps though…

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Not much gets in the way of that man and a cheesy photo opportunity.

Complete with cellar doors, cafes and shops, Hahndorf made for the perfect little detour before we headed home. If you are heading to Adelaide I would recommend making the 30 minute drive over to Hahndorf to check it out.

Next stop- the Barossa Valley Vintage Festival where we spent the majority of the weekend. Stay tuned…

Linking up for Travel Tuesday!

McLaren Vale Wine Country

After spending the night in Adelaide, we woke up bright and early to begin our wine country weekend. We didn’t have much of an itinerary but knew that we wanted to hit up the McLaren Vale region first since it was only 40 minutes away from the city.

The weather was cold and rainy but it felt like a proper fall day, unlike Queensland where we are still wearing shorts. I had heard that McLaren Vale was the prettiest of regions, so I was excited to finally see it for myself.

We spent the morning just driving through the hills and miles and miles of vineyards.

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After the clock turned the magical “wine tasting appropriate” time of ten, we turned down a dirt road into the Dog Ridge Winery.

DogRidgeWe were the first and only visitors in the cellar door (probably because we showed up the minute they opened). We tried all of their wines and chatted with the sommelier and the winemaker for over an hour before we made our way down to the coast. They had suggested we check out Sellick’s Beach while we were in the area, so that we did.

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That’s completely normal.

The water was really pretty and we got to see some of the red, rocky coastline Adelaide is known for. I would love to go back during the summer and rent a beach house in the area- wineries and beaches in one trip? Sign me up!

By this time we were starting to get hungry so we headed to Coriole- a winery someone had suggested to us. There was a wait for lunch so we walked around their gorgeous property and visited the cellar door.

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We grew impatient and the menu had a little too much pate for our taste, so we decided to creep on out and find somewhere a little more suitable to our taste buds. We ended up eating lunch and getting drinks down the road at Ekhidna Wines- where they not only make their own wine but beer as well. I took their suggestion and tried the ginger beer- I am usually not a big ginger beer drinker but this was so good!

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With full bellies we hopped in our sweet Fiat and began the next leg of our trip- through the Adelaide Hills to the famous Barossa Valley. More on that later…

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