Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Clare Valley

After hanging around on the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas for weeks and babysitting as my fishing rod holding husband had fun catching the odd fish, I was definitely ready for some non-fishing times. This was increased ever more by the purchase of yet another ‘fishing’ implement- a blue swimmer crab ‘rake’ which was then used extensively at Ardrossan on the Eastern side of Yorkes. I believe we ate leftovers that night.
Idyllic Clare Valley winery.
Poor Fiela, he made up for it by sourcing some local oysters for $7 a dozen, then driving me to the Clare and a valley bursting with wineries. Aah, my hero!
Clare Valley Racecourse Camping.

Wikicamps led us to the Clare Valley Racecourse, where for $20 a night you could camp anywhere on the grounds (just look out for the massive sprinklers which come on somewhere in the middle of the night) get electricity, warm showers and toilets while you look out over the vineyards and green lawn. Best of all we were there alone, with a few caravans arriving during our stay but camping waaaay over there. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny.
Riesling Trail action.

The Riesling Trail is a bike path traversing the length of the Clare Valley and is apparently the best way to get a real feel for the area. Wineries are within jumping distance of the trail making it even more desirable, even though we’d have to bike a few kilometres along country roads through vines and farms to get to it. We hired a kiddie carrier to transport our kiddies and set off one cool dry day.
More than anything, travelling around in Spring is beautiful if only for the roses.

Skillogalee gardens.
The funny thing about most tourist maps is that they’re really quite shithouse. We didn’t get lost on the way, but we almost called the whole thing off before we even hit the Riesling Trail after some steep hill climbs, me with just one gear (since my bike has taken an absolute flogging being transported on the back of the camper) and Fiela towing in excess of 30 kilograms with the kiddie carrier. Anyhoo, we finally hit the Trail and it is lovely- the gradient is incredibly gentle and the scenery is gorgeous with rolling hills of vines in every direction. I was feeling pretty thirsty already; it could have been the pesticides in the air or maybe last night’s oyster and wine fest, either way it was time to taste!
Life on the road is tough! 
We stopped in at Tim Adams and did a quick tasting before heading to Skillogalee. It’s off the Trail and up some pretty steep hills, but it has one of the prettiest cellar door and restaurant’s around. We were treated like royalty having been the entertainment for diners while we puffed our way up to the winery. The food was excellent, the gardens beautiful and the wine great. So great we hung around, wondering whether that guy in the ute would mind ferrying us and our bikes home. But alas, back on we got and rode back to camp.
Skillogalee artichokes.

Made it! Skillogalee for lunch.
Exhaustion set in when we did get home and realised we’d just cycled 36 kilometres either with one gear or towing the kids. I expected to be completely stiff the next day but apart from a few small aches we were fine.
All worn out after riding around all day...

We did a few other tastings around the place at Jim Barry, Knappstein and Mr Micks, it was all pretty good and we came away with the car and camper full of wine once again. One thing’s for sure: wine areas are definitely the nemesis of our budget!

Tandem naughty corner action...
...followed by some Papa loving.

Outside Mr Micks in Clare.

More Tantrum Games.

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