Feb 29, 2016

Great Southern Land

Our new 11 Day Taste of South Australia showcases a magic mix of vineyards, outback landscapes and wildlife encounters with fine dining at the heart of the journey.

With attractions as rich and intriguing as its world-famous wine, South Australia offers some of the most captivating and unique experiences available anywhere across this wide brown land.

Adelaide, the capital, regularly ranks highly in reviews of cities and its modern and increasingly cool reputation is well deserved. The beautifully designed ‘city of churches’, is known equally for its vibrant arts culture and hip dining scene as it is for its neighbourhoods of grand colonial architecture and picturesque gardens. No wonder those in the know have bestowed upon it the nickname ‘Fabelaide’.

A city tour will introduce you to its many historic churches, the renovated Adelaide Oval and some of the most prestigious real estate in the country. A tour of the 145 year-old Adelaide Central Market – a Freechoice option - is a colourful exploration of the region’s delicious fresh produce and is a must for discerning gourmands.

Beyond the city – but within easy striking distance – the lush vineyards of the Barossa and Clare valleys not only produce world famous drops but a smorgasbord of fresh produce including local chocolate, cheese, olive oil and verjuice.

Further inland from the Barossa lies the raw Australian outback, as old as time, and seen at its vast rugged best in the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound. On the way out to the Flinders Ranges, you’ll also make a pit-stop in Port Augusta on the tranquil Spencer Gulf.

The striking and rugged ranges are half a billion years old - and a place of Aboriginal dreaming, colonial hardship, artists and poets. The wondrous colours, contorted vegetation and endless vistas are revealed at the vast natural amphitheatre known as Wilpena Pound, or Ikara, which artist Hans Heysen described as “the bones of the earth laid bare”.

On the way to the world-famous Barossa Valley, you should explore its little sister, the bucolic Clare Valley and historic Kapunda, Australia's first mining town and once the site of the world’s biggest copper mine. Home to an emerging local gourmet food movement – keep an eye out for the Eat Local signs - the pioneering spirit and specialised wines of the Clare Valley are exemplified by the Heritage Trail and Riesling Trail. Grapes were first planted here in 1851 and the region has been producing great wine ever since.

The Barossa Valley produces some of the most highly-regarded wines in the world –especially Shiraz and Cabernet – courtesy of the terroir, cool summers and rainy winters and the cellar doors are a delight for both aficionados and the curious.

The main street of the distinctive town of Hahndorf in the gorgeous Adelaide Hills is lined with 100-year old elm and pane trees and original and restored 'Fachwerk' buildings constructed by the German immigrants who settled here throughout the nineteenth century. The German influence remains amongst the architecture, themed galleries, craft and souvenir shops, smallgoods outlets and German bakeries - including Otto’s and the German Cake Shop - where you will find magnificent apple strudel and other pastries.

Continue your adventure on a ferry ride from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island, one of Australia’s most engaging and diverse treasures. KI (as it known to the locals) is often referred to as ‘a zoo without fences’ and features multitudinous sea life, little penguin colonies, koalas and an abundance of bird life as well as – unsurprisingly - plenty of kangaroos and wallabies. Seal Bay Conservation Park is home to around a thousand Australian sea lions and the photogenic, naturally-sculpted rock formations Admiral’s Arch and Remarkable Rocks. You can also climb a lighthouse for an even better view or explore the underground caves.

Kangaroo Island also boasts exceptional food and on the Scenic Enrich extension a local epicurean guide will introduce you to the unique honey, cheeses – including sheep's cheese - and wine available only here.

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