Hahndorf–Schmarndorf!

Fri. 26th April 2019

HahndorfToday we are heading off to Barossa Valley for a few days to try some local wine. It is not easy to get there by public transport so we have hired a car for the trip. On chatting to the owner of our new favourite pizza restaurant last night, he suggested we detour through the hills and see Hahndorf, as that is much prettier than the direct route driving through the suburbs. Myf had also mentioned Hahndorf, so that is a plan.

St Michaels Lutherean churchAfter a quick Google (oops Bing) I discovered it is the first planned non British settlement for (European) immigrants. Fifty four Lutheran families had arrived by sea after fleeing persecution in Prussia in 1838. Due to low tide, they were trapped just off Adelaide on their ship called Zebra. Their Captain Dick Hahn took pity on them and helped them settle in land previously occupied by the Peramangk people at a place called Bukatilla. Once settled the name was changed to Hahndorf, Hahn Town.

Check out the aprons!The town has received State Heritage status which in my view is beginning to ruin it. On arriving in town we went to the Tourist Office and were given a map with a walking route along the main street. This does give a history of the houses and their previous owners and uses. However once you look up from your informative guide all you see is masses of tourists and shops pandering to the every weird need. The stone masons is now a candle shop, the mortuary now an art gallery. Even worse, it is clichéd and tacky with this stupid faux-Bavarian tat shop being the worst (but far from the only offender).

Most authentic sightIt has become a Bourton on the Water on steroids and with less charm, but at least the parking is free!! We fought our way up and back along the main street avoiding the two pubs which were packed out with tourists. It was lunchtime and Dave had seen a small cafe serving soup. We headed that way, found to to be quiet and had yummy lentil soup. It turns out the new owners have only been there six weeks. They are very enthusiastic so we hope they succeed. However as we walk back to the car we see many eateries are empty at peak lunch time so unless the tourists start forking out some dosh I fear the place will become a ghost town as it is hard to see how so many businesses will make money.

Udder delights - really!We did not help the cause by going to the Udder Delights shop which advertised cheese tastings. Under a glass dome were three pieces of their cheese – a runny goats cheese (tasty and not too ‘goaty’), a blue cheddar (and odd combination but nice enough), and a double-cream brie (fabulous). We failed to purchase the yummy brie as we would have no chance to eat it (or appetite given all our other indulgences). No-one else was tasting as most visitors were eating in or window shopping. There are many other tasting places listed in the leaflet from wine to fudge, so I hope they fare better. In the end, we were glad to move on and see what else the Adelaide Hills has to offer.

Whispering wall AKA a damOur next stop was the highly advertised Whispering Wall. You would think I would have learnt by now to avoid overhyped places or at least do my homework first!! It turns out to be a dinky little dam and not very picturesque at that. When we arrive  there is one family trying out the acoustics of whispering at one end and listening at the other. I can confirm it works. The walk to the far end and back may have helped my step count but I cannot say much more than that.

View from our cottageBeing a bit disillusioned with our day so far we head to our cottage at Barossa Valley Estates where we are staying for two nights and the whole day perks up. The cottage is huge in amongst the vines and so well kitted out. A bottle of Jacobs Creek fizz chilling in the fridge and Port for later. The fridge is full of eggs, mushrooms and bacon as well as fruit and yogurts for our continental breakfast. I am also excited that wild kangaroos have been known to look in through the window.

DJI_0009Dave had a quick play with his drone and went for the classic shot along the rows of vines. This place had been recommended to us by Round the World Experts on the basis that if we bought a certain number of nights accommodation through them it became a package tour. So far they have come up trumps with their suggestions. We are staying a short walk from Lyndoch so to avoid drink driving in the evening we take the fifteen minute walk into the village to the local pub. I ate the best steak I have had in ages and even resisted the desert menu, as we are not going to starve over the next few days (if not longer!). I will have a dry day soon honest?!?!?!?

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