It’s been a busy time on Da Block preparing the gardens for the onslaught of winter. The cold wind has blown in and it even snowed in a northern town!
We are actually ‘On The Road’ now but before we left we had a visit from some friends we met on the road in 2014. They are very game caravanning in SA in winter! So we made the most of what the Valley does so well….wine, roaring fires, wine & good food.
We managed to visit around 11 cellar doors but didn’t taste or purchase at them all, the majority now charge for tastings. A couple were ridiculous prices, and they didn’t take it off your purchase. Those that only charged $5-$10 and took it off your wine purchase we bought from and very much enjoyed. Of the Cellar Doors we visited my favourites were Mr Mick, Shut The Gate & Taylors Wines.
We also visited the Painted Silos in the district. Well worth a look and a patronage for the town, have a look around and a meal or snack. Our friends visited Bungaree Station and enjoyed the history and woolshed.
Future blogs will be highlights of our travels. Just heard a Qld Travel Declaration is required to enter Qld from another State…..good grief!:(
Well the ‘C’ virus has changed our lives dramatically; made us think twice about where we go outside our home, what we touch, who’s touched it before us, how will I stay safe? A lot of businesses are thinking outside the box finding ways to keep afloat. Will our lives be better for this?
I think so. Once we ALL understand the importance of #slowthespread and find alternate ways of communicating or earning a living, life will go on. Easter will be easy for us. We always tried to get off the road and ‘hibernate’ somewhere!
I have to give a local business a blatant plug! I placed my first order with The Corner Patch in Clare for fruit & veg. I was pleasantly happy with the selection and quality. The local pubs and most cafes/restaurants are ensuring they offer takeaways and the wineries are using a central Cellar Door in Clare as a distribution point for wine sales. All in all life is bubbling along….
As for Da Block, MacArthur the Ram has moved on to other pastures…literally!! Hopefully he has done his ‘job’ here with the ewes and baby lambies will be running around in the future!!
This week (just before the heavens opened and we had some much needed rain 🙂 ) I finally made the effort to visit The Olive Bus, 216 Spring Farm Road, Clare.
Being a weekday it wasn’t as busy as it probably is on weekends. The Olive Bus location is lovely – overlooking vineyards and rolling hills, and only 10 minutes from Clare. The Olive Bus is the cellar door and cafe for the award winning Stone Ridge Olive Grove, a small family run olive grove. They have turned a 1969 British Leyland Bus into a modern cafe / kitchen serving locally made food and drink.
We had a lovely lunch with local wine. It extended a bit longer than normal (which you do in ‘The Valley’) and afternoon tea ensued!! I highly recommend The Olive Bus for morning/afternoon tea or lunch as it has lovely food and great scenery. The staff were very friendly and they offer local produce and gifts.
Some more Cellar Doors we’ve visited over the past few months….
Stone Bridge Wines off Spring Gully Road, Sevenhill is a casual, dog & people friendly cellar door and family owned winery. Between September & May they offer wood oven pizzas….and DESSERT pizzas! SOOO YUMMM! Their wines are easy drinking & well priced. We often take visitors there for a casual lunch.
Shut the Gate Wines on Main North Road, just south of Clare before the Info Centre, is easy to access, has a lovely area to eat lunch (you can make up your own picnic from their selection of local produce) & the wines aren’t bad too!
Kirrihill Wines, next to Kirrihill Bakery (handy for a cake & coffee after) on Main North Rd south of Clare, is a friendly cellar door with easy drinking wines.
Taylors Wines, in Auburn is another winery offering tastings with option of cheese platters, pizzas on some weekends and tours. Three generations of winemakers have successfully produced some lovely wines catering to many tastes. We enjoy the ‘Taylor Made’ Malbec.
Mr Mick Wines, located in Clare, offers cellar door tastings and tapas style dining. We also take visitors there for tastings & lunches. The staff are always friendly and helpful. Our favourite wines are the Vermentino, Tempranillo and the Tawny.
Well, I love food. And on the rare occasion we ‘go out for food’ I like to indulge myself and order something that I don’t cook regularly (that could be an endless list!)
I will start by telling you about our experience at a Clare cafe, a Sevenhill Hotel, a Pub in Mintaro and a cafe in Saddleworth.
In Clare we do like to frequent Zest Cafe – 260 Main North Rd (at the rear of an open arcade). It has lovely food, good atmosphere, happy staff and importantly for us, dog friendly (as Jeda comes everywhere with us). We have taken friends there after showing them Clare’s main street and sat and enjoyed beautiful food whilst catching up. On the occasion in the photo it was Valentines Day….(ooohh that’s coming up again!) and we enjoyed a beautiful (and very rare) breakfast out! It was yum!
The next excursion was my birthday (2017) when my beloved took me to lunch at Sevenhill Hotel – Main North Road at Sevenhill. Instead of eating in the main dining area we were treated to a dining experience….in the cellar! It was quieter, cooler and more cosy (being December). AND we were surrounded by the Clare Valley’s best wines!!! I spent a lot of my time reading all the wine labels. The meal was lovely and staff very friendly (even at the busy Christmas time rush).
Further afar from Clare is the historic town of Mintaro. Love this town and it’s buildings. In the middle of town is The Magpie & Stump Hotel – Burra Street. It has been newly renovated (originally built 1851) and open 7 days a week. It’s a must do when ‘cellar dooring’ around the Valley. We have taken friends there and enjoyed sitting inside as well as outside in the beer garden. Lunch burgers are recommended along with an array of wines and beers. We have been there on weekends and sometimes the wait for your meal is a bit long but then they are a lot busier too. Take a walk around Mintaro and enjoy the stone buildings, the Maze, Martindale Hall built 1879-1880, a living museum.
On a Sunday after visiting the Saddleworth Country Market, we stopped at Saddleworth Cafe – 12 Belvidere Road. It’s also a grocery store. As we had Jeda with us we were able to sit outside and have our morning tea watching the passers by. The pancakes we had were beautiful (note Jeda eyeing them off!) I enjoyed wandering through the Saddleworth Community Hub Shop (it is jam-packed with retro clothes and bric-a-brac, plants, gifts etc). Also the op shop is in the main street. There’s enough to do here to keep you busy most of a Sunday – also a museum and a pub!
Next post will be some cellar doors that offer meals … and good ones at that!!
My first blog in this new category is: Mad Bastard Wines, within walking distance to Clare CBD.
We visited here over a year ago, at the beginning of our education in all things WINE! It was Christmas, it was busy, but the person who served us our wine tasting took the time to have a chat and was very friendly. We (moi) really liked their Rieslings & Mataro Rose. And LOVED the wine glasses!!
We left with a box full (it was Christmas after all). I thought the signs at the front entrance & up the driveway showed a wicked sense of humour, someone maybe who doesn’t take life too seriously. The owner Mark Barry (son of Jim Barry, the family company) as his website says: determined to do things differently with emphasis on quality & distinctive wines.
Cellar Door is open daily 10am – 4pm. 400 Main North Road, Clare SA. Visit his website before visiting: Mad Bastard Wines
It’s been a year of 1sts! 1 year since we purchased our ‘base’ here in the beautiful Clare Valley, SA and 1 year since we’ve been classified as ‘Itinerants’. The time has gone so quickly (apparently that happens as you get older!! :P)
We have achieved much, have lots more to do, have enjoyed 3 months away in the winter doing our first love – travelling, and are about to celebrate 1 year of ‘block ownership’! It’s warming up too, which is typical for SA, yet a couple of days ago we were wearing our Ugg boots and sweaters!?
I have posted a few photos of our 1st flowers in our ‘live or die garden bed’, a pano of a rainbow over the shed one arvo and some food of course!!
Next year I will be introducing a new category, Cellar Doors & Nosh Houses of the Clare Region!!! We have ‘made’ ourselves venture out on Sunday arvos to sample what visitors to the Valley already know: how good the wineries and food joints are here!! We are by no means experts on wines, just know what we like (just like food!).
So to anyone out there following my blog/website, thank you and I hope you will follow us again next year. Maybe next year I will be able to catch up on Photographs to add to my Catalogs. Please follow me on Facebook@Ozontheroadphotos
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Bought these old bricks-stamped Clare & Gervois
Our succulents had magnificent flowers that brought the bees!
I have 3 of these Canna plants all flowering now!
Friday night Nosh-Up – Pikes Sav Blanc & Homemade Pizza
It’s good to have friends who make beaut Trifle & share a Taylors Shiraz
On a wet cold arvo a rainbow appeared over the shed
With Christmas coming on we were having trouble finding somewhere to stop over the holiday season, so whilst I was browsing The Grey Nomads site I came upon a house sit, so applied and within a day or two we had a new abode!
Mt Barker is only 50+ kilometres from Albany, so handy for retail therapy! It has worked out well for us and the owners. 100 acres including a vineyard, house and beautiful gardens. Our camp spot is under some old shady trees which has been handy since the temperatures have been up and down in the extreme the past few weeks. We have been able to sample a few cellar doors in the area and we find Mt Barker a lovely town with friendly locals.
B trimming the multitudes of roses
Me tucking into breaky at Happy’s Country Diner
The beautiful passionfruit flower
Jeda feeling quite at home within days
Closeby, St Werburgh’s Chapel-candlelit no power
Christmas and New Year came and went without much fan fare and we will soon be venturing out further to do some day trips to see the sights in this region….more to come.
We headed south from the wheatbelt to Margaret River in the South West to meet up with other “Traveller” friends for a while. Because we had farm sat in this region for over 6mths previously we did a highlight tour with them over 3 days.
Cellar Doors, chocolate & coffee places, ice cream, cheese….all the naughty spots!!! And they have an abundance from Busselton down! Onwards south-east to Northcliffe where we camped at Sid’s Campground just outside Pemberton (find him on Facebook or Wikicamps). A bush camp with free range sites, quirky loos & showers and brilliant walking tracks around the property. At $10 per site per night (more for power) great value. This was our base to explore Northcliffe, Pemberton, Windy Harbour & D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
From here we moved on to Walpole (for smoko) then on to the Valley Of The Giants. Because we had friends with us to mind Jeda, B&I got to take a look at this walk amongst the tree tops. Luckily it wasn’t windy! B loved it, me – not so much. Hate heights! But I did like the walkway on the ground called the Ancient Empire walk.
Onwards to Denmark and thru to Cosy Corner Campground. It’s a small campsite near the beach. We had the most uneven site we’ve had in over 11 years! But B got us sort of level. It was only for one night, as we moved to another the next day…even more uneven! It had a camp host, but he was moving on soon as not happy with the Council who run it. We did the tourist route and visited a Toffee Coy, Ice Creamery, Ugg Boot maker and a Meadery.
Broke up the eating and drove out to Green Pool and Elephant Rock in William Bay National Park. Noice. It was eating time again, so off on the tourist route to Denmark Farmhouse Cheese & Ducketts Mill Wines! Cheese & wine tasting in one! So good we stopped and ordered a platter (and some sample bottles for later!). Unfortunately the weather turned bad so we filled the truck tank with water at Denmark Info Centre and headed back to Cosy Corner.
Next day we checked out the fishing on the beach at the day use area. Spent a lot of hours there to have nothing to show for it! Nothing legal to keep. Story of our life! Even went back for more the next day….same result!
So we decided a day trip was in order…off to Albany. As our friends were with us we had Jeda minders so B & I visited the National Anzac Centre. Brilliant! Highly recommended. You could spend hours there reading about the history, and then we walked around the grounds of Princess Royal Fortress and Mt Adelaide. From there we had a photo op at Dog Rock, checked out Emu Beach for fish and chips and general drive around.
Soon it was time to farewell our friends who headed to SA, so we checked into a park at Two Peoples Bay about 20km’s from Albany. A basic bush park on private property really. We were able to visit Albany many more times, including their op shops which I loved. It suited us as we decided what was our next move as it was coming up to Christmas…..where are we going to hide??!