Tag Archives: Clare

Wines, Silos & Valley Food!

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!:(

Winery, Cafes AND seed

With COVID19 being in our daily life visit’s to local wineries and cafes have taken a bit of a hit this year.

Even so, we managed to visit a couple of places that are worth a mention.

Eldredge Vineyards (www.eldredge.com.au) on Spring Gully Rd Scenic Drive is worth a stop for a lazy Sunday afternoon or weekday visit. You can make up your own cheese platter whilst sampling a wine paddle which is what we opted for.

One Restaurant to look out for is Seed (seedclarevalley.com) in the Main Street of Clare. It is an impressive site (which is a contrast to the dismal CBA bank building it started as). A beautiful mural adorns the Burton St lane next to it. The Rooftop is open now and the Bistro & Deli will be open soon. I can’t say how good/bad it is as haven’t dined there as yet.

Speaking of murals another has popped up just off the Main North Road at the Post Office which brightens the street-scape even more.

On a recent town garage sale Saturday we stopped to grab lunch at The Booyoolee Brew, Port Street in Gladstone (76kms north of Clare) www.facebook.com/TheBooyooleeBrew/ Once a pub the new owners have turned the old building into a lovely cafe with seating out front and for winter a cosy dining room or covered area with open wood fires. Try the Baked Bean Muffins – Yummo!!

On a quick two day trip to The Big Smoke (around Adelaide) we stayed near Semaphore, west of Port Adelaide. In Semaphore main street we found two places worth a mention (but I’m sure there’s heaps more)

Barry’s Burgers (www.barrysburgers.com.au) have very filling and tasty burgers and THE BEST CHIPS!

On leaving we shouted ourselves breakfast at Froot Cafe (www.facebook.com/frootcafesemaphore) The most delicious Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had and Pancakes and Bacon with Maple Syrup (we shared!) Quick friendly service and hot coffee! Note: always look where the locals are eating!!

Nosh Houses: The Olive Bus

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.

Clare Cellar Doors: Stone Bridge, Shut the Gate, Kirrihill, Taylors, Mr Mick

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.

Nosh Houses: Hahndorf in the Autumn

Autumn in SA is still a treat for me (being from Queensland). We seemed to go from ‘bloody hot’ to ‘bloody freezing’ in a week!

We recently did a day trip to Hahndorf, about 2 hours drive south-east of Clare. Google Maps took us through beautiful hills, lots of back streets and narrow roads. Hahndorf is a nice town with a great main street, but tough to park an F-250 or a caravan!! The trees are turning red, the flowers are in bloom in the pots lining the roadside, the cafe’s and boutique shops were all doing a roaring trade (being a Saturday).

We did the ‘walk up da street’ as we always do in towns we visit. And fancy that, I found someone to eat!! We indulged @Wunderbar – Home of the Pig Dog,  in the German Kransky, sauerkraut & potato salad (not a big fan) but followed that up with a magnificent Strawberry waffle(s). YUM!

This is the best time to visit SA if you like to see the colours change, but bring a beanie!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nosh Houses: Clare to Sevenhill to Mintaro to Saddleworth

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!!

#zestcafe #saddleworthcountrymarket #saddleworthcafe #saddleworthcommunityhubshop #sevenhillhotel #magpieandstumphotel #martindalehall

Cellar Door: Mad Bastard Wines

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

…Autumn on Da Block

From a hot & sweaty summertime we have graduated to a cooler and a bit windier autumn. The trees are turning bronze & gold letting us know the cool weather will be on it’s way! Exactly what I love! The vineyards look beautiful now vintage has finished, autumn colours abound.

Excavations on Da Block went well: the new septic is in, heaps of plumbing trenches, installed two cattle grids, digging some tree holes, solar panels installed and much more. We were able to setup a rock garden on a long bank with beautiful huge Bluestones and the Yuccas & Agaves I’ve been nursing and cuttings from friends. Unfortunately the pumpkins & rock melons I grew from seed didn’t survive – I’ll have to watch more ‘Gardening Australia’!!

I’d like to give a plug (for any local’s reading this) to Terra-Firma Earthworks & Contracting based in Clare, SA – brilliant job and attention to detail.

B painted up the inside of a container to be his ‘tool shed’. It’s taken time but we are seeing progress week to week. We moved the van for the 3rd time to the container pad (better for when the rain comes). We’ve just had a couple of dust storms when it was really hot which was a new experience.

Today I have the heater on!

Looking forward to a break. Heading north to the Big Red Bash (www.bigredbash.com.au) in July as B volunteering setup/pack up. We are able to take Jeda to the concert in the desert as dogs are allowed. John Farnham is headlining with Hoodoo Gurus, The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and more…..

Western Queensland here we come!!!

Summertime in the South

So long between blogs I didn’t realise. I have been putting bits & pieces on my Facebook site but neglecting here. Will amend!

We have been on a friends farm again north of Clare, SA after working in Mintaro for the winter. It’s been great to see the changes in the weather over the past couple of months – being from a humid Queensland background B loves the heat whereas I’m more happy with the cooler days, but at least it’s a dry heat. The garden on the farm is beautiful (have posted some pics) and is a credit to ‘C’ who has done a magnificent job over many years to produce such a joy to walk around. The serpents that live in the area in the summer do make it a hazardous duty to weed but that’s to be expected.

B has been in charge of artwork installations around the garden, welding & cementing in farm/artsy fartsy structures that ‘C’ has created. We also have an orphan calf who needs feeding twice a day as her Mumma went to Cow Heaven due to a brain disease.

Grain harvest has just finished here with not many dramas thank goodness (e.g fires – see drone pic) B & I had a day in the ‘Big Smoke’ and went to the Adelaide 4×4 Show to check out the latest in caravans and everything in relation to 4×4’s. It’s been 13 years since we’ve checked out vans and equipment – haven’t times & features changed! I thought it was quite ‘flash’ to have a little washing machine built in to the front of the van, now it’s a standard fitting!!

Christmas Day came & went. We enjoyed the company of friends for a big day of food, wine and snore-fest in the early evening!

In between we found ourselves a piece of land not far out of Clare! We do love this area of the Valley and had been looking for a long time and a block with a shed became available. It will be a place to ‘change over’ for trips as we still intend to travel as long as we’re able (especially in the cold winters) We have a few things lined up for 2018 which I’ll share in my next post…. hint – BRB!!!!

Have a safe & Happy New Year – bring on 2018!!

Springtime in the Valley :)

The weather has warmed up and the flowers are blooming! Finally!!

Springtime in the Clare Valley is beautiful. The canola fields have just lost their yellow tinge, the buds on the trees are all out, the succulents & cactus flowers are blooming – it’s the best time of year!

We finished the reno on the Mintaro cottage and have returned to a friends farm north of Clare to organise a few things before moving on. We’ve been back in the Clare Valley since end of April this year.  Now we have lived through the full four seasons! Yes, and this winter in Mintaro had to be the coldest we’ve experienced living in the van. Autumn & Spring the best.

I have posted some photos of the blooms around the farm area, the day out at the local Clare Show & general farm stuff! We also enjoyed Celebrating the 175th for Bungaree Station a couple of weeks ago (next post).