Adelaide Hills

We are here at Hahndorf for three nights so had no reason to be up early and driving long distances today. Instead we slept a bit later than usual and ate a relaxed breakfast before making a start on the day.

Yesterday Majella had discovered that there is a fig farm in the area and determined we should go there. I found its location easily enough on the web but in case there was something else we should not miss, soon after breakfast Majella headed across to reception to see what tourist brochures she might find. She returned with a book and soon found mention of a cheese factory. That was added to her list.

A little after 9:30 am we were on the road and heading toward Glen Ewin Estate to pick our own figs. That was 38 km by road, mostly back the way we had come yesterday through apple orchards and then along the winding Torrens Valley scenic route. The last couple of kilometres to the fig orchard were on a side road.

There was a building and car park near the entrance from the road but a sign directed would be fig pluckers down a narrow gravel road. The car park down there was already approaching full, despite the place opening just 15 minutes earlier at 10:00 am. We paid our $5 per person ‘registration’ and headed off with a shallow cardboard box to pick figs. 

The signs indicated that there were multiple varieties but one fig tree looks much like another and they were all on sloping terraces that edged up a steep hillside. We opted for the lowest terrace and plucked our way 30 or 40 metres along that. Despite it being the most accessible place for picking there were some ripe figs along with green ones on the trees and we easily managed to gather as many as we thought we needed, tasting a few to be sure that we were getting it right.

At the bottom of that row we looked across to the other hillside and thought we should try to see if they were a different variety. They were more similar to the figs we usually see in the shops so we added some of those to our box before heading back to pay for our figs. We had a bit less than a kilogram that cost us $12. It’s an interesting business model – have the fig pluckers pay to pluck and for the figs while avoiding the cost, at least for those figs, of labour for picking and packing, transport to market, and a cut for the middle man.

After all that work we needed coffee which we found in the restaurant near the entrance. On the way out of the lower area we saw a group of contractors setting up rows of chairs in an open space and tables set in a function room. Evidently there is a sideline as a wedding venue and we saw a second space and function area being set up in the building near the entrance.

Our coffee and biscotti – green tinged with embedded fig – were needed and enjoyed. On the way out we sampled the fig gin, more a liqueur the barman told us, and bought a bottle to add to our collection of artisanal gins.

Next stop was the Woodside Cheese Wrights, 33 km away. Rather than retrace our track along the Torrens Valley scenic route we selected one of the other routes on offer from the app. That took us further into the valley and off along a gravel road for much of the journey. Fortunately the gravel was well compacted, reasonably smooth, and not dusty.

We passed by Gumeracha where we had seen the big rocking horse on our 2018 trip and arrived at Woodside. The cheese factory was the same one we had visited on the 2018 trip. Once again we sampled some cheeses and bought some to take with us for later consumption. Then we went next door to the Melba chocolate factory and stocked up there as well.

As we drove into Woodside village we stopped for fuel ($2.11 this time). It was lunchtime and though the cheese had taken the edge off our appetites we needed something. Majella found a parking space in the main street and we strolled along until we found the Avalon of Woodside cafe in a fine old stone building tucked up a short lane. We shared a plate of bruschetta which was more than enough to complement our earlier cheese tasting.

On the way back to our unit we paused to check out the Ambleside Distillery. It was crowded but we went in for a look and decided it might be an option for tomorrow depending on what else was on offer.

Back at our unit we relaxed over coffee with figs and chocolate. We had some time to spare until Cri du Chat group activities were due to begin around 2:30 pm.

Activities began with afternoon tea. There was cheese, fruit, and cake with tea or coffee. People mingled and chatted and the group gradually grew in number as people arrived. The major activity was one of the speakers who had been arranged for the conference, a lawyer specialising in disability. She had personal insight as a person with a disability that required a wheelchair and engaged the group in a conversation about approaches to ensuring that people with disability were able to lead their best lives. The relaxed discussion was accompanied by drinks and nibbles. It had been scheduled for 4:00 pm but started at 4:30 pm and ran for a little over an hour.

That allowed us some time back at our unit to relax until dinner which was in the resort restaurant at 7:00 pm. Dinner included starters served at the tables and main meals ordered from the menu. The meals were large and there were few if any looking for dessert. It was a lively evening with interesting conversation that ran on until it was time to retire at 9:00 pm.