Day 2: HONEY, THAT’S A FIRE OVER THERE
We left the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel traveling light at 8:15am. The first thing we wanted to see was the Waterfall Gully. It was the first of three waterfalls I expected to visit – drought or not; flowing or not flowing.
So after navigating the city streets through the morning rush hour, we finally got to the car park for the Waterfall Gully at 8:56am. We were thrilled at seeing how this waterfall actually had decent volume! I couldn’t believe it. Unfortunately when we started walking away from the car, Julie realized that she forgot the camera back at the room.
“What? Again? What’s with us and forgetting cameras?” I mockingly asked her.
Anyways, back in the car we went and back to the hotel we went. Julie picked up the camera and we were back at the Waterfall Gully (again) at 10am.
Now we walked over to the lookout platform and had ourselves a look at the impressive 25m falls. The other side of the gully was closed due to flood damage that occurred in late 2005. It was hard to believe it when we juxtapose that with the drought right now.
Anyways, the falls we saw was just the first. After having our fill of the First Falls, we climbed up the track past the top of the falls towards the Second Falls. The Second Falls was considerably shorter (barely 3m, if that, I reckon) but still flowing pretty well.
There were additional tracks that led up to Mt Lofty, which was apparently what most of the other folks on the track were doing (interestingly, all of the people we saw were female of various ages; where were the blokes?). There was also more waterfalls further upstream, but I reckoned they weren’t worth the trouble.
It was 10:44am when we returned to the car. Next up was the Magill Estate. I figured we mind as well check out the wine tasting tour. It turned out to be just a few minutes from the Waterfall Gully so it didn’t take long to get there.
When we got there, the tour had already gotten started. Julie and I joined in late, but I don’t think we really missed much. So we were basically shown around the estate and especially its underground vaults full of barrels of wine and vats where the fermentation took place. It was actually quite an informative tour and really educated us on what it took to make wine as well as the history of the Penfolds estate.
Eventually, we got to the best part – the wine tasting. We tried about 5 or 6 different kinds. Most of them were sour, but the last one (which happened to be the strongest one in terms of alcohol content) was actually very sweet and tasty. Anyhow, that was the end of the tour and we headed back to the car for our half-day trip into the Fleurieu Peninsula to see the Ingalalla Falls and Hindmarsh Falls.
As the car started, the looming thunderclouds rolled in and we were treated to a spectacular lightning show. At first, it was just a dry storm, but then pockets of squalls started to release their moisture on the city.
It was about 12:32pm when we left Adelaide and by 2:18pm, we were in the township of Yankalilla. We decided to make a brief stop here at the visitor center for some more literature about the area. Meanwhile, Julie picked up some meat pies for a takeaway lunch. It was at this visitor center that we saw a photo of an impressive waterfall in Morialta Conservation Park, which was actually not far from the Magill Estate in Adelaide. Keeping this in mind, we continued on our drive towards the Ingalalla Falls.
The turnoff to the falls went into an unsealed road. We passed by a few farm pastures until we finally saw the signed spur for the Ingalalla Falls picnic area and car park at 2:50pm. Unfortunately, the gate was closed due to the total fire ban in the area.
The falls was flowing but it wasn’t all that impressive. The thin column of water kind of blended into the rocks so it was hard to tell in the photo whether the falls were flowing or not. Oh well, I reckoned I’d have to come back to this area on a future trip when hopefully the weather would be more normal.
At 3:03pm, I returned to the car and we headed off towards Victor Harbor and then back north towards the turnoff for Hindmarsh Falls. As we were driving the road towards Victor Harbor, we could see lots of smoke in the distance and the smell of burnt lumber in the air.
“Honey, that’s a fire over there! Are you sure we can keep driving?” Julie would ask.
Well we had Triple J Radio on though I wasn’t sure we’d be getting any road closure reports. Still, there wasn’t much news about raging bush fires in South Australia so I kept on driving.
We managed to get to the Hindmarsh Falls without incident and quickly proceeded to walk to its overlook. But unfortunately, this waterfall was trickling and was basically another disappointment. Obviously, the recent thunderstorms didn’t do anything for neither this waterfall nor the Ingalalla Falls earlier on.
So with that we headed back to Adelaide. When we returned to the city, there was still plenty of daylight left to perhaps check out Morialta Conservation Park. The drive back to Adelaide went by pretty smoothly as we listened to some interesting HAC program on Triple J about drink driving and driving tired at night – apparently in light of some recent fatal car crash in Queensland.
So I went out on my own first with Julie’s camera and pretty much trail ran all the way to the First Falls. I had passed by some interesting caves and the stream looked like it had some water in it. But when I finally saw the waterfall, it was just wet rocks.
With the closure time looming over us, we walked back together. But on the way back, an Australian family going the other way noticed koalas on the trees. We started looking up where they were pointing and sure enough, there they were!
It was quite cool to see koalas in the wild as opposed to the zoo. The little guy was sleeping (apparently they spend 70% of their time asleep in a “prevent defense” strategy for survival to save energy) but in one moment it woke up wondering what all the commotion was.
It was a pity that I didn’t have the SLR camera with me. I could’ve gotten better photos of the koala, but instead we had to settle for the limited zoom on Julie’s point-and-shoot Sony Cybershot.
Finally at 6:26pm, we were back in the car. And we made it out of the park with plenty of time to spare.
After parking the car back in the garage of our accommodation, we just walked up the street to a busy Italian Restaurant called Parlamento. They had sticky date for dessert and some satisfactory linguini pescatores and pastas along with garlic bread so we figured it was enough for us. It was certainly better than forking out around 200 or more AUD per person for dinner at the Magill Estate.
And with that, we ended our short jaunt to Adelaide and its surrounds. It was time to go to bed and anticipate the start of the final leg of our trip – Tasmania. Plus, I was also anxious to get my DSLR camera back as well.