When is a Bear Not a Bear – obviously when it is an Iconic Australian Koala - a cut cuddly koala. On our first early morning walk in a local Adelaide park it was so exciting to see a sleepy koala nestling in the crook of a very large gum tree – his eyes closed and totally oblivious to the heavy early morning vehicle traffic in the nearby street and the many onlookers gazing up at the not so common sight of a large koala. These quirky animals are a protected species in Australia.
Cute Cuddly Koala
The Koala is a truly “one of a kind” creature which exists nowhere else in the world. And they are not bears, nor kangaroos but an entirely different species. It is one of Australia's marsupials which bears live young which they suckle and normally females have a baby koala each year.
The Koala's unique diet is a specific type of gum leaf and this can be a problem in some areas due to development and removal of these trees. Interestingly Koalas :
- do not drink water but have enough water from the leaves in their diet
- usually sleep in the crooks of tall trees for about 20 hours a day
- look cute and cuddly but have very long “nails” and can be aggressive
Usually koalas are only seen in reserves (and then rarely) so we felt privileged to view this little creature in his natural habitat. On a later visit to the park we saw a smaller and very timid “baby” koala.
A Day in the Barossa Valley
Even though we were travelling during the heat of a record-breaking hot summer, within minutes of leaving city limits we were driving through winding roads up into the scenic and lush Adelaide Hills. Along the route we saw 200 to 300 year old majestic gum trees, works of art in their own right, many colourful red flowering gums and a flock of emus near Williamstown .
During our stay it was also the week of the Down Under Tour (bicycle road touring) and we passed many cyclists en route. It's important to plan so your holidays do not conflict with local events – except of course if you are a fan – for example Tanunda, one part of the ride was expecting 7,000 cyclists to take part and road closures are frequent. So we visited Tanunda two days earlier and had a most pleasant time.
There are many fine wineries in the world-renowned Barossa Valley wine region which is located a short one hour drive north of Adelaide. Due to time restraints we visited three popular wineries Seppeltsfield, St. Hallett and Jacob's Creek in one day. The drive north from Adelaide to Tanunda, in the centre of the Barossa Valley, via the Gorge Road through the Adelaide Hills was a scenic tour by itself.
Our first winery visit was to Seppeltsfield (established 1851) where we enjoyed our picnic lunch. Seppeltsfield winery is so distinctive because of the many tall palms along the side of the roads en route to the winery and a large family mausoleum. We also visited the Australian Tourism award-winning Cellar Door for Jacobs Creek Winery (established l840's ) which was the largest in our tour. The solar tracking system was fascinating and evidently enables the winery to be energy self-sufficient. Being familiar with St. Hallett's we included this winery in our tour and enjoyed the smaller boutique atmosphere of their Cellar Door, the lovely gardens and tasted new wines we were not acquainted with. We had a great day ~ there surely must be a winery in the Barossa for the most discerning tastes!
A Good Laugh -
Sign outside Tanunda Police Station:
“Cell Door Open”
- The blackwood wine vats at Seppeltsfield have a 2200 gallon capacity
- No tipping in Australia - it's just not done
Links & References
- Number of koalas in Australia's estimated at 43,000 to 80,000
- Problems for koalas ~ including recent heat
- Wineries in Barossa Valley
- Seppeltsfield Winery
- St. Hallett Winery
- Jacob's Creek Winery