Wine Time

Myponga Beach

Myponga Beach

On any other Saturday night I’d be out on the town somewhere.

But tonight, we’re sitting with our feet up, relaxing. Sue is watching “Iron Chef”, while I’m doing my best to catch up on my blog, uploading some of the notes and photographs I’ve taken along the way.

We’re in a small town called “Encounter Bay”, near Victor Harbour in South Australia. And although I guess it might have been interesting/fun to go along to the local bowlo or something, deep down there was a voice saying it was a far better idea to put our feet up and relax.

Dinner was “tapas” again tonight, meaning bits and pieces of things we’ve picked up along the way. Today it was some chippolta sausages made from venison which we picked up from nearby Mount Compass.

After a very pleasant sleep in until about 8.30 this morning, and following a simple breakfast of toast and jam – we were both amazed at how tasty Woolworths brand strawberry jam is – we hit the road with a vague desire to head towards McLaren Vale for a day of wine tasting and sight-seeing.

As we headed out on the road we kept an eye out for the “scenic signs” (those identified with a camera). The first of these we noticed was the Glacier Rock, apparently the first evidence of glacial impact “discovered” in Australia in about 1850. It was nice enough.

Beyond that, we headed towards Yankalilla, mostly because it had such an interesting name. In reality, it wasn’t.

Far more interesting was Myponga. Our first contact with it being the Myponga Reservoir, a rather spectacular water storage which you can look down upon from a nearby lookout. “Thus we continue our tour of South Australian irrigation facilities”, I joked to Sue.

On a whim, we decided to follow the sign which led to nearby Myponga Beach.

The road to the beach is step, though not dramatically so. And along the way we were afforded some pretty spectacular views. We stopped to chat to some cattle located underneath some stunning gums, and near an old deserted house, which had great views of the beach. “You forget how close you are to the coast”, Sue commented at that point.

A further ten minute drive down a rough, dirt road towards the beach and suddenly we discovered why it’s called “Myponga”: there’s a pretty unpleasant smell as you cross the bridge into town. It’s nothing too terrible, just that smell you sometimes get around beaches where there’s a lot of weed that’s often exposed to the sun under reduced water conditions.

That said, it’s a pretty spectacular location, with both a rock and a sand beach. And some pretty spectacular architect designed houses.

After a while we continued to the road towards McLaren Vale, where we sat and ate lunch at The Tapestry Vineyard. With an accompanying rose – the perfect wine for today’s warm weather – we enjoyed another “tapas” plate, and took in the spectacular views. “If you look over there you can see the ocean”, the waiter said to us at one point. “Well, if you squint hard enough”, I thought to myself.

For afternoon tea we popped into a cafe at Willunga. The coffee was good and the cake was better.

Like many cafes and restaurants, these days, it was in a converted church. Specifically, a converted Methodist Church.

You wouldn’t believe how many “Uniting Church” buildings we’ve seen in the area actually. Sue first noticed them, and virtually everywhere we’ve looked we’ve seen current or past church buildings that are or were Methodist, Presbytertian, Uniting or Congregationalist churches. Yes, there are Catholic and Anglican Churches, but they appear to be, or have been in the minority in this part of South Australia.

On the way back to Encounter Bay we called into Mount Compass to pick up some venison sausages for dinner. And while there, we went in search of the local wetland boardwalk. It’s on the tourist maps. The woman in the information centre the other day told us about it. But for the life of us, we couldn’t find it. I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

An afternoon nap with the windows open, allowing the breeze through, and then it was time for dinner and clothes washing.

Sue’s finished her book. “It’s very sad”, she told me of “Breath” by Tim Winton.

  1. tell Sue I liked Breath — I didn’t find it sad. just very much like real life.
    enjoy your trip!
    x

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  2. Thanks Cotton. I’ll pass on. James

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