September 5-20, 2009
Gaining weight certainly wasn’t my intention when I planned this trip, but that’s what happened. Almost without exception, every morsel we ate, be it a simple bratwurst or a splash out meal, was well prepared and delicious.
We’re not foodies by any stretch, but there’s no denying that we like to eat. This journey inadvertently became about the food and the wine, so I suggest you not read this on an empty stomach.
I found planning this trip difficult, as there seemed so many interesting places to visit in South Australia. The posters here and on Trip Advisor were an invaluable resource and I thank those of you who patiently helped me sort things out. I took a lot of your suggestions to heart and you’ll no doubt recognize many of them here. As my spouse so eloquently put it, “You did good”.
As many regulars know, we’re American expatriates currently living in Perth. Our intent is to see as much of Australia as we can while we’re here, and we’ve been interested in South Australia for some time, so we set off to see our neighbors. All prices shown are in Australian dollars.
Barossa Valley – three nights
Clare Valley – two nights
Coober Pedy – two nights
Flinders Ranges – three nights
McLaren Vale – four nights
Adelaide – one night
Our transportation: Air
The best deal and most convenient scheduling I could find was through Jetstar, who operate a once daily direct flight from Perth to Adelaide. I have no issues with Jetstar at the airport or in the air, but I have beaucoup issues with their call center in Malaysia. Suffice to say, Jetstar works well as long as you don’t need to contact them by phone.
Our tickets were $204 each return, which included 20 kg of checked baggage each, up to 10 kg of cabin baggage each and a $12 charge to use a credit card to book the tickets online; strange, but true. We took our own snacks and our own headphones, and I scoured their fare rules so there’d be no unpleasant surprises.
Check in was fast and easy. Security screening was a breeze. Liquids were a non issue; those restrictions don’t apply on Australian domestic flights. No getting barked at by surly TSA employees, no having to remove our shoes and practically strip. It was refreshing; a tiny reminder of what traveling was like before all the drama.
Our flight left 60 minutes late due to the headwind which delayed the incoming flight, but we only arrived 15 minutes behind schedule for the same reason; a tail wind that shortened our flight to a mere two hours, eleven minutes.
The 1.5 hour time change between Perth and Adelaide threw us for a loop. First time we’ve run into a partial hour time change; it felt strange.
Our transportation: Car
I’d done the usual exhaustive research trying to find the best deal on a car rental, and ended up booking with both Europecar and Budget, planning to decide which to go with once we arrived. Europecar wanted $776.83 for a Group C Hyundai Accent sedan with unlimited miles, plus a fee for using a credit card and a charge for an additional driver. They have a $3,300 excess, and their policy against driving on unsealed roads seemed a bit unreasonable.
Budget wanted $776.89 for a Group B Toyota Yaris hatchback with unlimited miles, a $2,750 excess, no charge for using a credit card or for an additional driver, and they permit driving on formed gravel roads. I’d booked using a coupon code which offered a free upgrade to a Group C car, but as it was based upon availability, we wouldn’t know until we arrived if we’d get it. The upgrade was to be the deciding factor, as we didn’t want to spend two weeks in a tiny hatchback. We checked with Budget first, the upgrade was available, so we went with them. We told them where we’d be driving, and were notified of their policy against driving between dusk and dawn north of Port Augusta (except within town). No problem. We walked to the Europecar counter and asked them to cancel our booking. With some excellent directions from Monique at the Budget counter, we were on our way to the Barossa Valley in our Toyota Corolla sedan.
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September 5-20, 2009