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  • Kaia Colestock

Day 48-50: New Year’s in Adelaide Hills

Adelaide was another surprise. The Adelaide Hills felt the most like California so far, with a European flare. Rolling grassy hills, old-growth eucalyptus, wineries, stone masonry, lush gardens, meandering streams, cobblestone bridges, and local shops that have made it over a 100 years. We were in the transition period between the coastal wet and dry seasons, but the countryside was still green and bountiful. We were out of the desert zone and could comfortably roll the windows down to receive cool, ocean air.

We found our way to Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, called Hahndorf, largely founded by Polish, German, and Danish migrants in the early 1800s. Immediately you feel you are stepping further back in time, and most of the original buildings were still present.

New Year’s Day we made our first stop the Laratinga Wetlands, a little southeast of Hahndorf. As we were walking around the wetlands, a couple of birders approached us and asked, “Have you seen the scrubtit yet?” We assured them we had, and started chatting. Next thing we know, they were inviting us to meet them in Adelaide and spend the following day with them! We couldn’t use our campervan off sealed roads, so that left few options in South Australia. They said, “Well, we can take you in our car if don’t have any plans.”

Um, let me check the schedule.

Yep, free!

So off we went.

No hotel reservation, no plans, “no worries,” as Aussies like to say.

The whole day ended up being an incredible adventure - new sights, new birds, new friends, and a country that continually opens its arms up wider and wider to anyone willing to discover something new.

Here were some of the highlights of the New Year (left to right: streets of Hahndorf, Laratinga wetlands, Pacific black duck, blue-billed duck, superb fairywren, scrubtit, spiny-cheeked honeyeaters squabbling, and red-necked stints).

A beautiful little hidden canyon in the mountains yielded some spectacular waterfalls.

One last walk in the Adelaide Hills and we found a rainbow lorikeet nest with a vocal chick.

View from a beach in south Adelaide metropolitan area.

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