Hills of My Heart – The Fleurieu

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So I thought that Kangaroo Island was the apex, the peak, the best the trip could be as we checked out of Southern Ocean Lodge, and then we got on a ferry to head back to mainland, to The Fleurieu Peninsula.  It’s the getaway area for folks who live in Adelaide.  The ferry ride across the Backstairs Passage was unusually smooth and quite beautiful.  When you’re on the water down here you’re aware of how the next body of  land is the South Pole.

We got on another bus, even with our level of exhaustion rising the hilarity continued as we headed for Kings Head.  Now we hit a type of countryside that just gets me in my soul.  Rolling hills dotted with all types of eucalyptus, interrupted by the occasional vineyard, sheep and cattle.  Again, it’s hints of undeveloped Central California with a whisper of Tuscany writ large.  The scale of the landscape is bigger as you look across valleys and hills.



We arrived at King’s Head for a walk along the coast.  In case we were hungry (?!), we were handed bags of snacks that would be lunch in anything but this bizarro world.  So, we walked a bit  of the 1200km Heysen Trail which takes about 3 months to complete. and is one of Australia’s greatest long distance trails.   It was an easy walk down a cliff and along the coast dotted with small tan boulders that had bits of orange.  You feel like you’re so much lighter on the land here.  The conservation is so smart which allows you to have a more direct encounter with the natural world.  After the walk we sat amidst the rocks and had our “snack” of great local cheddar and delicious fresh baked breads, one with wattle seed.  After a short hike back up the cliff to the bus we headed for lunch.  Lunch!  Because, bread, cheese, olives couldn’t possibly sustain us until dinner.  We had heard about the fish and chips at the Flying Fish Café in Port Elliot and were looking forward to a simple local speciallty.

Alas it was not to be.  Instead we were treated to a fine multi-course meal of local seafood.  Most interesting were the Coorong Cockles which weren’t cockles as we know them but a kind of triangular clam, a beautiful shell.  They’re wild harvested by hand (or foot to be accurate) as the harvesters do a kind of twist and scoop with their feet to get them into the nets.

Cockles (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Harriet and I drank our first alcoholic Ginger Beer, apparently a throwback to the 70s.  Oh, that’s right, they gave us fish and chips for dessert.