It’s the weekend let’s get out of here. Any chance for a quick getaway from the everyday and we’ll take it. It doesn’t have to take a huge amount of planning and with the caravan always stocked with the basics, it’s just a matter of throwing in warm clothes and some food from home and we are off.
Last weekend saw us venturing less than 50 kilometres from home but to a completely different landscape and feel.
The area we visited was Milang in South Australia, once a busy River Murray Port on the banks of Lake Alexandrina and now a laid back, friendly, fishing and water sport holiday destination in summer.
The Milang Lakeside Caravan Park has lake views with a foreshore park area across the road. Very friendly folk run the caravan park and gave us the choice of anywhere we liked and we were told to pick up a drum for a campfire too. We had come prepared and had brought firewood with us, but you can buy some from them as well.
South Australia is still dragging itself out of a long, cold, wet winter but we rugged up and went for a stroll around the foreshore area. There is a small jetty and boat ramp and other spots along the banks of the river where you can fish. The pelican and tern population know where the action is though and were waiting for a fishing boat that came back in, hopeful for a free feed, but nothing for them this time.
Milang is well known for its river shacks, about 70 of the original old shacks still remain on the lake front and in a second row behind. These great old shacks unfortunately have come under threat from the Government who wants to reclaim the land once their crown leases are up. These shacks which were built in the late 1940s are so iconic and bring a smile to your face that thank goodness some signs of times gone by are still standing. There aren’t many places left in SA where you find the humble old shack that hasn’t been bulldozed and a glass and concrete two storey mansion put up in its place.
There was a push to have the shacks heritage listed but at the moment they are still on non-transferable life tenure leases. I don’t understand why the lucky owners can’t just buy them outright, hand them down to family etc…with conditions that keep the heritage buildings safe but updated.
For now though they are still there and are interesting to take a wander around.
Not far from Milang is the Langhorne Creek wine region. Mostly known for its red wines this region was established in the 1860s and sits on a floodplain with the Bremer and Angas Rivers playing a huge part in the water resource management of the region.
When we were there we thought they must have had a significant deluge of rain as many of the roads were flooded, and though they weren’t closed, caution was advised if you intended taking them. We later found out though as we pushed our way through to a few wineries that the flooding is due to the Bremer River being purposely dammed then let into the vineyards to flood the vines.
You’ll notice that the vineyards have deep walled banks surrounding them and that is to hold the water in before being released through flood gates and spilling out over the surrounding roads. This water management system enable the vines to get a good deep soaking in preparation for our long hot and dry summers.
The Shiraz and Cabernets obviously appreciate it, these varieties have won many medals both in Australia and overseas. There is something for everyone though with white wines, Rose and fortified too.
They not only have great wines on offer but you can also dine in at many of the wineries or indulge in a platter of your choosing while you look out over the flooded plains. Langhorne Creek is home to the Newman’s Horseradish factory and Rusticana wines (the name has been derived from the botanical name for horseradish.)
Here at the farm and cellar door they grow the horseradish, process it and sell it in various spreads, dips and condiments.
Stocked up with goodies from our winery tour we headed back to the caravan park, just in time for happy hour and nibbles around the campfire.
While you’re in town you have to check out the historic Pier Hotel, which is conveniently located within walking distance of the caravan park. The owners are very hospitable and provide great bar snacks (the publican is also the cook!) and also check out the bakery. You can also pick up a walking tour map and take a look at all of the historic buildings around town.
It’s amazing how much of a recharge it gives you to spend a couple of nights away, enjoying the outdoors and yet so close to home.