UM, ADELAIDE – NOT YOUR TYPICAL AUSSIE TOURIST DRAWCARD.
The state capital of South Australia doesn’t often hit world headlines, but with this perennially popular world-music festival it steals the show.
WHAT’S WOMADELAIDE ALL ABOUT?
If you can beat it, strum it, blow it, shake it, dance to it, sing with it, then you might find it here. This is a festival that showcases a staggeringly broad variety of music from all over the world. Over the course of its four days, festival-goers get treated to such a diverse selection of musical styles they’ll feel like they’ve been on an international tour of tunes.
Here’s a sample of the eclectic acts that have previously been on show: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Peter Gabriel, Gil Scott Heron, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Miriam Makeba, and the Master Drummers of Burundi. There’s dance, rock, pop, jazz, folk, country, classical and genres that you’ve never even heard of before. The whole melange of musical tastes combines to create a warm and inclusive vibe of festival revellers who are open-minded and ready for the next big world-music thing.
A Microcosm of All Things Australian
Australia’s third-largest island is uncrowded and uncomplicated and boasts a treasure trove of unique animal life amid a variety of unspoiled scenery. Sheep outnumber residents 300 to 1, but it’s the armies of wild kangaroos, koalas, Tamar wallabies (nearly extinct on the mainland), and fairy penguins that astound.
They live among some of the whitest sand dunes on the planet, surf-sculpted boulders resembling abstract art (aptly called the Remarkable Rocks), sparkling seas, and a natural bridge carved from limestone called Admirals Arch. Seal Ray is home to one of the world’s rarest species of sea lions; they can be seen lounging on the white beach by the hundreds. They seem unperturbed by Homo sapiens, who take advantage of an up-close-and-personal experience rarely possible in the wild. The sea lions’ cousins, the New Zealand fur seal, frequent pretty coves at the island’s southwestern tip.
Visitors who sign up only for Adventure Charters of Kangaroo Island’s whirlwind one-day excursions usually underestimate the island’s size (90 by 40 miles) and invariably long to stay on at one of the charming local B&Bs – farms and homesteads that welcome guests with true Australian hospitality. Hope for availability at the Stranraer Homestead, a 3,500-acre working farm run by the Wheaton family since 1911.
Great Wine, Great Food
The picturesque Barossa Valley is Australia’s lodestone for all things gastronomic, and along with the nearby (and lesser-known) Clare Valley, produces close to 60 percent of Australia’s wines. Maximize your wine-and-food experience with a stay at The Lodge Country House, a charming former homestead built in 1903 for one of Australian wine pioneer Joseph Seppelt’s thirteen children.
The handsome bluestone country-house inn is framed by 3 acres of gorgeous rose and flower gardens and stands just across the road from the Seppelts’ sprawling showpiece vineyard, which dates back to the mid-1850s. The Lodge’s shaded veranda is the gathering spot where the inn’s eight privileged guests come to watch the sunset.
A memorable candlelit dinner follows, accompanied by an excellent selection of Barossa’s best. Some fifty wineries are within a half hour’s drive (including Peter Lehman, Stanley Brothers, Henschke, Penfolds, and Richmond Grove), and many of them are represented on The Lodge’s wine list.
From The Lodge it’s a lovely ten-minute drive to Tanunda, the most important, lively, and charming of Barossa wine towns. Its blend of antique shops, wine stores, and cafés will fill an afternoon pleasantly, but your final destination should be the smart but casual 1918 Bistro and Grill, with its straightforward and memorable menu of modern Australian specialties. Locals in the know order from the extensive list of unlabeled Barossa wines, available to patrons at a substantial savings over the officially labeled versions. But you have to ask.