Fleurieu Tour in the Ford
‘They want to go to Morialta and see the koalas,’ my husband said.
‘But Morialta’s in the opposite direction,’ I said, ‘surely they can go another day. Anyway, what if I take them to Kuitpo, then we can still go to Sellicks beach and they’ll see some wildlife, perhaps even a koala.’
‘Good idea,’ was the reply.
With an overcast day, what better idea than to hike in Kuitpo forest. Being the sole-K responsible for the tour that day, I had the final say.
Our Swiss visitors seemed happy with my suggestion, and at 11am, we piled into the Ford station wagon for the tour down south and into the Fleurieu Peninsula. The way from Flagstaff Hill to Meadows via Clarendon is a pretty drive this time of year with all the leaves turning.
[Mt. Bold Dam]
On the way, I made an impromptu detour to Mt. Bold Reservoir. Hadn’t been there in years. The reservoir is one of Adelaide’s largest water catchments that supplies the southern suburbs.
We parked and began our walk along the rim of the dam.
‘Why is no one here?’ one of the Swiss visitors asked.
I shrugged. ‘Work day, I guess.’ I felt embarrassed that I’d taken them here to this rather tired and neglected place, that in the dull light looked so bland. Why did I take them here? I wondered.
‘It’s so quiet,’ another said. ‘I like quiet.’
[Native tree flowering]
We hiked to the other side of the valley to the swinging bridge. The hillside green with the abundance of native vegetation, chirped with bird-life. A blue wren was spotted, and a kookaburra laughed.
We advanced on the swinging bridge anticipating the steep climb of the steps returning to the carpark. A gate barred our way with a sign: No Entry beyond this point.
I pointed at the bank opposite. ‘There’s been a landslide. The path to the steps has been washed away from the floods last year.’ I remembered the over-flowing of Mt. Bold’s dam, and hearing about the crowds of sightseers then, coming to view the water gushing over the reservoir.
[Water from Dam]
Onwards we drove to Meadows. 12.30pm and time for lunch. We stopped at a bakery in Meadows and treated ourselves to meat pies. Switzerland doesn’t have meat pies and so the Swiss visitors take every opportunity to eat this Aussie icon. Given, we’d driven in a Ford rather than a Holden car, the Swiss visitors wanted to savour the Australian experience. After eating their pies in Meadows, they hoped to spot a kangaroo at Kuitpo. For two of them, the plan was to attend the Adelaide-Essendon football match at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
So, football, meat pies and kangaroos…
[Kuitpo Native Forest]
On the way to Kuitpo, joy as kangaroos were detected bounding in farmland. Then the hunt for koalas began in Kuitpo forest. We took an hour to walk through the eucalypt bushland near Chookarloo Camping Ground. Koalas, if there were any, remained hidden. Mating season over, cold day, and these marsupials preferred to hide in lofty gum trees, getting high on eucalyptus leaves and sleeping. The Swiss visitors then set their hopes on seeing koalas in the wild at Morialta. Perhaps Morialta koalas are more sociable.
Parrots chatted and fluttered from tree to tree as we walked through the forest. On our return to the car, kookaburras laughed and then one swooped over the grass. With a lizard for lunch, it disappeared into the forest.
We jumped into the Ford and set off for Sellicks beach. We passed McLaren Vale wineries. Someone suggested more wine-tasting. I gave them the option—wine-tasting or beach; can’t do both, time was running out. They decided on the beach.
[Sellicks Beach high tide]
Upon arrival at Sellicks beach, after parking in a carpark above the beach, I opened up the hatch of the wagon and prepared tea and coffee for the visitors. One remarked that the back of the station wagon made a nice kitchen.
With hot drink to keep us warm on this cool day, we admired the rugged cliffs and the waves crashing against the rocks.
‘What? Waves against the rocks? I’d never seen the tide at Sellicks beach so high,’ I remarked. ‘Must be the pull of the full moon; an extra high tide.’
[Two by two, Sellicks Beach]
The Swiss visitors knew no better and continued to enjoy the seascape.
I explained, ‘Usually, cars can drive on the beach. See the ramp? Not today, though. They’d have to drive through water to get on the beach, and that wouldn’t be safe.’
We didn’t venture too far by foot along the beach. Instead, we drank our beverages, then took photos of the brooding sea, clouds and russet cliffs.
[Ramp to Beach, Sellicks Beach south to cliffs]
Before heading home, I showed the visitors “The Pebble House” that presides over the Sellicks beach. The house had an art gallery and a note to ring the doorbell.
I rang the bell.
The artist, Alie Beck, answered and led us up the stairs to her small gallery. Well worth a visit with the gallery offering for sale a variety of paintings, sculptures and handcrafted souvenirs created by the artist. She explained that some of the works are painted on slate sourced from the Willunga quarry.
For one of my Swiss visitors, the gallery visit was fruitful as they found just the right gift to take home; a perfect end to the afternoon foray in the Ford down the Fleurieu.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
All Photos in this article on the Fleurieu © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Feature: In Search of Kangaroos and Koalas, Kuitpo Forest