We left Adelaide along the South Eastern Freeway [M1] to have a day at Murray Bridge. After about 25 minutes we approached the off ramp for Mount Barker Road [B34] as we had been told that a visit to Hahndorf was a must.
The small town was established in 1839 by Prussian refugees escaping religious persecution. The first settlers cleared the land to plant vegetables which were then sold in Adelaide. As the village expanded stone cottages were built to replace make-shift huts and canvas tents.
The Mount Barker district became known as the breadbasket of the colony as Hahndorf’s farmers began to grow various grains especially wheat, and mills were built to take advantage of the abundant crop.
As with other parts of the world when gold is discovered, the village grew in prosperity when gold was found in nearby Echunga and Hahndorf became a popular destination for a vast number of miners and other types of tradesmen such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and bakers to name but a few.
Today, Hahndorf is a popular tourist stop and offers a wide variety of craft and speciality shops, cafes and hotels. The tourist visitors’ centre in the heart of the town is next to the old Lutheran school and the Alec Johnston Park.
After a stroll through the town and a welcome cup of coffee [it was a cold day] we drove off in search of Murray Bridge. Rather than re-tracing our path we continued heading south and stumbled upon the Beerenberg farm shop – no way could we not stop!
It was like walking into an Aladdin’s cave of food… wonderful jams, pickles, sauces, chutneys, all graced our sight. Such a vast array of produce and you can also buy online… Hooray! If you can’t visit the shop in person, then it’s worth a visit through the internet: http://www.beerenberg.com.au/
We came away with several jams and pickles – thank goodness our luggage allowance was 23kgs!!
It was time to move on again and reach Murray Bridge for lunch.
When we arrived we found a town no different to many we have previously visited throughout Australia. Although it allegedly is the largest town situated on the Murray River in South Australia what we saw of it did not impress [which is why I have no photos of it]. We drove through the town and headed for the river; after all we were keen to see The Murray having heard so much about it since arriving in Australia in 1988.
We stopped at a small car park where the surrounding trees were filled to capacity by thousands of white parakeets – their intense raucous chirping and noticeable re-decorating of the road and pathways with their droppings making you want to not hang around too long in one place.
We strolled along towards what appeared to be an RSL club on the water’s edge. Certainly the location was worth a look. The club on the other hand was not. We stepped into a dark, unwelcoming establishment, and though appeared packed with locals did not appeal to us except to use their toilet facilities before making a hasty return to our car.
Fortunately our search for a decent restaurant was rewarded when we found the Murray Bridge Hotel at 20 Sixth Street on the corner with Fifth Street. The food and beverages were of a fine selection, and at least it made us feel that we hadn’t had a wasted trip. I would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere nice to eat at Murray Bridge: http://www.murraybridgehotel.com.au/index.html
Our hunger sated we returned to our vehicle to start out on the 78 kilometre drive back to Adelaide.
RLB – Tomewriter