So, to go from one extreme to the next, we went from Mountain to Valley -- Hunter Valley to be exact. Home of many of Australia's finest vineyards. Yes, you can sense the danger ahead...
We arrived at the campsite again after dark, so quickly set up our home on the concrete slab and got settled in for the night. As we cooked dinner in the camp kitchen, we met a lovely couple who were going to do a wine tour the next day as well. Said we'd meet up again the next night if we were all able to walk by then.
Next morning, booked our hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the vineyards for 10:00. Turns out it was our first day of rain as well in 3 months, so what better way to spend a rainy day than to drink??? Bus picked us up on-site and then we were off. There were 4 other girls on our tour and the driver told us we could structure the day however we wanted. He had a few suggestions which we were more than willing to follow considering we didn't know much about the region or the vineyards.
First stop - Peterson's Champagne Village. Champagne for breakfast??? OK, if you insist. IT is here we tried a few sparkling white wines then moved on to the sparkling rose and even 2 sparkling reds! (don't worry, they were very small tastes, not full glasses!) I had never seen that before -- and it just didn't taste right. I think it was more of the innate programming, like you can't wear white shoes after Labor Day - that told me not to like it. It was a red wine but was cold and had bubbles. Ewwwww. But give them credit for something different.
We also tried the wines, though, and bought our first bottle of Merlot. And we were well on our way. Turns out the bus was not hop-on-hop-off at all. The driver (Graeme) took us to several places and waited for us. Made it much easier on us.
Before I go on, WE SAW KANGAROOS!!!!! Finally! Graeme pointed them out to us in the distance, a whole pack(?) of them in a field. Too far away to see if they were actually live (or just cardboard cutouts) but we trusted him. And moments later, we saw on hopping across the field next to the bus. So they do exist after all! We said if we didn't drink any more wine we'd still feel like we had a great day after the sighting. Now all we need is a koala bear to cross our paths... That never happened. But don't worry, we carried on tasting...
After the 3rd place, the suggestion was thrown out that we stop for lunch. All of us agreed that wine tasting was far more important than lunch, so we skipped it to continue our path to debauchery (I think I was the one to convince the others they didn't need to eat - great idea at the time...) Every place we went we tasted fantastic wines. It was difficult not to start our wine collection there. But as we can't ship wine home and we knew we were more likely to drink them before we got to a post office, we opted to buy a few of the best ones to enjoy while passing the nights in campsites.
We know we went to at least 8 wineries because that was the number of bags we had. The last stop was the best because we joined with another tour. The woman asked which we would like to try and someone yelled, "Start from the top of the list!" So, as if we needed it, we tasted another 4 or 5 wines and it was the perfect end to the perfect rainy day. This was at 5:30pm. And funnily enough, it didn't end there.
Back to the campsite where we had every intention of cooking dinner as we had only had some toast that morning. But the couple we met the night before had just returned from their tour as well, so we joined forces, cracked open some of our collection and proceeded to drink more and share stories from the day! Never got around to eating. I realized at some point in the evening that I was no longer forming sentences and was speaking in a foreign language. Time for me to pass out. Not sure what time that was - but L woke me up at midnight so we could make up a proper bed. Turns out the couple are from Brisbane - so we will get together with them again when we make our way further north.