Earlier this month, in the company of a music-loving friend, who has on more than one occasion been a member of our Guest Choir, I visited Adelaide to attend the Festival presentation of Brett Dean’s new opera, Hamlet. We drove from Sydney and decided to stay a little out of Adelaide at the charming bed and breakfast, The Karawatha Cottages owned and run by our former Grads colleague Friederike Scheppach and her husband Georg. (http://www.karawathacottages.com.au)
Set in the delightful McLaren Vale wine region, Karawatha is quite idyllic, surrounded by vineyards, yet only about 40 minutes drive from downtown Adelaide and a similar distance from the Adelaide Hills.
On our first day in the region we went for lunch at the well-known d’Arenberg winery, just a few minutes drive from Karawatha www.darenberg.com.au. We were amazed to find that Chester Osborn, the boss of d’Arenberg, has recently had an extraordinary modernist building, known as The Cube, erected at the winery. Five storeys high, this architectural fantasy contains a restaurant, an art gallery, and the cellar door, and offers magnificent panoramic views of the McLaren Vale vineyards. Remarkable!
The day of the opera, we travelled to Adelaide via Mount Barker, in the Adelaide Hills, where we wanted to visit Ukaria, a state-of-the-art chamber music venue, donated to South Australia by Ulrike Klein. Ukaria turned out to be an extraordinary building, in an entirely rural setting, a kilometre or two down an unsealed country track. With about 200 seats and offering views through the windows into vineyards and farmland it was absolutely unforgettable! https://www.ukaria.com/. A number of Festival events were scheduled to take place here but our timetable prevented us from attending.
From Mount Barker, we reached the Adelaide city centre in about 40 minutes and attended the performance of Dean’s Hamlet at the Festival Theatre. It was as impressive as the bulk of reviews have indicated.
On our final day at Karawatha, we found ourselves with unexpected free time, and at very short notice, decided to visit the Barossa Valley, about as far north of Adelaide as McLaren Vale is south. Visiting one wine region from another might seem a little like carrying coals to Newcastle but this proved to be a delightful, rewarding and comfortable excursion, including calls at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop and the historic and imposing Seppeltsfield winery.
We were delighted with our stay at Friederike’s Karawatha Cottages and not surprised to find that is doing excellent business, with many international and interstate guests choosing to stay there. Friederike and Georg are very friendly and helpful hosts and as I’ve pointed out the location is ideal. For choir members, their family and friends travelling to South Australia I highly recommend a stay at Friederike and Georg’s bed and breakfast. I plan to return ASAP.