heard about SA

A local explorer, venturing out to find ALL of the things in South Australia!

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Gin Long Canteen

Gin Long Canteen

Love good food, delicious drinks, a warm atmosphere and a tongue-in-cheek menu? How about neon lights, bright splashes of colour, Asian-fusion done really well and instructions on how to deal with a choking friend on the back of your menu? Pretty cocktails with massive foamy heads on them or house made bubble tea? No? Well then, you should probably avoid Gin Long Canteen because you won’t like it at all.

Having been open now for just over a year, Gin Long Canteen is still as popular as ever with packed tables as far as the eye can see. Luckily for my little trio, a happy bench for three had just become available in the front window as we walked through the door and we were quickly seated with food and beverage menus in hand, not knowing which to look at first.

Sharing seemed like the obvious way to go (for the food at least) so we ordered an array of dishes including Lychee Duck Curry, Netted Spring Rolls and Malay Curry Puffs. I found the netted spring rolls to be slightly (only slightly) oily and the lychee duck curry to be a little shy of lychees, but that aside, every dish was delicious and our selection of three entrees and two mains for three people turned out to be more than we could eat.

Our drinks selection was similarly varied as we attempted to make our way through as much of their cocktail menu as possible – not a single sip disappointed and we were all massive fans of the delicious foam that seemed to top  most of our cocktails.

The team at Gin Long Canteen were friendly and efficient. Ever-present when we needed them but not in our faces and without a ‘rushed’ feel, which is a definite tick considering how busy they constantly seem to be. Although our visit this time was a little impromptu and a little rushed (for our own reasons), I look forward to going with a slightly larger group of friends (you can book if you have a group of six or more) and indulging in a few wines and a banquet menu.

Gin Long Canteen can be found here, at 42 O’Connell Street in North Adelaide.

Open for lunch Tuesdays to Fridays between 12noon and 12:30pm and dinner between 5:30pm and 9:30pm Tuesdays to Thursdays and until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Christmas in Adelaide


Twas a few weeks before Christmas and all through Adelaide, people were looking for gifts that were hand-made.
They sought out some carols and sought out some lights, seeking festive things to do with their days and their nights…

West End Brewery Christmas Lights
On the banks of the River Torrens in Thebarton, right outside the West End Brewery, magic can be found every year in the form of a delightful Christmas display complete with fair-ground amusements and food for the kids or the adult-sized fans of dagwood dogs and fairy floss. This year is the 55th anniversary of this free event, which can be seen at any time during the day or night, with the lights coming on at dusk every day. Catch this slice of joy between 1 December and 2 January. Further details can be found here.

The West End Xmas Art Market & Festival
Sticking with a west end theme for a moment, Leigh Street and Peel Street will come alive on Sunday 14 December between 12noon and 10pm (markets until 8pm) with the West End Xmas Art Market & Festival. This is a family friendly and free event offering live music, activities for children, market stalls, food and wine and roving performers. Head over here for more information.

Burnside Library Christmas Night Market
The Burnside Library will be hosting a Christmas Night Market on Thursday 11 December between 4pm and 8:30pm in the Burnside Library courtyard. There will be traditional and European Christmas carols and 25 stalls will be selling a range of wares including jewellery, candles and a variety of food including Christmas cakes. More information about this free event right here.

The Lights of Lobethal
For over 60 years the town of Lobethal has lit up at Christmas time like, well, Lobethal! Most of the town gets in on the act, resulting in a plethora of amazing lights to see as you slowly make your way around the town. This is a spectacular family event that can be cumbersome to navigate around due to it’s popularity, but is well worth the effort. Lobethal lights up from Sunday 14 December and will be shining every single night until Monday 30 December. Depending on which night you visit, there are carols, a parade, a living nativity scene or even Humphrey B. Bear on opening night. Check their web site for further details.

Dirty Girl Kitchen Artisan Christmas Markets
As far as I’m concerned, Dirty Girl Kitchen can do no wrong, so I am super excited about their very first pop-up Christmas market happening on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 December in Victoria Square. There will be hand-made gifts to buy, people to wrap your presents for you, a ute full of oysters on ice and a bar and a dance floor! If that’s not enough, on Saturday there’s even a long table lunch where, as happened in the good old days, you bring a dish and share a pot luck meal with your existing and soon-to-be-new friends! Check out Weekend Notes for some more information about this free event.

Sinclair’s Gully Wines’ Carols Under the Candlebarks
Sinclair’s Gully Wines always put on a good show at their beautiful, back-to-nature cellar door and their Carols Under the Candlebarks event on Sunday 21 December is unlikely to break that trend. $15 for adults and $5 for children, this event will see you nibbling away at your home-made picnic whilst wearing your santa hat (or something else red) as you listen to the dulcet tones of coloratura soprano Kathryn Snape as the sun sets amongst the beautiful Candlebark trees. Wine will be sold by the glass or bottle and you can bring your own glasses or buy them there for $5 each. Bookings are essential. Visit Sinclair’s Gully Wines for more information or go straight to Trybooking to secure your tickets.

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Mt Lofty Walk

Mt Lofty Walk

It never ceases to amaze me when I come across someone living in Adelaide who has never done the walk from Waterfall Gully to the summit of Mt Lofty. It’s like living in Adelaide and having never been to Glenelg Beach, or ridden on the tram, or taken a selfie in front of the Malls Balls.

For me, the Mt Lofty Walk is a regular feature of my exercise routine because, lets face it, where else are you going to find a measly 3.9km walk that you can’t do without raising your heart rate to the same level you would if you were running?!

This walk is pretty at any time of year but during Spring (especially early Spring), when the myriad of wildflowers start exploding in colour all along the path and throughout the bush, you can be sure of being in for a particularly pretty treat. Birdlife and wildlife abounds in the area, with sulphur crested and black cockatoos making regular appearances, along with gorgeous little wren’s and more often than not, a kangaroo or three.

Although it’s rated as ‘moderate’, the Mt Lofty Walk is challenging in places, with a couple of very steep inclines that the inexperienced walker will need to take their time with. However, there’s nothing wrong with stopping every few steps to take in the scenery and on a nice day, the view at the top is more than worth it. Remember to take some water with you and give yourself enough time to not have to rush – keen runners and walkers will likely make the return trip in under 1.5 hours however if you’re likely to travel at a more leisurely pace, allow up to three hours return. Sneakers are appropriate footwear for the walk and comfortable clothing should be worn – you can do the walk in jeans, but I find workout attire is the best way to go.

If you would like any further information regarding the Mount Lofty Walk, check out Walking SA’s guide.

The Mt Lofty Walk starts at Waterfall Gully at the end of Waterfall Gully Road.

The walk can be done year round at any time, however it is worth noting that the gates of the Waterfall Gully car park are open from 6am until 7pm most of the year, with opening hours being extended until 9pm during daylight savings.

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Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre

Banrock Station

Sometimes a brand can be so completely familiar to you that you really don’t think about it at all. It’s just always been there, in your peripheral, never really coming into focus because, you know, it’s always been there.

This is what Banrock Station was like for me. A name so familiar I never thought twice about it. I knew nothing about it other than the fact that I always saw Banrock Station wine around the place. I didn’t even know where Banrock Station was. It was just there.

On a recent trip home from interstate, BW pointed out that we were going to drive past Banrock Station’s cellar door, stated that it was supposed to have an amazing view and asked if wanted to stop in. Never one to say no to a winery visit, we pulled off the main road and wove our way along the dirt road that led to this never-before-considered cellar door.

Set in the middle of nowhere, overlooking a wetland, Banrock Station does indeed have an amazing view, reminiscent somewhat of Maggie Beer’s in the Barossa but on a much larger scale. The Wetland Circuit at Banrock Station is an 8km round trek but there are two shorter options if you don’t have that much time to spare and, during our visit, we overheard a young family exclaiming about all of the wildlife they saw on their little jaunt around the wetlands. It sounded impressive!

With only enough time to sample some wine before we needed to hit the road again, BW and I tucked into a few tastings with the friendly ladies behind the bar and I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much of their wine I really enjoyed. Another very, very pleasant surprise was the phenomenal discount you get if you join as a VIP member of Banrock Station – a thing you can only do if you happen to make the journey out there to see them in person. We’re talking 50% discounts on some of their wines people! I kid you not.

And why wouldn’t you make the journey out there? If good wine and amazing views with wildlife-filled walks weren’t your thing, I hear that the food they serve up is amazing. Completely worth the three hour drive from Adelaide (if that’s where you happen to be originating from) is the rumour, which I will be sure to test out at my earliest available opportunity. In fact, the lovely ladies serving us advised that several groups of people make a day of journeying out to see them for lunch. It’s gotta be good to warrant a six hour return trip, right?

Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre can be found 34km east of Waikerie. Here’s a handy little map for you.

They’re open every single day from 9am except for Good Friday, Christmas and New Years Day. For the exact hours of operation of the cafe and the wine centre itself, check out the web site here.

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Mollydooker 2012 Velvet Glove

Mollydooker Velvet Glove

“Pull my tongue out and stroke it… With a velvet glove” – Fab

And so our tasting of Mollydooker’s premier wine, the (2012) Velvet Glove, began.

I have been looking forward to cracking open this amazing bottle of shiraz for well over six months now and without a slither of a doubt, it was worth every single staring-longingly-at-the-bottle-micro-second of the long, long wait. The packaging alone was tempting enough, having arrived in a beautiful black box decorated with shiny, black swirls and rich, gold writing. We opened up the box to find the gorgeously shaped bottle inside, luxuriously labelled with velvet, which none of us could stop stroking. It sounds a little wrong, I know, but trust me… It was so, so right.

We decanted this little bottle of mana for optimum effect and we were not in any way disappointed, other than with the fact that there wasn’t more of it. The Velvet Glove fills your mouth and gives you the sensation of having your tongue and cheeks coated with soft, smooth satin. With caramel (possibly delicious burnt caramel) on the nose, there’s a certain creamy ‘condensed milk’ feel to the wine as you taste it. Full of cherry and other red and dark berry fruits, this wine also delivers elements of chocolate and cinnamon in a perfect combination. It’s smooth. It’s full-bodied. It’s vanilla and spice. It’s quaffable. It is faultless.

The 2012 Velvet Glove has a 96% fruit weight, which means that this wine coats almost your entire palate in velvet, sending you packing to your happy place, before you even begin to experience any of its the structural components. Awarded 97 points by the Wine Advocate and 96 by the Wine Spectator, this is the wine you want to pull out when you’re looking for that ‘wow’ factor.

As we sipped and savoured our way through our bottle of Velvet Glove, we were constantly amazed at its silkiness and in awe of the way that every mouthful brought yet another rich, full flavour to our palates. With comments like “700ml is just not enough” and “words cannot describe it”, it is no wonder we were clinging to our glasses, hoping for their contents to never run out.

So, if I can offer any advice with respect to Mollydooker’s Velvet Glove, unless you covet that whole “wanting more” feeling, it would be to make a somewhat obvious observation: gloves really do work best in pairs.

If you feel the need to either impress or be impressed, you can pick up a bottle of Mollydooker’s Velvet Glove from their lovely cellar door on Coppermine Road, or right here online. At $185 per bottle it’s certainly not one you will serve often, but you will most definitely look forward to those occasions when you do.

Mollydooker and Heard About SA are working in partnership for this review series, with Mollydooker providing Heard About SA with the bottle of  2012 Velvet Glove discussed in this review.


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