I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet.
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Published December 2nd 2018
Food, Wine and Wildlife
There is an old Holden FJ ute in the field with a couple of healthy looking horses cropping the grass around it. Magpies and crows are calling nearby in the eucalypts that border the paddocks. It really can't be more Australian than this.
I have stopped between McLaren Vale and Coriole Winery to take a few roadside shots before having lunch and selecting some local wines from the cellar. This wonderful winery is not only surrounded by vines and corridors of trees but also has one of most beautiful cottage gardens that I have encountered in many a year.
There are little pathways and patches of lawn that lead to alcoves, vegetable gardens and places to sit and rest while taking in the many animals that inhabit this wonderful setting. Several crested pigeons are scratching around in one of the vegetable patches and a pair of European goldfinches are singing enthusiastically, as they perch on the fence surrounding the chicken coup.
Near a large gum by the car park, I glance up into the canopy where I can hear finches and silver eyes chirruping only to discover a koala scratching nonchalantly while it changes position on a branch. I watch it for a few minutes pointing out the marsupial to a young couple visiting from Japan. Not quite what they expected at a winery.
Birds and mammals aside, the garden's wide variety of plants is ideal for attracting butterflies and other insects and I spend a good half an hour just sitting and watching the different species going about their business of gathering nectar.
It has been a rewarding way to spend a couple of hours camera in hand but I came to Coriole for lunch and I spend the rest of the afternoon sampling the wonderful range of food they have to offer accompanied by a glass or two of fine wine.