Midway along the North East Road between Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, the tranquil Torrens River Valley town of Mount Pleasant serves a productive mixed farming region.
If you’re taking this route back to Adelaide after sampling the wine and scenic delights of the Barossa, take time to stop off at Birdwood, about a dozen kilometres down the track from Mount Pleasant. Birdwood’s pride is the National Motor Museum, home to what is widely acknowledged as Australia’s most important collection of more than 300 veteran, vintage and classic cars and motor-cycles. The museum’s spacious grounds are the perfect spot for a picnic. And don’t leave Birdwood without calling into the Akhira Alpaca Shop, showplace for the farm’s value-added operation involved breeding alpacas, Murray Grey cattle and the rare Bengal cat.
Standout landmark in the region is the Herbig Tree in the Eden Valley village of Springton, 8km north of Mt Pleasant. A German tailor turned Eden Valley farmer, Friedrich Herbig took up residence in the hollow bole of the ancient red gum. In 1856, a year after his arrival in South Australia, he wed an 18-year-old Lyndoch girl, Caroline Rattey, and took her to the matrimonial tree home. Caroline gave birth to their first two children in the tree house before Friedrich built a pine and pug hut which proved a stepping stone to a stone cottage where the next 14 Herbig children were born.