All Aboard the Eccentric Express

All Aboard the Eccentric Express
Tanunda, Australia

Tanunda, Australia


Back to the Barossa and back to ConCentric for the second year in a row. Josefa wanted a holiday, the kids were off school, and there were games to play. This time Aidan came with us. Other than that, apart from a far quicker trip over and Richard deciding to take the plane, it felt like a carbon copy of our last visit.

Nothing had changed at the Barossa Valley Junction Motel, that’s for sure. Everything looked the same. The carriages were a little older, the grass a bit longer, but the staff, the paintings for sale on the wall, the lame kid’s carriage, the smell of sulfur, the gaming hall…it’s as if they’d closed the place down for a year and waited for us to return.

We got upgraded to a much better “carriage”. An extra room, two televisions, a mattress that didn’t curl at the edges. The kids thought it was great.

Can’t begin to tell you how eccentric this place is. Half the time the lobby is empty. Not sure how tempting this is with the wine bar, the souvenirs and the lolly shop left completely unattended (we waited for ten minutes to pay for lolly cigarettes) for shifty fingers. Anyway, the owner didn’t even put our drinks or $2 for the pool table on a tab, relying on us to pay when we had the money on us. Which, funnily enough, we did.

It was a good three days of gaming, interspersed with babysitting the kids. I took them to the Tunanda swimming pool and when Jo and I went out each day to Maggie Beer Farm or the local playgrounds as well. Beautiful weather, and the gaming room was windowless and dark, so good to get out.

By the end the place seemed deserted apart from the gaming stragglers, so not so much of a problem letting Aidan run around the place.

While the games were just a sideshow, I must say I enjoyed the ever slightly decrepit eccentricness of the Junction Motel more this year. Must be because we skipped the pricey dinners and went out to Tunanda or Nurriootpa instead. Unsure if we can make it three years in a row, and the Barossa isn’t really a kids paradise, but it’s a relaxing long weekend.


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