It was meant to be a peaceful ride along the Riesling Trail.
As one of the Clare Valley’s most picturesque and popular sites, Sharon Heinrich finally found the chance to get out on the trail for a ride with her good friend Helen Salter.
“I’ve lived here for quite a few years and I was riding the trail for the first time,” Mrs Heinrich said.
The pair were near Penwortham when Mrs Heinrich saw a kangaroo standing up on a ledge.
“I saw him and thought ‘oh isn’t he cute’ – then he was on top of me.”
Without warning the huge marsupial leaped onto the trail, landing on top of Mrs Heinrich and using its powerful legs to leap off again into Miss Salter.
Mrs Heinrich suspects the kangaroo was a male buck, based on its size.
“I’m 5’4” and he was taller than me, and so heavy,” she said.
“Once he landed on me, he used me to launch off again, which caused more damage.”
Helen Salter was also knocked from her bike during the encounter and suffered a concussion.
The ordeal left Mrs Heinrich with three cracked ribs, covered in grazes and kangaroo paw scratch marks down her back.
She will also require further surgery in Adelaide next week.
“When the surgeon saw me in Adelaide he said I was lucky to be alive – kangaroos are solid muscle and incredibly powerful. When he landed he went completely through me, if he had become caught in the bike the outcome would be a lot different,” she said.
Without their phones, Miss Salter had to go to Penwortham to seek help.
A local business was able to call an ambulance, while Mrs Heinrich was cared for by some tourists also on the trail, while Miss Salter had gone for help.
“I don’t know the name of the business in Penwortham that called the ambulance but I can’t thank them enough,” she said.
“I also want to say thank you to the ambulance officers who attended."
Both Mrs Heinrich and Miss Salter work at Helping Hand Carinya.
"We would like the thank them for covering and helping out with our shifts – we are quite busy this time, so it means a lot to us,” they said.
With further surgery scheduled for next week, the incident has left Mrs Heinrich calling for kangaroo warning signs to be placed on the trail.
“I live on a farm in the region, I know kangaroos are around here,” she said.
“But tourists from the city have no idea – I really think there needs to be signs placed along the trail to warn people about them.
“They jump without warning and at the last minute – people need to be careful.”
"There is also talks in the town of the plague number of kangaroos around and hopefully something can be looked at before we have a more serious situation.”