18.12.2012 - 23.12.2012 30 °C
Tuesday brought us a change of hotel, moving from Hindley Street (central, but the red light district) to South Terrace- further out but with lovely views of one of the many parks in Adelaide. By this point James had decided on which car to buy, so we went and picked it up for a couple of days before having it transported up to Alice Springs ready for our return home after Christmas in Darwin.
Having collected the car we were at a loose end for the rest of the day, so we opted to take it out for a test drive out into the Adelaide hills. We chose to go up to the Botanic Garden at Mount Lofty- picking a place at random from a map. We definitely made the right choice. As with so many great places in Australia it was pretty much deserted- ours was one of 3 cars in the car park. The Gardens were beautiful, with lots of manicured lawns, a huge range of trees and plants, and sculptures scattered throughout. We picked a spot in the shade of a tree and spent a happy couple of hours picnicking and reading, enjoying the peace and quiet.
We chose the scenic route back to Adelaide, weaving along some very windy mountain roads through the forest. I was excited to see a sign warning of koalas crossing the roads, but wasn’t holding out too much hope having seen signs over the past few days but not having any luck. Not 5 minutes later I squealed, James pulled over quite rapidly and there was a koala, hanging out in a tree right next to the road. It wasn’t at all bothered by the strange person hopping up and down taking photos, and went right back to sleep. As you can imagine, it made my day!
We spent the next few days having a leisurely time looking around the rest of Adelaide, which really is a lovely city. It has a reputation for being quite quiet, and apparently lots of people who are born here move away for University to the bigger cities like Melbourne and Sydney. However it does have a lot going for it, and there are certainly a number of beautiful parks and buildings that you don’t get in other cities around the country. Another huge upside to Adelaide is that it has a wider range of book shops than anywhere else I’ve seen- something that I have really missed on our travels.
The Botanic Gardens were lovely. As soon as you step through the gates there are lots of different birds- my favourites were the Rainbow Lorikeets, which I spent a few frustrating days trying fairly unsuccessfully to photograph:
Another aspect of Adelaide that we enjoyed was the food- I hadn't expected it to rival Melbourne, but it really did. Chinatown in Adelaide is a huge area, and there is definitely a culture of going out to eat. The restaurants were by far the busiest part of the city, moreso than the clubs and bars in Hindley Street, and even the market during the day was bustling with people visiting the cafes. It's possible to eat out incredibly cheaply if you take the time to find your way around. We had a great dinner at the market foodcourt for about £4 each- it was clearly a local haunt with a very vibrant atmosphere. It also served alcohol at reasonable prices, with surprising but sensible serving suggestions:
By the time Sunday rolled around, we felt pretty at home in Adelaide but we were ready to move on to Darwin for our next stop- an Australian Christmas!