Australia - Adelaide
Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
124Trip End Ongoing
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Having demolished some bacon sandwiches and a cup of coffee we were ready to get on the road and get to Adelaide as soon as possible. The route took us through Port Augusta, but with our 'Rough Guide' suggesting there was little to do there we only stopped for diesel before continuing through the increasingly 'English' countryside to the capital of South Australia.
The kangaroos in the area are clearly less fussy than those in other parts of Oz and the signs along the roadways advise travelers, and cattle, to beware of their indiscriminate sexual preferences (PIC).
Arriving in Adelaide we drove around the city and took in the amazing similarities in both architecture and atmosphere to some British cities before heading for the visitors centre. With only an hour on our parking meter we paid a quick visit to the Adelaide museum, deciding to spend more time there the following day, and then took a whistle-stop tour of the Art Gallery next-door, only really stopping at the contemporary art section.
Racing back to Gizmo to avoid a parking ticket we left the center and headed out to one of the three Big 4 campsites in the Adelaide area, all of which are dotted around the city around 10km away from the centre. Upon checking in we did some laundry, had dinner and then bedded down for the night.
Andrew had woken up early in an attempt to try and catch the end of the Arsenal vs. Barcelona Champions League Final, which had started at 4am local time. Unfortunately the campsite TV room was closed so Andrew called his Arsenal-supporting best mate Tony (back in the UK) to see what the result was. A slightly dejected voice told him that Barcelona had emerged victorious so the subject was swiftly changed to tales of our time in Oz so far.
A lazy morning followed (do we seem to be having too many of these?) and we finally made it into the city by 10:30am. We parked up at the Adelaide Oval cricket ground and walked across the picturesque Torrens River (PIC) and into the Festival Centre to look at a few of their modern art sculptures (PIC).
After spending a while on the FREE Internet in the city library we returned to the Adelaide Museum (PIC).
The museum, largely filled with natural history was exceptionally well put together and kept us entertained for a couple of hours, especially in the native animal and aborigine exhibitions (PICS).
Rundle Mall, the main shopping drag of Adelaide was our next stop and held our attention for another couple of hours. In the meantime Andrew spoke to his soon-to-be employer and finalised a few details for his upcoming job, in particular a starting date of 2 weeks later than first planned, giving us enough time to see the rest of Australia before heading back to the Sydney area. Having discussed the topic of work attire we then decided to pop to an outlet shopping village and find some work wear for Andrew - after all he couldn't wear boardies and thongs in an office! The trip was a huge success; a pair of trousers, a shirt, polo shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweater, belt, underwear and leather shoes all for less than $100 (40 GBP) - why can't we find bargains like that in the UK?
We opted for the second of the Big 4 campsites, variety being the spice of life and all that, (and it was the nearest one to us) so checked in and settled down for the night.
The Adelaide district of Marion has a huge out-of-town shopping mall with a 30-screen cinema and hundreds of shops. This is where we spent our day; it can't be all culture, culture, culture!
We watched the Da Vinci Code at the cinema, a film that we had been waiting for ages to see since reading the book earlier in the trip. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the novel but was still very entertaining and a worthwhile watch.
After spending some time perusing the shops, Andrew took a seat in an Internet café while Verdi took a seat in an optician's chair - her eyes still not quite right after the infection a couple of months earlier.
Our final stop of the day was the third and final Big 4 campsite in the Adelaide area and coincidentally the best of the three, with a great pool, huge TV room and really modern facilities. We even took time out to have a quick bounce on a giant inflatable jumping pillow (meant for kids supposedly) while no-one was looking.
Lethargy struck and we responded by staying in bed. Opening our eyes enough to reach for the mobile phone and call reception to book another night we then fell back asleep and had another one of those increasingly regular lazy mornings.
Eventually making our way into town we took advantage of the free weekend parking at the Adelaide Oval and walked across the river again into the city. Calling at the Visitors centre we enquired about a trip to nearby Kangaroo Island; Australia's third biggest island and a haven for native wildlife. It turned out that the cost of getting over there; $150 for Gizmo and $75 each for us, plus $40 each for the park fees and then more for the campsites, was too expensive especially when we had seen most of the featured wildlife at one time or another during the rest of our travels.
We left the hustle and bustle of the city centre and headed out for a tour around the suburbs, coming across Birkenhead much to Verdi's amusement (Birkenhead is a place in Verdi's Dads hometown of Liverpool for those of you who are confused). Driving down the coastal road we made our way back to the campsite at which point Andrew decided to ignore the cold weather and take a dip in the campsite swimming pool. 20 lengths later he shivered his way into a hot shower while Verdi did some laundry and sensibly kept warm.
A BBQ dinner soon warmed Andrew back up and we sat down with a quartet of English ex-pats, who now lived on the west coast of Australia. Despite having been over here for up to 50 years they still had their northern accents, albeit with a definite twang of Aussie. We said our farewells and we headed for bed at around 11pm.