A Tale of Two Cities
Trip Start Unknown
23Trip End Mar 08, 2013
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It was a beautiful drive to Adelaide through vineyards and then a dramatic gorge – Torens Gorge. There was the interesting feature of the 'Biggest Rocking Horse in the World' alongside a huge toy factory which seemed to attract millions of Australian families with incredibly noisy children but that was just a hiccup! We had been warned about the school holidays and this was a taster session…
We got the last spot on the campsite and took that as a good omen. The site was within walking distance of the centre of Adelaide along the riverbank and as it was late afternoon the commuters were leaving the CBD in their droves – mainly on bikes! Adelaide isn’t a big city – a population of just over a million – and is very compact and attractive. We visited the library which had an excellent display of the history of Adelaide, including a story of a migrant from England who wrote a letter to his sister, Elizabeth Ponsford of Minehead, telling her all about his life in Australia
Between the two cities we visited some caves, The Grampians and drove the Great Ocean Road!
Naracoorte caves are typical limestone caves with stalactites and stalagmites but with added extras. It’s a World Heritage site for fossils of ancient mega-fauna; creatures which fell through holes in the roofs of caves and became fossilised over the last 60,000 to 500,000 years. Very, very strange creatures! The caves are also home to rare Southern Bentwinged Bats which we watched flying out en masse in the evening. Oh, and families! The tour we did was specific – not suitable for under 8’s as there was a lot of standing and listening but we had 2 families who came anyway!
The Grampians is a rather lovely National Park which was extensively damaged by a storm in 2011 but everything we wanted to do was open – there were great walks and wonderful views
The Great Ocean Road was everything everyone described – stunningly beautiful and absolutely heaving with people! We need to go back when it’s not school holidays!!
It’s 655Km (407m) from Adelaide to Melbourne, as the crow flies, but with our detours we drove 1500Km (932m). The two cities couldn’t be more different. Melbourne has over three times the population of Adelaide and lacks its relaxed old world charm. Melbourne has some beautiful architecture but seems to have squashed everything in and buried all its historic buildings behind modern glass and steel. There is a large statue of Burke and Wills; Melbourne’s explorers who really didn’t seem to have a clue and unfortunately died on the expedition, leaving the field clear for Stuart. It’s all in ‘The Dig Tree’ – we still have your copy Judith! Melbourne is a very vibrant city and as we were there on Australia Day it was really buzzing
Towards the end of the afternoon we wandered over to the ‘alternative’ celebrations in a different park to see the indigenous take on the day. "Welcome to Survival Day" were the words of greeting. There were representatives from several local indigenous language groups and we managed to see some dances. All fairly low key.
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”