Day 22 - Adelaide City & Zoo by bike

Trip Start Apr 17, 2012
Trip End May 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
Brownhill Creek Caravan Park Adelaide
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today's forecast is for 25 -  Yahoo! Perfect for exploring Adelaide by bike. It was already a nice temperature by 8:00am and the sun was shining which motivated us to get up and have breakfast as quickly as possible. After taking the bikes off the rack and lubricating the chains we were ready to go. When you are in the middle of a huge relaxing holiday it can be hard to stay on the ball at all times and we wasted a little bit of time just enjoying the sun, the creek and the general serenity of the campsite. It was probably 10 or 10:30am by the time we pedalled out of there. By this time I was hungry for something solid as I had only eaten cerial - and we were both dying for coffee. We wanted to be at the Zoo for lunch so we decided we'd ride to the train station and take the bikes on the train to the city.

The GPS showed two train stations within 3km, cool. We chose the closest one (Torrens Park) which was 2.3km or something like that - an easy ride (or so we thought). As we were right at the foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges we had to pedal up a few massive hills only to come straight down the other side. Perhaps I should've checked the topo maps, then we'd be able to navigate around the hills - oh well too late now. We arrived at the train station hot and hungry. We checked the timetable and found out that it was 30 mins until the next train! Bugger that, we'll just cycle the 8-odd km to the city. We cycled for 10 minutes before a shopping centre (Mitcham Square I think) appeared in front of us. The thought of coffee and bacon/eggs was too much so we locked up the bikes and went in. 

It's amazing how much appetite cycling can give you. After shoveling down our food and coffee we were finally on our way. By this time it was already lunchtime - and we still had a full day's activity ahead of us. We continued on our journey down Unley Rd to Adelaide CBD, then turned right at Adelaide Uni taking us through the parklands and river. The zoo is situated right by the river and the whole area is quite picturesque and has a nice atmosphere. We locked up our bikes and paid our entry fees wondering if our Taronga Zoo Friends membership would get us in. Once inside we grabbed more coffee to energise us for our walk through the zoo. It's a nice zoo with some historic parts just like Taronga. It wasn't as big as Taronga - nor was their budget anywhere near as large. At Taronga there are very few enclosures remaining that look too small but at Adelaide there are still some areas needing to be modernised.


The whole reason why we wanted to go to Adelaide Zoo was because a few years ago a Siamang Gibbon from Auckland Zoo was moved there. His name is Irian. Julie and I feel a bit of an attachment to Irian as he is the brother of Iwani from Auckland Zoo. So how do we know about these mega cute little primates? A few years ago we had a TV show filmed in Auckland Zoo - called 'The Zoo'. We watched this show religiously and especially loved watching the siamangs with their senior primate keeper Christine Tintinger. Then, there was a 'The Zoo' special televised which told the story of Iwani and his twin sister Iberani (and brother Irian). For some unknown reason, their mother rejected Iwani and Iberani and she bit Iberani on the leg quite badly which ultimately resulted in her dying - sad.


Luckily Iwani was able to be reintegrated back into his family after Christine had raised him for 12 months which would not have been possible without his 2 year old brother Irian who accepted him back like a long lost friend. After a couple of years Iwani got paired up with Kera (from Mogo Zoo) and he is now a father himself. Once Iwani was established in Auckland, Irian was moved to Adelaide and was paired up with Suli who is also from Mogo Zoo (parents are Fern and Armstrong). Irian and Suli have also now had a baby siamang in Adelaide Zoo who we saw in the siamang enclosure with mum & dad. Unfortunately on the day we visited Irian had a cough and was on medication but Suli and Zain were very cute. Gibbons are my favourite primate by far. This was one of the highlights of our stay in Adelaide. 

The polar bear enclosure was also awesome - and is currently the only Polar Bear exhibit in all of Australia. As can be expected of bird nuts we spent a few hours just looking at the birds, they were a bit hard to photograph as it was a tad dark due to lots of large shady trees and increasing cloud cover as the afternoon rolled on.  The temperature had now started to drop and the zoo seemed quite empty as we tried to make sure that we saw all sections on the map. Some of the aviaries were closing for the day (it was now after 5pm) and many animals appeared to be ready for bed when the announcement came over the PA saying that the zoo was about to close.....bugger! Of course, we ignored the first announcements and pushed it but finally it was time to go. On our way through the gates we asked the attendant if our Taronga Zoo Friends membership is valid in Adelaide. He said yes, but we would have had to get a letter from Taronga saying our membership is valid. (NOTE TO TARONGA - PUT A PDF ON YOUR WEBSITE FOR THIS).

So, we could have gotten in for free but we were happy to have made a $100 donation to Adelaide Zoo anyway. Great zoo - but some enclosures need improvement/modernisation. Looking forward to going back to Adelaide Zoo though so we can do the 'Behind The Scenes' and hand feed the siamangs!! After exiting the zoo at 5:30pm it was getting dark and cold and we had to remember where we chained the bikes up. Ten minutes later we were back on the bikes and planning our route back to Brown Hill Creek. It was decided that we would cycle past the uni to Adelaide Train Station and we would put the bikes on the train. Adelaide's diesel-electric train system must cost a bit to run because our tickets were something like $6 each - and we had to buy tickets for the bikes. $24 later we were on the platform waiting. 15 minutes later we were back at Mitcham. 

From Mitcham station it was a 10 minute flat ride through suburbia to Brown Hill Creek. Once back there we dropped off our cameras and backpacks and got changed before jumping back on the bikes to ride to the pub for dinner. It was now getting quite cold and we needed to use our lights. Once at the pub, I ordered the schnitz again because it was so goddamn good and Julie had the felafel salad I think. After dinner I felt so tired that the ride home was daunting. We froze to death riding back - mainly coz it's so flat, you don't get to work up any heat - well not immediately anyway. We got warm just as we arrived back at the van so we took that opportunity to try out the second block of showers a bit further than the ones we tried last night. These ones were bigger, busier and still had the asbestos warning stickers!

After a few hours unwinding, it was off to bed.

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