We took a taxi into the city and I found a hostel to stay at. After a quick walk in the city I found it easy to orientate with its big wide streets and central Rundle mall. Adelaide was Australia’s first free settlement founded in 1829 by Sir William Light. In other firsts, Adelaide had Australia’s first clothing optional beach and had the first university in Australia to welcome women. The city had a laid back and welcoming feel.
I got talking to Donna in my room at the hostel, and along with her, I invited Chiara and Lucas over for dinner and cooked for them all. In the evening we walked into town for some drinks. Adelaide is nicknamed ‘the Festival city’ and true enough there was a dance festival in town so watching the busy streets from the bar was interesting viewing.
The next morning Donna and I headed for the Central markets, a colourful mix of fruit and veg, fragrant bakeries and Asian cuisine making it a fascinating place to walk around sampling. After a lap of the industrial sized building we got a coffee and then headed across town to the Haigh chocolate factory interesting for two reasons, the amount of free chocolate on the tour and the Haigh name which I was hoping implied a family connection. Australia is not famous for its chocolate, nor is it a cheap luxury but it was nice to see the production of all the Christmas delicacies shaped like puddings and decorations.
We spent the afternoon on Light square, one of the many inner city parks which makes this city beautiful and spacious. As the night approached a group congregated on my hostel balcony ready for a night on the town.
The weather looked a bit grey in the morning but Chiara and I managed to improve things by cooking bacon sandwiches, then reverting back to bed. In the brighter afternoon we visited the Botanical gardens on the north side of the city. A walk down north terrace leads you past the grandeur of the museums and universities of the city, into the beautifully manicured lawns of the gardens where we lazed in the sun.
We took dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, oh how I hate paying Australian prices for Asian food, and then watched a movie at the hostel.
From a city full of Germans, we set off for Hanhdorf, a surviving German settlement 28km from Adelaide. It was settled by Prussians escaping religious persecution in 1829 after General Hanh, the ships captain. The beautiful one street village sits in adelaide’s hills which meant a picturesque bus ride as the route wound up and up and you could look back over the city. It was like stepping into little Germany as bakeries, drinkeries and eateries lined the streets. We dived in and out of nicknack shops selling trinkets, knives and souvenirs. Chaira, Lucas, Adrian and I enjoyed Appelstrudel and German beers.
After an interesting day exploring we went back to the city and enjoyed a game of Frisbee in the Light Square, one of the many inner city green spaces. The evenings entertainment was a game of pictionary which was a giggle. At the end of the night we bid farewell to Simon, the first to escape Adelaide’s clutches.
North of Adelaide is Australia’s most well known wine region, the Barossa valley, home to 60 wineries. A group of us headed out of the city where the buildings dissipated from sight in favour of golden wheatfields and manicured rows of grapes. Our first spot was the farm shop of Maggie Beer, a famous Australian chef. Her range of pates, preserves and picnicy goods encouraged us to stay and sample lunch and we sat overlooking the lake where little turtles swam. Feeling very civilised we then sat in on a cooking demonstration in her film set kitchen and got to sample baked goods fresh from the oven.
Satisfied we headed off to explore the winery’s. We stopped at Seppeltsfield, a grand winery in a beautiful setting. In their modern barn we sampled a range of whites before moving on to fortified wines. Despite many tastings, as an inexperienced palate, sampling becomes a bit of a show of swirling, sniffing and finally coming up with a fancy explanation of why its darn good.
Feeling cultured we headed back into Adelaide. After 2 weeks of travelling together, it was time to say goodbye to Chiara and Lucas who were leaving early the next day for the Great ocean road.
On what I hoped would be my last day in Adelaide, I met up with potential roadtrip partners, Leya and Jo for a coffee in Victoria square. We planned to do the Great Ocean Road together and this was my chance to check they weren’t murders. All proving well I bought a tent and packed my things for departure the next day.
The Adelaide vortex is a term I coined for the pull of this city. With good friends, good weather and a relaxed vibe it is easy to let a few days here roll into a week, maybe even more. Either that or maybe it’s just a nice contrast from the outback!
Next up, the Great Ocean Road.