One of the quirks of living in another country is discovering that sometimes they do not have the same Public Holidays that you are used to. In the UK we were used to celebrating Labour Day on May 1st – to coincide with International Worker’s Day, but in Australia we now celebrate it on the first Monday in October. With the promise of a 3-day weekend we decided to visit a new state and go to Adelaide.
Named after Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (queen consort to King William IV) and designed by Colonel William Light, Adelaide is the epicentre of South Australia. Surrounded on all sides by beautiful beaches and wonderful wineries. It would be a good choice.
We had a close friend Cindy’s leaving party on the friday night in Sydney so we decided to fly in early on the Saturday morning. Without wasting anytime we got a taxi to the nearby palindromic town of Glenelg and it’s beachside fare.
Starting with a nice lunch we then ‘walked it off’ along the promenade and Glenelg Jetty before getting sand on our feet on the beach for the first time in what felt like ages in the searing heat, (it had been a harsh winter in Sydney). Glenelg had a lot of restaurants, bars and hotels and would be a good choice for any future return trip. It also had a cracking Italian gelato place up around the marina that we just had to sample 🙂
Another ‘find’ was the Foreign Sweet shop on Jetty Road that even had snowballs!
To get back to Adelaide CBD and where our accommodation was we were able to hop on the tram all the way to the Central Square. With just enough time to take a potter around the Adelaide Central Market before it closed we got to take photos and soak up the end of the trading day atmosphere!
With all the vegetable sellers shouting for last minute custom and all the quirky little stalls and random counters it reminded us a lot of Borough Market in London.
Taking a breather from the sight seeing – we walked down to Pirie Street and found our hotel, checked in and dropped off our bags before heading back out and north to Rundle Street – a place where all the action was (apparently). We were not misled – Running diagonally from one end of Adelaide’s CBD to the other, Rundle Street is Adelaide’s equivalent to Melbourne’s Chapel Street packed full of restaurants, cafes and bars. About halfway down the street we were stopped by overly enthusiastic volunteers who for the measly price of a tagged selfie we won Free Tickets to AsiaFest, an Asian Themed Festival being held in the nearby Rymill Park. That was Sunday Night’s activity sorted!
As we were walkin on – Karen spotted the Adelaide Botanical Gardens.
Officially opened in 1857 the Gardens were designed with a nod to both Kew Gardens in London and the Versailles, France. It comprises of a mixed usage of 51 hectares of parklands, fields and the Gardens themselves. With the sun beating down on us we spent a bit of time in the German-made Palm House, the Rose Garden and the Bicentenary Conservatory – a huge glass house that is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and contains many tropical plants from Northern Australia,Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
Before leaving Australia, our friend Cindy had pointed out the cool and hip areas of Adelaide to spend our nights – Peel & Leigh Street. These two laneways make up the Foodie Precinct of Adelaide and have benefited from the dual prongs the new small bar licenses and the pedestrianization of Leigh Street (eat your heart out Alan Partridge!). There was literally so much choice for dinner that we spent a good hour exploring all the options (and licking windows) before deciding on our go-to cuisine – Vietnamese.
Gondola Gondola served up some great drinks, cracking spotify-playlist music and made us work for our meal with make your own Fresh Spring Rolls…
So lots of Fresh Spring Rolls and a massive Banh Xeo (Prawn Pancake) filled us up before we washed it all down with cocktails in the nearby speak-easy Maybe Mae.
As midnight approached we scurried back to our hotel. Not because we were afraid of transmogrifying into pumpkins but something more sinister – Daylight Savings Time was due to strike and we would lose an hour of precious sleep – precious as we had a early morning rise for our Mountain Bike tour of Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale to look forward to.
- Would Karen get enough shut-eye and not be grumpy?
- Would John restrain himself at the continental breakfast?
- Working Bicycle brakes anyone?
… Who knows?
You will if you follow our adventure and read the next post 🙂