Today was our last day in Adelaide and we didn’t have much planned except for going to the Central Market. We didn’t have a chance to go during the week because they close on Sundays and Mondays. Adelaide’s Central Market is the largest covered market in the Southern Hemisphere (Queen Vic in Melbourne was the largest open air market in the SH). It seems like there are a lot of “largest/best…. in the Southern Hemisphere” in Australia.
Since we were heading back downtown (or the CBD as they call it), we dropped Robin off at work before going to the Central Market. Wednesdays at the market are optional working days for the vendors, so only about 70% of the stalls were open when we got there. All the fresh produce looked really good and were nicely displayed. We found a charcuterie stall that looked promising. They had some delicious sandwiches so we decided to give it a try. The place was called Lucia’s Fine Foods. They have different stalls (coffee, pizza, Italian groceries, and deli/charcuterie) all next to each other. We shared a prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil sandwich which was really good. I haven’t had a sandwich like that for a while. I really missed (good) Italian food while traveling in Asia, so this was hitting the spot for me.
After walking around the Central Market, we saw that Chinatown was across the street. We did a quick walk down the main street (which is only a small block) and went in a couple of stores. They had a Gong Cha and CoCo bubble tea which are popular Taiwanese bubble tea chains. The passionfruit bubble tea we usually got in Taiwan for 45 NT = $1.80 CAD was $6 AUD = $5.67 CAD here (likely the same price in Vancouver).
We walked back through Rundle Mall to make our way to Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. Tim wanted to show me Australian Aboriginal art work so we went to Tandanya which had a free exhibit featuring some art and pictures from tribes in Queensland. The gift shop had a bunch of didgeridoo and boomerangs with Aboriginal carvings and paint.
We made our way back to the townhouse since Jessica took a half day off and was already home. She bought us some pastries from her favourite bakery close by called, Red Door Bakery. Tim’s favourite dessert is creme brûlée, and she bought this creme brûlée tart that was really yummy. Actually everything she bought from that bakery was delicious. Next time we’re in Adelaide I want to go there.
Jessica took us to another beach area called Semaphore. It’s more of a local beach and not as touristy as some of the other areas. We walked along the super long jetty (think it was over 100m out into the ocean) and walked through the small quaint streets. It was a nice and relaxing afternoon just chatting and spending time with her.
We decided to have an earlier dinner since we would have to wake up fairly early for our flight to Cairns at 7:40am. Tim and I suggested Vietnamese again since there are so many choices in the Woodville area. Jessica suggested a more homey and family run restaurant in the area. The food was good but the style of Vietnamese food was different than NNQ and what we’re used to at home. The vermicelli bowl’s grilled pork was more soy sauce based and not as fresh tasting as the one at NNQ. Jess ordered this chive pancake wrapped in a scrambled egg that was really good. I’ve never had anything like that before and that was probably my favourite dish at this Vietnamese restaurant. While paying, the ladies asked if I was Vietnamese, and when I told them I was Cantonese. The lady started to say some things in Cantonese to me. After we left, we realized the bill total was a lot less than what it should’ve been. Maybe I got us a Vietnamese/Cantonese discount.
We got back home in time to watch Masterchef Australia and have the rest of the desserts. We packed up everything so we’d be ready to roll out of bed and leave tomorrow morning.
Today was the day I’ve been waiting for since arriving in Adelaide (and Australia for that matter). We were going to the Cleland Wildlife Park to see and interact with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and more. We waited for a sunny weekday so it wouldn’t be so crowded in the park. Cleland is about 30 minutes out of the city and in the Adelaide Hills. Robin had the day off so he came along and drove us there.
Cleland Park is massive, and unlike a zoo, the animals aren’t in small cages but are in enclosed large open areas that are separated by doors that visitors can roams through as they please. So basically it’s like a huge park where you can see all the animals roam around and interact with them. Admission is $22 AUD per person and we bought two bags of food ($3 AUD each) so we could feed the animals around the park. The small bag of food is a vegetable pellet mix.
The first animals we saw scurrying around were called potoroos. They are kangaroo-like marsupials the size of a rabbit and have long thick tails. These guys are all over the park and are fairly friendly. They came up to our feet a few times in hopes we would have food for them. They are basically like squirrels back home.
We went straight to the koala close up area, where you can come close to a koala, pet it, and take a picture. You can also hold a koala for $30 AUD. It would have been cool to hold a koala but I didn’t want to pay $30 AUD to do it. In the koala close up, we met a 16 year old koala named Ash. When I first saw her, she was a pretty good looking koala – clean, big and fluffy. Many koalas I’ve seen before in zoos in other parts of the world are a lot smaller and do not look as well taken care of. I later learned that South Australian koalas are a lot bigger than koalas in other parts of Australia. Since the park wasn’t busy, we were able to take our time with Ash and her handlers.
After our visit with Ash, we went over to where the other koalas were hanging out. The koala keepers were bringing in fresh eucalyptus branches for them to eat. It was entertaining to watch them because as soon as the koalas saw the fresh branches they all sat up and started moving to where the keepers would place the new ones. It’s funny though because the “old” branches that were there weren’t even old looking, but I guess koalas prefer super fresh leaves to munch on. There was even one koala that jumped out of his tree on to the ground to follow one of the handlers and wanted to be picked up (we later learned his name is Nicholas and he fancies one of the volunteers). These koalas are all rescues and cannot be put back into the wild because they don’t have the essential survival skills.
The next area we went to visit was where the kangaroos were. There were different types of kangaroos and they were all in separate park areas. There were red kangaroos (the large ones that are fairly common, more of a beige colour), western grey kangaroos (smaller and fluffier), and Kangaroo Island kangaroos (which are dark grey). The majority of the red kangaroos were just resting and lying down. Kangaroos are most active during dusk, which is why so many of them get into trouble while hopping around highways in Australia.
We found a few western grey kangaroos to feed. At first I didn’t know how close I should be to the kangaroos since you never know with wild animals but I quickly learned that the kangaroos here are extremely used to humans and are very gentle and friendly. It was a very different experience from feeding deer in Nara! There is a kangaroo “rest area” which is roped off to visitors and it was where the majority of the kangaroos were just lying around. We didn’t see the signs saying it was a rest area, which also meant do not feed them. Some of the kangaroos did come out of the area when they saw humans around if they wanted something to eat. Tim enticed one to come out to the open grass for some food.
The kangaroo that came out of the roped off area towards us was a pregnant mama kangaroo. We saw that her pouch was full and at some points it was moving around quite a bit. We agreed that we should give her more food since she was eating for two. She stayed with us for a while munching on the veggie pellets. Then suddenly the pouch was moving around a lot and we saw a little head poke out. It was a joey! This was so awesome to be able to see a joey in its mother’s pouch still. He looked really young and a little like a puppy. He would pop his head in and out as he pleased for the rest of the time we were feeding his Mom. It’s one thing to be able to see kangaroos from afar but it was quite surreal to be interacting with one. After about 20 minutes, the Mom had enough food and hopped away to get some water.
The Kangaroo Island kangaroos seemed a bit more scared of humans compared to the western greys. Tim approached a larger kangaroo to feed it. He showed him the food and the kangaroo came and took a few bites. Tim tripped over his own feet as he was trying to get more comfortable and it startled the kangaroo and it hopped away pretty quickly. We found two smaller kangaroos around this part of the park that were interested in food. They were very sweet and sometimes they would put their paws on our hands to block the other kangaroo from getting any food. There were also a lot of ducks around that were just around for the leftovers that fell on the ground. Ducks aren’t featured at the park but it seems like a large population of ducks come to Cleland because they can just be scavengers there.
Before coming to Australia, I didn’t know what a wallaby was. We saw so many of them and they’re so cute. They’re just like mini fluffy kangaroos. We fed a few of them and found a very young one in the bushes around the walkways that was just hanging out. We offered it food and it came up to us and ate. It got really scared when two potoroos ran across the bush near it… it jumped back really quickly. I have a pretty cool video of that happening. By the end of the day, I had taken 500 pictures and 30 videos.
Along with Australia’s unique animals, they have vastly different birds. There were quite a few aviaries where we could see more unique birds flying around. There was also a large pond area that had huge pelicans hanging out along with ibises (garbage birds) and geese. I’ve never seen a pelican like that before. They definitely could eat as many fish as they like.
Some other animals that were in enclosed areas that you couldn’t walk through (for good reason) were dingos. Dingos are mainly found in the outback and in Western Australia. They are slowly becoming extinct as many of them are mixing with domestic dogs and there are not as many pure bred Dingos left in Australia. We learned that Dingos are Australia’s apex land predator because they can actually kill kangaroos. When we passed by the dingo area, we were just in time for a feeding. Dingos are actually very good looking dogs, you almost forget they are wild. The Dingo keeper was feeding them chickens with the feathers still on. The dingos that were being fed were three brothers that the park got in November. There is a dominate brother who basically ate all the chicken and a very submissive brother who just kept hiding behind the handlers and if he touched a piece of chicken, the older brother would growl and bark at him. The growl and bark was very loud and aggressive sounding. The third brother took his chicken as soon as it hit the ground and ran away to eat it peacefully.
The Tasmanian Devil was very cute. It kind of hid from us when we came by his area. The Tasmanian Devils are becoming endangered and have been prone to developing a facial type of cancer which is killing off a lot of them right now.
After spending about 4 hours at the park, we headed out. We started and ended with a koala close up and got to meet another koala. It was a really fun day and was definitely the highlight of Australia so far (for me). Tim had been to Cleland before and he never hyped it up to me so I wasn’t prepared for how awesome it would be. He told me after that he knew it was going to be amazing for me but wanted me to see for myself. I’m happy we waited for Cleland and didn’t just see all these animals in one of Australia’s many zoos.
Cleland is close to the summit of Mount Lofty – which has a view point of Adelaide. Most people hike up to the summit but since we were at the summit already we just drove into the parking lot to take a look. Unfortunately, the sky was very hazy so we couldn’t see much of the city from there. You could barely make out the outline of the skyline. Apparently there were some fires a couple of weeks ago so that’s probably why it was hazy.
Also in Adelaide Hills, there is a town called Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German settlement. The main street in Hahndorf is really quaint and very charming. The architecture and feel of the streets does feel like you’re in Germany or Germany at Epcot. We had a pretty late lunch at the German Arms pub where we shared a burger and Bavarian meat platter. Everything was really good, I especially liked the roasted pork and crackling. We walked to a leather smith shop and looked around. The majority of stores and cafes in Hahndorf close at 5pm so as we were walking around after our late lunch all the stores were closing. If we’re ever in Adelaide again, I would want to spend a bit more time here when stores are open and it’s a bit more lively.
We headed back to the townhouse to meet Jess for dinner. Tim and I both fell asleep during the ride back and when we got back to the townhouse we all rested up. Jess and Robin made reservations for dinner later in the evening at a restaurant downtown called Red Ochre. It’s a restaurant that specializes in Australian and Native cooking and serve a lot of Australian specific meats – like kangaroo, emu, crocodile. It wasn’t ideal that we would be playing with kangaroos during the day and then eating them for dinner.
The restaurant is situated on the Torrens River and we were seated at a table with a view of the river and part of downtown. Since our dinner was at 7:30pm, it was already dark out so we could just see some of the buildings lit up in the distance. We ordered a platter that had kangaroo steaks, lamb, crocodile ribs, emu and pork sausage, and fried barramundi. This was a good way to sample all the different types of Australian meats. Unfortunately, my favourite meat was the kangaroo. They cooked it really well. It was extremely tender for a meat that is typically very tough. I actually felt a bit bad eating meat for the first time. We ordered our meat medium rare and when I ate the kangaroo, I even flipped it over so I didn’t see the meat juice. I probably won’t be eating any more kangaroo meat on this trip.
After dinner, we headed back to the townhouse, made tea and played some more of the games we brought. Tomorrow is going to be our last day in Adelaide before heading up north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.
We woke up this morning to the smell of pancakes and pouring rain. Jess and Robin were both up early because Jess worked this morning and Robin was being a good husband and making breakfast. It’s also their first wedding anniversary today! When Tim and I went downstairs Robin told us the pancakes didn’t turn out well because the batter from yesterday had separated and it was inedible. Instead, Robin prepared a granola and fruit bowl for our breakfast. We had bought passion fruit yogurt yesterday so I added it in to make a fruit and granola parfait.
Jessica and Robin got us a 3GB SIM card for data from Telstra (one of Australia’s major cell phone providers). We got the SIM card activated at around 5pm the day before, but Tim and I had used all the data by 10am (whoops). I guess when we have 5 devices on WiFi, it’s easy to blow through that data. We added more money on to the SIM but we added it on to the wrong SIM card by mistake and had to call Telstra to get it sorted out. We waited the whole day for the credit to be added but no luck. So when Jess got home, she called Telstra again to help get things fixed. So many calls to Telstra!
Since it was raining this morning we decided to hold on off on going to Cleland Wildlife Park and just hang out downtown. Robin wasn’t working until 4pm today so we spent the afternoon with him. We went downtown for lunch at a vegetarian Taiwanese restaurant that Jess and Robin go to once in a while. The restaurant was called THEA and it was quite busy with what looked like office workers from nearby buildings. We ordered some dishes to share and a bubble tea – our first bubble tea since leaving Taipei. This bubble tea was not $1.40 CAD… it ended up being $5.70 AUD. The food was okay. Tim’s cold noodles were the best dish by far. The pearl milk tea was also surprisingly good – good textured pearls and solid tea. I wasn’t a huge fan of my dish or the special snack dishes for the day.
After lunch, Robin took us through other parts of the Botanic Gardens and to the Torrens River for a nice walk. The weather had totally changed from the gloomy rainy morning to beautiful blue skies and sun. Australian weather changes really quickly apparently. It was really nice to go for a long walk around some pretty peaceful areas of the city. Our end point of our walk before we turned around back to the city was to go to a suspension bridge that crossed the Torrens River. The bridge is scheduled to be updated, which made me a bit nervous while crossing since it is really old and it looked that way too.
We headed back into the city and Robin headed off to the hospital for his shift. Tim and I walked along North Terrace Road and went to the Adelaide Museum of Art for a quick look. All the museums are free in Adelaide, which is great. I like some museums, but I’m not a big fan of art museums so it’s good this was free or else I probably wouldn’t pay to go in. We did a quick walk through the museum and they had quite the mix of old English looking art to modern art that I don’t understand. They had a huge taxidermy horse hanging from the ceiling, which was really strange and a bit disturbing. We didn’t spend much time in the museum, just a quick walkthrough to get the gist of what it was like.
After walking down North Terrace Road, we headed back to Rundle Mall for the free and fast WiFi. We basically sat on the many benches and surfed the net, downloaded shows, and posted yesterday’s blog post for about 1.5 hours. Adelaide is great for having accessible free and fast WiFi throughout the downtown core. It’s too bad it doesn’t extend out to where Jess and Robin are in Woodville Park (5km outside downtown).
We finished with the WiFi and headed back to the townhouse to meet Jess for dinner after she was done her shift. We planned on going to a Vietnamese restaurant close to their place called, NNQ (Nghi Ngan Quan). The restaurant was in an old and charming building and looked like a very modern and somewhat trendy Vietnamese restaurant. Woodville and Australia in general has a very large Vietnamese community so you see a lot of Vietnamese restaurants around. The restaurant was full inside when we got there, so we got seated outside (with heat lamps that were really hot). The food was really good! I can’t wait to go to Vietnam where our meals will be a fraction of the price they are here. I enjoyed our dinner a lot more than our vegetarian Taiwanese lunch.
We came back home just in time for the last half of Masterchef Australia (the show started here). It’s on every day at 7:30pm except for Fridays and Saturdays (no wonder it’s such a popular show here), we’ve only watched a couple of episodes and we know some participants pretty well. Our favourite is Con, a guy from Melbourne who looks like a sad Joey Fatone from NSYNC.
Jess boiled some hot water and made some tea and we played a card game called SushiGo. She got the card game from a friend in Vancouver and we had actually gotten the same game from Hon before we left. But since the packaging is a bit more cumbersome we left it at home. The three of us played a couple of games – Jess won two out of the three games. Tim gets sad when he’s playing badly, it’s quite funny.
When we woke up this morning, Robin was downstairs making the batter for pancakes. This was really nice of him, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to eat the pancakes because we had to return our rental car to Hertz downtown at 9:30am. We did get to eat some of his cooked apple and banana compote which was a yummy breakfast in itself.
We dropped the car off and Jess picked us up from Hertz. She found parking downtown and we walked around the city. Since it was relatively early on a Sunday morning the streets were pretty dead. Adelaide has a much more small town feel than Melbourne. The sun was shining and the weather was very pleasant (low 20s C). We walked through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens (each city in Australia seems to have their own botanic garden) and walked down Rundle Mall, which is one of the main shopping and restaurant areas downtown.
For lunch Jess took us to a place called “Two Bit Villains”, it’s a vegetarian burger (Jess is vegetarian) restaurant that also specializes in cool flavoured sodas. We ordered our burgers and shared (soy) chili cheese fries. Everything was very tasty. It was very well seasoned so you didn’t realize you weren’t eating meat.
After lunch we drove to Henley Beach, west of downtown. When we pulled up to the boardwalk, it reminded me of Southern California. We walked along the boardwalk and out to the jetty, watching people fish and took in the fresh sea air. It was such a lovely fall day. The sun was beating down but there was still a cool ocean breeze which was perfect.
We walked to the Henley Library to take some travel books out for New Zealand and for the rest of our Australian trips. We’re going to New Zealand with Jess and Robin at the end of May so we’ll have to read up on what we want to do in Auckland and Wellington.
After the library, we walked back to the beach and walked down to the sand, took off our shoes, and walked back to the car. When I stepped on the sand, it felt super soft and almost powder like. I would compare it to the consistency of powdered icing sugar. Each time I stepped down I would hear sort of a crunching sound. Since the sand was a bit damp, and the consistency was like a powder, it was very hard and compact in some areas.
We came back into the city and stopped back home to clean our feet up and headed out to the grocery store. Grocery stores close at 5pm here (so early!). We went to Coles and picked up some fruit, vegetables, and breakfast for the next few days here, and Jess bought ingredients for vegetable lasagna for tonight’s dinner.
While we trip planned for the remaining days in Australia, Jess was making dinner for everyone. She made a really tasty vegetable lasagna and roasted vegetables for dinner. It may have been our healthiest dinner on this whole trip. After dinner we played a card game we brought from home (Thanks, Hon!) called, Hanabi. By the time we finished our first game it was already 11pm and Jess had to work early tomorrow so we called it a night.
We picked up a lot of brochures from the tourist information centre downtown, so we’ll probably be browsing them to see what else we want to do while we’re here. The number one thing on my list is to go to the Cleland Wildlife Park and see koalas and kangaroos. So far the only kangaroos I’ve see in Australia were ones that were hit by cars on our way to Adelaide.
Last night was pretty cold, we woke up and it felt like we had woken up outside. Tim said it felt like we had been camping last night. After some examination of the air conditioner, we realized that it’s also a heater! Oh well, now we know that air conditioners in Australia are different than the ones in Asia (which don’t turn into heaters).
We checked out of the motel around 10am and went to the main attraction in Mount Gambier, a crater lake called, Blue Lake. The lake was a lot larger than I thought it would be. During different times of the year, the colour of the lake changes. They say in May it’s more of a grey blue but some parts of the year it can become a bright and vibrant blue.
After Blue Lake we headed to Mount Gambier’s main street, called Commercial Street, for breakfast. Jessica, suggested a bakery in town but when we got there, it looked like the bakery had shut down so we walked around to see what else there was. We walked down Commercial Street a bit more and saw a building that said “OK Pie Shop”. We were intrigued by their modest name and were up for trying more Australian meat pies. OK Pies was a bakery that sold pies, pastries, and coffee. We shared a beef & mushroom pie and a curry beef pie. Both were quite tasty, I’m actually enjoying them quite a bit. The pies were better than the ones in Port Campbell because I think OK pies actually makes their pies in house.
After lunch we set out on our way towards Adelaide. It was about 400km to get to Jess and Robin’s townhouse in Adelaide. The drive was a fairly easy and non-eventful drive. There’s not much to see on the way there besides seeing lots of cow and sheep farms and wineries. Apparently South Australia is wine country. I saw some names that I recognize – like Penfolds and Lindeman’s. The majority of the highway is one lane, with some segments that are two lanes for passing (or overtaking as they say here). There are a lot of signs that say “Drowsy Drivers Die” – we must have seen over 20 of them.
We got into Adelaide around 3:30pm and passed by Jess and Robin’s townhouse to see where it was. They were at a conference today so they weren’t home yet. All we knew was that they would be home before dinner since they wanted to change after the conference ended before heading out for the closing dinner. We decided to get something to eat and then come back and wait for them to come home.
We drove around their area in Woodville, which seems like a very multicultural neighbourhood. We saw a lot of Asian and Indian restaurants around. We were both craving pizza so we looked at Tim’s offline maps at what was around, but every place we went to on those maps was either closed or didn’t exist. While driving around we spotted a Domino’s. We went there and ordered two pizzas. The pizzas were very cheap, they have $5 pizzas any time before 9pm for pick up. We asked how big they were and they said they were all larges (Australian larges are like Canadian small pizzas). We sat in and ate some of the pizza before leaving. When we first got to Domino’s they were really busy with delivery and their phone was constantly ringing. But while we were eating, so many people came in to order and the demographics reminded me of home. It was like we were in East Van – there were a lot of East Indians and Asians.
We headed back to Jess and Robin’s townhouse and parked in their driveway waiting for them. Since we had unreliable internet, Tim’s message saying that we’d wait at their place around 5pm didn’t go through so we were hoping that they were still coming back before their dinner. It felt like we were on a stake out since we were waiting in the car with a pizza.
Finally, we saw them pull up! They were wondering why we were waiting outside. Jess had sent Tim a message about hiding their key for us. But we told them that we didn’t get it, so we just waited. Their townhouse is nice and spacious and all the pictures around are nice and homey. It was so nice to see them and to be able to spend time with them in Adelaide.
They headed out for their conference dinner and Tim and I washed up and watched Aussie TV (and I blogged). We’re having fun watching AFL games (Tim is constantly giggling about how silly he thinks the rules are) and Masterchef Australia. Jess and Robin don’t have Wifi here but they got us a sim card that needs to be activated, so hopefully we can get that sorted out tomorrow.
We’re dropping our car off tomorrow morning at the Hertz downtown and will spend the day with Jess (Robin has to work tomorrow).