Sunday, May 4, 2014

Adelaide & Queenscliff


As you can see from the number of posts, We Love Australia.  Fortunately, John gets to go there for work several times a year, so I tag along and play tourist.  His work is in Melbourne, so that is often our base.  This time we took a side trip to Adelaide for a friend's surprise birthday party.  Here is a map of Australia so you can get your bearings.  I have reported from Melbourne, Sydney,  and Cairns (which is just south of the Great Barrier Reef). We hope to someday get to Perth and Hobart, Tasmania.



We flew overnight and then picked up a car and headed out on an 8 hour road trip.  It feels good to hit the open road after living on an island...


The drive felt like we were in Texas hill country or Oregon, except the trees are Eucalyptus (Gum) with a bluish tinge.  Instead of Deer Crossing signs:

We spent the next day touring the city by foot. It is lovely with traditional one story houses with wrought iron gingerbread porches, modern office buildings, and historic Victorian edifices.  Here are some highlights:




One thing I love about Australians is that they don't take things too seriously. . .


And of course, the Botanic Gardens, full of natural beauty.  Those trees!




These "Grass Trees" were fascinating:


 



We came across an experimental garden...all the better for beer...

And models doing a fashion shoot (until the rain came)

Esplanaded fruit trees

And fruit I didn't recognise



We took a walk though the University and got a chocolate egg from the Easter Bunny

And, of course, BIRDS!!




I'm not sure what kind of bird this is, but her plumage was a magnificent color!

Carrying on, we found lovely monuments:


Teacher/Governor

And the famous Captain Flinders, whose name is everywhere.  Despite living only 40 years, he took 3 voyages from England to Australia and is credited to have suggested the name "Australia" for the continent:

Our destination was The Art Gallery of South Australia, and this is what blocked the entrance.  :)


We took a side trip to a small gallery which showcased local artists.  I was fascinated by this piece, embroidered thread on paper and then strung on the stretcher bars:


The Surprise Birthday Party was that night in the Adelaide Hills.  Happy Birthday, Pam!!


The next day - the Beach!  





And the next day, Wine Tasting!  Nearby are the famous Barossa and Clare Valley regions, known for amazing Shiraz and Reislings.  We drove up to McLaren Vale and had delicious wines with Peter and Pam.






And I finally got to see some kangaroos, even though it was in a sanctuary...



We bid farewell to Adelaide and drove back to Melbourne.  I enjoyed more time exploring that city's lovely parks and alleyways, and a nice run in the Botanic Gardens.  One of my favorite things about Melbourne is staying at the Marriott there.  (advertisement...) They shower you with chocolates, sparkling wine and the best service I have ever experienced.

For our final weekend we drove to Queenscliff, a lovely village on the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.  It reminds me of a tiny version of Port Townsend, WA:

You can see that the entrance to Melbourne's large port is quite small, so they require 2 lighthouses and a pilot to escort ships into the bay.  We walked along the coastline between the lighthouses and enjoyed the views:




 It was Good Friday so students were out of school and surfing...notice the wet suits and my heavy jacket...brrrrr.






We saw this ship from afar....the pilot boat sped out to it, dropped of the pilot who guided the big vessel in through the narrows, called The Riff.



Some views of the seaside (now tourist) town:


From the observation tower:

A little bike ride


A large flock of Black Swans:


Mosaics!!!!!

On our drive back to Melbourne, we stopped at a couple of wineries.  The views were terrific but the wines were not (once you have been to Adelaide Hills, you are spoiled)




We spent our final night in Melbourne, attending the Easter Vigil at the St. Patricks Cathedral.  Lovely way to end our journey.

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