|The Iconic (new!) Adelaide Oval.|
Do you know how many people have asked me "Why Adelaide?" and to be honest, I would ask someone the same question if they'd told me they had just driven 1800kms to Adelaide on purpose. Well, I'm going to talk about Adelaide, and some of the reasons why many people born there leave quick smart - but also some of the good things too!
The registration plates in New South Wales say 'The First State.' The plates in South Australia say 'The Festival State.' You can't argue with NSW being the first state, but I will argue with the other one. I must say that SA is more like 'The Grey State,' and I'm not talking about the colour of people's houses - Adelaide could be called 'The Florida of Australia.' Everything is slower, and people have dinner REALLY early! Now, Adelaide is in a different time zone to NSW, QLD and VIC, only by 30 mins, but that 30 mins back in time feels like you're in the 1930s, and everyone is at least 30 years older than you. Positive side to this... cheap bus fares?
|Sunset at Port Adelaide.|
|The Holden factory in Adelaide - soon to be closed down.|
|Adelaide on the River Torrens.|
Adelaide is a small city compared to Melbroune and Sydney (1.2, 4 and 4.5 million respectively), but it's not really that small - twice as many people as Glasgow for instance. The first time I went to Adelaide (I drove from Sydney again... what is it with me and driving huge distances!?) was in 2002, and I blinked and missed the city centre. Sydney and Melbourne both have large CBDs, with towering office buildings, busy streets and so many people walking around and things happening. Adelaide's on the other hand is only 10 km² (but with a very large urban sprawl), 1 main shopping street (Rundle Mall), and a handful of major skyscrapers - nothing compared to Melbourne's huge erections (yes Mel, don't try so hard!). This may seem 'less' of a city, but Adelaide does have it's advantages - quieter neighbourhoods and more houses, less hustle and bustle, and just an all-round chilled-out feeling. Ok, the law allowing you to grow and smoke marijuana for personal use helps.
|Semaphore and the beach in Adelaide.|
|Home of Aussie Rules in S.A.|
|The tram in Glenelg (wow a Palindrome!)|
Traffic. We, as Sydneysiders, know what that means, but ask an Adelaidean, and they will have a different answer all together. In Adelaide, a traffic jam is 5 cars and a red light. The speed limit on all roads is no more than 60 kph, even on the 3 lane main roads in and out of the city, which makes it feel even slower. These roads are the product of Adelaide being a planned city. It was founded in 1836 as the first freely settled province in Australia. Built on a grid system, it works quite well, but since it's founded the city has sprawled to 1,800 km², taking in the satellite cities such as Elizabeth (home of Australia's Holden car company). So now the roads feel abandoned, like it was planned for more people, or just over-planned. It hasn't quite got the dullness of driving in Canberra (another planned Australian city, but full of politicians...), but it's right up there!
|Grapes... I prefer mine in liquid form please!|
|as far as the eye can see...|
|A Lutheran church in Tununda.|
Now, just outside of Adelaide is the famous Barossa Valley. Everyone's heard of it - it is THE wine region in Australia; the La Rioja of Down Under. Now NSW and VIC may say "we have wine regions too," which is true, but it's not the Barossa! Settlers first came to the Barossa in the 1840s - first British settlers, then soon after came the German settlers trying to escape religious persecution. They first started with agricultural endeavours, then soon turned to wine growing - and they didn't look back! Home to some of the world's most famous wine brands such as Penfolds, Jacob's Creek, Yalumba, Wolfblass and Peter Lehmann, the Barossa attracts so many people from around the country and overseas as well. Apart from the wine, it is such a beautiful place to drive along the small, winding roads and just enjoy the countryside. Small towns dot the Barossa, all with their own country charm. No time for wine tasting this time I'm afraid - I was the only driver, and I don't spit perfectly good wine out! I managed to pop into Tanunda and see some friends that I hadn't seen since my UK Working Holiday Visa time - wow, 8 years already!! Great to see you again Corey and Ramona (and Keo and Molly), let me know when you come to Sydney!
|Jacob's Creek is no more than a trickle... sorry, but it's true!|
|Sunrise in the hills.|
I spent a little bit of time in Adelaide and the surrounds, but unfortunately time was short - work gets in the way. I needed to start heading back to Sydney. I decided to go via the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne, and although I'd done this drive before, I thought it would be great to revisit some lovely parts of the country. Before hitting the south coast of the country, I passed through Mount Gambier. You've probably never heard of it, and I don't blame you. It is a nice town, friendly people, quiet streets, with a little something extra - the town is actually in a region with the youngest volcanoes in Australia. When I say young, they are still extinct though. The Blue Lake is one such volcano, and is filled with the bluest water you've ever seen. Just outside the town, you park and walk up a slight incline, and there is is. No tourist shops selling souvenirs, no ticket to buy to see, it's just there - great.
|My Gambier's Blue Lake.|