Adelaide – day 323/13

The night bus rumbled on through the wee hours with our skilled bus driver carefully traversing the road and dodging kangaroos, yes that’s right, two of them, finally, on the road, nearly being killed. Not what I was hoping for.

There were a few small stops to drop off and pick up passengers but mostly a quiet journey with little to report…..until Port Augusta.

We got in around 2am for the drivers fatigue management stop that would include fuelling the bus. Now that we were all awake we ventured into the roadhouse for flavoured milks and chocolate. I observed the guy who was working the roadhouse, he was a slow man, perhaps he’d had more than his fair share of the food or was just a lazy lazy man because I’ve never seen anyone work so slow for money in my life. It was painful! I felt like jumping the counter and taking over.

Around 2.45am we all jumped back on the bus and got settled for the next 3.75hrs into Adelaide. We were all trying to get some shut eye when it occurred to me that I was cold, really cold, in fact reezing. To add to this was the unceremonious stench of foul body odour as some of our fellow passengers had clearly forgotten what deodorant was invented for. Add to that the full 45 minute break that some passengers spent chain smoking and it felt like the smell was basically slapping us in the face repeatedly screaming “NO SLEEP FOR YOU” over and over again. It was like some kind of prisoner torture or behind the scenes at Guantanamo Bay.

Bring on 6.30am! I’ve never been so happy to pull into a bus station in my life! The bus driver announced our arrival and apologised about the air conditioning which had been stuck on since we left Port Augusta. Now go back and read the last paragraph. That’s 3.75hrs with the aircon on, whilst on a night bus, that smelt like death when it was only 4 degrees Celsius outside. We were all shattered.

We regrouped to make the hard decisions on what to do until 3.45 pm when we had to be back at the bus station again for our transfer to the Kangaroo Island Ferry. We got our bearings and realised that the Adelaide YHA where we were staying on Saturday was literally around the corner. We decided to throw ourselves on there mercy preying that the 20 something, beany wearing, guitar playing, finding himself young man wouldn’t be a dick and let us use their facilities as we were freezing and desperate. Luckily said young man was clever, gracious and generous and clearly knew by looking at us that if he said no that one of us would jump the counter, the other would clearly injure him whilst the last of us would break his guitar. That’s how cold we were, we were on the edge, it was the perfect storm, all three of us had synced, our moods were black and deadly like a ninja.

After using every drop of hot water we could to recover, we pushed the boundaries more and managed to get our bags stored and a security card that let us use everything until we left that afternoon.

We headed off to Rundle Mall and headed straight to Mc Donald’s. The only place that could get us all back on track. We wandered through the mall where I bought my obligatory “Big Issue” and then proceeded to buy the biggest hard cover book on floristry that I could carry, it was 40% off, what a bargain. Of course it weighed a tonne and I then had to lug it around all day….We managed to find a bus stop for the free solar powered tourist bus that goes around Adelaide, great idea, solar powered, amazing, should be more of them….then the announcement came through, change buses to the one in front, this bus needs to go back and charge up, I guess that’s the equivalent of running out of fuel. Tourist bus fail!So, we were off again on one the high polluting diesel bus and off on a loop of the city and the northern suburbs when I remembered to tell the girls that Adelaide is called the city of churches, hence why there are so many churches.After getting our bearings we headed off to walk along the Adelaide river to the zoo, where we saw a lot of ducks, bird life and a pelican. There were of course the Lycra mafia with there bell ringing and unflattering rear views, just because people in the Tour de France wear Lycra , doesn’t mean everybody should. We decided not to go to the zoo as I think we only wanted to see the pandas and couldn’t really be bothered doing anything to energetic as we were definitely the walking dead.

We strolled through the botanical gardens and generally just enjoyed the sunshine. We saw a sign for a wine appreciation centre in the botanical gardens and thought why not? Well it turned out to be as elusive as the red kangaroos in the outback.We wandered through Adelaides Central Market which is the biggest farmers market in Australia and marvelled at the produce, cakes and meat. We couldn’t really buy much as we only had a few days before heading back to Melbourne. A quick trip to Coles and we walked back to the YHA. A quick late lunch, some productive time for the girls as they booked their Tasmania leg of the tour and it was time to gather our bags and head back to the bus station.Unlike the overnight bus this was a lovely transfer that took us from Adelaide to Jervis Bay 1.5 hrs south to get to the ferry terminal. The countryside was beautiful and I thoroughly fell in love with it. Rolling hills, cows, sheep, vineyards, olive groves and kangaroos, hundreds of them, no not the elusive red kangaroos, the ever reliable, proves our kangaroos are the best, eastern grey kangaroos!! I chatted with some ladies on the bus who worked for Sealink the tourist company that run the ferries and for tours on the island. Lindy and Sarah spent the entire 45 minute ferry ride to Kangaroo island telling us all the good spots to go and marked them on a map. We docked by 7pm and walked the 100 metres to the YHA. Well that was nice and easy! We checked in, made dinner and drank wine and chatted with Cedric who was an older guy who has bought land and is going to build a house himself and Amanda, an over the top Canadian girl who was pretty full on and swore more than me of which I thought not possible! We all chatted a while during which Amanda proceeded to constantly hold my arm which was a little weird as I didn’t know her! I don’t mind a little in appropriate touching but I’d prefer it from Brad Pitt. We hit the sack, excited by the fact that there were thick mattresses on the beds. We hiked up the heater in the room as it was cold and tucked ourselves in for the night after a couple of sleep deprived days. I think the litre of wine and exhaustion worked well together as I don’t think I moved until my alarm went off the next morning.

Thursday 25th August 2016

Brisbane – day 297

A lovely lazy morning enjoying the view of the city from the rooftop terrace and soaking up some sun! Having decided to skip the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary for three main reasons – it was expensive, we had seen loads of wild koalas, and it was the weekend so was going to be incredibly busy – we had to decide on a plan of action for our one day in Brisbane. Decided to head for a walk around the CBD and along the riverfront towards South Bank. I was in charge of navigation today and got us lost within the first ten minutes of walking… Oops! A quick map check and we were back on track for Central Station. Our first stop was the sobering Shrine of Remembrance which is located above the edge of Anzac Square. The shrine itself was beautiful with its ‘Eternal Flame’, the Shrine is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The whole area was calm and peaceful and the gardens surrounding it were full of bulbous boab trees, which Jayne impersonated, and some wandering ibises. We continued down the street, using the pedestrian subway to cross the road to get to Post Office Square where we went down an alley to visit the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The 19th Century, neo-Gothic building with a modern extension built in 1989. The cathedral houses sculptures and has a beautiful collection of nineteenth century stained glass windows from Germany, France, England and Ireland.We walked through the grassy courtyard, stopping to peek inside the adjacent chapel, before sneaking through the Eagle Side Pier shopping complex to get to the river. Another slight bit of mis-direction on my part(!) which meant we were able to enjoy the views of the river for that much longer… Also got to see where the 2011 flood waters came up to – must have had such a devastating impact on the restaurants and businesses down on the riverfront. Having corrected myself, we were down heading in the right direction for the City Botanical Gardens which is the city’s oldest park, originally planted by convicts in 1825 with food crops to feed the prison colony. The gardens include ancient trees, rainforest glades, exotic species, a bamboo grove, weeping fig avenue, mangrove boardwalk and ornamental ponds. We even saw a giant lizard lazing around by the pond which we pointed out to some, very grateful, Italian tourists. Walking around the gardens, we spotted some people abseiling at Kangaroo Point across the river, before crossing the Goodwill Bridge, a dedicated footbridge that links the Brisbane River’s north and south banks, connecting South Bank with the city at Gardens Point. It is just under 500 metres long but the brief walk along this structure gave us a whole new perspective on South Bank, the Brisbane River and the city. At the end of the bridge was The Queensland Maritime Museum which features the historic warship Diamantina. Berthed in a dry dock, the Diamantina has been restored to her 1945 condition and she is the only one of her kind left in the world. We didn’t go into the museum as it was too sunny to be inside, but it was great to see the Diamantina, the steam tug and the lightship from the walk way. From here, we headed north into the South Bank Parklands. Nothing at all like the South Bank back in London, this beautiful green strip is home to performance spaces, sculpture, buskers, restaurants, cafes, bars, pockets of rainforest, barbecue areas, pagodas, an epicurious garden and hidden lawns. The best attraction by far was the Streets Beach, a kitsch artificial swimming beach that resembled a tropical lagoon… If only we had brought our swimmers!!Crossing back over the river on Victoria Bridge, coming off just outside the gorgeous Treasury Building before going down an alley to walk along the shops on the Queen Street Mall. Found a tourist shop to try on a typical Australian hat…We finished off by admiring the towering City Hall and it’s attached clock tower which was built between 1920 and 1930, and has recently undergone a $215 million restoration. Headed back to the hostel via Coles to pick up some food for our dinner with Dennis. So good to catch up with him over dinner and wine on the roof top. He tried to explain ‘Pokemon Go’ to me and even managed to catch one of them on the roof of the hostel, although (sorry Dennis!) I still have no idea what is going on!! He then, very kindly, drove us to Mount Coot-tha lookout. Mount Coot-tha, which is 287 metres above sea level, has the highest peak in Brisbane and the lookout gave breathtaking panoramic views of Brisbane City and as far out as Moreton Bay. Back at the hostel for a quick scan of FaceBook and check of emails before heading to bed, Jayne reading a trashy magazine whilst I read a trashy novel…

Saturday 30th July 2016