|Koala in a gum tree on Kangaroo Island - Photo by Dave Nershi|
Visiting Adelaide In Style
|Buxton Manor - North Adelaide|
The bedroom features a canopied antique double bed and is decorated with silk tapestries and Australian arts and crafts antiques. We also enjoyed the half-acre grounds that included a nice backyard with a fireplace and tables.
|Coconut prawns and chile sauce|
A World-Class Botanic Garden
|Adelaide Botanic Garden|
The museum opened its gates in 1857 and it includes the quirky Santos Museum of Economic Botany. The museum is built in the Greek Revival style and opened its doors in 1881. It is dedicated to the collection and interpretation of useful plants. The stunning Bicentennial Conservatory is the largest single-span conservatory in the southern hemisphere.
Wandering the paths and enjoying the water lilies, roses, spectacular trees and plants can easily fill an entire day. There is the acclaimed fine dining Botanic Gardens Restaurant overlooking the Main Lake and the Café Fibonacci for alfresco style meals and drinks.
After you tire of the vegetation, the National Wine Centre of Australia is only steps away from the Botanic Garden. It features the largest wine cellar in the country as well as a great café and a wine shop that sells Aussie favorites by the bottle or glass. In one interesting display, you get your chance to be a “virtual” winemaker.
|Adelaide set a new heat record|
Heat Grips South Australia
The tour provider was Kangaroo Island Odysseys, which specializes in small group tours. In many ways it reminded us of the jeep rides during our African safari. There was a total of six guests on the tour, including us.
Kangaroo Island is the third largest island in Australia. It’s 90 miles long and between one and 34 miles wide. The economy is mostly agricultural with honey, wool, meat and grain being produced. The island also has 30 wine growers and 12 wineries. The island is teeming with wildlife some of which can be found nowhere else in the world.
Racing Against Time
The mercury continued to climb as we arrived at the park office. Visitors were being turned away from the boardwalk leading down to the beach. Our group was able to enter since we had an experienced guide with us, familiar with safety precautions.
It seemed like my wife and I consumed a case of bottled water by ourselves. More than one guest was teetering during the walk down to the beach. In one shaded area, the thermometer read 106 degrees.
Later we would learn that Adelaide set a new record with 116 o F heat – meanwhile we spent most of the day outside in the Australian sun!
|Sights from Kangaroo Island|
The Koala Experience
Ninety-percent of the island is scrubland and woodland dominated by Eucalyptus trees, the leaves of which are the favorite food of koalas. We arrived at some private land just perfect for koala watching. After disembarking from the 4x4, we strolled through the high grass and it wasn’t long until we spotted the first koala in the crook of a “gum” tree.
Koala are marsupials, and not “bears” of any sort. Like my college friend Dan, they sleep up to 20 hours a day. Baby koalas, called joeys, spend the first six months in their mother’s pouch. We were lucky to see several young koala during our stroll and we could get fairly close to them.
A Bush Picnic
|Koalas make everyone smile|
In addition to getting up close and personal with some kangaroos, a highlight of the afternoon part of the trip was a visit to a hidden beach for some splashing in the water. The beach wasn’t visible from the shore and only came into view upon squeezing through a narrow passage in the rocks.
One of most astounding aspects of our trip wasn’t the sighting of the rare wedge-tailed eagle (although that was fun) but learning that two of our fellow adventurers were also from Raleigh, NC! Not only that, but one works with my wife as a volunteer with the local Red Cross. What are the odds that two couples would both take the same tour in the same place on the same day half a world away?
Australia is amazing, without a doubt. Adelaide, its Botanic Garden and the famed Kangaroo Island contribute to that allure.