We flew from Adelaide to Alice Springs and then straight on to Ayres Rock, a bus took us to the Desert Gardens Hotel part of the Ayres Rock Resort. There is no town of any sort near the Kata Tjuta and Uluru National Park, just an airport and the resort which have been built to serve the thousands of tourists that visit every year. The resort has two hotels, apartments and a campsite and a ‘town square’ with a bank, café, supermarket and souvenir shop. There is a very efficient system of buses and mini buses which link the different parts of the resort and ferry visitors on an extensive range of excursions into the desert. As we drove from the airport we were surprised how green everywhere looked, we had expected parched red dirt, apparently after 11 years of drought there has been a very wet winter here and there was unseasonal heavy rain last week (72mm in 36 hours in some places) so the desert has burst to life, this is a very rare site so we are lucky to have timed our visit to coincide. One guide told us that when it rains hard waterfalls run from the top of Uluru, one of her colleagues had seen this happen four times in fifteen years, she has seen it eight times in six months.
Our trip to Kangaroo Island started early with a 0600 pick-up from our hotel. The drive to Cape Jervis took about an hour and a half, during which we saw lots of wild kangaroos, and from there we caught a ferry for the 45-minute crossing to Penneshaw where we met up with the rest of our 12-strong tour group. During the crossing we spotted a pod of dolphins playing at the bow of the ferry. Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off the coast of Australia, it is about 165km long and is renown as a pristine wilderness landscape; industry on the island is mainly agriculture, tourism, and fishing. Our two-day tour would take us to see several local businesses, wildlife sites, and natural wonders. Continue reading Kangaroo Island
We enjoyed our few days in Adelaide, it reminded us of Melbourne, the same friendly relaxed atmosphere, pretty parks, great shopping, free buses, and trams and plenty of nice cafés and restaurants. We have gotten in to a routine when we visit new cities, we walk a lot, it is a great way to get a feel for a place and to see some of the sights. One up shot of this has been Marks shoes wearing out!! We had to set aside a morning to visit Rundall Mall, a pedestrianised shopping street currently festooned with Christmas decorations and pop up Christmas shops, to buy a new pair. While out shopping we spotted a branch of Koko Black the lovely chocolate shop we visited in Melbourne, we couldn’t resist dropping in for a mug of their excellent hot chocolate but it still didn’t feel like Christmas. Continue reading Adelaide 1
The Great Ocean Road runs along the south coast from Geelong, south of Melbourne towards Adelaide, the total journey between the two cities is just over 1000km and the Great Ocean Road (GOR) extends for about half of it. The road is famous as a scenic route and in particular for a stretch of limestone coast with a series of rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles, although thanks to continuing erosion there are only nine now! Continue reading Great Ocean Road
After Terry and Jenny left we had another week in Melbourne. We enjoyed the luxury of being in one place for an extended period and got in to a routine of going to the market to shop for supper and stopping for coffee in one of the many cafes nearby (we particularly enjoyed an Italian café that served homemade cake made with chestnut flour and flavoured with rosemary and pinenuts). We did two more city walks; one took us through the parks and around Treasury Place where all the state government offices are based, another took us along the river to Docklands and back along the opposite bank with spectacular views of the city skyline. We took a tram out to Waterfront City, a new dockland development which is going to be very impressive but which is still under development, still it was nice to see it.