Day Ten April 21st 2011 Alice to Adelaide, early morning balloons!
Ten members of our group awoke predawn for an exciting ballooning trip! Leaving the hotel in darkness at around 0515 (ouch!), driving out of town to the launch site where they told us that the sight of the hot air balloons inflating was superb in the dawn light. They clambered into the wicker basket, some blasts from the burners and they lifted off. Totally magically they gained altitude and drifted over the Outback in the morning light as the sun slowly rose in the east.
Later they told us that it seemed over so quickly! They touched down gently and had some fun getting out of the basket and packing the balloon. No wonder they were told to wear dark colours and old clothes! They then received certificates in recognition of their bravery, and enjoyed a light breakfast with – what else? - champagne. They arrived back into the hotel for 0830 to find the rest of us just about getting up....
At 1030 most of us left for the airport and the Qantas flight down to Adelaide. Because we
were meeting our friends in Adelaide, Charlie and I had decided not to take the Ghan Train and flew down instead. All worked well and we were checked in waiting for the flight by 11ish, and hurtling down the runway on time at 1240.
Which was just about the same time three couples from our group were settling into their compact yet comfortable compartments on the Ghan train. They told us they sat back and enjoyed the almost 24 hour journey with excellent food as the train rocked and rolled the 1500-odd km to Adelaide. The fliers (us!!) arrived in less than two hours, and it wasn't long before we were onto the coach heading for the Hilton.
Hilton Adelaide – so we were to spend three nights here over Easter and immediately we knew our stay would be warm and homely. The staff are lovely right from the front door. The location in the lovely Victoria Square meant we could explore the city centre on foot and return to the hotel for wonderful hot chocolate and pastries.
It is close to a Coles supermarket (out of the hotel; left and left again) and to lots of restaurants on Gouger Street (out of hotel; right and right again). Our room was on the eleventh floor and was spotless and comfortable. It had everything we needed for our stay including an iron and ironing board; tea making facilities, great toiletries etc.
The room didn't have the best of views; it looked over the rooftop of the huge Central Markets to the right of the hotel but we loved that we could open the window; so rare these days in hotels.
The food in the breakfast buffet at the Brasserie in the hotel was superb. We ate dinner out at restaurants on Gouger Street including Stanley’s Fish Cafe and the Mandarin House.
Each night we returned for a night cap to “Charlie's Bar” at the hotel (no…it really is called Charlie’s!!). It seems to be a hub for locals and was frequented by all age groups. We loved that it had a nice buzz but we could still sit and enjoy our drinks in comfy chairs and sofas while soaking up the atmosphere. We hope to return to Adelaide some day and if/ when we do we would return to the Hilton Adelaide without hesitation.
Armed with some orientation information and a map from our guide, we learnt that Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and the fifth largest city in the country. There are three main areas of interest to tourists like us. The inner city is a mile square block, divided by a grid of streets and encircled by a belt of green parkland. North of this and across the Torrens River is historic North Adelaide. Glenelg is the lovely suburban seaside resort.
We also learned from Alex about the things to do in the Adelaide.
Here’s 8 Things to do in Adelaide:
We had a useful free afternoon to visit some of the nearby attractions in the city, such as the Central Markets with the huge variety of produce including kangaroo meat which was a novelty for us. Although the temperature in Adelaide was a lot cooler than Alice Springs, it wasn't cold, just agreeably mild.
Charlie and I met up with our friends and had a really memorable dinner in the city’s River Café Restaurant. It was great to catch up with them while enjoying great food and wine. It wasn’t crazy expensive either.
Road km: 18 Air km: 1315
Day Eleven April 22nd Good Friday 2011 - Adelaide Free Day
A fairly warm day weather-wise, though a bit of rain first thing and the sun was sometimes behind cloud. A few of our group took the optional tour to Barossa Valley, one of the premier wine growing areas with picturesque scenery. Charlie and I took the tram from Victoria Square (right outside our hotel) to Glenelg, the beautiful seaside place and palindrome! It took about 25 minutes but soon we were enjoying the sea air walking the jetty and then tucking into fish'n'chips.
The six railroaders in our group chugged into town a few minutes early after 24 hours on the Ghan train, and said it was an unforgettable experience. They had had a wonderful trip, though sleep didn't come so easily on the train. Still it was very comfortable they said – unlike some of the European trains. (As our guide said “It's murder on the Orient Express”!!)
All had a laid-back day. A Good (Fri)day for all.
(Road km: 4 Rail km: 20)
Day Twelve April 23rd 2011 Adelaide city tour, Cleland and wildlife...
Rodney our driver/guide did a sterling job showing us the sights of his city. We saw Light's Vision, the Glasshouse in the Botanic Gardens (lovely rose garden too!), the elegant buildings of North Adelaide and some stately ones along North Terrace...
We next drove up to Mount Lofty for a great view, albeit a bit hazy, and then to the nearby Cleland Wildlife Sanctuary. Here we cooed over koalas, walked amongst the wallabies, nearly collided with kangaroos but managed to dodge the dingo. Of course it was the koala who were the biggest hit. I made sure I had some koal-ity time with Hank the Koala. And I ticked another item from my Bucket List when I fed a kangaroo (and a wallaby).
Back to Adelaide city for a free afternoon. We decided to go for a stroll. Most things were open today despite it being Easter Saturday…..so there was plenty to do. There was a smattering of rain earlier, but it turned out to be a lovely balmy afternoon and evening, absolutely perfect for wandering around Adelaide, having a drink or two and a good dinner.
Road km: 44
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post
Number 11 - Nature & Wildlife - Feed a Kangaroo in Australia
Number 57 - Continents - Australia
Number 58 (2) - Countries - Australia
Number 59 (6) - Hotels - Hilton Adelaide, Australia
Number 60 (4) - Cities - Adelaide
Related Blog Posts
Blog 4 - London/ Singapore
Blog 5 - Perth, Australia
Blog 6 - Uluru, Australia
Blog 7 - Alice Springs, Australia
So have you been to Adelaide? What did you think of it?
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!