Friday, June 28, 2013

Port Germein and Adelaide SA

We arrived at Port Germein settled into the only caravan park there and went to explore the small, coastal town on the west coast of Spencer Gulf that has or had the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere, at one stage (until it lost 165 metres off the end in a storm), it is now 1,500 metres long - that's a three kilometre walk to the end and back.
Port Germein Jetty 1,500 mtrs
It seems to go on forever.
We started the walk but only got as far as the water, about halfway, where we saw the tide coming in at a fast flow. We had to walk fast back towards the shore so as we could get the photos taken from the sand. It was originally used to get wheat onto the ships by horse and cart and had a larger section at the end where the carts could turn around (didn't seem wide enough for two carts to pass). The Water Depth Gauge was the first we had ever seen and was large enough to be seen from deeper water so as the ships knew whether or not they could dock - it used to be at the end of the jetty together with a small lighthouse.
Water Depth Gauge - no longer in use
The next day (Thursday) we left and went to the closest caravan park to Adelaide city centre and just across the road from the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. We had time that day to walk through the gardens, which were quite nice, with sculptures everywhere, as well as plants and flowers, but being Winter, not many were blooming.
 Natural Beauty & Harmony @ Adelaide Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Gardens - Amazon fighting Lion on horse
They had a very modern building devoted to the Giant Amazon Water Lilies which was heated to create their natural habitat - hot and humid.
Amazon Water Lillies
As we have never been to Adelaide before we decided to do a bus tour of the city and surrounds, so on the Friday we did just that starting out with a pick-up at 8:30am and getting back by 5:30pm - it was a long day but quite interesting and enjoyable. We had hoped that we could get a tour that showed all of the churches of this 'City of Churches', but we was told that a lot of the churches had closed and are now restaurants, medical suites or shops, but we did see the main ones, which are still churches, but didn't get to go inside - I guess most people aren't interested in churches any more. 

We had a good driver/tour guide who drove that coach through the busy city streets whilst sprouting heaps of information about the city, its history and what building was what and if it was now a heritage building or not (most any building over 50 yrs old in South Australia seems to be on the heritage list). Colonel Light in 1836 was given the task of finding a suitable site for Adelaide City (named after King William's wife) and had much opposition to the site he chose, but in the end it turned out to be the best for the climate and countryside - he planned it so as it could be defended from cannon-ball and musket fire by locating four green areas (parks - still used as parks) big enough so as a cannon-ball or musket shot couldn't reach the main streets of Adelaide from the end of these parks. 

So our first stop was Light Park that overlooked the city, but there is so much construction work going on that all we really saw was his statue in the park surrounded by large cranes accompanied by the sounds of jack-hammers and the beep-beep-beep of diggers and trucks turning and backing up.
Colonel Light overlooking the city of Adelaide
Then we went to the Haigh Chocolate Factory, a small boutique chocolate enterprise that mainly sells its chocolate products in South Australia, with a few outlets in Victoria and NSW. We had a short tour and a free sample and were then taken into their shop where we could buy some of their wares with a 5% discount voucher. Ruth and I headed for the seconds counter and bought some Rocky Road and slabs of coconut, peppermint and almond chocolate. It really wasn't any better than Nestles, but they apparently have a following and do quite well - it is still family owned and run. 

 From there we went to where the first settlers, settled, now a suburb of Adelaide called Glenelg. The driver said we could have a walk around for 20 minutes and said the Glenelg beach was one of the top ten beaches in Australia - so we had to see that, what a disappointment - maybe it was because it was Winter, but there was seaweed all over the beach and again, with so many of these so called top beaches, there was no surf. When I questioned the driver about this he said, this is a gulf so no proper surf here. I suppose it would be good in Summer for those who just want to get wet and cool down, especially for small kids.
Glenelg Beach and Jetty
We then went back to the depot (in the heart of Adelaide) for an hour or so break - so we decided to see the city markets and walked around there after a quick lunch and got lost, they are so huge - but finally managed to get back to the depot for the afternoon tour which left for Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills where one can get a good overall view of the beautiful city of Adelaide (voted as one of the best cities in the world to live). However, it was very cloudy and overcast, so we really didn't get to see the beautiful city of Adelaide from afar, but it was on the tour, so we went anyway and the driver was kind enough to take our photo with the city (clouds) in the background.
Mt. Lofty Looking out over Adelaide - haha
Then we had a nice drive through the Adelaide Hills and small villages ending up at the village of Hahndorf, which is a village that was settled by German Lutherans who had left Germany because of persecution and wanted to start life anew in the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. It still has many of the original buildings and crafts and we had several hours to walk through the village and enjoy the ambience of the place. We were given a voucher for either 'coffee & cake' or 'a sampling of German beers' at the local German Tavern. Ruth & I had only had a light luncheon, so we decided that we would have a typical German Hot Dog with sauerkraut & mustard before we had our cake. They would only offer us a metre long hot dog and nothing smaller, so we left and found another smaller cafe where we got what we wanted - then just before we had to board the bus we went back and got our 'hot chocolate and cake', instead of the coffee.
 Ruth enjoying her Bratwurst, Sauerkraut & Mustard Hotdog at Hahndorf
The next day, Saturday, we went back to the markets in the morning and bought some fruit, veggies, cheese and goat meat as we were getting low on supplies - then in the afternoon we went to the Adelaide Zoo to see the Panda Bears (the only zoo in Australia that has them). We saw them, behind thick glass cages, with notices saying 'No Flash Photography' - not that it would have helped as the flash would have just reflected back off of the glass and spoilt the photo, but we did get to see one close up eating his bamboo. We also saw a lot of their very fibrous poos scattered all over the floor. They did have plenty of room outside where they could go, but after our third trip back to their enclosure we decided that they didn't go out very much at all.
Ruth with Panda
Bernie with Panda
We did see lots of other animals that you would see in most zoos and that was enjoyable - my favourites were the meerkats, just after I took that photo they were fed - one mouse each (this was their Saturday treat - the mice were dead, but they only had enough for one each).
Meercats at Adelaide Zoo
Cassowary at Adelaide Zoo
Baboon, showing his fangs, at Adelaide Zoo
We left Sunday morning and stopped of at the Enfield Baptist Church on our way north, now, towards Broken Hill.