We actually stayed in Adelaide twice (with Kangaroo Island in between) but I’m writing about everything in one because why not?
Adelaide CBD and the Adelaide Fringe, Part 1
On our first pass through the city, we stayed at a caravan park along the river. This was nice because Adelaide has an awesome trail system that goes along the river into the city (and then continues on to the beach). As the caravan park was about 5km from the city centre, this made for a perfect 10km run in the shady river valley to the city centre and back.
We arrived in Adelaide delighted to find that it was the middle of their Fringe. We had sort of blown our show budget in Perth but went to check out the grounds anyways. The Adelaide Fringe has several downtown hubs, the most popular of which is The Garden of Unearthly Delights. There were a lot of fun tents and weird art installations inside.
While downtown we also took a stroll around the Adelaide Botanic Garden and the riverbank, where there are some nice fountains, paddleboats, and (very persistent) swans.
Gorge Wildlife Park
The next day we drove out to Adelaide Hills to visit Gorge Wildlife Park. It’s a bit out of the city, but the bonus is that here (unlike every other wildlife park we’ve seen so far) you can hold a koala FOR FREE.
Which was very exciting! They are a lot heavier than they look. I had been told koalas can get a bit violent, but apparently they are okay with being manhandled a bit as long as you keep filling their claws with eucalyptus. The koala we held was three years old and named Lucy 🙂
The rest of the park was full of the usual Australian wildlife, plus a few other random animals like a black panther and an ostrich. There were some nice big enclosures full of wallabies and kangaroos (including a bunch of white albino ones!) that you could hand feed. You get quite A LOT of food for $3, and we quickly learned which types of food morsels the kangaroos and wallabies preferred. They are picky!
Much less picky was the ostrich, who ate our zoo map when Chris tried to use it as a cone to give him some food without getting his fingers bitten off. His justification is that he used that method earlier to successfully feed the cassowary, who is either more discerning or less stupid than the ostrich. Anyways, I laughed pretty hard and we left shortly after that.
Adelaide CBD and the Adelaide Fringe, Part 2
We took a short visit to Kangaroo Island (see the previous post) and returned to Adelaide while “Mad March” as they call it (due to the number of events), was still in full swing. Our first couple days I spent mostly working (yes, I am a responsible person sometimes), though we also did some wandering around the city. Chris kept complaining that I tend to wander off and then he spends half his time looking for me, so I bought this amazing Pikachu hat. Super easy to find now.
Anyways, since the Fringe was still on there was lots of related stuff going on downtown, including street performers and a virtual reality exhibit. Chris was pretty excited to try on some VR headsets, so we went and watched some pretty trippy simulations. One of them was a pretty interesting black and white simulation where it was like you were in a 3D sketch that an artist had made of his apartment. It was pretty cool. There was also a horror-type thing with a creepy ghost girl that appeared behind you that really shows the power of virtual reality. Horror scenes are even scarier when you hear someone’s voice behind you and when you turn they are actually there. The headsets are all developer prototypes, so nothing you can buy yet, but it was a pretty cool experience none-the-less. Sadly Chris’s eyes were getting strained from looking at a screen two inches away from his face so we didn’t watch any others. There were some other ones that would have been interesting, including a game where you walked around, and some experiences sitting in a symphony or having acrobats perform around you.
We also managed to snag some Halftix (i.e. day of half price tickets) so we went to see Barbu, a circus show from Montreal starring four very beardy acrobats. At one point one guy balanced on the others guys while throwing a keg around and didn’t kill himself or anyone else, which was pretty impressive. There were also a lot of penises thrown in, because why not.
The circus was held in The Royal Croquet Club, a Fringe hub which contains venues, bars, live music, and croquet lawns. Very fancy.
Also in the city centre is the Adelaide Zoo. Zoo’s get kind of same-y after a while but we figured we had to go to this one because it has Australia’s only PANDA BEARS!
It’s a nice, well laid out zoo with some good keeper presentations, including one with a sea lion that plays frisbee and a tiger eating an impressive hunk of raw meat.
Our other favourites included the enormous hippos, very watchful meerkats, adorable otters, and amazing TREE KANGAROOS.
Chris liked the giraffes best.
But of course the highlight was the panda. There are actually two, but only one was on display as the other was hidden away since she may or may have been pregnant (we found out a week later she wasn’t). Even if she’s not pregnant, a female panda will go through a very convincing “phantom” pregnancy each mating season. The male however was out and about. For the feeding the keeper puts fruit and “panda cakes” (made of bamboo) around the enclosure and then everyone gets to watch the panda amble and climb around looking for things. Apparently it’s good mental enrichment, so not just for show. He was SUPER CUTE and very good at finding his snacks.
The AirBnB we were staying at this time was pretty close to Gleneg Beach, a cute beachy suburb area we took a stroll around. During the summer Gleneg Beach hosts the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema in the summer. We went on a Sunday for a Sundae Session (PUN) which means that in addition to the movie there is live music beforehand and most importantly FREE ICE CREAM!
We saw Brooklyn, which is not really Chris’s kind of movie, so to compensate we splurged and rented giant bean bags to lie in. He can’t complain about free ice cream and a sunset nap in a bean bag.
The Adelaide Cup
By pure coincidence our last day in Adelaide happened to be the Adelaide Cup. We figured that since it’s the so-called “social event of the season” we better check it out. Australians get dressed up SUPER FANCY on big race days, which meant we were hilariously underdressed since I had not brought my fascinator and Chris had not brought his bow-tie. But eh well. Most of the crowd seemed to be there to get dressed up and drink and not so much for the horses, so we had a good time looking at other people’s crazy outfits. Although why you choose to wear 6-inch heels to get drunk and walk around on the grass is beyond me.
Anyways, I think one of the non-favourites won, so some good money was probably made at the track. It was pretty entertaining because they live streamed races from two other venues, so there was always a race about to start.
Mount Lofty and Waterfall Gully
On our way out of town, we passed by Cleland Conservation Park, where we decided to take the trek from Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty. Chris was not very enthused about the fact that the peak was called Mount Lofty, but it wasn’t THAT hard. Plus the views were pretty nice at the top.
After Adelaide, it was off to start the drive down the coast to Melbourne!