Having heard so much about Hahndorf, we made use of a free Autumn weekend, got in the car and headed for the hills of Adelaide. A reasonable crowd heralded the town’s popularity and the colours, smells and quaint heritage buildings promised varied recreation.
Our first stop was the Hahndorf Academy, established 1857 and now housing a museum with early artifacts, a shop selling handmade goods and an art gallery featuring works of Hans Heysen and various Aboriginal artists. Fabulous designs, textures and patterns.
It wasn’t long before we found our favourite diversion, an antique/curio shop, down a wide lane,
before the famous fudge shop, of which people had told me.
Which set us thinking about lunch. We ate at Otto’s Bakery, famous for it’s vanilla slice, but there was no shortage of options, indoors or out, and plenty of traditional German fare.
The Alec Johnston park, with a large playground and grassed area, is central, if you have children who need to burn off some energy.
Then it will be back to bric-a-brac at Grass Roots
soap or honey
sacraments at St Paul’s Lutheran
a smidgen of history/folklore
follow a chair fetish?
admire old architecture
and make time to visit a winery
We spent 4 hours in Hahndorf and it went very fast. If you are coming to Adelaide, be sure to put it on your itinerary. You might even stop at Lofty National Park on the way.
It is the fastest growing city in Australia, despite being in the second smallest state. Cosmopolitan, vibrant, at its core is the state’s business, administration, culture and recreation. Easily accessible from Adelaide (and Sydney, Queensland and Tasmania), I headed over for a weekend to explore it.
So much to see and so little time. The street art is well-advertised and I found one area quite near, in Hosier Lane.
Other visual delights can be found in alleys, like shopping and food.
Special mentions? The short stop donut shop, where I bought a lemon meringue donut.
That’s it, closest row, second from the left. I thought it was going to be a donut with meringue on top, so was unprepared for the lemon custard that oozed out from under the meringue. Super delicious. The owner was happy to pose with me and I’m happy to promote his business.
For dinner I ate Japanese both nights, and there were lineups on Saturday night that prevented us from dining at our first choices, so if you see somewhere good during the day, book a table.
For breakfast/brunch go to Krimper Cafe in Guildford Lane. The best I’ve had in Australia.
Pass through the rustic doors and try to decide what to have:
Great coffees, teas, juices and more. Excellent service and relaxed, heated venue. Good prices, too.
Melbourne’s buildings exhibit a blend of old and new, some startling architecture and weathered favourites, caught within the net of overhead tram lines.
Time to see something of the environment, so it was off to the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
A brief intermission for shopping on Bridge Road (a couple of hours) was made possible by the excellent tram system and a myki card that you tap on, and tap as you get off to initiate subtraction of your fare from the balance. Other shopping areas are Bourke Street Mall, Chapel Street, the numerous DFOs and so many hidden gems. Keep your eyes open and look at reviews online to get exactly the style you want.
I’d heard of the Queen Victoria Markets, so went to see that they have a range of fresh food, craft items, imports and clothing.
The Shrine of Remembrance is adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. It is a massive structure designed in the style of the Tomb of Mausolus and the Parthenon.
Outside this entrance is the Cenotaph and Eternal flame, recording all the defence forces that have fought and where the battles took place.
The granite column has a basalt sculpture at the top, of six service men carrying a bier with a corpse, draped in the Australian flag.
I stayed at Quest on Lonsdale, which was well-situated and had a 7-eleven convenience store nearby and a couple of coffee houses, but no dining room of their own. The room was large and clean and the employees very helpful. It is on the edge of Chinatown, just up from the Greek quarter.
Saturday night took me to Jankara Karaoke on Russell Street, one of the few public karaoke bars. It was pretty good, but my friends and I were the only over 50s there. Make that 40s. We had a good time, anyway. You can sing each time you buy a drink at the bar and I didn’t think the ones who sang the most had been ordering juice. Hmm, maybe the only over 30s.
You can get from the airport using the Skybus ($19) then from the depot to your accommodation on a Skybus Hotel Transfer (no extra cost). Trams and trains take you just about anywhere and four people stopped to ask if we needed help/directions when we were in the city and trying to find our way around. Melbournites get top score for being tourist friendly.
I saw the MCG and Etihad Stadiums but didn’t get tempted to do a tour – you might.
I walked 12 km one day and didn’t even notice it. A great city and still more to see. I must go back for the honey and sea salt donut.
It is the largest capital city in Australia and spreads over several kilometers. So, what sights did we see when we arrived at Central Station at 10 am and had to be on the 5 pm return train?
We checked the large information board in the central foyer and then had the task of finding platform 23, complicated by little signage ON platforms, but plenty of arrows directing you TO platforms. We went three levels below ground, where we headed to Kings Cross, once famous as Sydney’s red light district, but at this hour of the day we were bound for Potts Point, an adjoining suburb. Plenty of heritage buildings, apartments and promising lane-ways, the area supports both the wealthy and the downtrodden.
Stopped in at The Butler, with a notion to returning for lunch and admired the great view.
After meeting family members, we took the train over the famous bridge to Milson’s Point. Lavender Bay was a short stroll and we entered Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden. Following the untimely death of her husband, artist Brett Whitely, creative Wendy and daughter Arkie, began designing a garden on land that was something of a wasteland. Arkie died in 2001 and Wendy continued the work more ardently, subsequently spending 20 years converting it to a beautiful public garden.
The garden sits at the base of her own home, the tower of which is a landmark.
An impressive fig tree marks the start of it, with a sculpture/plaque at its base, etched with the words to a Van Morrison song and the famous Sydney icon beyond.
There is a choice of paths to take, some steeper than others but all of them well-maintained. The plants, the resting places, birds and wondering bush turkeys are all very peaceful.
Needless to say, we’d worked up a hunger, so off to somewhere quite natural –
The Botanist, Kirribilli. A great range of vegetarian options in a funky, opshop-style setting. Very well-priced and delicious meals. My favourites were the fried cauliflower, tahini, pomegranate, yoghurt, currents, mint and smoked almonds and then the grilled marlin, chermoula, roasted fennel and green olive.
Fortified, it was time to attempt Cahill Walk!
From Milson’s Point, go past the Burton Street tunnel to the Bridge Stairs, with the variety of signs indicating what you will see, what you can’t do and it is all free.
The views of the Opera House, City and Harbour are wonderful. If you take the Pylon Tour, it will cost $15 but you will be almost at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with stunning views and can get enviable selfies behind a very safe and secure wall.
The Pylon tour includes a 15 minute video that explains the building of the bridge, with historical footage and the 200 step climb takes you past photos, relics and articles depicting the journey of the workers and stake-holders. It is quite startling to see what people did in the days before OHS&W regulations – men sitting on girders, suspended high above the water, with no helmet, harness or sometimes shirt.
It was time to sprint for the next train and return to Blackheath from whence we had come. We needed to buy an Opal card, which is a transport card, and you tap it on an electronic recorder at stations when getting on and off the train. We travelled the whole day with a credit of $20 and we didn’t run out of money.
Some classic Sydney and something different. There is so much here to choose from, so do your research and do what you love.
Since first writing this post, a son has travelled to Sydney and utilised the Big Bus. It is a hop on, hop off, double-decker bus that takes you to the major Sydney city sights and/or the sights at the famous Bondi Beach. You literally hop on when you want and hop off when you want. The commentary is pre-recorded in 7 (?) languages but nearby attractions are not necessarily signed. It is a great way to get around to the Opera House, Bridge, Botanic Gardens and other sights, for $49.50 online. You can hop off at 3 particular stops and joint the other tour.
Pretty hard to miss. It can take as long as you like, between 8.30 am and 5pm. Try this website for more information: https://www.bigbustours.com/en/sydney/sydney-routes-and-tour-maps/
scattering of light particles, put simply. It is common with many such mountain ranges, that they look blue from a distance.
The Blue Mountains are in New South Wales, Australia. They are accessible from Sydney by a two hour train ride to a heritage location, but we took a two and a half day drive from Adelaide. Coaches also travel here and you can hire a car.
We stayed in Blackheath Glen Tourist Park. This had great facilities and wide sites for vans, as well as being near Pope’s Glen track to Glovett’s Leap, but we were told that the neighboring Katoomba Tourist Park was equally good, and ran shuttles to major attractions.
There are a multitude of accommodation options in the area and good access to all the necessities – supermarkets, bakeries, sweet shops, swimming pools, liquor, churches and more.
3. STUNNING VIEWS AND TRAILS
Climb the 250 million year old rock strata. Under the canopy of gum leaves seen from above, there is a rain forest below, with many waterfalls.
Online maps available before we got there were too limited. Even visiting tourist shops en route proved fruitless. We had to wait to stop in at the national parks centre in the region, but they were marvelous at providing maps, suggestions and advice. There are 48 walks on the ‘selection of bushwalks in the Blue Mountains’ sheet. Great detail is here, concerning grade, time, distance and features to be experienced. This was invaluable in planning our outdoor adventures.
4. VERTICAL CHALLENGES
Reported to have the steepest train ride in the world it is really more like a show ride and these days travels very slowly compared with what carried people 20 or 100 years ago.
Then there is the Cableway or the Skyway, with viewing floors and up to 360 degree views.
Or just descend the stairway to the Three Sisters or Pulpit Rock and feel suspended over more than time.
Around 1900 the population of this coal mining area was 4000! However, it was very popular as a holiday destination and in Summer the numbers would swell to 30 000 people. The sewage system was unable to cope at these times and it was not uncommon for Katoomba Falls to be dis-coloured with refuse. Erk.
People ride here, walk here, drive here and arrive by the bus loads. It’s easy to see why.
At one lookout a man had his drone travel the 2km gap as he watched the view below on a smart phone. Unfortunately the echo could be heard across the canyon as we travelled to different lookouts, beyond where we could see it.
Take a hat, good walking shoes and water. You may need a coat if the clouds are hanging low, but they can blow away quickly, too.
I had thought my modest front yard begonias were pretty good. Then, quite by accident, I visited the Blowes Conservatory in Orange, New South Wales, to be blown away by the begonia display there. They are my entry in Cee’s Flower of the day, today.
Tuberous begonias thrive in the climate of Orange. It is a beautiful town and we’ll certainly be going back, but the begonia display is only from February to April.