So here are a few trip notes from our trip to SA, I did shorten it a bit. 😛
We both woke up at 3am Saturday morning, to ensure that we were on time for our flight at 9am. We flew out from Brissy & not the GC because it was cheaper to do so (about $150 or so all up), although it would have been easier to fly out from GC in some ways. Anyhow, we left home around 4am & headed into the city to Ian E’s place to drop off the car at his place and then caught a taxi into the airport. I was a little nervous about getting a cab, because the last time I called one for a Dr’s appointment it never showed. This time the cab actually came 🙂 We managed to check in without any worries & then went thru security, I was pulled aside and scanned for bombs, which was cool – ticked that now 🙂
I had prepared a pig out of fruit (cantelope/ rockmelon, gold kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) which we managed to consume rather quickly – yummo. The flight over was nice – Geoff slept and I read my Jasper Fforde book – The Big Over Easy. Seating was great, Geoff has the window seat, so he could have a bit of a sleep, I had the two seats next to him to stretch out (not because I am fat (like that would ever be true for me) but because there was a spare seat).
We arrived in Adelaide & picked up our car – Red Toyota Yaris, from Budget, at the airport. It was a nice car but had a very small boot, as you can see from the picture. It had a digital centre mounted gage, which too, which was a little different. The fuel gage sucks, you can’t really tell how much petrol you have, analogue is really the way to go. There is sensor in the front seats too, so that if it’s weighted an alarm sounds when either one do not have seatbelts on – bit of a pain if you have loaded up the passenger side – the alarm is VERY annoying.
From the Airport we went in search of places where I have lived. First stop was Plympton, where my family had rented a furnished holiday unit for a couple of weeks, before we found a permanent address. It was great seeing it all again & re-living some of the excitement I had at the time, being in a new country and all. After visiting some of my old haunts we caught up with Ren & Michael. Geoff and Michael went for a windsurf, which they both seemed to enjoy. Ren & I hung around for a bit & then went off to do some shopping, which had to be done & we couldn’t see the guys doing it.
That night we went out for Thai in Glenelg, which was nice – it was an awful night weather wise, freezing cold, with a wind that chilled you to the bone. Nice night out with the guys though.
WOW, what a busy day! We headed into the city first, where we went to the Rundle Street Markets, stopping on the way in a camping store, where I got some technical walking socks and thermal top, nice. The markets were a bit of a let down actually. There might have been about a dozen stalls, some interesting things, but I have been a bit spoilt with markets up here in QLD, so I had expected more. Anyhow, the guys found a nice stall with puddings for sale, Pudding Lane, where the guys sampled a few different puddings. I bought Geoff a Macadamia & Brandy pudding for x-mas, not like I am going to be making one. Because we live in QLD we have to keep it in the fridge, but if you live down in SA etc, where there is a dry heat, you can store it in the cupboard no worries. We checked out “The Balls” in the mall, which Geoff photographed from every angle. 🙂
From there we headed off to Hahndorf to have a look around – it’s quite a nice little town, has a great vibe too. Hahndorf has a German heritage, which is very strong there still. I would love to go back there again. On the way to Victor Harbour, we stopped in at Strathalbyn where we found a fantastic antique shop, man I could have easily bought a dozen things from there, well priced too. South East QLD might have a lot of good markets, but SA has a tonne of antique shops – wow so much history. I love that sort of thing, so I was in my element there. We stopped in at Goowla beach along the way as well. It was nice to be in VH again, been about 17 years since I was last there. We basically all went there for dinner, I had Indian & the guys had an Indian Pizza (yeah apparently it was as interesting as it sounds). We headed back through the city and got some nice pictures of the River Torrens at night & a big church with a statue of Bradman in the foreground – will have to get copies of those pictures from Geoff, or at least get him to upload them to our photo gallery.
The Barossa Winery Tour 🙂 We organised a taxi for the day, with Des’s Cabs we had the taxi all day, 8 hours, for $376- not bad & we could all enjoy the day without having to worry about one of us having to be the designated driver. Nice to do our own tour too, you can see the wineries you want to & stay as long or as short as you wish. We ended up visiting 7 wineries – Yaldara, Rockfords, Chateau Tanunda, Illaparra Fortified Wines, Wolfblass, Two Hands & Chateau Dorrien. The day went by pretty fast actually, our list started out a lot longer, but we ran out of time. It didn’t help that a truck had rolled on the main road up to the central wineries area, so we spent a bit of time trying to workout a way around that – but honestly about lunch time, we were all kinda getting sick of tasting all that wine, the wines all melded into one after a while.
We managed to coax our driver, John, to let us drop off some stuff at Michael’s before he dropped us in the city & we grabbed some Thai from Regent Thai before catching a cab back to Michaels and eating there. The taxi driver we got was a little creepy, he kept adjusting his mirror to check out Ren & I in the back seat – very weird! Thai was great, we had a red chicken curry, which was so friggin hot I couldn’t finish it (I think that they may have made it hot, because when I explained my allergies I was asked if I liked spicy food, yes but not so spicy that you can’t enjoy the flavours) + Chicken & Cashew, which was fantastic, very nice indeed.
Ren, Geoff and I went to the Central Markets (unfortunately Michael had to go back to work, so he couldn’t come). WOW, what a great place, definately worth a look. We caught up with Barry & I organised to visit Deaf SA, now known as Deaf Can Do the next day for a tour. From the markets Geoff & I headed into the city to get some photo’s of the pigs (will try to remember to upload a photo). Ren had gone to the Dr’s, so when she was done, we caught up with her again & headed up to Mt Lofty for a walk. At the end of the walk we stopped on the way to pick some wild lillies, which we made into a nice bouquet (BTW – they were not in the national park 🙂 ). We caught up with Michael at the end of the day, after he finished work & the four of us went out to see Wall-e, which was quite a good movie, very cute & well done. Kinda cute that Wall-e kept calling the other robot Eva too (her name was really Eve).
After packing up, we headed off to Deaf Can Do to catch up with Barry & have a tour of the building. Wow, what a beautiful old building, so rich in history. Would be good to have the history recorded either in a book or DVD, perhaps both which captures this history for the future. It would be nice to have something like that here in QLD, unfortunately Dutton Park School, in Annerley, which many Deaf went to in Brisbane, was pulled down years ago to make way for new development at the time, but we do have a book that has captured that history here I guess.
We headed to Whyalla from there had a quick look around, taking some photo’s from Hummock Hill & find a place to stay, which was a bit of an exercise, one place no longer existed, others were fully booked because SA school holidays had just started that week – we found a place at Whyalla Caravan Park in the end (the Whyalla website needs some updating). That evening we caught up with Peter and Sheree (Peter please send me an e-mail if I have mis-spelt Sheree’s or the kids names). The kids have grown up, Ethan is (shit hope I remember this right) 13/ 14 now & Arianne is 11. Man I feel so old, I remember when Ethan was about 4 and Arianne was just a toddler. I’ve become one of those Old Farts I remember as a kid that would tell me how much I had grown up since they last saw me – arrgggghhh. Peter & Sheree have done a lot with their house, it’s looking really good. Was interesting to find out that house prices have gone silly there too & they will only go up further when Roxby opens the mine there in 2010. No more houses under 50k around there anymore.
Another busy day, we did another “Eva Tour” checking out where I used to live, Edward John Eyre High School, Westlands & Whyalla’s beach, before we went off to see Tracy & get a massage each – it’s been 7 years since I last saw her for a catch up and massage. It was Geoff’s first massage, which he seemed to enjoy & I realised how much I really miss them – gotta find a good masseuse around here. Tracy had time for lunch & suggested that we go to the old Pizza hut, which is now a restaurant called “Red Dust“. WOW, I can see me going back to Whyalla for a longer period of time, just to eat Derek’s food (he’s the chef there) and learn some more cooking skills. Man, I am salivating just at the thought of it all. Derek is a person who loves food and is passionate about it, something that is really rare for me to see. Most people look at my list of allergies, freak out & either refuse to serve me, or give me the dullest food ever – even I don’t cook steamed fish & veggies devoid of any flavour for myself at home. If you get a chance to eat there, please do – his food is fantastic!
Derek has a fantastic sense of humour too, he initially presented me with a plate with a couple of pieces of carrot and balsamic on it – which I had to get a photo of. Nice to see someone with such a great sense of humour & willing to joke around a bit. I have never experienced that before – it really made my day actually. Apparently he was a little nervous about doing that, but I am so glad he did. You have to laugh sometimes. It sums up so many meals I have received (ok, the carrot was presented much better than some of the other meals I have gotten).
My real meal was a seafood feast, & as you can see from the picture I was kinda engrossed in checking it out at the time the picture was taken. I am focussed on a paper bag with steamed, seasoned, fish, prawns & mussels. The other dish contains mussels with coconut cream …. mmmmmmm, very yummy. After we finished our meals and were making our way out, we had a chat with Derek, who offered to make me anything I wanted next time. He was really shocked that I had never had pizza before & was quite excited with the prospect that he could make me a pizza & so was I, if only I could spend some more time in Whyalla, as we had already planned to leave – DOH!
From there we headed over to NACOS head office, now, Alliance One Credit Union to check out the office and see some of the old faces (although there aren’t many left now). It was a good opportunity for Geoff to meet some people too and see the office that I have talked about so much to him. It’s changed a bit, bit not that much really. Matthew, Phil, Peter & John (Hunty) are still there, so is Nick, who took over from me when I left, 10 years ago – the rest of the crew are new. Gloria is actually still at the CU, but she works part-time and wasn’t around when I was. All of the branchs have changed & the CU has grown a lot, there are 2 shop fronts in Westlands Shopping Centre now, and down town there are also 2 buildings which house different area’s.
After having a look around the Credit Union we headed out to Point Lowly to check out the lighthouse & the cuttlefish boardwalk. Although I have seen the lighthouse, up until now I didn’t realise that Whyalla was the Cuttlefish Capital, apparently it’s the main attraction. Even Kayleen, who grew up in Whyalla didn’t know about it when I mentioned that we were checking out the cuttlefish whilst we were up that way. We didn’t see any live cuttlefish, but we found some rotting carcases that had washed up on shore and plenty of cuttlefish cartilage stuff. If you look closely you can see that Geoff is holding what remains of a larger specimen of cuttlefish that once swam around the area. The boardwalk is just a diving platform, not really what you expect when you hear about a boardwalk. We’ll have to come back and have a proper look, apparently they like the shallows, so we might have a bit of a snorkel around & see what we can find.
We attempted to go out to Wild Dog Hill, but it was already after 5.30 by the time we finished up. I noticed a sign that said the part was locked at night, and out car insurance was void if we drove at dusk outside built up area’s, so we decided it might be best to come back in the morning & stay another night in Whyalla. We managed to get the same place at the caravan park again & decided that seeing as we were going to be in Whyalla for another night, we might go to Red Dust again & try out the pizza and satay chicken (with cashews not peanuts). John & Tracy were keen to come out with us, so we all got to have a bit more of a catch up.
Derek was excited to have me come in again, which was nice. I had a fantastic first pizza ever! It was a gourmet style pizza – the base made up of polenta, potato & hazelnuts & the topping consisted of smoked salmon, capers, avocado, red capsicum, tomato base, red onion & tofu (a mixture of I can’t believe it’s not cottage cheese and normal tofu). At first the flavours were very strong for me, but now I am craving another pizza. Derek said that the base really needed to set for about 4 hours for it to become harder, but I quite enjoyed it as it was. I hate crusty to be honest, so I thought the pizza had a great consistency. The Satay Chicken was fantastic too & Derek made me a banana split for dessert – so many firsts in one meal, it was awesome. Next time I come to Whyalla I will have to go back and see him, Derek has offered to give me some bread making tips and things, I could spend a week there, I really could. Thanks Derek for making me feel so special and not allowing my allergies to freak you out. I really enjoyed being so spoilt with food choice & to eat food with flavour!
We headed out to Wild Dog Hill to have a look around – I think that when we come back to Whyalla to see the Cuttlefish we will come out to WDH for a bit of a climb. We saw a tonne of wildlife too, emu’s, roo’s, lizards, & rabbits, I even saw a little baby rabbit, so cute (yeah I know they are a pest)!! Unfortunately it pissed down with rain & a storm rumbled in so our visit was cut short, we didn’t want to bog our little car.
We headed out through Iron Knob, to get a couple of photo’s – I only recently thought about the humour in that name, after living there for so long, so I had to get a photo, just for the fun of it. We spent most of the day driving to Wilpena Pound after that, arriving at the pound around 4.30 or 5pm. We setup camp & headed out for dinner at Captain Starlights restaurant there. What a difference in food after enjoying Dereks food. I ordered roo, which was supposed to be medium rare with pumpkin mash & sweet potato chips & got a charcoal roo steak with mash & no sweet potato – Geoff ordered the same & got exactly the same meal – it was ok, but not worth the money – the chef was definately freaked out!
We started the day out by doing a 30 minute flight over the pound to check out the sights at 7.30am. It’s well worth doing, because you see so much more than you do walking around. You get a better appreciation for the size of the Pound & the Flinders Ranges as well. We actually thought that we might have had to post-pone the flight to the next morning because there was a lot of low level cloud about when we arrived, but it burnt off after a few minutes wait. The morning is the best time to see the pound because the morning sunlight highlights a lot of colours, in the afternoon a lot of the pound is in shadow so it’s not as spectacular especially when it comes to taking photographs.
After our flight, we headed back to the park, got ourselves sorted & started the St Mary’s walk by 9.30am. We decided to do the Outside Loop to start, and see how we went. To be honest it was a little interesting with one arm, but I managed to protect my left one pretty well, I hit my not so funny bone, on that arm at one stage, but that was the worst that happened, which was good. Geoff stopped in a few places to take some photo’s. In this particular shot to the left, we spent about 1/2 an hour taking photos of the scene. To be honest it was a nice scene & hopefully Geoff got some nice ones on the Digital SLR. I have become quite content taking happy snaps with my little digital camera, which is due in part to the fact that I can’t hold the SLR with my left wrist being as it is.
We had lunch at the top of St Mary’s Peak (1170 Metres), which was nice, although a little crowded at times. Very happy to have brought up a jumper too, as I did cool down a bit with a bit of a breeze and no exercise to keep me warm. We decided to walk the inside loop back in the hope that it might be a little easier on our knees, & with the climb being so steep to get there & my only having the use of one arm the outside loop was not looking like a lot of fun to down climb.
I think that we were both pretty happy to have done the outside loop and then the inside, because there were much better views on the outside track. There was a large section of the inside loop where you were crowded in by tree’s so you couldn’t really enjoy the scenery. Towards the end of the inside loop the track went through a forest of gum tree’s which was beautiful, the top of the track from St Mary’s Peak wasn’t bad either with the views, just that long middle section of nothing that got a bit boring, especially when you know what is outside of those tree’s.
Our trip was coming to a close, we were flying out today – bugger! We packed up reasonably early, daylight savings had kicked in the night before, so our 7.15 am start was in fact 8.15am daylight savings time. We stopped along the way & did the Arkaroo Rock hike, which was interesting, but a little underwhelming. It was a little disappointing that it was caged up & such a small area of rock art after we have seen some beautiful rock art in our travels to The Rock (Ullaru) and Carnarvon Gorge, but nice to have at least given it a look. Not really sure that I would do the walk again, having already done it once, perhaps I was expecting more that I should have.
From there we basically drove back to Adelaide, heading down through Clare & enjoying the scenery. It’s amazing how different the scenery is on the other side of the range. BTW Peter, we drive through Laura, nice little town. Geoff was keen to find a Sturt Desert Pea, but unfortunately we didn’t see any, I must admit I would have liked to have seen one again too, seeing as it is the flower of SA.
We caught up with Michael & Kayleen for Dinner at Regent Thai, where Geoff and I shared Chicken Cashew and Chicken Ginger for dinner – yummo. We had a quick chat about our B’day trip (Ren & I’s with the guys of course) next year & wished that we had spoken about it earlier in the trip. Oh well, there’s a few months before that happens. Then before we knew it we were at the airport, returning the car and boarding our plane back to Brissy. I got pulled up in security for having a bag full of alcohol from our winery tour (6 bottles) they wanted to make sure they were all sealed & I got a lecture about my bag being heavy – Such is Life. Funny they didn’t pull me up for the gas mask in my bag which I carry to help prevent allergic reactions from airborne allergens (ie Cheese etc).
We were quite lucky to manage to get a flight back to Brisbane apparently, as Jet Stars computer system went down & caused some drama’s. There was a flight to Sydney which was cancelled in the departing lounge next to ours & apparently a few others about the place.
Nice to be back in some ways, but it really has given me itchy feet. Been such a long time since we had a big holiday.