Adelaide is a planned city, but despite that, seems very English. It was planned to be for the superior sort of British person, and is very proud of being the only state capital without any trace of convict origins.
The streets are wide and empty, parks and open spaces abound, the rush hour lasts for about twenty minutes and it must be a lovely place to live. The South Australian Museum is a wonderful place.
And the Barossa valley, with all its vineyards, is a short drive away.
And it is on the coast.
And to cap all its advantages I was able to get my lens fixed. I was travelling with only one lens – a powerful zoom – and it would no longer focus at the telephoto end of the zoom. Hence the lack of kangaroo photos. A Google search gave me the address of a Nikon repair technician and he cured the problem with a blast of compressed air. At least I think that is what he did – he was very coy about his methods. In any case I now have a fully functional camera and lens.
Worried by the potential loss of my camera, and by the logistics of carrying such a large camera in difficult conditions I decided to get a spare which would be easier to use on our forthcoming trek in New Zealand. So I got a Canon G12 which is a lot smaller and lighter than my Nikon D300. The quality of the pictures taken are less good but they are adequate for blogging purposes. I will continue to use the Nikon when in civilised places but the Canon will be used in the bush. But in the meantime I need to get up to speed with the G12 so will be using it quite a lot.
While in Adelaide one of Alasdair’s pals from university, a biologist called Charlie, took us on a tour of the Adelaide Hills. This was an opportunity to learn a bit about the city and about living in the place. Apparently it can be cold for a few days in winter and as few houses have central heating, it is a time for wooly jumpers and gathering round the electric fire. But the highlight of the tour was getting very close to a Koala Bear near the summit of Mount Lofty!
We flew to Perth on Thursday 16th December and were met by an old friend of mine from University. Julie is our hostess for the start of our stay in Western Australia. More University friends, John and Ann, will be our hosts later in our stay.
I won’t give a chronological diary of what we did, but just mention some of the places we visited.
The vast majority of Western Australia (WA) is made of very old, Archean, rocks but most West Australians live on very recent beach deposits, close to the sea. You can see the most recent version of these deposits at Point Peron where the sand dunes are partially consolidated and “reinforced” by plant roots which have been replaced by sandy limestone.
And at other parts the deposits are just sand dunes which are still being worked by wind and wave. Once you get your eye in, you can see the successive lines of sand dunes, parallel to the coast.
The pelican has nothing to do with rocks, but I love the mad eyes!
On Christmas Eve John and Ann took us in their small motorboat over the sea to Rottnest Island. This is an old sand dune complex which was once joined to the mainland, but now cut off by sea level rises. It got its name from passing Dutch sailors who mistook quaggas (a small version of kangaroo which abounds on the island) for rats, or rotts in Dutch. They must have been at sea for a long time.
There are some splendid beaches on the island with very good snorkelling. And it has the most southerly coral reef in Australia. This was probably not much consolation to the Aborigines who were kept prisoner there until 1903.
In the heart of Perth is King’s Park which is a tremendous place to visit.
I will add to this when I can. But we are off to the south west part of Western Australia soon and that will be a separate post.