A Travellerspoint blog

Going out With a Bang

Now you may call our next move gutsy, but we chose to think of it as efficient. After an enjoyable 12 hour overnight bus from Airlie Beach we arrived in Hervey Bay with a whopping five minutes to spare before our 7:45 pick up to head to the check in and then another bus to the ferry terminal and off to Fraser Island where we met Kirsty our guide for the 2 day venture. (In case you were keeping count we had been on five consistently moving vessels for 14 hours)

Fraser is one of those things that we hadn’t intended to do but were told by multiple people it was a must do along the coast due to its exquisite beauty and serenity. Fraser is the largest sand island in the world. Much of the island is only accessible by plane, the “roads” are simply breaks in the trees covered, and the main highway (75 mile beach) can only be accessed during low tide. This all makes for very interesting, bumpy and unpredictable drives.

We first headed to Lake McKenzie, a gorgeous fresh water lake for a morning dip. The water was insanely clear and fresh and the sand was soft as flour. This first stop was where the 19 people on our tour started to click. As with everywhere else in Aus we were dominated by Germans and English, Canadians were welcomed for peacekeeping, and two token Koreans that did not interact with the group in any way.

After a quick picnic we made our way over to a second, but smaller fresh water lake. This time we were not able to swim but were supposed to be spotting wildlife. I saw nothing but to get there we got to take a nice walk up through the forest and after we continued on for about 45 minutes through the trees to make it to central station. Back in the day, and I mean way back people lived on Fraser (though honestly at this point I was really not sure how or why they got out to the island, or why they set up camp right in the middle). Since the whole Island is now natural reserve, central station is mostly just some old buildings with information about the island, wildlife, and trees.

Following this we made our way through the rainforest alongside a fresh water creek. We were promised sea salt resistant massive trees (9m around) that had been used to build piers before becoming protected wood. The trees were big…but I didn’t see any that were 9m around. The Red Woods are a bit more impressive but definately a beautiful walk plus Kirsty had tea and biscuits waiting for us at the end.

We then loaded back onto the bus, along the bumpy road down to the pier to watch the sunset. This was undeniably one of the best sunsets I’ve seen so far which completely justified the 45 minutes we spent taking pictures and playing on the beach.
Once darkness (5:45) fell it was time to make our way to the King Fisher Bay resort where we would be resting our heads in some adorable lodges. Don’t worry. No ETB (early to Beds) on this trip- we took full advantage of the pools and other resort amenities first.

With sleep still in our eyes we found ourselves making our way down the sand to check out the stone tool Sandblow Feel free to read the description on the below picture.
Fisher Island is home to the Dingo, and the tour we were on was called CoolDingo, so it was almost to perfect that as we turned onto the highway (Beach), we found our first dingo of the day.
We then had the optional extra of taking a bush plane ride around the Island. I would say this was the point in the trip where I finally understood why this is a must see place. When you are driving you have no concept of just how remote and inaccessible of a place this is. These pictures don’t do justice to the amazing expanse we witnessed. Sand pits and lakes appear out of nowhere. The thin lines you see are the “roads”.
Our plane landed us outside the Maheno Ship Wreck. This luxury ship met its match, unseasonable weather, March 1936 and has remained in its final resting place ever since.

The Pinnacles were our next stop along the beach where we were promised 72 colours of sand. I will let you count as many as you can.

Now you may have noticed that it’s been about a week since our last wine tasting. So you will be happy to hear that our next stop was at the Champagne Pools. Unfortunately they are titled so because of the way the water bubbles as it rolls down the rock and not because you are swimming in a pool of bubbly. But I’ll be honest. This way way better. The pools ranged in depth from ankle deep to about 4 meters. We spent a good hour swimming, taking diving “selfies”, and hanging out in this paradise.

After so much stunning beauty we were primed for an ugly view. Indian Head was no such thing. This lookout with no barriers to its steep edge truly makes you feel you are standing at the edge of the world. We spotted manta rays, Sharks, a whale and some turtles from up here while we took in the blue sky and clear ocean.

Our last stop on the beach was Eli Creek. I don’t know what initially made this creek so famous but it is a fairly shallow fresh water creek with a good current perfectly suited for floating with or without a tube from one end to the other. The trees overhang the water giving it a very Jungle Book-ish feel.

Unfortunately we were only staying for two of the three days (day three delivered some SUPing and more lakes) so at this point we headed back to the resort for some dinner and down time before saying goodbye to our fellow dingoes and catching the ferry back to mainland.

We had another early start this morning as we hopped on a bus to Brisbane to wait out the night in preparation for our flight to Bali in the morning. Truly bittersweet as our Asia excitement builds we are sad to say goodbye to Aus. We had some incredible experiences with both old and new friends (mostly Germans and English because something about those countries makes all their 20-somethings run away) and picked up lots of ferdingum Aussie slang. We’ve covered only a spit of ground here (you might not have noticed its sort of a big place) and will likely return to this wonderful country. We hope you’ve enjoyed AUSZEAL as much as we have!


Posted by Flanilandlizard 01:20 Comments (2)

A Sailor's Life for Me

Three days aboard the Blizzard

As Lani mentioned, we no longer sleep on stable ground. We have tried that, and frankly, it is comfortable and boring. So, for the next 4 nights, we decided to kick it up a notch and only sleeping on moving vehicles.

Night one: Greyhound bus leaves Cairns at 12:25 am, and arrives in Airlie Beach at 11:10 am. We are really smart though, and thus decided that the best way to make yourself sleep through a 12 hour bus ride is to drink 5 or 6 beers before getting on board. It would have been great, too, but our bus driver had other ideas, and decided to talk at us for approximately 40 minutes about the rules of the bus (this is how you put on a seatbelt, in case you haven’t been in a car since 1965). He also announced whenever we were making stops, very loudly, and with more information about what we would find at the rest stop than any living creature ever needed. Anyways, we changed drivers at about 3:00 am and all was well.

When we arrived in Airlie Beach, we decided it may be kind to our future boat-mates if we showered (you may recall that we spent the previous day swimming, then got on a Greyhound for 12 hours). So, we spent some time showering, and then some time laying in the sun before it was time to board our boat.

The sea-faring vessel is named “Blizzard” (although I don’t know WHY you would ever want people to associate snow with sailing...) and it sleeps ten passengers plus two crew. And then, if the “skipper” decides to bring along a Swedish girlfriend (possibly just a girl he picked up at the Backpacker’s the night prior) it sleeps 13. Our sailing mates were: Paula and Alex (‘Stralians from Sydney), Rob and Grace (a doctor and midwife from England), Stephanie and John (a “mature” couple from England), and Fiona and Lozzy (I have no idea what her real name is. She never told us which is weird so I will just call her Fiona’s friend; friends who live in Melbourne and Tasmania, respectively). Ok, this is starting to sound like the cast of the Amazing Race now.

Our skipper Dave and deckhand Rhianne gave us a rundown of the boat, and we set sail. We soon learned something quite important about sailing: there is a high (dry) side, and a low side, AKA Sui-side. It is pretty obvious which one you want to be on to stay on the boat. As the wind was fairly strong, we made it all the way to Tongue Bay that night, which is where we dropped anchor. Rhianne made us a lovely dinner, and then I took some Gravol and went to bed. Oh wait, I also drank some wine in a box.

Next morning, we woke up at 6:30 am to a beautiful breakfast made by Rhianne, then it was time to hit the beach! Whitehaven Beach was just on the other side of the island we were “plopped” (for lack of a proper word) next to overnight. Whitehaven beach is THE beach you think of when you hear Whitsunday Islands, or really when you think of an incredible beach. White, powdery sand, turquoise water, only accessible by boat, and drenched in sun. We got there early enough to have the beach to ourselves for an hour or so before all the other tour boats showed up.

We then trekked up to the lookout over Whitehaven, so I could take some pictures to make you all jealous.

After our polaroid moment, we made our way back to Blizzard via “mini-Blizzard”, the little dinghy that comes along with Blizzard. Half of us ate lunch, while the other half took off on stand-up paddle boards (SUP) around the bay. When they came back, it was our turn to do some Supping. I hopped on a board, as instructed, but SOMEONE forgot to give me a paddle… I floated away into the sea, but luckily Paula brought me a paddle and saved me from being eating by a turtle. Once I had a paddle, I set out to find some turtles! I didn’t find any. I did, however, fall off the board and get up close and personal with the coral. Luckily, the bleeding didn’t attract any sharks.

That afternoon, we jetted over to Manta Ray Bay for some snorkel time. Manta Ray Bay is filled with tons of fish, including Rainbow Fish (from one of my favourite childhood books) and others. No turtles, but I did see a reef shark. Plus, a large Lani-shaped fish.

After snorkelling, we all got back on the boat to warm up, have some tea/coffee, and relax while we headed to our anchor point for the night. Well, never a dull moment with me; I decided having four limbs was just boring, so I slipped and fell down the stairs, and landed on my shoulder blade. I immediately thought it was dislocated (luckily we had an MD on board), but in reality I probably just bruised my rib or something. I really didn’t need my left arm, guys. I mean, I like getting food all over my face while trying to eat with my right (non-dominant) hand. But now I’m like Nemo, I have one normal fin, and one “lucky fin”. Hopefully it gets back to being unlucky soon because I don’t know how long I can convince Lani to carry my stuff for me. On second though, maybe it will never heal…

Serious injury aside, we had a lovely evening (possibly made lovelier by wine-in-a-box, plus the painkillers Grace “just happened to have”) getting to know one another. The weather was gorgeous, and the moon was as bright as a 100 Watt lightbulb (is that bright? I don’t know. It’s a simile, ok?).

Of course, Sunday morning was time for another 6:30 am breakfast; followed by a short journey to our next snorkelling/beaching spot, Langford Reef. This one was a real treat, as it is really just a sand bar at high tide, but becomes a sandy beach connected to an island when the tide goes down. It’s also a hot spot for turtles. So, Dave dumped us off on the sandbar and we got a snorkelling’. Well, I only stayed in for about 15 minutes, just long enough to see a turtle, as my “lucky fin” is fairly useless at swimming (I’m telling you, I’m Nemo!!). But I got lucky enough to see many more turtles just off the shoreline, including one who swam about three inches away from me while I walked next to it. I didn’t have the camera at that point, but it was so cool. I thought he wanted to be my pet, but I knew Lucy would have trouble sharing her mom with a turtle. Even if he kind of looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and I secretly named him Michelangelo.

We were also treated to an incredible double rainbow over the beach/island/sand bar just before we got there. I guess it was a reward for the ten minutes of rain we had on this trip (our luck is turning around! Don’t tell the weather gods, please).

Just before getting back on Blizzard, we walked all the way across to the island, which was pretty amazing as it had been completely separate not even an hour earlier. We also watched a special person try to get back to his boat without taking off his snorkel, flippers, or wet suits. It was panful, but we couldn’t tear our eyes away. I guess maybe some people were never meant to be snorkelers.

Back aboard Blizzard, we sailed back to Airlie. It was a really great sail, with the boat feeling like it would just tip on over at times (you don’t really notice that when you’re on the high side, but now I can see why it’s called the Sui-side). Once back on dry land (a relief to some of our new friends stomachs, to be sure), Lani and I found another hostel shower to clean ourselves and some clothes before getting on yet another overnight bus. Anyways, time to take some more painkillers and sleeping pills, and hopefully actually sleep on this bus!

—Liz (aka Nemo)

Posted by Flanilandlizard 06:06 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

One Giant U-Turn

Cairns isn’t exactly the place that you go to get rest, and Gilligan’s most definitely is not the place you stay if you are interested in trying to maximize the few hours of shut eye that you may be able to stumble upon after a night at the bar. It would be all well and good if the only expectation in Cairns was to party- the difficult factor is that in the day there so many amazing activities, adventures and tours- all starting in the wee hours of the morning. And so- after a few short winks we met Cousin Brad and our new “family” for our Uncle Brian's Atherton, Tablelands and waterfalls tour.

This is one of the multiple tours that we booked back in Adelaide without much knowledge as to what we were getting ourselves into. And so, with 14 other girls (two from Edmonton) and two lovely gentlemen (most reppin’ some wicked hangovers) we loaded into “Gus the Bus” and made our way out of Cairns.

Correction- Before we were able to leave the city we listened to our driver, guide, stand-up comedian, “cousin” Brad talk and talk and talk some more. And not about boring instructions. Or important safety information. Oh no- he was chirping left right and centre. Phone numbers written on your arms, embarrassing bar entry stamps, funny accents- he was on it. This man had an uncanny talent for distractive story telling while he drove. He insisted that nobody would be able to sleep on his bus due to his rambling. He then ensured that every would stay awake by handing out markers so everyone else on the bus could colour on the face of whoever slept first. Hmm this description sort of makes this bus sound awful. Well, hungover at 8am we all felt it was, but were SO captivated that we kept laughing and enjoying.

Our first bus “activity” was experiencing the U-turn. Gus found us a roundabout and we went round, and round and round a total of 5 times just to prove how much he likes U-turns. We were told if we kept count through the day we would get free beer. Feeling appropriately nauseaus we made it to the Babinda Boulders.

These were way better than the Moreaki Boulders. We started off with a quick walk through the rainforest, looked at some bugs (mostly spiders), avoided snakes and made our way to check out what is definitely a chasm (See NZ blog post about Chasms if you aren’t in the know) where the sign informed us not to swim because “many people have died”. I’m curious about what many is.
Exotic taste test number one: Cousin Brad pulled an ant off a wall and told me to lick its butt. I did. It tasted like a lime. I will start using ants in my gin from here on out. In exchange for the taste he fed us biscuits and cake at which point we had the option of jumping into the river for a swim (Obviously not in the area people died- what do you people take us for, idiots?!) This was cousin Brad’s idea of a hangover cure. For most people dipping a toe was enough to know that they weren’t interested in going further in. For me and 4 others this was a great opportunity to climb up some rocks and do some diving and jumping.

We made our way back to the unimpressed others and loaded back on to the bus to complete a U-turn to get our of the lot. On this leg of the drive C.B. told a story about Gus’s girlfriend Vanessa (The ambulance). As I looked to another girl from Canada and said “are we seriously still listening to this guy” Liz goes “shhh guys I want to know about happens to Vanessa”. Anyways… I think they are still in love but after what felt like a good chunk of time we found ourselves at Josephine Falls. Here we got to play on a natural rock water slide which brought mostly everyone into the water. You could go forwards, backwards, on your stomach, in a chain or with three other girls on the back of C.B. This was awesome.

After our ‘body surfing” we requested a snack from C.B. (he was there to make all our wishes come true) and so he trekked out into the forest and came back with these little fruits that you popped out. They basically tasted like pears mixed with a hint of kiwi. Taste test number 2 was a great success.

After a few U-turns around this parking lot we weren’t feeling completely satisfied so C.B. handed out our next bus activity- match sticks. We were then required to pass a cert from person to person using only the matchstick held between their teeth. If we successfully did it in less that 2 songs he promised a treat. We did it in one. True to his word he gave us chocolate and we were happy. (If you are wondering if this is a kindergarten class on the bus you may well be right). He also handed out markers so that we could draw on the windows. Shortly after, we rolled up at a little B&B outside of Milla Milla Falls for some lunch. Now this lunch wasn’t as spectacular as the day before but it was still no “backpacker special” as we had chicken, couscous, salad, fresh bread and unlimited tea and coffee.

Now I hear the best thing to do after eating is swimming, so we made our way down to Milla Milla Falls. But not before- you guessed it…2 more U-turns!!
You don’t know it yet, but you’ve seen these falls hundreds of times. They were first made famous by Peter Andre (okay way more famous in the UK than Canada) in his one hit wonder music video but are also used as the sight for the “hair flip” in every Herbal Essences commercial. And so after swimming under the falls to get a better look and a “massage” we spent 45 minutes getting the perfect hair flip caught on film.
Of course before leaving we had to do some more U-turns to make sure we saw the falls from every angle.

Back on the bus it was talent time. C.B. volunteered a couple girls to sing a duet using tambourines he strategically placed under their seats.
We made a quick pit stop at a stream where we unsuccessfully searched for a platypus. I think this was mostly just an excuse to be in a field where we could do more U-turns. With dampened spirits back on the bus, C.B. taught us how to use our hands to dance and act like snakes. This would be a good time to point out that he had an epic playlist perfectly matched to every topic he went off about.

When our snake dancing subsided we found ourselves atop a volcanic crater lake where you won’t be surprised to hear we went for another swim. Again, lots of people stared blankly while a few of us dove in to another pool of water. But seriously can you say you’ve swam in a volcanic crater…I thought so.

By the time we got out C.B. had hot cocoa and muffins waiting for us. We finally changed out of our wet clothes and with the sun setting, and exhaustion setting in we were all stoked to get warm and nap on the bus. If you’ve been following you will not be surprised to hear that obviously C.B. wasn’t going to let that happen. Oh no. This stretch of the drive is equipped with 264 turns. Which he kindly counted out loud between alternate tangents. And as we made our way back into the city we found ourselves doing the macarena in the aisles, our only two boys doing some “dancing” to Sexy and I Know It, and of course singing some Mambo #5.

The route we followed through the day actually circled the rainforest and the mountains making the entire drive one giant U-turn featuring 16 smaller U-turns.
For being so well behaved C.B. invited us all the to join him for drinks and dinner at Gilligan’s. Liz and I first met up with Alice and Nava (our friends from the day before) for some dinner then floated between the two groups. At 11:30 pm we said our goodbyes and headed to the bus depot to catch our overnight ride to Airlie. And so begins our many day streak of sleeping in moving vessels.


Posted by Flanilandlizard 06:01 Comments (0)

Finding Nemo... and his other fishy friends

Fish are friends, not food

Gold Coast here we come! Another 3:30 am wake up call- I do herby declare that that is TOO EARLY, and we will not do it again until… well, probably soon. Travelling is such hard work!

In any event, we got to the airport and dropped off our Ace Rental Car. This was our first adventure/misadventure of the day. Since it was 4:00 am, no car rental offices were open, so we were told to just leave the car in the Hertz parking lot at the terminal. Fine, great, no problem. But we then spent 20 minutes looking for the key drop box, until someone told us about the desk inside. Once we got there, we still couldn’t find the key drop box until I actually went behind the desk and found it. By this point, we were so frustrated that we accidentally put the key in the box with our keychain, a flashlight/panic alarm loaned to me by the lovely Lana Cuthbertson. However, I promise to replace it and Lani even considered asking them to mail it to us.

Once we arrived in Brisbane, we had a 4 1/2 hour layover prior to our flight from Cairns. I took advantage of the time of day and skyped with both my parents, and then Leeor, Ohad and the girls. Lani took advantage of the sun, and read outside for about three hours before realizing that our Canadian skin is still very sensitive.

Onwards, to Cairns. Here, we waited outside for a free shuttle bus. We had the single most grumpy shuttle driver ever: When I said hello, he just held his hands up and yelled “Well, where are you going?”. He later pushed a girl and told her to get in. I don’t like him, just so you know.

Finally, we made it to our hostel: Gilligan’s, the place you sleep when you don’t want to sleep. The nightclub that gives you a bed to crash in, too. All I can say about Gilligan’s is that there are both a nightclub and an outside bar, an outdoor pool, free dinner if you buy drinks, extremely cheap drinks, and a wet t-shirt or pole dancing contest nightly. What a weird place this Cairns is.

Cairns Sunset

But the point of going to Cairns is, of course, getting out of Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef. This happened on Wednesday morning, a BEAUTIFUL day with blue skies and 25 degree weather. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. I’m only talking about it now because it’s over so I can’t ruin it.

We boarded the Ocean Freedom yacht at 7:30 am, and set out to the Upolo Reef. Lani and I had signed up for an intro dive, so we had a short lesson while the boat was going, which essentially consisted of them telling us two very important things: Breathe, and no touchy-touchy. There was also a game of charades to let us know how the instructor will communicate various things she sees. Most of them looked like Loch Ness Monster, if you ask me.

When we arrived at the first reef, we were put on a glass bottom boat tour to see and learn a bit about the reef. This was mostly kind of lame, but I did get to see blue starfish and giant clams, which I didn’t see anywhere else. Also, we learned that Finding Nemo is a lie, because clown fish can change sex to become dominant females. This means that when Nemo’s mom gets eaten, Marlin would have become his new mom, and tried to mate with Nemo to make new babies. I may never be able to watch that movie again.

Then I popped on some snorkel gear and set off in search of Nemo and all his friends. I saw a few things, but basically only had about five-ten minutes before we needed to be back on board to get ready to dive. I did, however, see a giant barracuda about 30 cm away from me.

Once they called for group three, it was time to put on our scuba diving gear. This consists of a mask and fins just like snorkelling, and then also weights to put around your hip, and a huge vest thing that has your oxygen tank, and a million other tubes and hoses that I don’t even know about.

They plop you in the water, and then suggest you stick your face in to practice breathing underwater. It was then that I realized that actually I’m quite an anxious person and I was not going to be able to breathe and not freak out once we got down there. I tried to tell the instructors this, in the frame of not wanting to ruin it for everyone else, but they assured me that I was fine and once I started looking at fish I would forget to be anxious. I figured they probably see crazy people many times a day, and since they decided my crazy wasn’t crazy enough to not go, I dove down.

He was right, I forgot about being anxious, as I was focused on taking about a thousand pictures. Also, our fabulous instructor Jazzy kept a tight grip on me and that helped too. We also only went down 5 or 6 meters, so we could come up in about 10 seconds. That helped too. But I digress. Fish, coral, other weird sea creatures abounded. Here are some pictures!

After our dive, we climbed back onto the boat and relaxed in the sun while we waited for our “smorgasbord lunch”. Indeed, it was one of the finer meals we have been treated to; with meat, smoked salmon, crawfish, chicken, three types of salad, and delicious bread. I think we definitely got our money’s worth on that one!

Once lunch was over, the boat scooted over to a second reef, the site of our “drift adventure snorkelling” tour. This means we got in a little boat and were driven out to a site, and then snorkelled our way back to the main boat. Led by Peter, another fantastic crew member, we saw many things, including sting rays, more Nemos, turtles, and a shark (ok, I didn’t see the shark but people who went “duck diving” did). He also had us play with a sea cucumber, which was very slimy. I saw another barracuda when getting back on the boat, as well as some fish that were about the size of a two-year old.

Back on the boat, it was time to take the 1 1/2 hour ride back to Cairns. We met some very nice English girls (both just graduated med school, one is actually Israeli and lived in Jerusalem until she was 12) and boys (I don’t know their story, but they were nice enough), and the six of us decided it was time for drinking champagne while we cruised back. Unfortunately, the water had other plans, as the ride quickly became quite bumpy and we had a bit of a champagne shower. The crew also served us with fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, and cake on the way back. Boy, do they know how to win over backpackers!

And so, we got back to Cairns, headed back to Gilligan’s, showered, and then went for dinner and drinks with our new friends. All in all, an incredible day that you mostly only dream about: scuba diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. How great!


Posted by Flanilandlizard 23:20 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

The City of Churches

I know what your thinking... you last heard from us Friday...its now Wednesday...did we get attacked by a Koala while Liz tried to kidnap it. Alas, no more koalas but plenty more wine.

After saying a sad goodbye to Abbie and Tim (I really intended to stay forever which they were both ok with) we hopped into the car to begin the six hour drive to Adelaide. Initially, we had intended to stop in Robe and spend a night but after our creepy night in Apollo Bay we were interested in no more beach towns. The drive was uneventful, straight and dull looking. Liz drove and I slept. I woke up enough to see Penfolds winery and a few others.

We got into Adelaide about 2:30 pm having lost a half hour (what a stupid time change) and promptly called the previously mentioned Bec Martin to have her plan our activities for the next few days. Bec is another friend who was on exchange in Guelph with me, who also came out West to stay with me and explore the mountains back in 2008. In the meantime, we headed to Glenelg (technically a suburb) along the waterfront for a little walk and to watch the sunset. It was quite windy so only stayed a short while and by this time Bec had phoned to inform us to be ready for 7:30.

We had quite the Canadian delegation that evening as Bryan (Bec's partner) had his sister Sam visiting from Toronto. The five of us hit the town starting with the British bar (we don't know the actual name) but they were hosting a private function so we left after a drink and headed to the Howling Owl- a fantastic gin bar. I think Liz tried every gin cocktail on the menu. Her winner was something that tasted Mexican, while my favourite was a floral lychee drink. Other than the $20 price tags on most drinks I highly recommend this hot spot to anyone visiting Adelaide.
At this point Bec's brother Matt came to join us girls, while Sam and Bryan headed home. Since none of us had eaten all day- but had consumed copious amounts of wine and gin, we decided food would be a good option. Unfortunately at 10:30 pm its very difficult to find any food that is open so we went to Brunellis where they told us we could only eat if we wanted pizza. And so pizza was the winner. Matt then took us to our third bar of the evening where he had seen them setting up for a band earlier. We were excited for some live music (hoping it would be a similar gem like Te Anau) but found ourselves listening to some 60 year old men, playing electronica blues, with a lead guitarist looking a lot like Sgt. Pepper. Confusing.

The next morning we all (see above list of persons + Matt's GF) headed out to Hahndorf, an adorable historic German town located in the Adelaide Hills.
Our first stop was the historic Handorf Inn where for a mere $130 we got two epic meat platters. The first (advertised to serve two) offered Bockwurst, Weisswurst, Cheese Kransky and Vienna sausages, smoked Pork Kassler Chop and Pork Knuckle, served with Rhine potato, sauerkraut, and 2 pretzels; while the second (also advertised as food for 2) had Two char grilled racks of ribs with 12 crispy chicken wings served with home made BBQ rib sauce, sauerkraut and rhine potatoes. The 7 of us struggled to finish. I'm really interested in watching two people try to finish one of the platters. But they were DELICIOUS. Here is a link to the menu; our platters were the first two. http://hahndorfinn.com.au/pdf/HahndorfMenu.pdf

After walking off our food and exploring the town for a little, it was wine o'clock. The Adelaide Hills is another great wine region featuring more of the red varietals that appeal to Liz. Until very recently Bec has been working in the industry (with a stint in the Hills) and so she made for the perfect personal tour guide. We said our goodbyes to the others and headed for the Hills. Our first cellar door (actually in Hahndorf) was Somerled. Then we headed up to Nepenthe where I found a dessert Geuwertzraminer that I fell in love with. Next up was The Lane (Bec's former gig) where we tried some real winners in terms of Shiraz. Most notably a $150 bottle from their Heritage collection vintage 2007.

And finally we rounded out our tasting at Bird in Hand where there are about 35 wines up for tasting but we tried to keep it reasonable. But by this point barrel hide and seek seemed like a good idea.

On our way back into the city Bec took us to a fantastic lookout over the city for the sunset. Adelaide is HUGE.
Liz thought it would be a good idea to try to lift me up, then attack me. I will leave you with this series of photos- feel free to make your own assumptions about what is going on.

Monday morning was errand day. We spent nearly 2 hours with Tyson from Peter Pan's (a tour booking company) planning the next extremely epic nine days. Be excited for those posts. I promise we will be discussing something other than wine. We then spent some time wandering Adelaide CBD since we hadn't really seen much of the actual city. The architecture in the city is really quite beautiful (we didn't take pictures but you have google) and there are a million churches. In fact our guide book had a 4 hour church walking tour we could do. We opted out and instead went to the National Wine Centre of Australia which turned out to be not an exhibit about wine but a cellar door tasting set up with the same vending machines as I got so excited about in Queenstown. Since this system is brand new (it was their first night open) we managed to cause the staff all sorts of problems. They had difficulty changing out empty wines, one machine started shooting wine at me, I identified a corked bottle and so on. They were happy to see us leave. We were sad to be saying goodbye to our endless days of vineyards and cellar doors.

After a drink and dinner with Bec and her friend Brent we said some sad goodbyes. Thanks for being a great tour guide Bec!! As Liz said to me- I have some really awesome winners of friends . We tried to call it an early evening to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for our 6 am flight to Brisbane. Unfortunately, Liz decided to be a bully instead. At some point on this trip she has noted that when I read I make a grumpy face, which for some time she just thought I was always mad about things. Since she is enjoying pointing out my grumpy face I've now resorted to hiding behind pillows and building forts while I read.

And with that, the sun set on our last cold, rainy day as we begin our adventure to the Gold Coast.

Cheers :)

Posted by Flanilandlizard 00:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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