Christine and Ian – Australia (Jan 20)

Thank you, once again, to Jules and Mags for organizing a holiday for us. Even though there wasn’t anything unusual about the trip and maybe we could have booked it ourselves, it’s reassuring to know that there is someone there ‘just in case’.

On arrival in Adelaide, via Doha, even though there weren’t many fires around Adelaide, the air was tinged with the scent of smoke. A reminder of the awful fires still burning in the country. By the time we left Australia they were all out.

This was mainly a city holiday, with a short stop in the Barossa Valley. The aspect we enjoyed about all the cities; Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne, was the walkability of them all. In Adelaide we joined a tasting tour of the Central Market (a must visit place) and then a pay as you go style walking tour of the city. In Canberra were taken on a tour of the old and new Parliament buildings. Melbourne has its Lanes and Arcades which are another ‘must see’.

Adelaide and Melbourne are both just a tram ride away from lovely beaches. We also went on a short train journey. Having seen Michael Portillo’s TV programmes before we arrived in Australia, we knew that we wanted to go on the Puffing Billy Railway. It was really good fun. In Adelaide we also went to watch a Big Bash League cricket match at the Oval.

All the cities have excellent museums and art galleries. I particularly liked the National Wine Centre of Australia in Adelaide, where there are over 100 wines to taste!

And then there’s the wine. 4 nights in the Barossa valley gave us time to have a full day tour in a minibus and to hire bicycles for another day. We were the only people on the minibus tour, so the driver organised the trip around what we wanted to taste and see. Barossa Valley not only has wine, but cheese and chocolate as well! We drove back to Adelaide through the Adelaide Hills, where we saw some of the destruction caused by the fires. We also visited vineyards when we were staying in Canberra and Melbourne.

Coffee is really big in Australia, there are coffee shops everywhere and they all seemed to be doing a good trade. All the restaurants, bars and music venues that we visited were relaxed and friendly.

We saw very little wildlife. The only creature that we came close to was a baby Little Penguin hiding in the rocks at St Kilda beach, just outside Melbourne.

The different styles of accommodation were all very good; Art Nouveau hotel in Adelaide, self-catering cottage in Tanunda, serviced apartment in Canberra and a 33rd floor room in the Jazz Corner Hotel in Melbourne.

Would we go again? Yes!
Christine & Ian.