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G'day from Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia
Thursday, July 15, 2013

Day 1 - Fresh off the train!

We made sure that our plans for the first day in Adelaide were not too taxing just in case we slept badly on the train. After checking in at the hostel we were pleased to find out that we had free internet and free breakfast, so after getting stuck into the free nosh we headed out and went in search of a local aboriginal art gallery, which we had read about in Lonely Planet as it sounded quite good.

Aboriginal National Culture Institute

When we arrived we had a quick look through the gift shop that sold everything from hand painted didgeridoo's and boomerangs to a small selection of aboriginal artwork. After this we ventured into the gallery itself to have a look at a selection of artwork that has been created by local aboriginal women. We are the first to admit that we know nothing about art; however we do have eyes and can tell the difference between something that's taken longer than five minutes to produce and is essentially just paint that has been thrown at the canvas.

To be fair we did see some lovely paintings that were obviously painted by talented artists that were bright and colourful with interesting shapes and patterns that appealed to both the eye and the imagination, but these were few and far between the paintings that strongly resembled the art work of your average three year old. Complete with splodge's of paint randomly thrown onto the canvas with no shapes, no patterns and essentially no talent! Just before we left we came across some stuffed dolls that were meant to portray beauty but in our opinion looked more like voodoo dolls. Let's just say we were happy to leave and we were glad we hadn't paid to get in!

Chocolate Factory

Way back in Penang when we planned our Adelaide visit we booked ourselves onto the free tour of the Haigh's Chocolate Factory, especially after Sonya read the part about getting to sample some of the chocolates :-) We arrived early and were greeted by a very friendly Aussie who welcomed us to the store by offering us a nice cup of tea and (in Sonya's opinion) even better than that she gave us both a 10% discount voucher to spend in the store.

The tour started with a brief explanation of the history behind the Haigh's and we were told about the process involved in producing chocolate the 'old fashioned way' right from the coco bean itself. The lady kindly passed round a sample of coco beans for everyone to sniff at which point Sonya started foaming at the mouth, so it was a good thing that just after this we were lucky enough to sample some of the lovely chocolate. :-)

Haigh's insist on producing chocolate using old fashioned methods and apart from machinery used to process the coco bean everything else is done by hand. We were then taken on a factory tour to see this for ourselves and sure enough we saw workers doing everything from hand decorating individual chocolates to boxing up and sending out stock by hand. A laborious process from start to finish, which in most industries would have been automated by now, however 'hand-made' adds to the illusion of quality and of course increases the price.

Even Ross was drooling when we walked past members of staff who were sitting at heated work stations with yummy looking melted chocolate rolling out truffles. Unfortunately for health and safety reasons (to protect the workers from Sonya) we had to stay behind the glass wall separating us from all the goodies :-( On the bright side we were given more chocolate to sample at the end of the tour. It has to be said, the chocolate is very different to anything we have tried before and it's so sweet that even Sonya was restricted on how much she could eat, although after eating all the free samples on offer we still had to buy a packet of sprinkles, giant milk buttons with hundreds and thousands on top! Yummy.

In the afternoon we caught the tram out to the end of the line to take advantage of the blue skies and warm weather by taking a walk along the popular Glenelg Beach. Well that was after we managed to climb over the biggest pile of seaweed that we've ever seen! We are not exaggerating; take a look at the photos to see what we mean it was as tall as Sonya. Maybe we should have used Ross as a reference but anyway it was massive. Walking along this lovely beach was the perfect way to end the day.

Day 2 - Museum Day

We started the day by taking the train to Port Adelaide home of the aviation, railway and maritime museums!

Lonely Planets review of the aviation museum was far from flattering so we initially crossed the museum off our to do list, however after finding a leaflet about it yesterday we decided to visit.... and we are so glad we did. The museum which backs onto the railway museum had an impressive display of aircraft, some of which you were allowed inside. There were various exhibits of famous (crazy) Australian's that had achieved some pretty incredible things. Such as the first pilot to build his own aircraft before flying it round the world twice. He travelled once in each direction and then over both the north and south poles. If you have any interest in aviation this museum is well worth a visit.

As rail is an integral part of our adventure, especially in Australia we thought it was only right to visit the National Railway museum. With a bewildering array of diesel and steam locomotives and various rolling stock this museum was a gricers paradise. With detailed exhibits on the country's history of rail, signalling and the main lines including those we have and will travel on it was a great museum. Unfortunately for us we chose a day in the school holidays with a special event! D'oh! Yes the 'circus train' was in town and it was full of screaming children. After we navigated our way through the main train shed complete with face painting, magicians and furry critters to stroke and pet the crowds did disperse and we were left pretty much to ourselves. We had a great time at the museum but would have liked to spend a bit longer reading some of the exhibits in the main train shed but with the very loud crowds it just wasn't possible.

We were planning on visiting the trio of transport museums but we ran out of time so we had to give the maritime museum a miss.

In the afternoon we headed back into town and visited the botanic gardens, which was just a front so we could visit the National Wine Centre of Australia which is conveniently located within the gardens. The wine centre had some good exhibits especially the 'make your own wine quiz'. Which we both failed miserably and won't be changing professions anytime soon. Sonya tried twice and her best attempt was considered to be more akin to something you would find at a garden centre than red wine. Ross didn't fare any better in his attempt to create a white wine and his concoction was compared to an outdoor surface cleaner. You can do wine tasting at the centre with prices starting at $10, but we decided to give it as miss as tomorrow we are visiting Coopers Brewery. :-)

Day 3 - Hummm Beer!

South Australian Museum

We decided to make the South Australian Museum our first port of call today to see what it had to offer and we were not disappointed. The old stone building had been transformed and brought into the 21st century with the modern twist of glass and steel adding a beautiful extension and making this already big building absolutely huge. Billed as one of Australia's most important scientific and cultural museums, with an array of different objects and specimens that have been collected over the last 150 years we were looking forward to exploring its five floors.

As soon as we walked through the door it was hard to miss the huge display showcasing the skeletal remains of some massive blue whales and the much smaller dolphin. This exhibition helped us to visualise the enormity of these beautiful mammals and it was amazing to see how similar the bone structures of the fins are to the human hand.

The next room was full to the brim of parasitic animals of all shapes and sizes and although it wouldn't be to everyone's taste we thought that it was really fascinating. The room was organised into different sections to show you what different animals look like from around the world.

The next room gave us a good overview of Australia's Aboriginal Cultures and had a massive amount of artefacts from tribes and interviews to show us their way of life. There was a massive display of boomerangs, big and small that were used for hunting, playing and even fighting, the difference being these ones were not designed to come back!

Not only were the rooms massive in size they also seemed to be endless. One of these rooms in particular was filled with a dazzling display of fossils ranging from Megafauna Fossils that were 40 thousand years old and Opal Fossils that were 120 million years old. We could have spent hours looking at them as they were so pretty. Alongside this there were the equally impressive displays of minerals and meteorites that were huge in size. We would have spent much longer in this amazing museum but with a tight schedule to stick to we had to get our skates on if we were going to make it to the next place on time.

Coopers Brewery

We had booked to go onto The Coopers Brewery Tour which fully explains why Ross was so eager to get here on time :-) Especially with the promise of sampling some free beer.

The tour started with a walk around the brewery with our guide doing his best to blind us with science and convince us that brewing beer is not easy and Coopers is the best. However he later went on to say he brews his own homebrew so it can't be that hard! The factory tour was interesting, especially how they 'Burtonise' the water. A process where they try and replicate the water used back home at our very own Burton-Upon-Trent. We loved the bottling plant and although it was only running at about half speed it was amazing to see bottles 'flying' off the production line. As this is only one of many breweries around the world pumping out beer all day it's incredible there is enough demand.

After the factory tour we had 40 minutes of beer tasting covering everything the brewery produces, including its vintage brew which is changed annually and only brewed once in July so we were lucky to taste the 2013 brew. Needless to say it's not cheap stuff at $60 a pack. The tour was great value for money at just $20, $18 of which goes to charity, we both got a complimentary glass and must have drunk nearly $18 worth of beer enough to make you slightly bleary eyed.

Ta Ta for now

Team Chip

Hostel Review

We stayed at Oz Backpackers hostel in a double private with shared bathroom. The hostel was well located on the corner of Wakefield and Puteney Streets. The hostel is well located close by the free intercity bus service, only a 15-20 minute walk from the main train station (depending how long you spend at the shops on the way) and only 5-10 minutes to the tram. The room was basic but clean and had a hand basin in the room which was an added bonus. The bathroom facilities were good with several showers and a bath, all of which were kept clean if a little dated. The hostel does a lot for guests organising various activities and evening entertainment. We didn't participate in much apart from the free BBQ on Wednesday which was excellent with masses of free food to go round. With free breakfast and free tea and coffee all day Oz Backpackers offers a good night sleep at a reasonable price.


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