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Days 262-263 Monday-Tuesday January 7-8, 2008 – Adelaide, Australia
Our holiday park in Adelaide was located just two kilometers outside of the central business district. This worked out great for us since the city was within walking distance. Situated directly between our cabin and the city was the botanical gardens, so we figured it was the obvious place to start for the day. As I mentioned before, the parks in Adelaide are struggling to stay green with the drought. This is not the case with the botanical gardens though. In fact, the Adelaide Botanical Gardens are among the biggest and nicest we have seen on our trip.
The walk from our cabin to the botanical gardens took ten minutes or so. Immediately after entering we noticed a giant building to the right. It turned out to be a conservatory. After investigating a bit, we found out that admission to the conservatory wasn’t free so we opted to visit elsewhere in the gardens. I won’t go into many details, but the Adelaide Botanical Gardens contained displays of plants from all over the world. It was a good mix of detailed displays along with wide open spaces for people to relax. We even saw a couple doing adult things under a tree. (Shame on them!)
After an hour of walking around, we emerged from the other end of the gardens in the CBD. A map we obtained from the holiday park showed a 3km walk that passed most of the cities main sites and landmarks. The walk seemed reasonable to us, so we set out on a journey, modifying the map’s route a bit because of our starting location.
While some of the 21 historical buildings along the route were old houses, apartment buildings and churches we also found a few major landmarks including the South Australia Parliament House, The Art Gallery of South Australia, South Australia Museum and the State Library. After passing several of the smaller buildings mentioned above, we came to our first major destination, The Art Gallery of South Australia.
This art gallery turned out to be pretty standard and thus we only did a quick walk through. So far we have been to dozens of art galleries on this trip and it has become harder and harder to spend great amounts of time in them with Shawn Reece. This is especially true when each gallery is about the same as the one before it. Kids simply don’t see art in the same way as adults. All he sees are the same boring paintings over and over.
After leaving the gallery we went to the South Australia museum next door. Once again it didn’t contain us long, but we did spend quite a few minutes in the section with artifacts covering many of the Pacific Islander cultures. After leaving the museum, we headed next door to the state library where I spent an hour working on the website via their FREE internet access.
Following the library, we jetted over to an adjacent mall where we ate the food court before heading to our next stop, the South Australia Parliament House. We opted not to tour the building and just admired it from the sidewalk before moving on. The rest of the tour took us past more small historical buildings before leading us to the Rundle Mall which is the main shopping district in the city.
By the time we got back to our cabin it was around 5pm and we were tired from a full day of walking in the heat. On Tuesday morning, we woke up early because we still had a few things to accomplish in the city and limited time to do it. Our first stop of the day was at the Adelaide Gaol, a prison built in the 1800s. The gaol was a short drive from our cabin.
The Adelaide Gaol was used as a prison for 147 years and saw 45 prisoners executed during that time. On the weekends staff give guided tours, but during the week the tours are self guided. We don’t usually mind this though since it gives us the opportunity to go at our own pace. After paying the admission fee, we walked through a small museum before being set loose on the prison grounds.
We were given a sheet of paper with numbers detailing what order to see things and a route to get around the building. Since the first building was built in the early 1800’s and several were added throughout the years many of the cell blocks differed in style. During the tour we walked through cell blocks that furnished as they would have been in the prison’s early days. We also took the time to visit some of the other typical facilities you would expect to find in a prison. Shawn Reece seemed to enjoy the experience since it was the first time he had ever been in a prison building
As we progressed through the tour, signs explained the stories of the many prisoners executed within the prison’s walls. While in the back section of the prison we could see initials and dates written on the walls. We later found out that the laws of the day stated that every prisoner executed had to be buried on prison grounds. In order to keep track, the prisoner’s intials and date of exection were written on the wall to act as some kind of a grave marker. We did enjoy the tour, but one can only stay so long in such a depressing place before needing to get out!
After getting some lunch and with the afternoon free we opted to drive into the hills that surround the city. We didn’t really plan on doing anything in particular, but simply drove to the Mount Lofty Summit where an observation deck overlooks the city. As we turned onto the road to the summit, we saw a few warning signs for koalas and got excited. We had been hoping to see koalas in the wild and these signs provided much excitement for us. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t see any on this day.
Once at the Mount Lofty Summit we walked out to the lookout. Adelaide’s CBD is very small and really gave us a false impression of how big the city is. From high above, we really saw the depth and size of the capital of South Australia. While we didn’t see any koalas up there, I am sure we will run across them at some point in Australia.
It was once again late in the afternoon when we headed back to the cabin. We had more to do in the city on Wednesday, but we would have to do it in the morning, because our time constraints with the rental car forced us to keep moving. We have really enjoyed Adelaide even though the landscape isn’t as pretty as the other places we have seen thus far.
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The Coomer Family
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