The latest Down Under visit...

Another trip to Australia. Why not? Almost exactly 12 months after the previous trip (to WA) it was a return, to a certain extent to cover old ground but everything has a reason and a purpose.  Alas another short trip given the distance, but it is what it is. It was a few days in Adelaide, where we stayed in a very nice Airbnb property to the south of the city and then a bit of a road trip taking the slow route to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road.

Adelaide’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. It is quiet, genteel, laid back and all that is good.  But, by the same token it does have its issues which I think would be improved by a (slightly) bigger population.  Without wishing to sound like someone from the loony left, extra people create extra jobs and extra wealth.  But as it is, the city has round 1.25 million inhabitants and on the whole does seem very self-sufficient in many ways.  Except electricity, but that is another story for another day.  We came here late in 2013, loved it then and loved it now.  It was a much greener Adelaide than would normally be the case for the summer months too.  The wettest winter ever has been followed up by the wettest summer in over eight decades.  Whether this is just a one off and bad luck or the seasons and/or weather patterns are genuinely changing remain to be seen.  Great news for the wine producers though.  For those that don’t know, South Australia is the wine capital of the country and now one of the largest wine producers in the world.  You do not have to be a wine buff to notice some of the names on the Vin Yards that you would see in your local supermarket in the UK.

The journey to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road took us southeast from Adelaide, via yet more large wine producing areas, the very clean town of Naracoorte (big enough to have a McDonalds) and an overnight stop over the border in Victoria in Hamilton.  I had done the Great Ocean Road previously, in two halves but had been to the Twelve Apostles twice (if that makes sense) This was the first time that I had done the whole thing, which runs from Warnambool to Torquay and was largely built by returning servicemen from the war.  It is mighty impressive but, at least with the Twelve Apostles one cannot but think that the commercialism is being pushed to the limit.  The western end of the GOR starts with some great views and pull ins, but once you get to London Bridge the masses of buses on day trips from Melbourne start to appear and the Twelve Apostles now boasts a whole visitor centre and marshalled car park!  The walk ways are very busy, but, to be fair have been designed so that you do not have a hundred different selfie sticks getting in the way of your own photos.  The erosion is what makes the Great Ocean Road what it is and the Twelve Apostles are an example.  There is one less than my last trip 13 years earlier and thus within the next 50 years they could be gone…  Unless the winds on the Southern Ocean die down.

There are several nice towns along the Great Ocean Road.  Apollo Bay and Lorne to name but two, the latter of which we had an overnight stay in before heading on to Torquay, which features a very large beach/s – but is also being heavily built up with new housing estates and shopping malls going in – and then in a change, headed to Melbourne the back way, via the Queenscliffe to Sorrento ferry and then the Mornington Peninsula.

Brighton Beach in Adelaide
Looking down on the Adelaide CBD from Mount Lofty
South Australia has had its wettest summer in 2016-17 for over 80 years. This was a wet Sunday afternoon in the city centre February 2017...
The rural town of Naracoorte in the far south-east of South Australia. Just look at how clean (and yes, green) it is...
Great Ocean Road, Victoria. London Bridge.
Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles. Long since been that number and actually one less since my last visit in 2004. And now in danger of being over commercialised in an attempt to get the Chinese $$$ too (sorry)
A most in-summer like afternoon at Mount Dandgenong, east of Melbourne. Not that it shows in this photo and the very pretty gardens. Since I last went up there in 1999 the whole place has improved greatly.
Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station
Federation Square, Melbourne.
Floral Clock, Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
Melbourne Central Shopping Mall. The old shot tower is now one of the oldest buildings in the city.
The oldest pub in Melbourne and one of the oldest in Australia. Only one or two in Sydney and in Tasmania are older.
The oldest building in Australia! Even if it was originally built in Yorkshire. The house Captain Cook was brought up in was transplanted brick by brick and has sat in to the side of the Melbourne CBD since.