A 15 minute walk took us to the other side of the CBD. There was the understated war memorial.
The Art Gallery of South Australia’s interior looks very like its Sydney counterpart.
But I was hanging out for the South Australian Museum.
We saw a really good exhibition called ‘Yidaki’ – about the didgeridoo, its Yolngu origins in North-East Arnhem Land, and its modern context. No photos, but here is an essay about it.
The other thing I was looking forward to seeing were the museum’s fossil collection. South Australia being the home of the Ediacaran fossils (one of the first known complex multicellular organisms), it was wonderful to see that there was a whole gallery full of fossils.
And here they are – with quite pretty patterns. Scientists have yet to agree whether they are plants or animals!
There were even preserved water ripples from 600 million years ago (that’s 6 times older than dinosaurs).
These fossils are so important in the biological history of the world that Sir David Attenborough visited the site where these fossils were found as part of his First Life series.
And so folks, that ends our epic trek across Australia from north to south. I’ll explore things closer to home next time.
Adelaide hasn’t been a place that I’ve often visited – the last time was perhaps 11 years ago – so I came to the city with fresh eyes.
It’s not an overwhelmingly busy place, has a well-planned layout that made navigation easy – we got from Victoria Square to Rundle Mall and back with no problems – and so it made a nice entry back to civilisation after some time in the bush.
Here’s the explorer that inspired the whole cross-continental thing in the 19th century – Charles Sturt. You won’t be able to see Darwin from here, mate.
After dinner that night, we stopped at the remote rail siding of Manguri, around 50km from Coober Pedy. The train’s well-lit windows made a cinematic backdrop to the scene.
Even in the desert, some people seemed only interested in their phones.
A bonfire was ready and waiting, and most passengers gravitated towards it. The 15C or so temperatures was a cool change to the tropics.
Meanwhile, I was more interested in capturing the stars on a clear, desert night.
My attempt was short-lived though. Moments after this, an over-zealous security guard type said I couldn’t step out of the light due to “OH and S considerations”. That just killed the fun out of the desert night experience for me.
One more morning, and by noon the following day we were back in civilisation – Adelaide.
From Alice Springs, the train makes its way due south across the red desert.
But as I’ve seen on previous trips, it’s not all flat expanse out there.
We even cross the Finke River, where I spent a whole week upstream two years before.
We cross into South Australia as the sun sets on our full day on the Ghan.
Darwin wasn’t the end of the trip but the mid-way point. Next, we were off on the Ghan – the famous train service that runs from Darwin through the centre of Australia to Adelaide – a route that is 2,979km long. The train is named after the Afghan cameleers that used to transport goods and services in Australia’s centre before the advent of the train or motor car.
We started off at the Darwin end at their railway station. Surprisingly, it’s a good 30 minutes from the city, but that’s because the Ghan required a mighty long platform – the train was almost a kilometre long with around 30 carriages. First task was to find our carriage. Luckily it was close by.
Inside our Gold Class carriage, it was pretty swish.
Our cabins were in day mode and were comfy and snug. Hint – any luggage larger than a backpack will get you in trouble. I saw people hauling large suitcases and wondered where they put them.
The bathroom was a bit of wonder for me. Shower, toilet and basin all in a 1.5m squared room. That’s tiny living!
Unlike Adelaide and Melbourne, Sydney is rather bereft of long jettys like this one in Port Noarlunga, just outside of Adelaide. It’s a historical jetty, but one that is obviously well maintained. I like how the water is turquoise, and the planks and piers roughly weathered and mangled by shellfish.
On a Sunday morning, the jetty is a hive of activity with fisher-people, walkers, and in the water, divers, even on a cold, June day.
While scoffing a bottle of D’Arenberg GSM the other day, I was reminded of my long weekend in Adelaide, four years ago now. A group of us from Sydney stayed at KK’s place near McLaren Vale. We had met through the C19 forum, drawn together by our love of period dramas and good wine. Yes, they do go together superbly, especially on a cold winter’s day. We’d tasted some great wines that weekend, from both the Barossa and McLaren Vale. KK was a superb host, and although our group has drifted apart since then, I still have fond memories of that long weekend in the Vale.