So, we are back from our little Australia jaunt.
Last Tuesday we flew out. The flight wasâ€¦early. I think they schedule them all so early so that you arrive in time for the work day, and in time for them to use that plane for the morning air-commuter rush. We had a six hour layover in Brisbane, which gave us time to take the train into the city. Thankfully it wasn’t too hot, and downtown Brisbane is okay. The blooming Jaquerandas were certainly pretty. The train system is into town brilliant- clean, quite, and fast. The one big downside is that the train is the only way (without a bus or cab) to get between domestic and international terminals, and with trains only every 30 minutes this could really mess up a connection if time was short.
We arrived in Adelaide about 5PM, but it was closer to 6:30 before we got to the hostel. I have memories of devouring a nice organic pizza, but I was so hungry at the time they could have fed me cardboard and I would have probably eaten it.
Tuesday was spent walking around Adelaide. The botanic gardens are nice, but we were there so early most of the building-based exhibits had not even opened yet! Next up was the natural history museum. Worst. Taxidermy. Ever. Really. Wow. The guanaco was a frightening beast, which really looked nothing like a guanaco. The aboriginal collection was quite good, but I must admit after time lots of wood and stone tools start to look very same of the same. The pacific collection upstairs had more variety, and some very wacky carded hats from New Ireland (?).
The fossils were cool. Opalized fossils! Who knew that could happen? Also fossils from the pre-Camrian period when we had “animals without predators”, which were discovered in the Flinders Range north of Adelaide. Very simple jelly-like animals, but with no offensive or defensive abilities.
Thursday we picked up the (enormous!) rental car, and headed out of town. We dropped by the Cleland wildlife park first. This is one of those places where you can walk around inside enclosures with the non-dangerous animals (Emus, Kangaroos and Wallabies), and look into other enclosures with the more bite-y species (Dingos, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils). We got to pet a Koala Bear! We saw a Tasmanian Devil! It was a fun couple of hours.
To the south and west is the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula. The weather patterns give this area a bit more rain, so we enjoyed a bit of green. (The winter/spring rains were largely stopping elsewhere, and South Australia was rapidly browning off.) Among other things we visited a wind farm near the cape, and after some trial and error found the dirt road that lead right out to the turbines. In a howling gale, less than 100 m from the 100 meter-high turbine, you could definitely hear it. But the noise was no worse that wind through our high voltage towers, or even high wind through pine trees.
I also need to comment on just how friendly the people were. In Brisbane a woman in the train station helped us find our way out of the station, and directed us on fun things to do in herÂ 5-minute-tour of the downtown area. Again and again people stopped to help or provide advice, including an Adelaide bus driver one night who took us across town one night (we were shattered from a long day of walking) for the price of one bus ticket, as it was all the cash we had. Snaps to the friendly citizens!
Friday morning we visited some local attractions and parks, including the abandoned Talisker Mine. Mmmmmm, mining a lead-arsenic-silver load without safety equipment. I don’t want to think about how those poor miners fared in the long term.
Then it was out to Currency Creek (which is about 1 hour SE of Adelaide) to stay with Susan, and look at lots of alpaca. On Saturday we went up to Glenns place (an hour north) to look at the two boys we are considering buying. Right now they are still tied. Ceasar (sic) is a bit bigger, and has a better head. Sinbad has slightly better fiber. We will wait for the next fleece results, which will be in a few weeks, to make the final decision.
But we got to meet Lancelot, Hyouki’s Sire. They look very alike, and share the laid-back personality. We also got to meet Brutus, Concetta’s sire, and she got her attitude from him! Jane, who bred Concetta, commented after looking at her photos on our blog that “she looked happy.” It was very heart-warming to see that a person who has bred hundreds (thousands?) of alpacas, and was until recently on a farm with 650 of them, can still love them each individually!
And while we were gone, Persil stubbornly refused to give birth! Yvonne and Kerry were apparently hoping she would drop while we were away, so they could “have one of their own.” She is now 3 weeks past her due date. Hopefully soon. A nice easy birth. That would be a good start to the year.