Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and a lovely city. It is smaller than Melbourne or Sydney, but has its charms.
Today was my full day in Adelaide and tomorrow I have most of the day to spend here. I decided to rent a car today and drive south to the town of Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula. This 80k trip was an easy drive. After driving through Adelaide and its suburbs, the rural land went from flat to gentle rolling hills. This is grape country and rows of vines stretched out from both sides of the road. This area has had a good bit of rain in the past couple of weeks so fields were very green. There was also a riot of yellow flowers all through the fields and vineyards, which was a pleasant surprise. I asked a woman at the information center about these colorful flowers but she didn’t know their name, only that the locals consider them weeds! I guess they are like our dandelions at home!
The woman at the information center was very helpful when I asked about seeing whales and places to hike. Victor Harbor has a long history of whaling and the Southern Right Whales continue to call this coastline home during the winter months. They come here to breed and have their babies. Word on the street was that whales had been sighted at a beach about 15 minutes to the east of Victor Harbor. So I bought a sandwich and drove the short distance to Bashams Beach. I stopped at the top of the hill down to the beach parking area because there were several cars pulled over on this high vantage point and their drivers were out of their cars, looking out to sea. So I did the same and there they were: 2 whales arching their backs out of the water and occasionally clearing their blow holes!!! I stood by the car for awhile before walking to an overlook where there was a bench. I sat on the bench, in the sunshine, eating my lunch and watching these 2 whales slowly swim to the east! It was wonderful. Look closely at the first photo at the end of this blog entry and you may see a small black line in the ocean~that’s the whale!!
I wanted to get some hiking in today so I said goodbye to the whales and drove to the other side of Victor Harbor to a place called The Bluff. This is a large rock outcropping that used to be a whale spotting place when whaling was the prime industry in Victor Harbor. Today is is a popular hiking spot by the ocean. I did the hike to the top of The Bluff and couple of nice guys were happy to take my photo on my camera! I then started walking on the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, right along the coast. The trail went from the cliff tops down to some of the beaches along the trail. These rocky cliffs are granite rock and have a different look from some of the sandstone cliffs I’ve seen (Great Ocean Road). And as you might have guessed, I enjoyed watching the waves crash into these rocks!
When I rented my car this morning, the minimum rental time was 24 hours, which meant I could have kept the car until 9:30 tomorrow morning. If I did this, I would have to pay big bucks to park the car overnight, and where was I going to go early in the morning? The rental company closed at 4:45 this afternoon, so I had to take a shorter hike than I would have liked so I could return the car before Budget closed for the day. The drive back was just as beautiful as this morning’s drive. With about 15-20k’s left to drive on the way back, I crested a hill and there in the distance was a great view of Adelaide.
Because I just walked into Budget rental this morning without making a prior car reservation, I didn’t have many choices of small cars. The only one available was a small, blue Yaris with manual transmission! I am good at driving a stick when the stick is in my right but the stick on the left was going to be a challenge! I am pleased to report that I did just fine! Thank goodness it wasn’t raining because it took a lot of concentration to get my left hand to shift through the gears in the right order and my right hand to get the turn signals going correctly. It may have been too much for my aging brain to have managed the windshield wipers with my left hand too!
Tomorrow I will tour the Botanical Gardens which are quite close to my hotel and then I will walk through the large shopping area that is between me and the gardens!
In the late afternoon I’ll grab a cab to take me back to the train station where I will board the Indian-Pacific train for my trip to Perth. I don’t imagine I will have any Internet until I get to Perth on Saturday night, so there won’t be a blog for a few days, unless I do something before I leave town tomorrow.