On Top Of Old Lofty

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February 23rd 2011
Published: February 23rd 2011
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Friday 18th February – unfortunately we had heavy downpours of rain all morning which left large puddles of water in the roadways on the caravan park. We did our grocery shopping in the afternoon and as the rain cleared towards the end of the day we popped down to Brighton beach and had a fish and chip supper.

Saturday dawned at least dry although it was very cloudy. We had already decided that we would head for the hills – the Adelaide Hills that is and keep our fingers crossed that the clouds would clear a bit. We wound our way up into the hills until we reached the highest point in this area – Mount Lofty which is 2329 feet above sea level. We were disappointed to find that we had to pay $2 to park the car but since we’d made the effort to get there we parked and paid up. But what a spectacular view – it’s well worth a couple of dollars. At the top there were lots of people (men and women) who had completed the challenging task of running or cycling to the top of the mountain or had parked and used the many
Wonderful view of AdelaideWonderful view of AdelaideWonderful view of Adelaide

even on a cloudy day
tracks for training runs. It is obviously a great training area for serious athletes/cyclists and an ideal location for both casual and serious walkers. While we were there we had lunch in the café which was definitely lunch with a view!

We walked a short distance along one of the many walking tracks but because my hip was playing up we didn’t go too far. Instead we drove down to Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens. We didn’t stay there too long as the signs warned of steep and uneven footpaths so I didn’t feel like tackling anything too difficult today. After that we drove on through the hills to Hahndorf which as, the name suggests, is of German origin. It’s believed to be the site of one of the first German settlements in Australia and the German theme is still strongly evident and makes for a lovely “touristy” town. Graham was determined to sample some German cake so we went to The German Bakery where he tucked into a generous helping of custard apple gateau. Afterwards we drove on to Mount Barker and sought out the lookout of the same name. It was actually several kilometers from the town and
Flinder's Column at the summit of Mount LoftyFlinder's Column at the summit of Mount LoftyFlinder's Column at the summit of Mount Lofty

Erected in 1902 in honour of Matthew Flinders who discovered and named Mt Lofty on 3rd March 1802
a couple of kilometers up a gravel road but, again, the view was terrific. I stayed at the first lookout point but Graham climbed to the peak where the view was absolutely panoramic.

Sunday 20th - Happy Birthday to our nephew, Mark, or Bert as he is more commonly known - we hope you enjoyed your birthday. This morning we went to the Westfield shopping centre mainly to price up a new phone. The one we had inherited from Sarah and Darryl was proving a little unreliable in that it wouldn’t hold a charge for long. The people in the Telstra shop examined it but could find nothing obviously wrong with it so we put it down to “wear and tear”, chose a new phone and transferred the sim card. Back at the caravan park we had arranged with the managers to re-locate Sweetie to a different site where she could be left while we go to New Zealand. We were quite happy with that as our near neighbours had been a bit noisy and inconsiderate with their comings and goings. It didn’t take long to move and we were soon set up on our new site. By way of celebration we set about giving Sweetie a well-earned wash and brush up so now she looks pretty smart. Ironically, the noisy neighbours had evidently upset a few people with their late-night behaviour and the following day they were asked to leave the park.

On Monday we drove into the city hoping to go to the zoo. For a state capital city it was so easy to negotiate and in no time at all we were in the heart of the CBD. We found the Zoo but the only places we could find to park were hugely expensive. We drove around in the hope of finding a suitable, cheaper place but we were getting further away from the zoo. Eventually we saw the floodlights of the Adelaide Oval, the test cricket ground which we were also hoping to visit. We ventured into their parking area and made enquiries about parking fees. They were just as expensive there - $9:60 for 4 hours – but we also discovered that entry to the Oval museum was free and that there was a Sheffield Shield match between SA and Queensland just starting and the entry to that was also free - what a great result. The staff there were most helpful in providing us with change to feed the parking meter. We watched all of the morning’s play, an early Queensland collapse followed by an excellent recovery, had lunch in the café (Graham had pie and chips!!!) and spent some time in The Don Bradman Museum. Early in the afternoon I left Graham watching the afternoon’s play and I walked along King William Street (is that a prophetic name?) to North Terrace where I had spotted a number of splendid statues. I managed to get photos of some of them before I thought I had better get back before Graham began to think I was lost! While I had been gone Queensland continued their recovery and then we had to go as our parking time expired so we made our way easily back through the city to Marion. While “on the road” we decided to go straight to Westfield to purchase some NZ currency for our impending trip. So after a couple of treks backwards and forwards between our bank and the Currency Exchange office we came away all ready to go (financially) on Thursday. All we have to do now is to pack and to prepare Sweetie for her 11 day stay “in mothballs”.

Tuesday 22nd and another birthday to celebrate - my cousin Colin who lives in St Albans in the UK. Happy Birthday Colin. Today we had planned to do our first serious snorkeling expedition. We had identified a couple of suitable sites – Normanville and Second Valley – and set about packing all of the required gear. With wetsuits, goggles and snorkels at the ready we set off for Normanville where there is a beautiful beach with easy access to the sea where we had anticipated a simple “practice session”. There are no real underwater areas to view there but it is easy to get in and out of the sea and to re-discover our snorkelling routine. The weather seemed ideal – the sun was shining strongly and the beach looked very inviting. What we hadn’t allowed for was the very strong wind!! We wandered on the jetty, along the beach and I paddled as we went while mulling over our options and were thrilled to spot a couple of manta rays cruising along just off-shore. The smallest one was about one meter across while the larger one was half as big again. Unfortunately, from the beach, it wasn’t easy to get a good photo – from the jetty would have been better – but it was lovely to see them. After we’d had lunch at a local bakery we decided that Second Valley would be a better bet for snorkelling – a small, easily accessible beach, a recognized snorkelling area all surrounded by hills which would provide shelter from the wind. How wrong we were - yes, again, on arrival, everything appeared very inviting but the gusting wind was almost gale-force at times. We decided that, after all, Normanville was the better of the two places so we made our way back there to reconsider our options. On the way we stopped for a cup of tea at a coastal viewing spot and read about HMAS Hobart which had been deliberately sunk a little way off shore as a “dive site” after years of sterling service to Australia’s Navy.

Back at Normanville we were again confused. A group of school-children were canoeing, one or two people were paddling, but no-one was actually in the sea. Would we be the first? It was still windy so, somewhat negatively, we decided to put off our snorkeling adventure until another time – perhaps at this same spot but when we return from NZ. We contented ourselves with ice-creams and with watching one of the stingrays which, surprisingly, was still in the area. On our way back towards Adelaide we diverted to a viewing point overlooking Myponga Reservoir. We wondered if we’d made the right decision as part of the route was on a gravel road. But this joined a sealed road which led to the dam wall which we were able to drive over and reach another viewing point on the other side. Carrying on we reached a point which gave magnificent views along the coast towards Adelaide. So the diversion was well worth the effort.

On return to the caravan, and with our sandwiches still intact, we decided to drive the short distance to Brighton beach and eat them while watching the sunset. What a good decision – the sunset was magnificent. Graham was upset because whilst we were eating sandwiches, everyone else seemed to be eating fish and chips!!! But a good end to some good days of adventure.

We’ve just heard about the earthquake disaster in South Island of NZ – horrendous. We are due to fly to Auckland on North Island on Thursday so we don’t know and can’t tell yet whether that will impact on our flights but we’ll just have to accept whatever develops and be thankful that our lives are relatively un-troubled compared to those who have recently suffered from cyclones, flooding, bush fires and now earthquakes.

Wednesday 23rd – this morning we popped into the travel agent and they confirmed that our flight to NZ should not be affected and we should hopefully go on time. It will seem a little strange flying into such a troubled country but if we cancelled we’d lose most or all of our money. After that the day was spent washing, ironing (the first time for months!), packing and tidying up outside. We have been asked to leave Sweetie in a state ready to be moved if necessary although the park managers think it unlikely that they’ll need our site but just in case Graham got busy in the afternoon making preparations.

We hope to send a couple of blogs from NZ internet access permitting - and now we need
Graham enjoying a custard tartGraham enjoying a custard tartGraham enjoying a custard tart

(not quite traditional German tucker!)
a holiday!!

Additional photos below
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Adelaide OvalAdelaide Oval
Adelaide Oval

apparently the prettiest cricket oval in Australia
Two of Donald Bradman's batsTwo of Donald Bradman's bats
Two of Donald Bradman's bats

The one on the right was the one he was using when he scored 452 not out in 1930

23rd February 2011

Have a great time in NZ, Dad said he'd had a text from you. So enjoy it, hopefully nothing else will happen over there. Emma XX
27th February 2011

Tragedies in Christchurch
Hi Emma - it's a sad time to be in NZ but hopefully the people in Christchurch will be able to re-build their lives. It's a beautiful country and we love it here. xx A. Jan

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