7 Best Things to Do and See in Adelaide

7 Best Things to Do and See in Adelaide

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Adelaide is a vibrant and culturally diverse city nestled between the stunning Adelaide Hills on one side and the wonderful and unique body of water of Gulf St Vincent on the other. At any time of the year, it is home to a wonderful array of festivals, award winning restaurants, trendy bars and boutique watering holes.

But, when you are not eating, drinking and being thoroughly entertained what are the best places to go in Adelaide on a day trip out? Here is a list of the 7 best things to see and do in Adelaide that we’ve found so far!

Parks and Wildlife

Adelaide is both surrounded and filled with beautiful green spaces such as Adelaide Botanic Garden; 50 hectares of pristine gardens and breath-taking architecture. Green also abound at Botanic Park and Elder Park. There are a number of other National Parks close by including Cleland Wildlife Park where you can hold a koala and Belair National Park.

Cultural Precinct

Walking the length of Adelaide’s cultural precinct with all of its impressive political, cultural and educational institutions would take a mere 5 minutes or so through the heart of the city but the truth is, this nineteenth century boulevard deserves time to experience. Just some of the buildings to be enjoyed is the Adelaide Festival Centre, the State Library of South Australia, the Migration Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.

Adelaide Gaol

As one of Australia’s longest continuously operated prisons, Adelaide Gaol housed some of the state’s most notorious and dangerous criminals from 1841 to 1988.  You can now take a tour through the hallways and cells, the hanging tower, yards and prisoner graves to get a unique glimpse of prison life.

National Wine Centre of Australia

Adelaide produces some of the best wines in the world, so what better place to enjoy the diversity of Australia’s 65 wine regions than the National Wine Centre of Australia. You can learn to blend your own wine and tune in your tastebuds to the characteristics of the key wine varieties grown in Aussie. Afterwards, you can take an appreciation Master Class in the Wined Bar with a wine sommelier.

Haigh’s Chocolates – Free Guided Viewing Tour

Just like wine grapes, cocoa bean varieties each have their own characteristics and what better place to find out more about the art of chocolate than a tour of the Haigh’s Chocolates Factory. In this free guided viewing tour, you can see Haigh’s team of confectioners creating and hand finishing their range of chocolates and get to taste some of their creations along the way. There are a few steps to navigate on the tour so those who are in wheelchairs or are mobility challenged will miss a little of the tour unfortunately.

Adelaide Ghost Tour

“The scariest and most real experience you will find in South Australia”. Recommended by paranormal TV celebrities, each ghost tour lasts around 2 hours. You can visit sites such as the Adelaide Gaol mentioned earlier, Adelaide Arcade and the National Railway Museum, Z Ward Asylum and the scariest of them all, Old Tailem Town. You can also choose to extend your experience with a paranormal or special event all night investigation.

Opal Mine

Who doesn’t love the beauty of opals? In the heart of Adelaide, you can visit a simulated underground opal mine and see the veins of real opal as they would naturally occur in the rock of Australian opal fields. You can even see a 100 million year old opalized dinosaur plesiosaur on display, one of only eight ever discovered.

There is so much to see and do around Adelaide that you will be spoiled for choice. I would love to know about your favourite things to do in Adelaide in the comments below. If you love our series on favourite things to do in Australia’s beautiful cities and towns, you can read more here.

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Cootamundra – It’s Not Just Cricket!

Cootamundra – It’s Not Just Cricket!

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Cootamundra is a picturesque country town in the Riverina, NSW, Australia. Although set within a natural environment and full of country charm, don’t believe that that means its sleepy and boring; there is certainly plenty to do and the locals are brimming full of warmth and friendliness.

Just a scenic road trip from Sydney or Melbourne and only two hours’ drive northwest of Canberra, it’s the perfect base to explore the Riverina. Its name, it is believed, was derived from the Wiradjuri word guudamang for ‘turtle’, as the town is around a low-lying marshland, the perfect turtle habitat.

Visit the Migurra Reserve in Cootamundra in July and August and you will be greeted with a sunny sea of golden yellow blooms of the Cootamundra Wattles which are native to the region. If that doesn’t satisfy your nature loving taste buds, you can enjoy rambling along one of the birdwatching trails and nature walks, visit Gardiner’s Lookout viewing place and picnic area and take the obelisk loop track at Pioneer Park; a beautiful 30 minute walk full of vegetation and, if you are lucky, you may even see some of the other locals; goannas, wombats and wallabys!

This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Places to Visit in and around Cootamundra

If you’re a cricket fan, then you will be delighted to know that the world’s greatest cricketer was born in Cootamundra in 1908. The cottage where Sir Donald Bradman was born is now a museum containing the batsman’s cricket memorabilia and if you venture to Jubilee Park and take the Captains Walk, you can see 42 bronze sculptures of Australian Test Cricket captains along with Unaarimim, the leading Aboriginal cricketer in the first Australian cricket team tour of England in 1868.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Cootamundra is also the former home of another Test Captain, Bill Murdoch. Entry to the museum is $3.00 for adults and children under 16 are free.

Paying tribute to some of the nation’s finest high-quality award-winning wheat crops, Cootamundra is home to beautiful fibre optic lit Milestones Sculptures which were opened in 1997 by the then Governor General William Deane. The sculptures are made from cast concrete and use patterns that represent wheat stalks cut from compressed fibrous cement and painted in a soft wheat colour. They are based in two locations – Mackay Park at Wallendbeen and in Parker Street.

A traditional agricultural show, the ‘Cootamundra Show’ is held every third weekend of October.

If the Milestones Sculptures have whetted your appetite for more heritage, culture and arts, then you are in for a treat.

Image courtesy of VisitNSW

Cootamundra Heritage Centre

Located in the former Railway Barracks and Rest House which were built in 1927, Cootamundra Heritage Centre houses a permanent collection of objects relating to Cootamundra housed in theme rooms on topics such as the history of the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home; Railway Barracks, Horse and Harness; Home and Hearth and displays about Cootamundra’s transport history, the RAAF and aviation. Entry is by gold coin donation.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Arts Centre

Thoughtfully restored by volunteers over the last 15 years, the old woolstore has been converted into a state-of-the-art facility for art and culture for the whole community to enjoy. The centre attracts artists in residence on a regular basis and offers workshops, performances and activities across many of the arts including music, theatre, sculpture, painting, pottery and stained glass.

Cootamundra Railway Station

Cootamundra Railway Station was first built, as a temporary structure, in 1877 comprising of a station building, goods shed and Station Master’s Residence, built to meet the rail line which had been extended from Harden. It was rebuilt in 1888 in a grand Victorian Italianate style and is still a working station today. It is considered an excellent and unusual example of a first-class station and demonstrates the importance attributed to this location during the late nineteenth century. Railway enthusiasts will also love the displays at the Cootamundra Heritage Centre as mentioned above.

Eating Out & Getting About

You are spoilt for choice in Cootamundra with plenty of tasty bakeries, cafes, coffee roasters, clubs, pubs and restaurants to choose from.

Cootamundra also has access to all the other necessities you may require with supermarkets, banks and chemists and there is a wide range of accommodation options from hotels, motels and inns to Cootamundra Caravan Park or Wallendbeen Park Farm.


This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor

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Essential Packing List For Hiking in Australia

Essential Packing List For Hiking in Australia

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I have a confession to make….. I’m a lists person. Whether that’s my every day ‘to-do’ list that I take great pleasure in highlighting through in yellow marker, or the checklist I go through each time I write a post such as this essential packing list for hiking, so I don’t miss any important steps. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to write out a list that can be used each time we decide on a last minute ramble to satisfy one of Rob’s itchy photography trigger finger moments!

Our trip to West Head Lookout at Ku-ring-gai National Park is one such trip where we really should have been more prepared. It wasn’t until we starting to pull out the camera gear that Rob realised there was a crucial piece missing that connected his camera to the tripod and held it steady. I completely forgot to grab a hat and sunglasses (though luckily Rob had a spare pair of glasses in the car) and we really struggled to find somewhere to park and eat nearby which left us ravenous by the time we headed home.

Thankfully we were only on what is a local day trip for us so we coped just fine but, as we’ve decided to head out somewhere on a whim again this weekend (decision to be made today), I think it’s time I put this essential packing list for hiking together so we don’t forget anything on our next ramble. Most of these items can be kept ready in a backpack so you can just check all is in order the night before and then you just need to prep the other stuff ready to go in the morning.

Some of the items on the list may seem a bit excessive for a day away but in Australia, you can never be too complacent when it comes to rambling through National Parks or driving off the main roads; it can be all too easy to find yourself disorientated without phone reception or stranded if your car breaks down.

ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST FOR HIKING

Dress Appropriately (and be prepared for all kinds of weather)

Boots or Shoes:

It can often come down to personal preference whether to go with hiking boots or lighter hiking shoes but either way, comfort must come first. Don’t choose a long ramble if you’ve got brand new shoes on; you could be asking for blisters galore. A good pair of sports/running shoes would be adequate if the terrain you are planning to walk in is reasonably gentle.

Socks:

Great hiking socks are a blend of merino, polyester and stretch nylon. They remain breathable and comfortable no matter how much you sweat in them and the snug fit helps to protect your feet. Ordinary cotton socks are not advised as they hold onto moisture and can cause your feet to rub inside your shoes.

Shorts/Long Pants:

Durable, breathable and light fabrics work best. Jeans are not the best option because they make you sweat quickly and then they hold onto that moisture for far too long. If you do wear shorts, try and wear those that are fairly long and come to your knees to try and protect yourself from bushes. If you’re out on a ramble in winter, you may still want to bring some shorts with you – zip off hiking pants are a great invention! Personally, I love wearing activewear leggings any time of year.

Long Sleeved Shirt:

Choose a long-sleeved shirt with collar to give you good protection from the sun without the need to keep re-applying sunscreen or, if you really want something lighter, then opt for an active wear style t-shirt rather than a cotton one so that any sweat is wicked away from the body but remember to keep your skin protected with insect repellent and sunscreen.

Warmth Layer:

It could be a hot and sunny day when you head off on your ramble, but Australian weather can be a bit unpredictable and, if you get caught in an evening chill after walking all day, you can get surprisingly cold very quickly. For occasions like this, have a light thermal base layer packed into your backpack that you can quickly pull out and put on. Merino is our fabric of choice.

If you are going out in winter, it’s also wise to have a fleece, beanie and gloves hand or, if you are heading inland, you may even want something warmer than a fleece depending on how much you feel the cold.

Wet Weather Gear:

A light spray jacket is ideal both as a windbreaker (use as a thermal layer) and wet weather outings. It’s also wise to have a couple of disposable ponchos in your bag in case you’re caught out.

Hat & Sunglasses:

Always wear a hat when you are out in the Australian sun – preferably it has a wide enough brim to shade your entire face and even better if it shades the back of your neck too. A soccer/baseball style cap is not the best option but better than nothing and visors are really a no-no; the Australian sun will burn your scalp quickly, even in winter.

Sunglasses with polarised lenses are best but anything that protects your eyes from UV rays and glare off water is good to protect your eyes.

Emergency Items:

A basic, light weight medical grade first aid kit is pretty much essential. At the very least, make sure you have a compression bandage, triangle bandage and emergency blanket. Also pack in Panadol, antihistamines, antiseptic and any medication you need (enough for overnight in case you get stuck).

Not strictly emergency items but wise to bring is lip balm, baby or body wipes, insect repellent, sunscreen, moisturiser, headtorch, pocketknife, personal locator beacon, matches, map of the area and compass.

Other Gadgets & Gizmos:

We personally don’t go anywhere without a decent camera but, if you don’t have a photography mad person on your ramble, then a good smartphone is perfect for taking memories of your day (of course, you want to carry the phone for safety anyhow). If you’re bringing a camera with you, it’s also wise to bring extra SD cards and batteries (and USB charger for your phone for use in the car).

Food & Snacks:

You’ll need food for the day and also keep an emergency stash of energy bars, nuts and dried fruit just in case you find yourself inadvertently having to wait for a rescue or until morning light to carry on. Reusable ziplock bags are perfect for the job as they seal food really well and keeps it fresh for a really long time, and we also love the fact we can wash them and use them again and again.

Water:

Always have at least two litres of water with you. Ideally in a reusable BPA free silicone, stainless steel or aluminium bottle. To save room, you can now get foldable water bottles that are surprisingly leakproof and have the added advantage that they won’t get bent if dropped. It’s also a good idea to take some water purification tablets with you if you need to top up your water from a fresh creek or stream.

Backpack:

For a day ramble, a 20-25 litre capacity hiking daypack is perfectly adequate to carry everything that you need. We love the Australian owned Bigfoot Venture Waterproof Backpack as it keeps all our gear dry, is super lightweight and the straps can be adjusted so that you can turn it into a shoulder bag. It also comes with an extremely handy waterproof smartphone case in case of accidents with muddy puddles or a dunny disaster!

Rubbish Bag:

Don’t leave home or camp without it! Australia is a beautiful country, please don’t spoil it by leaving rubbish behind. Also take food scraps with you as our native animals can become very sick and malnourished from eating human food and encourages them to be less fearful of humans. This can lead to a dangerous situation for both you and them.

This seems like a lot of stuff to take with you on a simple day out but pack the items well and you’ll find you’ll have more than enough room in your backpack and it won’t be too heavy to carry throughout the day. The last thing you want to be is unprepared in case the day doesn’t go to plan.

If you know of any other items that should be included on this essential packing list for hiking, please let us know in the comments below.

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West Head Lookout – Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

West Head Lookout – Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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Lookout Sydney -Breathtaking Scenery & Easy Access

You really can’t go wrong with taking a long meandering drive through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to get to the West Head Lookout. With just $12 per car entry, it’s a very affordable day out.  Gates to the park close at specific times depending on the time of the year, so it’s worth factoring that in if you visit late in the day.

It can get quite busy during the summer months but, when we took our trip on a beautiful sunny and warm day in April, we found a parking spot next to the path leading to the sandstone viewing area and there is plenty more parking very closely situated at the Resolute Picnic Area; just take the short Red Hands Track.

West Head Lookout

At the West Head Lookout, you can drink in a perfectly elevated view of Sydney’s waterways, with 270-degree panoramic views of Pittwater, Broken Bay, Lion Island, Barrenjoey Headland, Palm Bay and the Central Coast.

There is plenty of bench seating available as well as a low stone wall to perch yourself upon as you soak up the views and history of the area.

Lion Island

It’s thought that Lion Island, an 8-hectare nature reserve, was named so because of its resemblance to the Sphinx which guards the Pyramids in Egypt. As there are no feral animals there such as foxes or cats as well as being banned for public access, it’s an important haven for numerous migratory birds and native animals.

Barrenjoey Headland

The Barrenjoey Lighthouse that sits on Barrenjoey Headland is built from headland sandstone and has been in operation since 1881. Views of the Northern Beaches, Central Coast and Broken Bay can be enjoyed from the top of the headland which can be accessed by a convict-built walking trail.

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Video Timelapse

Enjoy a glimpse of Dawn Over Parramatta River, Sydney shot from Simmons Point

Looking for a Long Winter Retreat? Rottnest Island is the Perfect Destination

Looking for a Long Winter Retreat? Rottnest Island is the Perfect Destination

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Rottnest, the Island of a Thousand Stories and Ten Thousand Quokkas!

Sitting only 19 km off the coast of Perth is a beautiful little Island and protected nature reserve called Rottnest Island (known as ‘Rotto’ to locals) which earned its strange name in 1696 when Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh thought that the resident marsupials, now known as Quokkas, were rats. The name Rottnest literally translates as ‘rats nest’.

Have you ever visited Rottnest Island? We’d love to hear what your experiences were and what you would suggest visitors ensure they see and do in the comments below.

Why Visit Rottnest in Winter?

If you have ever tried to book a summer holiday on this popular sun-soaked island, you’ll soon find that you need to save hard and book well in advance. With prices for a self-contained two-bedroom unit costing around $253 per night at the peak of summer, and no way to get caravan nor car onto the island if you wish to stay there, then you’ll need to expect these kinds of prices.

But if you’re looking for a long winter retreat and are willing to book for 8 weeks between June 5th and September 18th(2019), then you can secure one of these lovely units for just $75 per night. Perfect for those who can take the time away.

Getting to Rottnest Island

Ferries depart regularly from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty, Fremantle and Hillarys Boat Harbour, or there is the option to get there by air with a seaplane, air taxi or helicopter. 

As cars are few and far between, the transport of choice once you are there are bicycles. You can either bring your own or hire them on arrival. The terrain is pretty flat, so it is an easy ride but, if you feel you’re not up to cycling or getting around on a Segway, there is excellent option to be had in the form of a hop-on, hop-off bus that runs daily.

Quokka Cuteness Overload

Rottness Island hosts what is undeniably the cutest and most photogenic animal in the world, the quokka. There is a small colony on the mainland, but they are found nowhere else on the planet.

Quokkas are tiny animals and are related to wallabies. They have no fear of humans so they will often come right up to you, but you must remember, as with any wildlife, you should not touch or feed them. Human food quickly makes these little guys malnourished.

You should keep a respectful distance and if you want to get a selfie, the best way to go about it is to use a selfie-stick. 

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