Final weeks in Australia…6 months late

So after arriving back in August to Northern Ireland the blog went a bit by the way-side! We had an amazing few weeks with lots of adventures before we came back. We visited Chris and Sarah in Melbourne and managed to see the iconic Uluru before heading back. I left a week before Andrew and got things set up at home whilst he finished up work and closed up the flat in Adelaide. Definitely difficult to say goodbye to Australia and the amazing friends we made there. We’ll miss it very much.

 

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Perth, Margaret River

So off on further adventures!  Started on Friday with a trip after work (for me!) up to the Yorke Peninsula with our friends Ross, Leanne, Adam and Jess. Jess had booked a big house for us all. Cars packed up (mostly with wine) and we headed off on 2 1/2 hour journey to Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula. Arrived after dark so really just got to see the house (which was beautiful and perfect for a weekend away!). Adam had already cooked in prep for the later arrival and we sat down to a delicious meal with lots, and lots of wine!! Late night with lots of dancing at the end, good craic!

Few sore heads the next morning and late start. Adam had brought down his boat so after breakfast finished up those guys headed out on the boat (only four fitted at one time) and Andrew and I went for pies and a walk in Ardrossan! Guys arrived back around dark with some squid. Rugby on TV and dark some freshly cooked squid followed by steaks again, shockingly, accompanied by some delicious wine. Bit of a quieter night but really good fun and everyone on good form.

Next day got up and saw sunrise, pretty beautiful over the water. Andrew decided he wanted to go for a bike ride so he headed off while the rest of us went down to the beach in the four by fours. After Ross had a drive around on the beach we went for a walk, weather really beautiful and saw stingrays in the water from the beach. Met up with Andrew and all had a picnic on the beach. Got back to the house when Adam and Ross decided to go out for an evening fish. Girls had a drive to a local winery and saw some of the beautiful countryside around the Yorke Peninsula. Arrived back and got the fire ready outside. Everyone back and had dinner and then outside for the rest of the evening with toasted marshmallows. Best kind of evening!

Everyone feeling a bit better the next day and packed up the house ready to leave. Jess and I cycled to the beach and everyone else drove, terrible weather!! Arrived pretty soaked through! All of us headed then to the other side of the Peninsula to have some lunch and a little wander around Moonta. Everyone drove back early evening an met back up at Henley to divide up the gear carried back. Really fun weekend and great to go away with other people too! Early night for the two of us.

Early start next morning as we have a 6am flight to Perth. Arrived there before 8am and after sorting some hassles out with the car on the road to Margaret River. Arrived down there around lunch time and got lunch in Cheeky Monkey brewery which did some great burgers. After that got down to Margaret River where we were staying. House through AirBnB was great with an unexpected hot tub outside! Right in the middle of the town. Had an explore around the town and got some food and a very early night after a busy few days.

Next day we spent driving around and doing some wine tasting. Had booked lunch in Vasse Felix and it was delicious (luckily Andrew drove so I did matching wines!). Had a lovely relaxing day exploring the Margaret River area. Next day went for breakfast in the bakery, absolutely beautiful. Such a great little local place. Next part of the trip probably the thing that I had been looking forward to most, Whale watching off Augusta! Arrived there early and headed out on a charter with one other group. As soon as we left the harbour we saw some humpbacks and overall saw dozens of whales. It was amazing! Basically a personal charter (unfortunately the family who were on the boat all got sick so went downstairs). Guy who ran the tour was so knowledgeable and seemed genuinely excited to take us out and see the whales. Such an interesting thing to do. Really enjoyed it. After that we went for fish and chips in Augusta and then drove to Lake Cave in Leeuwin National park. Pretty spectacular underground cave. Bit of a hike to get down but definitely worth the effort.

Next day we left Margaret River and drove up to Fremantle. Had a wander round the town and walked along the harbour where we saw loads and loads of dolphins really close. Really impressive. Drove onto Perth and got checked into our apartment in Perth (only spending two nights here). Had dinner out in a very trendy (way too trendy for us) restaurant/bar. Food good though. Next day traipsed across Perth in completely horrible weather, got pretty damp but stopped off and had several coffees waiting for the rain to pass in a nice little spot in Northbridge. After that we went to the Art Gallery of Western Australia which was really interesting, not big but it was a great way to spend the morning and there was also a really cool graphic novel artists exhibition. Went for a walk to the waterfront along the Swan River and got some coffee. We then drove up the the Botanic Gardens which were really beautiful and think we saw three weddings whilst walking around! Really good views of Perth and the Swan River. We drove over to Subiaco and got some coffee there before heading back to get ready for dinner that Andrew had booked in a place called Co-op. One of the nicest meals we’ve had in Australia. Really innovative and had lots of things that we had never tried. Great way to end the holiday!

Back to Adelaide the next morning and a lot of work over the next couple of weeks. Not long to go until we are back in UK, only a few weeks left. Hopefully a few more adventures before we’re back!

Holiday Time: Port Douglas and Noosa!

Just arrived back to Adelaide after a week off and had a brilliant time away! After a rocky start (cancelled flights, delays etc) we ended up heading off to Cairns to visit Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. We were supposed to be going to Uluru on Saturday for the night but because of delays and cancelled flights have rescheduled for July.

Arrived up to Port Douglas and woke up the next day to glorious sunshine, big difference from the very cold weather we are having in Adelaide at the moment. Lovely little town with a pretty main street, great restaurants and a lovely waterfront and beach. Had a very relaxing day. With a recovery day done all ready to head up to Cape Tribulation. Stopped off at Mossman Gorge and spent most of the day there. Really interesting. We went swimming in a the river that comes down from the mountains through the Daintree Forest (ie absolutely freezing!). Was really fun and pretty spectacular to be swimming in a river in one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Had a walk around the walkways through the Daintree at that part and then had booked a guided tour called the Dreamtime walk. It was a great way of getting a bit more information and history, particularly of the local Aboriginal community and their customs. The girl who took us round was from that area and her family organised the local talks/tours etc. Was really worthwhile. After this we headed up to Cape Tribulation. To get there you have to cross the river  and then drive along the coast over some pretty rocky roads. Found the place eventually (Thornton Beach) where we had booked a shack on the beach for the night through AirBnB. The guy who met us, Drew, was really friendly and warned us not to go swimming on the beach because of the crocodiles. Unfortunately earlier that week a woman had been killed on that beach by a crocodile so the village was pretty shaken by the whole event. It really was a very beautiful place with the backdrop of the rainforest behind the beach and the water looked so inviting for a swim, you could see how someone could easily be tempted to go for a swim. Had a bite to eat and early night after having a look at the spectacular stars up there, amazingly clear.

Next day we explored a little more of Cape Trib and went to find a swim hole further north. Got a little spooked after trekking through the jungle by ourselves and unable to find it but bumped into a couple who were also looking for it and found it. Beautiful! Like a little hidden paradise or something out of “The Beach”. Was also freezing but really fun and right in the middle of the rainforest with fresh water fish swimming around (this part of the river too cold for the crocs!). We went to head back down to Port Douglas and stopped at a few board walks along the way which led to several very pretty beaches. Before hopping back across on the boat towards Port Douglas we stopped at the Discovery Centre which resulted in some spilt coffee, lots of mozzie bites and a quick exit, not the best part of the trip! Got back to Port Douglas and went out for a lovely dinner to a little Italian bistro.

On the road back to Cairns for a flight to Brisbane, just about made it after some quick manoeuvering. Picked up car in Brisbane an headed for Noosa where Andrew had pretty much booked an eating-fest for three days. We had hired an AirBnB which was a little out of town (a hilly 2.5km walk) but was a great little spot and suited us fine. Went for a walk on beach, some cocktails and then headed up to Laguna Lookout to watch sunset which was spectacular. Had dinner booked in this very fancy Japanese restaurant which was delicious and highly entertaining (had a few very odd couples around!). Next few days were really total relaxing time. Lots of lovely food, few glasses of wine, relaxing on the beach and lots of reading. It was exactly what we needed. After feeling very refreshed we finished up our holiday yesterday and arrived back to Adelaide last night. It was a great holiday and a brilliant mix of relaxing and exploring! Can’t wait for the next one, which we starting organising last night. Have a few nights away this weekend with friends and then we are going to Perth for a few nights and Margaret River to go wine tasting and whale watching in Western Oz. Having lots of fun still and not long until we are home now. Trying to make the most of every mintue!

May the month pass quickly!

Yet another delay in writing this! It’s been a busy few weeks!

Since Rachel’s last update she has turned 29 (she was 28 prior, it’s not been that long!) and we went to Malobo in Henley Square with Leanne, Ross, Nat and Sam for a bite to eat and some wine. Fun night!

The next day Rachel flew to Dublin for a quick trip home to check her old people were still in one piece. After a few days around Belfast, catching up with friends, family, and checking that our UK bank account still works, she hopped over to Birmingham for a job interview. In keeping with NHS custom, the interview was delayed, chaotic and stressful, but thanks to a wonderful taxi-driver in West Bromwich and helpful Emirates staff, Rachel was able to enjoy the luxuries of economy class in a pencil-skirt for 24 hours across the world!! Her return to Adelaide was both punctual, and pungent.

I worked pretty much all that week. After collecting Rach we went to Vino’s Indian Dhapa on Airport Road, eating some wonderful Dosa and Goat curry!! It was a pretty quiet weekend, and if we’re correct we think we went to the Art Gallery of South Australia with some coffee before in Ebenezer. On Sunday we grabbed some lunch in Pickle in the Middle in Unley, before having our friends Jess and Adam over for food (and copious wine) in the evening!

Another week at work followed, however it was ended with some excellent news as Rach discovered she was successful in her job application! I celebrated by doing another night shift and Rachel sat in the house herself eating sushi and drinking gin! On Saturday though we went to Press restaurant in the CBD, and had a good tasting menu and a Farr wine (the variety escapes me, it wasn’t their Pinot though!). Sunday was a largely lazy day, but we did make it to Lynda’s 60th birthday party. Lynda is a friend of Mum’s from her days at nursing college and when mum and dad were in Adelaide. It was a great afternoon, with a wonderful turnout and some lovely messages from friends close and far!

The past week I have worked throughout, and Rach was oncall. We did manage to sneek out to Gaucho’s steakhouse with Adam, Jess and Rob and Nikki (two colleagues of mine) for a heavy night of wine, steak and some unusual doorman behaviour when we went back to Rob’s place in the city.

So far this week we’ve both been out largely. Rach went out for dinner with some friends on Monday, again to Malobo, whilst I was at a work dinner with the South Australian Intensive Care Society. Needless to say that after working for the previous 7 days / nights I was wrecked, and staying up until midnight drinking gin with some colleagues wasn’t the best idea!! We did manage to get up early on Tuesday, as I went to some trainee lectures before meeting Rach to go to Nan Yang cafe for some excellent Malay food, before travelling out to visit K1 winery and Petaluma winery in the hills and McLaren Vale. Both owned by Geoff Hardy, the wine is good, but K1 is a fantastic winery and we wish we’d visited in the summer!

Anyway, better rush as we’re heading out, but will try and update sooner!

Autumn in the Adelaide Hills

Andrew and I both off on Saturday afternoon so thought we would take the opportunity to visit the Hills and see Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens. We headed up to Stirling after I had finished my ward round on Saturday morning and caught up for lunch with a friend. Stirling is really beautiful and this time of year even more spectacular with the change in the colour of the leaves. After that we visited the Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens and went for a walk around the lake and the Gardens. It’s such a good time of year to visit and because of this it was pretty busy. Worth tackling through the crowds though and as soon as you stepped off the main walks it was much quieter.

Really lovely day!IMG_1458DSC_0897DSC_0888DSC_0848DSC_0868DSC_0869DSC_0877

Long-awaited update!

We’ve been very quiet for the past few weeks! Here’s a brief update:

After Brian and Prue left us, we had a few days back to work before Jason and Christina, our friends from NI, came over from Auckland to visit us. They are living there for the year, and it was great to catch-up over the Easter weekend. On the Friday we had a BBQ and some wine, before going into Central Market for breakfast. After that we visited the “Between the Vines” vineyard which is owned by one of my bosses at work. The first of a few stops, we took it easy on Saturday night back at the apartment!

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On Sunday we made our way to McLaren Vale for a brilliant lunch at the Salopian Inn, a wonderful little gastropub in the main township. After the protracted affair that was the tasting menu, accompanied by wines hand-picked from the cellar, we moved on to Dowie Doole for a brief wine tasting. Nice little cellar door!

J & C left on the Monday, and it was back to work for us! Since then we’ve mainly been working and in off-time taking it easy around Adelaide. I went to the local cultural event the following Saturday, as Adelaide Crows destroyed Port Adelaide in “the showdown”, the AFL local derby! It was a great day out, and the sport itself is fantastic, very fast and quite aggressive! The weather, as you can see, was also outstanding!!

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Last weekend we took a trip to Clare Valley, staying in a brilliant little cottage in the middle of the vines! We had two super meals on the Friday and Saturday night, which gave us good energy (and refuelled us) for hiring bikes on the Saturday. With our two mountain bikes we set about cycling some of the Riesling trail, going to several different wineries along the way, including Sevenhill Cellars, a Jesuit winery set in church grounds!

Sunday was a lazy brunch, followed by a trip around a few wineries to collect our purchases, particularly Kilikanoon, a winery we really enjoyed on the Saturday. One of the best named wineries we’ve found is in Clare; Mad Bastard wines not only have a good story behind them, and a quirky cellar door, but the wines aren’t bad either! If you’re eagle eyed you might decipher the writing on the glasses …

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Working again this week, we’ve had another relaxed weekend around Adelaide. Friday night saw us go to the National Wine Centre, where we attended the Langmeil Wine Dinner. Langmeil is a great little Barossa winery, and with their flagship wine in seemingly endless supply, we had a great 3 course meal with 10 glasses of wine!! Needless to say Saturday morning was a non-event!

In the evening however we returned to Adelaide Oval to meet up with John and Lynda and watch the Adelaide Crows play Sydney Swans. In a really tight match, which was excellent to watch from up high, the Crows swooped to victory whilst the Swans cried Murder (sorry …!). We had a great night, and Rach seemed to really enjoy her first AFL match! She even picked up the rules!!IMG_20160416_193911.jpg

Today we went for a stroll along Henley esplanade to Grange, grabbed a coffee before I went to a work day-out. A few of us from ICU went go-karting, and against all odds I won!! It must be an advantage to have barely driven over the past 8 months!

Back to work this week but hopefully not as long until the next update. I might even convince Rach to put up some decent photos from the past 4+ weeks!!