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By local resident John Williams January 2006
G'day Mate! - IHave you come to read about our great Australianadventure?
well this is the page!

would you like to hear about two Pom's going to Oz? -You Would !
-Good on ya Sport!

The main reason for going was to see our son Nigel and Sue get married in the Barossa Valley near Adelaide.

The ceremony took place in the Seppelt Winery Museum (it was raining outside) Mrs Wendy O'Hagan (celebrant) conducted the civic ceremony. She was pleasantly surprised to know about donations people were making to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Appeal instead of a wedding present.
The Bride looked stunning in a plain cream dress with moonstone detail around the neck, with a Tiara from her mother's wedding. But the day before we went to the Krondorf Road Cafe for lunch and Kabminge wine, which specialize in the traditional food of Barossa settlers.
And afterwards off to the "Rockford" cellar door for wine tasting! It was not long before my palate was shot to bits!! and all you Vinophiles would have loved it.

Alan and Barbara Grigson (Old neighbours who now live in Oz, pictured left) travelled 1,000kms in one day! for the wedding and we had a fun time together.  You can see the commonwealth influence all around you in Adelaide, - Victorian buildings, familiar street names and Park laurels, the only difference is the grid system of roads in the city.

Stella and I preferred Adelaide out of the other two cities of Melbourne and Sydney.We enjoyed walking along the river which doubles up as a cycle path, Barbara had always wanted to try the Peddle 'O' Boats on the river - With me peddling and wife Stella steering we mananged to zig-zag off each bank and also get in the way of most pleasure boats!!

And would you know it, a mile up stream they had 'A taste of Australia' in the park on the river bank, with beer, food and live music! It was a tough day -eh!

Next day Alan took us back to Mt. Lofty which is 15kms from Adelaide and 710m above sea level, it has a giant white obelisk in Cleland Conservation Park, and then onto the Wildlife Park where you can have your picture taken holding a Koala.     We managed to get to the wetland area for feeding the Pelicans and Herons, you could also feed the Red Kangaroos but NOT the Tasmanian Devils!

My Shelia won't go to the beach to-day and learn to surf!..... So tie your board next to mine on the roof rack of my 1969 VW Camper Van and we'll take off along the Great Ocean Road. Our first stop over is Mount Gambier, the ocean road travels around the rim of a volcano called "Blue Lake".

This one-off spectical was worth the air fare alone as the photos left show. You could also go insidethe pump house and see the minerals which make it 'blue'.

In the afternoon we passed a lot of Pine Tree Plantations and very large Rigs with Trailers were taking the logs to be pulped for the newspaper industry and the exported to Japan. Looking at the big rigs coming the other way at 70kph made me wince a bit because I did not want to be like one of those flies on the front of the radiator.
The first stop on the second day was a trip on a Portland train.

And then onto the historic village of Port Fairy (originally called Belfast). This was like walking into a time warp, the village folk have kept commercialisation at bay (not a Big Mac in sight), the colonial building port shop in 1890 banks -pubs-church halls, all are original.
The shops were great -the best ice cream I've ever had (coconut and raspberry): Stella had forest fruit (made into a puree).    Best gift shop (I bought three carved fish). Best cake shop I've been in, the apple turnover was enough for two people (lookout waist band!) and you can't beat fish and chips on the Quay (with a beer)

We also enjoyed our walk to the historic lighthouse -on the way we could see the holes in the ground made by the short tailed water or mutton bird, they migrate in September from Alaska, 15000 kilometres away.

Stella did see a red kangaroo, the shop keeper told us it fell into the sea last week and a local surfer saved it from drowning!! The Third day we had an appointment with 'The Twelve Apostles' well unfortunately we arrived too late and there is only 8 1/2 limestone stacks remaining. Up till now we had the cruise control set at 100kph, but now it's down to 35kph because the road zigzags through 'The Otway Fly' Rain Forest, it was like driving through Jurassic Park with mountain Ash, tree ferns, and cascading waterfalls, with fireflies near the streams, you are never far away from gorges or creeks. They now have a 25m high elevated tree top walk!

After travelling for 3 days and 900km I was glad of a rest from the car, so we stayed at Lorne for a couple of days, this gave us time to explore. So for the first stop was the visitors information centre for places to stay, these centres are a fantastic resource for travellers. The staff know every place in the region inside and out. The Apartment was on the hillside with sulpher crested cockatoo and crimson rosella birds in the trees, this elevated position gave us a good view across the Loutit Bay. Erskine falls in Lorne is the tallest water fall and is one of many falls in the area. This is the last stop over on the Ocean Road before Melbourne, so we had better get some gifts to take home with us!

Second week away from dear old Blighty and I'm in need of some real ale. So where is the Pub? "Elephant and Wheelbarrow" that will do, I'll stay here, Stella is off to check out the shops. They have large departmental stores in the Mall with several precincts. When it is hot (It's spring here 37 degrees) we head for the Yarra Yarra (Crazy, Crazy) River and take a trip down stream, past the Olympic Park -Rod Laver Arena, (Australian Open Tennis) The Oval, (Cricket) and the Swimming Pool, (do you remember seeing it with long glass strips at the end?) A boat trip helps you to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and take it easy. They also have a clever idea of removing the floating litter from the river by placing a boom where the eddies are.

We finished our round trip and continued to walk along the wide south bank promenade, cafe and bars with the veranda's one side and the children enjoying the random water spouts on the other side, so everyone was "COOL" Melbourne city has the same grid system of streets which form a square -we caught the original purple coloured 1890 tram for free travel around the city.
It's a good way to view the different areas: The Parks and Gardens, the Universities, Victoria Harbour and the New Stadium for this year's Commonwealth Games. Not enough time in Melbourne to see Phillip Island, the two attractions being the wild life and the Grand Prix Circuit.... Oh well, I'll just have to add it to the list of 'Must do' !!!
We are heading off to Melbourne airport now (Sunday) ready for our internal flight to Sydney, only an hour away on a 747. Stella suffers from motion sickness so the smaller plane will be a problem.

SYDNEY - The appartment is good and in the centre of the city, lots of shops, 0-600 covered market - Queen Victoria Building - Harbour/Ferries - Opera House - the Botanical Gardens - Parks-Mono Rail -Sydney Tower -Oz Trek, so there is plenty here for us to see and do. So where shall we start? -another hot day! -so we walk to the harbour for the ferry to Manly.
It has two beaches and is Australia's first sea-side resort, a mecca for lovers of sand, sea and surf, this surf school is Sydney's largest.
Haven't got time to do this today, I'll add it to my growing list of 'Must do'. Walk along the beach to a small cafe for a cream tea, pass "Ocean World" and check out...wait for it!.....Shark Dive Xtreme!.....The high street has several boutique shops, time for me to try the 'Amber Nector'!

(Far Left: Sydney Tower) Next day it's a trip on the Mono Rail -'Cool' -drop off where you like, the food hall gives you a good idea of the ethnic diversity in Sydney. Still hot, so prehaps a walk to the Botanical Gardens by the bay will keep us cool and get away from the flies, we pass the Opera House and its just as impressive inside as well as outside. I also noticed the clever construction of the roof (segments of a sphere).

Onwards through the park passing a very large Yew tree and water feature with Pelicans in it. Time for coffee and check out the gift shop.

Next to the cafe is a fig tree with a large colony of flying foxes (friut bats) hanging down like small umbrellas. The ferries are good value for money, so we took a local trip and stopped off at different points starting at Darling Harbour.

First dock is Luna Park, if they are lucky the children get a day off school and play in the amusement park, big dipper, helter skelter, etc., all this is in the shadow of Sydney harbour bridge, you can walk over the top of the arch but there is a three month waiting list (one more to add to zee list!)
Circular quay was the site of the first european settlements. "The Rocks" originally the home of convicts. On the starboard is a Ocean liner bound for New Zealand. Ahead is six dock's for ferries, to port is river taxi's and speed boats.
Above the quay is the elevated railway station, you could catch a train to Bondi Beach - I may see Pamela Anderson -now there is an idea!!
It's time for dinner now, so we head back to Darling Harbour. It's very attractive at night with the lights along both sides of the quay -it would take a fortnight to visit each restaurant along the wharf with bars and live music, it's quite an atmosphere!...........We order our food and the young waiter is from Aylesbury!

The Queen Victoria building (right) is on the main shopping street, and is basically a large store on three levels and in two halls, full of independent shops. -Stella loved it!
The building is rectangular with entrances in the middle accessible on both sides and in the middle is a very large Christmas tree (artificial) which you can walk underneath, the top ending on the third floor, also it has a clock, on the hour it shows you the important events in the history of Great Britain (Magna Carta) on the other half was the history of Australia.
I spent some considerable time in the aboriginal art and craft shop.

Thats it!.....time to catch the jumbo back home, I'll miss the dinners around Darling Harbour at night -enjoyed meeting our extended family, and the Australian humour!

Still we have been there, and as it say's on my tee-shirt