Finding our Mojo in Adelaide

This is Mojo Juju singing one of her most popular hits, Native Tongue, more of her later. In the meantime if you can’t be bothered reading us carping on about what a fab time we had in Adelaide, entertain yourself by watching the video instead. See, we’re good to our readers.

Adelaide was another place that Andy had only been to for work and Jane had never visited. We made the journey from Melbourne in one go. At 800km it’s a fairly long drive but the roads were good, we swapped every couple of hours and made it in good time to check into our AirBnB and have dinner.

If you’ve not tried AirBnB Follow this link to get $55 off your first booking, and we’ll get some credit too.

Pigs Roaming the streets

The day after we arrived was Australia Day but before joining in the celebrations, we decided to have an explore. Adelaide is a very walkable city. The centre is on a square grid and we were on the eastern side of that grid. We had a wander through the main strip of Rundle Street Mall. It’s a pleasant shopping area with some pretty arcades, heritage buildings and statues of pigs (of course).

We then made our way to Adelaide Central Market which is justifiably famous. The market is undercover and has a superb range of stalls and produce on offer. We stopped for a coffee and Croque Madame before walking back to our apartment via Coopers Original Alehouse

Coopers Ales are synonymous with Adelaide and as you’d expect, The Alehouse had the full range. We couldn’t have come to Adelaide without visiting here, and it’s a nice pub too. It was a good place to break our walk back before chilling out for a few hours prior to Australia Day celebrations.

Australia Day

Australia Day is celebrated as a national day to enjoy everything about The Great Southern Land. It is held on January 26, which is the anniversary of the first fleet of convicts from England arriving in 1788. As a result, many indigenous Australians do not feel that it is inclusive of all Australians. That date is seen as one which forever changed their culture, and which heralded some terrible abuse at the hands of European settlers.

We’re very proud to be new Australians. We’ve lived here since 2010 and became citizens in 2015. Australia has a history of welcoming people from many countries and cultures and we want to celebrate that. However, we also feel that if the current date disenfranchises an important part of our community we should be looking at an alternative day to celebrate.

Having had that uncharacteristic note of seriousness, back to Adelaide on Australia Day. The parade that made its way through the CBD was to us, a fantastic celebration of the melting pot of different cultures mentioned above. We lost count of the number of communities from across the globe that were represented. It was a great showcase for the multicultural nature of Australia and a very happy occasion – we loved it.

As the sun set on Elder Park next to the River Torrens, representations of local indigenous Elders of the Kaurna people became visible, projected onto the trees. The exhibition, ‘Kumangka Mukapainga Tampinga’ (Together, Remember, Recognise) was the work of artist Craig Walsh. The images were beautiful, the elders almost seeming to be one with the trees. Michael O’Brien, a Kaurna elder was involved with the project and said of it;

“Australia’s home began with its first nations peoples.
we acknowledge nations of peoples followed.
we welcomed all cultures and peoples to this land
then together we become one people and country, Australia”

To us, this pretty much sums up the essence of what Australia Day should be about.

Culture vultures

If you’ve read our other posts you’ll know that we like a bit of art and history and that was on the agenda for Sunday. First stop was the State Library. The newer annexe, Spence Wing, is a typical concrete and glass building. However, from the outside you’d never know how different the Mortlock wing is. It was straight out of Hogwarts, a magnificent building. Opened in 1884, it is seen as the best example of a Victorian library in Australia. It also housed an interesting exhibition on the history of Adelaide and South Australia.

Mortlock Wing, State Library of South Australia

From the library we continued next door to The Art Gallery of South Australia. We had a quick look round, but found out we were lucky enough to be there on the day a free gig was taking place in the garden at the back. As you might have guessed, Mojo Juju was playing so we got comfy in deck chairs and had a great afternoon listening to her in the sunshine. To accompany the music, a gourmet sausage sizzle was $4 a pop and there was beer and wine on offer – what could be better on a Sunday afternoon?

After Mojo Juju, we went downstairs to have a look at the exhibition by indigenous artist, John Mawurndjul; ‘I am The Old and The New’. The art spanned 40 years of his work and was a stunning collection of bark paintings and sculptures. Part of the exhibition is touring in 2019 and 2020 so if you get a chance, go and have a look.

A Day at The Seaside

We’ve been a bit spoilt living in Bargara, Queensland for eight years, right by a few  beautiful beaches. You can read more about Bargara and Bundaberg here. This has made us a tad critical when it comes to beaches. We loved Melbourne, and enjoyed St.Kilda but didn’t think the beach itself was close to being as nice as many of the Queensland beaches we’ve been to. Therefore, we weren’t expecting too much when we took the bus to Henley, one of Adelaide’s beaches.

We couldn’t have been more wrong, it was a beautiful beach and as it was a sunny day in the school holidays, there were plenty of people enjoying it. We had a really nice walk along the beach to Grange Jetty and back along the Esplanade. Adelaide was certainly growing on us, all the benefits of city life within shouting distance of beautiful beaches, certainly ticks our boxes.

A Slap up Feed

We’ve written in a lot of posts how we like to travel reasonably frugally but treat ourselves when the opportunity arises. There are plenty of options to eat well on a budget in Adelaide. We’ve already mentioned the central market. There are also a great selection of high quality Asian eateries which won’t break the budget. One of our favourites was the Vietnamese restaurant, Sit Lo where you could get a filling bowl of Pho for under $10.

On our last night, it was time for one of our treats so we’d booked at Press Food and Wine in the CBD. The tasting menu wasn’t cheap at $75 per head but it was delicious. A standout course was the beef tartare, one of our favourites. We also liked that you could choose from a wide range of half bottles from their wine list. An excellent way to finish a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Adelaide. It turned out to be another Australian city we could quite easily see ourselves living in.

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