And then there were two. We still had some 1,300km to travel but our initial stop would be the Great Australian Bight. The marine park here is the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef and is home to migratory whales from July to August. Although it was too early for whale watching it was worth stopping just for the great views of the Southern Ocean, sand dunes and the towering Bunda Cliffs. We then pushed on to the raggedy fishing town of Ceduna which in the local Aboriginal language means ‘a place to sit down and rest’.
|The Great Australian Bight|
We did exactly that for a while before pushing on to Port Augusta which on the map at least, appears to be at the biggest crossroad in Australia. From this town at the head of the Spencer Gulf, you can treat it as the gateway to the vast outback, Flinders Ranges or Eyre Peninsula. Highways and railways roll out toward Kalgoorlie in the west, Alice Springs and Darwin in the north, Sydney and Melbourne in the east and our destination of Adelaide in the south. Not a bad position!
|Arriving in Port Augusta|
As we passed various road signs I thought for a moment about Lou trying to catch a final ride to catch his flight. I’ll never know but I somehow doubted that he made it. We stayed a final night in Port Augusta and took a walk around the old town centre the next morning. It has some elegant buildings and a pleasant waterfront where some locals were fishing. From there, it was just a four hour drive to the South Australia state capital. It had been a strange trip but I’d made it and ‘all’s well that ends well’ as they say.
Adelaide has a culture and sophistication that you’d expect from the 'City of Churches'. The largest of these is St Peters Cathedral which majestically overlooks the Adelaide Oval. This famous old sports arena is used for cricket in summer and Australian Rules football in the winter. I took time to visit the excellent museum housing personal items of cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman. Just across the pretty River Torrens is the lush botanic gardens and city zoo. The river also meanders past the Adelaide Golf Course on its scenic route out to Gulf St Vincent.
Most of the tourist sights are within walking distance of the Rundle St shopping mall and many are strung along North Terrace just one block away. Aside from the Botanical Gardens, the South Australia University, Art Gallery, Museum and Library are all here. Both the art gallery and museum offer free tours twice a day. These are an excellent way of taking in the highlights (including an enormous giant squid) but I was also glad I had more time to enjoy the exhibition on whales and renowned Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson.
Central Adelaide has several attractive squares named after people who were significant to the city's history. In the large Victoria Square there is an impressive fountain that represents the three rivers Adelaide sources its water from. I did a tour of the Town Hall and the enthusiastic guide had so many stories to tell it lasted nearly two hours. Amid the European colonial architecture of this area are several alluring markets selling food, art, craft, clothes and jewellery. A couple are Sunday markets but the superb Central Market offer about 250 stalls from Tuesday to Saturday.
|The pleasant North Terrace|
I stayed with a friend out in the suburbs was had to rely on buses every day to get to the city. The unique transport system here makes commuter life simple. Outside the central city area, the buses run on specially designed tracks which essentially make them like trains. The driver told me it's a German system called the O-Bahn. The buses are adapted with small guide wheels at the front that enable them to run smoothly at up to 100kmh. As he was chatting to me he sat happily with arms folded while the bus steered itself.