Of Oz, that is. And by Oz, we mean the country of Australia rather than the Oz populated by Scarecrow and the Tin Man (though I’d love to see them too!).
The backstory here is that late last year, Elle Canada had a contest to win a trip to Kangaroo Island, which is a nature preserve off the coast of Adelaide. It has beach kangaroos. Beach kangaroos, people! I entered that contest EVERY SINGLE DAY for months, and then early in January, I found out that I’d won – dancing and glee ensued.
We had to formulate a babycare plan as the trip activities were already included and K would probably not do so well at the winery tours. (Green blankie might give her away, as would trying to get the wine put into her sippie cup). Luckily, we have a very supportive family and compiled a team comprised of both sets of parents and our daycare provider to man the fort for twelve long days while we ran off.
I’m normally a fantastic packer, having been from Bali to Bulgaria and back again. Attempting to juggle a twelve day packing job for Kate with getting the house set up for us being away and work and getting myself packed apparently didn’t go very well. This was not helped along by the sole weather report I checked the week before which listed the weather at 28 degrees. It was a bit of a shock to my system when we got here and it was 16 and all I had packed was sundresses and sandals.
But we’ve soldiered on and it’s been lovely!
We left on Wednesday Nov 6th, with Air NZ via Auckland. I’ve flown Air NZ before (on a previous trip that we won on our honeymoon) and was genuinely impressed. This time, we had paid the $50 each for premium seats. I thought somehow that we had paid to be upgraded to premium economy, but this was not the case – I felt the website could have been clearer that all we were paying for was an ever-so-slightly roomier seat and no other benefits. The flight was looong (14 hours to Auckland on leg 1) but went quickly in that weird no-mans-land time stasis that happens on long international flights. Air NZ has a brilliant new safety video that was so entertaining I *actually* watched it! It stars Betty White – no need to say more. Staff were funny and friendly and we were well fed and watered – all of my flight requirements were met. I’d like to try out their premium economy at some point and see what the difference is.
We arrived in Adelaide 30 hours later, hideously jetlagged but ready to take on the city. First stop, lovely hotel at the Majestic Rooftop Gardens. Jon loved the gym being open 24 hours. I loved that the staff were willing to scan documents for me so that I could send prize releases in for things I was winning while over here (thanks Daniel!). And it was walking distance to everywhere we needed,. Not having to deal with transport and being able to just wander to where I’m going is AWESOME.
First stop, Central Market. Many organic things. Much food.
Our friend James happened to be in town as well, so we got some collective wandering in.
Jon and I went to see the big event of the day, the annual Adelaide Christmas parade. It was crowded with delighted children dressed as elves. The parade itself was weirdly unfestive. The floats were cool and had a variety of themes – lots of storybook motifs – and at one point there was a zombie house. What about pirate ships and zombies doesn’t scream ‘Christmas’ to you?
The end of Day Two culminated in a trip to the Botanical Gardens, where we ran across the Tree of Drunken Parrots. Really. Apparently the parrots are drawn to the nectar from the blossoms of this particular tree in the gardens, and then they drink so much that they get drunk and can’t fly away again. So you can hear the cacophony of bird squawking from all over, and the tree is so full of parrots that you can see the branches move. It’s slightly insane but makes really good bird photos easy to achieve.
More later on the Great Winery Tours.