Blog Downtown… Australia?

Wondering where the blog has been in the last few months?

This past May, the idea for a blog came out of an Alpena DDA committee I was part of and excitement about all things Alpena. This August, however, I moved to Adelaide, South Australia, to receive a teaching certificate in English as a Second Language, staying there through early December.

An aerial view of Adelaide. Photo by @southaustralia
Blooming wisteria on University of Adelaide’s campus.
Historic Botanic Chambers on North Terrace.

Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia and now the fifth most populous city in Australia, was first colonized by the British in 1836 as the first “freely” settled colony in Australia: in other words, it was the first non-convict settlement. The land was originally inhabited by the native Aboriginal Kaurna people, whose language & culture was pretty much wiped out during settlement but is now being reclaimed and revived. Most of the population has British heritage, but there is a significant population from Italy, Greece, Asia, and the Middle East.

Historic Adelaide. Photo by SA History Hub.
St. Paul’s Cathedral with North Adelaide in the background. Photo by Don La Barre.

South Australia is home to other residents too, including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and potoroos, and dingos. Kangaroos and koalas are not uncommon to find in your backyard or on the roads of rural Australia. On the non-cute and non-fluffy side of things, Australia is also home to some of the most deadly snakes and spiders in the world, which I had the fortune to not encounter.

A dingo waiting for lunch.
Photos taken by Don La Barre at Cleland Wildlife Park.

The city itself lies in a large plain on the edge of the outback with the Adelaide Hills surrounding it, giving the city extremely hot & dry summers (95-100+ degrees) and very mild winters (40-60 degrees). Adelaide is often referred to as the “30 minute city,” thirty minutes of driving will get you to the ocean, to wine country, to the hills, and to hiking trails.

A view of the city from hiking trails in the Adelaide hills.
The jetty at nearby Glenelg beach at sunset.

In Australia, the seasons are opposite as in Michigan, so while I was there, spring was just turning to summer– making everything beautifully in bloom. Roses and wisteria flourished in the Botanic Gardens, and an astounding array of birds such as macaws, rainbow lorikeets, magpies, pelicans, and black swans all could be found in the gardens and surrounding parklands.

The palm house at Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Photo by Don La Barre.
A rainbow lorikeet at the Botanic Gardens. Photo by Don La Barre.


Roses in bloom at the Botanic Gardens. Photo by Don La Barre.

Writing about South Australia would be impossible to do without mentioning its wine, as the region produces more than half the total of all Australian wine. Adelaide is surrounded by three major wine producing areas: McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, and Adelaide Hills. The most popular grape grown is Shiraz, producing full-bodied, fruit-forward reds.

Vines in McLaren Vale.
Samuel’s Gorge  in McLaren Vale. Photo by Don La Barre.

Adelaide knows not only how to wine– but also how to dine. It’s food scene is as vibrant as the population itself, ranging from German schnitzels to Vietnamese bahn mi, Aussie meat pies to Japanese sushi, Argentinian steakhouses to Italian meat markets. Central Market, located in the south end of the city, is open all year round and provides fresh produce, meats, and specialty food items from over 80 stalls.

Christmas at the market.

While I was in Adelaide, South Australia was named one of the Top Five Regions to Visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet, a notable travel blog. And I would agree, even though many Adelaidians still refer to Adelaide as a “country town” overshadowed by Melbourne and Sydney. Adelaide’s manageable, laid-back feel, rich history, food scene, and proximity to stunning coastlines, wine regions, rolling hills, hiking trails, and wildlife preserves make it well worth it for those willing to endure the 36 hour travel time.

But for now, there’s no place like home.

A house in nearby Hahndorf, South Australia. 
The Marion Bay Cliff Walk. Photo by Don La Barre. 
Eucalyptus trees in Adelaide parklands.
Dinner for two in our apartment.

Have any lingering questions about South Australia or Australian culture? Feel free to leave a comment below or send a Facebook message here

Blog Downtown Alpena is written by Anne Gentry. Most of the photos- most certainly the prettiest and most professional ones- were taken by Don La Barre. Like his photography page on Facebook here & follow him on instagram @don_labarre.


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