After our stressful arrival to New Zealand, we were pleasantly baffled by the ease with which Australia let us in - although I think the fact the Ashes were on and the whole city was filled with 'pommes' probably had something to do with it. Whatever it was, we were happy and even happier to see the friendly face of Felicity as we walked out of the baggage hall.
We were even more cheered when we were presented with 'Welcome to Australia' packs that Felicity and Brett had compiled: Aussie thongs (that's flip flops folks), traditional Aussie chocs, beer complete with stubby holders and badges. We were enjoying Australia.
And so began our month in Adelaide....
We went straight into the thick of Aussie culture by attending Felicity's hen night, starting off with high tea, yummy and civilised, then the natural progression was, of course, belly dancing! It's not as easy as we make it look in our pictures I assure you. It is really good fun and would recommend it to all. We even got to dress up a bit. The details of the remainder of the hen night will remain confidential to protect the not so innocent.
Australia being a very sporting nation we decided to sample a few of its offerings. Football in Australia is pretty new and seeing as we happened to be right down the road from the local Adelaide 'soccer' team we decided to see how the Aussies do it. The A League is in fact so new that as we entered the ground we noticed that song sheets were being distributed with some of the chants that the fans were creating! This was going to be good. Then we discovered that Brazillian legend Romario was randomly playing 5 matches to try and score 14 goals to reach 1000 career goals. It was so surreal and so much fun. It was almost like they'd put on a play of a football match!
What better way to continue the fun than to partake in a day or two at the Ashes, what couldn't be fun about that? It was the second test and we were hopeful England would pull their act together. The first two days were promising for a win. However we went to the last two days - you remember, where the England team completely collapsed. Still, the weather was nice, there was beer and the Barmy Army were in good form - clearly resigned to the reality of the situation but upbeat nonetheless, and outsinging the non-existant 'Boony Army'.
Luckily, with Felicity and Brett's wedding approaching our minds were happily distracted from the woes of the cricketing world and off we went to the quiet, picturesque seaside town of Middleton where the nuptuals would take place. The wedding was just as beautiful as its surrounds and Felicity looked radiant, as you can see, beeming throughout the ceremony, along with Brett. Then the serious partying came, with some top notch food, drink and dancing.
Deserted by Felicity and Brett as they went on honeymoon, we decided to drown our sorrows by visiting the local Barossa Valley wineries. hee hee. Being officianados of the wine making process we were pleased that we could just go straight to the wine tasting part and all for free! We even got to visit Jacobs Creek. When Felicity returned we discovered that there was another wine valley that we just 'had' to experience, McClaren Vale. Hee hee, we like wine.
Whilst doing all of these things in the blazing sun, we kept hearing this rumour that it was Christmas. Hmmm, well apparently they were correct. We were taken under the wing of Felicity's family for Christmas lunch, which was absolutely lovely, and it even rained! What more could we ask for eh?
Well, we had been in Australia for 3 weeks and had not seen any kangaroos,wallabies or koalas so we made a dash for the nearest wildlife park to get up close but hopefully not personal with some wildlife. First up were the koalas, who luckily were awake for us, well some of them are (they sleep 17 hours a day). You do not want to anger a koala - they are huge and their claws are fierce looking, but so cute at the same time with fur almost as soft as a chinchilla. However, they were soon off to sleep so we went to feed some kangaroos and emus. They were running free in the park and we were hesitant at first, but with Felicity leading the way we soon plucked up the courage to feed them. As you can probably tell from the pics, Gem was slightly less at ease with the proximity to this wildlife, but was pretty brave considering. Well, ish.
So, after a month of adventure and many memorable scrabble contests we were sad to leave Mr and Mrs Brett Caines and Adelaide, but as always a new adventure looms - this time driving a 6 berth campervan along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. Wish us luck............