Waltzing Adelaide

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Me and Murray the Koala

After driving over 700 miles of the country’s vastness, we arrived in South Australia where we had to set our clocks back 30 minutes and our mindsets back 30 years. The capital of SA, Adelaide, is not as cosmopolitan as Sydney or Melbourne (although I’ll bet people from the Outback think they’re quite sophisticated) and the pace of life is much more relaxed.

On our drive to Adelaide, Steve and I revelled in the autumn colors and sunshine, the tropical palm trees of Queensland becoming a distant memory. The bucolic vineyards and quaint towns rivaled Napa Valley’s. Adelaide is considered the cultural capital of Australia, home to the Aboriginal Kaurna people. Called a city within a park, it’s surrounded by a moat of green space with beaches and hills nearby.

But for us, we will always remember Adelaide fondly as the place where we fed kangaroos and wallabies from our hands and petted koalas. Koalas are marsupials, not bears, and they sleep 19 hours per day. The name koala is Aboriginal for “no drink.” We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend our last full no-travel day Down Under than being up close and personal with Aussie animals at Cleland Wildlife Park. That evening, during our last dinner in Adelaide, we talked about what we’d hoped to see or do that we’d missed out on. Steve wished he’d met a Crocodile Dundee-type person. I wanted to hear the song “Waltzing Matilda” performed live. That was all the provocation Steve needed to belt out the chorus (the only words he knew) out loud in the King’s Head Restaurant. For me, the song will forever be “Waltzing Adelaide” from now on.

We are back in Sydney, awaiting our 13-1/2 hour flight home. We’ll gain back that day we lost a couple weeks ago, arriving in the U.S. four hours before we leave.

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