I left Melbourne at the beginning of May, eager to be traveling again and exploring new places. I was sad to leave behind my amazing apartment on the banks of the Yarra, to say goodbye to my job and all my friends, but I was long overdue for a change of scenery. It was around this time when this blog started winding down, when I made an unconscious decision to travel and stop worrying about documenting it. It was just the break I needed but now I have so many traveling stories to share with you all, and where better to start than with my South Australian experiences. Now while I have already shared my less fortunate and fun experiences of Adelaide with you all - read the post here - this time I want to focus on the positive, because I really did love my time visiting the city. I was lucky enough to have a very good friend, Jack, living there - we first met back in Thailand and traveled through Laos at the same time, then over a year later he came to visit me in Melbourne, so I was long overdue for a visit. After he picked me up from the airport, we spent our first evening together drinking way too much red wine and catching up. Sadly Jack had to work the week I was there, but as a solo traveler that didn't bother me, I was more than happy to go off exploring by myself.
I really loved Adelaide, as a smaller city it was perfect for me - I could easily get lost in it without feeling the claustrophobia setting in. It was beautifully dated and had a history about it, which provided a great contrast to the shiny new buildings of Sydney and Melbourne. A peaceful city, it was quiet to walk around the streets and easy to navigate, with public transport making it a breeze to get out and explore the beaches. But there was still plenty going on - I was lucky enough to arrive when Tasting Australia had a huge event taking place right in the center - more on that later. While I had a whole week there, I know many might have just a few days to explore the city. So in this post I've made a list of the top things to do while visiting Adelaide, to make it easier to plan your trip.
You guys will all know by now, I'm always looking for the green spaces in every city. The botanic gardens were an absolute highlight for me in Adelaide, they are genuinely some of the most beautiful outdoor areas I have found in Australia slap bang in the middle of a city. A perfect place for a stroll and to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
If the weather is a bit hit and miss, there's no place better than the museum and art gallery to duck into for a wander around. Both are full of fascinating history and some really beautiful works from a huge range of artists from across the ages. Both are right next door to each other so you won't have far to walk if the rain and wind starts - South Australia's weather can be a bit hectic if you visit at certain times of the year. I was lucky and although it was cold and windy, it was brilliant sunshine every day I was there - perfect for exploring a new city.
If you love a market as much as I do, don't miss out on a visit to Adelaide Central Markets, South Australia's main food hub for over 140 years. With over 80 stalls under one roof offering the finest in tasty, fresh produce, unusual items and some freshly prepared meals including delicious seafood and paella. There are also fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, book stalls and much, much more in the Gouger Street building.
Visiting on a weekend and fancy a night out? Check out Rundle Street to get the party started - this vibrant and eclectic city boulevard combines historic charm with modern sophistication. Head to one of the many restaurants for alfresco dining under the stars, or stumble down hidden stairways to secret bars from another era. One night we started in Maybe Mae, a secret 1950's cocktail bar hidden under a stairwell and behind a secret door, for a few cocktails before moving upstairs to Bread and Bone for a fantastic meal. The burgers there are amazing and the service is fantastic at both venues. Another night we started out in the suburbs where we started with dinner and drinks, then moved on to the clubs and bars in the city for a night out - we had a great time until our night out ended rather abruptly.
Sadly this is something I didn't get to do - we had a whole day at the vineyards planned but after our eventful Saturday night we weren't really in the right state or mood to go out for the day. It was such a shame as it was all set to be a great day of wine tastings and enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Clare Valley. South Australia's wine tastings are supposed to be an absolute highlight of visiting the territory, so don't miss out on the opportunity if you visit.
One of my absolute favourite places I found while in Adelaide, Henley Beach is absolutely beautiful and really showed me how the city is a hidden gem. So many travelers skip Adelaide and miss out on so much, it really is a city like no other in Australia and I'll be honest and say home of the beaches there easily rival Perth's famous beaches in my experience. A perfect place for a long beach walk, to take the dog for a run or just to enjoy some fish and chips by the shore.
Any time I visit any new place I always check to see what local events are on and I was lucky enough to randomly coincide my visit with Tasting Australia - a huge foodie's event that was touring the country with food provided by top chefs and cooked live in front of you. There was live music, a gin bar, entertainment, talks, dinner parties and a chance to try all of the food by the top chefs - a pretty awesome day out! I went a few times, once by myself during the day to soak up the festival atmosphere, and another time in the evening with my friend to enjoy a few drinks and the entertainment. A perfect event for the whole family.
Just passing through? Three days is a perfect amount of time to explore Adelaide and get a taste for the city. But if you do have more time to explore, South Australia has so much more to offer in the way of national parks, natural beauty and much more. Check out this website for more ideas.
Have you been to Adelaide - how was your experience? Can you recommend anything else to do, or places to eat/drink?
I've just arrived in Perth after an amazing week in Adelaide, and although I will be posting all about my time there at a later date, I first wanted to talk about the worst part of my trip. It's been praying on my mind ever since Saturday night and the more I tell people about what happened, the less I understand how it could possibly have happened. To put it in context, I have travelled all over the world solo to countries considered dangerous and unsafe for a girl to travel by herself. I've been stranded at the side of the road in Vietnam and Laos, I've been in seemingly dodgy tuk-tuk rides in Thailand and Cambodia, I've been lost in Hungary. But not once have I ever felt so unsafe in the middle of a city in a Westernised country, surrounded by people and with police patrolling the streets.
So what happened?
I was visiting a good friend of mine, who I met when I was in Asia, but sadly he had to work all week. Our one time to really hang out was Saturday night when we went out for dinner and drinks with his friends, and the Sunday when we had planned to go on a tour of the wineries. We went out for dinner as planned and then had drinks and found a place we could have a dance, eventually we all decided to call it a night. We didn't want to be too wrecked for the next day so we decided to get a taxi home, on the way my friend wanted to show me Adelaide Oval so we took a detour to the taxi rank. As soon as we wandered down the side street, three lads looked over and shouted "slut" at me, naturally my friend told them to leave me alone.
You would have thought that would be the end of it since they were just teenagers, but if anything it spurred them on. Suddenly, all three of them launched themselves at us. My friend pushed me out of the way and I hit the deck, but all of them, plus another five lads who appeared out of nowhere went for him. Now my friend is probably around twice or three times my bodyweight, he's a wall of pure muscle and soon to be a personal trainer. He's not someone you pick a fight with, but when you're drunk and eight guys attack you out of nowhere, there's little you can do to stop them. After they all threw their punches and ran off, he was left with a huge lump on his head, a busted nose with blood pouring all over his clothes and the street, swollen lips and cuts and scratches. It was horrible.
But the worst thing?
I can appreciate that it all happened so quickly that perhaps people didn't have time to react, but not one single person tried to jump in and help. Not one except me, I'm sure I would have just ended up hurt too so it's probably a good thing a guy dragged me back, but at least my basic instinct was to help someone who was in danger. Afterwards, I took my friend across the street to get help, I walked into a shop to ask if the guy in there had any tissues or could help at all. He just looked at me like I was crazy and told me I could buy a packet of tissues. If this is the reaction a girl covered in blood gets on a Saturday night, it's disgusting. I managed to steal tissues from a takeaway in the end and then on our way to jump into a taxi, I saw the police.
I headed across the road to tell them what had happened and they proceeded to interview my friend, despite the fact that he had no idea what had happened. They wouldn't listen to what I had seen as a witness, we had to force them to listen when I could identify one of the lads who attacked my friend. It was terrible to see firsthand how little the police really care in Australia when it comes to a brutal attack like that on a busy street with witnesses everywhere, compared to traffic policing. It didn't even seem to matter that much to the police that several other people were attacked immediately after, the lads went on a rampage up the street beating up three guys in suits, and several other small groups further along. It was clear they were just out to hurt people that night, it didn't matter about race, gender or sexuality for once, but it did matter if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So why am I writing about this?
Therapy mainly, this is my way of making peace with the incident even though I'm still really upset that this could happen in the middle of a well-policed Australian city. It was the most brutal, vicious, nasty attack I have seen firsthand, done in cold blood and for the stupidest reason. My friend was beaten to a pulp for trying to protect me from being verbally abused, he poured blood on the street because he was a gentleman and a good person. He is the kind of person who wouldn't hurt a fly despite being more than capable, and it makes me incredible sad to think there are people out there who would take advantage of that simply for kicks.
I'm not naive enough to think this doesn't happen anywhere in the world, but I do think that things like this shouldn't be happening to innocent people just trying to make their way home in Adelaide. Perhaps nothing could have been done to stop this from happening, but the complete lack of support and help we were shown after the incident was an embarrassment to the police service in South Australia and the local people who refused to help us. Bad things happen, there's nothing we can do about that, but we can do something about the way we react and support those who are victims. The same thing happened in the Bourke Street incident in Melbourne - so many preferred to stand and watch, or record on their phones than actually help those in need. It really is heartbreaking to think that human instinct for so many has become a spectator's sport instead of a desperation to help preserve human life.
Wow, this ended up being quite a long post. Apologies if you're bored reading this but well done for making it to the end, I know it's very different to my normal posts. But the important thing for me is to show both sides of travelling - the fun, exciting side and the scary side as well. Don't take this as a warning not to travel to Adelaide - my friend said himself it's the first time in his whole life that he has seen an incident like this there. As far as I'm concerned this could have happened anywhere in the world and it sounds much like what happened every Saturday night at home. But what really got to me was the way people just didn't seem to care - don't be that person.