Robyn here. This is the first blog post for what we are hoping to be a series of many as we embark on our Canadian adventure.
“Canadian adventure?” I hear you ask. “I thought you were heading down south to Adelaide!” (Or Radelaide, as the cool kids like to call it) Not so! Let me explain.
As you may know, our honeymoon was somewhat unconventional. Being one of the very numerous international medical students in Queensland, Brady (along with many other Canucks) sadly didn’t match in our home state. Thankfully, though, he was accepted into the program at Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide. This was a very exciting prospect, apart from the fact that it is several thousand kilometres away from me (the new wife!) where we decided I should work at my lovely school in Brisbane. Not the greatest start to a marriage! So our honeymoon turned into a roadtrip of necessity, driving most of the way across the country down to the Festival State in the “Bee”, Brady’s faithful yellow Hyundai Getz. We stopped by many places including:
We stayed with wonderful friends of the Shenfield’s, John and Anne, at their home in Turramurra. We spent New Years Eve 2012 at Circular Quay by the Opera House and Bridge along with several thousand other tourists! We also spent a fabulous morning out on their boat. Incredible. We’ll be back for sure!
We then headed to Canberra, the city of perpetual Year 7 camps. We spent several hours at the sombre Australian War Memorial, and popped in for a quick 20 minutes before closing time to the Australian Parliament House. Didn’t see Ms Gillard - I think she was having the day off. It was New Years Day after all!
Jindabyne was our next stop, the gateway to the Snowy Mountains (which, believe it or not, were snow capped in January!) Amazing, but obviously so, so dry. I could see quite clearly that we were now entering bush fire country.
We stopped in to the Snowy Mountains Scheme Visitor Centre, which was fascinating to engineering geek Brady, and less than fascinating for myself.
Soon enough we arrived in Melbourne! Brady and I first travelled to this gorgeous city in 2010, and I had been itching to get back ever since. We stayed at an Airbnb apartment in Fitzroy, hosted by the lovely Toby.
We hit up the shops, cafes and St Kilda beach, but a definite highlight for me was seeing War Horse on our second night in town. As a complete theatre nerd I have been dying to see this piece since its inception, and have dreamed of seeing it on stage in London and New York where it has been playing for the last few years. The incredible puppet mechanics created by South Africa’s Hand Sprung Puppet Company were something to spectacular to behold, and in true Robyn fashion I was a teary mess by the end of it! Pure theatrical magic at its finest.
After a few days in Melbourne, and running out of time to get to Adelaide, we embarked on our most ambitious leg of the trip – onward to Mt Gambier via the Great Ocean Road. In a way, I’m disappointed that this was our longest leg, because it was probably the most scenic. I would love to retrace our steps (wheels?) one day with at least two weeks' worth of time to spare. And preferably a helicopter and the use of several beach houses (a girl can dream, can’t she?). We left early and stopped at some gorgeous places such as Split Point Lighthouse (where they filmed Round the Twist, one of my favourite ABC Kids show – pure nostalgia material!), Apollo Bay (awesome pies by the equally awesome beach) and, of course, the Twelve Apostles. There are no words sufficient to describe this part of the world where the Southern Ocean meets the weather beaten land. Simply stunning.
We arrived in Mt Gambier late into the evening and wandered into town for some excellent pub food. In the morning, we drove to Mt Gambier’s famous Blue Lake before hitting the road again for our final stop: Adelaide.
Whilst trucking (Getzing?) along on our final day on the road, we happened upon a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere for the Naracoorte Caves – a World Heritage Site. Brady’s life-long goal is to visit as many of these sites as possible, so this was a huge surprise coup. The caves themselves were fascinating – discovered just over 100 years ago, they contain huge deposits of extinct giant marsupial bones (such as those belonging to the friendly critter I’m hugging below) and some incredible stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Back on the road, and soon enough we reached our final destination: Adelaide! Quite a lovely little city, and one that certainly moves to the beat of its own drum. There is something totally charming about this place. Lovely old heritage buildings, huge wide streets that go for miles, small wine bars, cafes, boutiques and a lovely seaside esplanade and marina in Glenelg. Yet, the CBD is tiny with no high rises to speak of – certainly a little unexpected for a capital city! We stayed for a few nights in a motel across from the marina and a short walk from the beach and Jetty Road, the cosmopolitan seaside dining and shopping strip. Sadly, my memory of all of this is tainted, as I spent a lot of time thinking of when it was time for me to leave and fly back to Brisbane, and then onto Canada and the USA to collect my Permanent Residency visa (though that’s a whole other story, or blog post…)
As I write this in retrospect, we’ve spent nine weeks apart, and while Brady has spent a small fortune flying up on occasion to see me, Brady finally got the news he’d been hoping for: a residency spot in his Canadian Prairie homeland. In North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
But that’s Brady’s part of the story to tell… coming soon!