It was a rough ride out into the open waters again after leaving the shelter of Melbourne’s bay area but not as bad as it had been before. The problem I was having other than walking down a corridor without bouncing off the walls was that every time I sat down to my computer I got seasick. Call it psychological if you will but I wasn’t getting any writing done and these blog posts which I schedule ahead of time to post were about to run out so I was getting desperate for time on a calm sea or more free time in port.
At one point in the morning of our sea day between Melbourne and Adelaide we felt the ship begin to turn and then came the announcement that we were heading to shore due to a medical emergency. I’ll tell you more about that in a later post. We were near shore about an hour and then we turned and headed out again.
It was nice to wake up to a solid unmoving deck below our feet. We arrived in Adelaide a little early even though we’d had the emergency. The bad news however was that the first shuttle into town would not leave until 9 AM. It was a half hour ride into the city and the 9:32 bus we wanted to catch to go to Cleland Wildlife Park left from a stop about four blocks from where the shuttle dropped passengers. We didn’t make it.
What to do? We found an information place and talked to the nice gentleman there who thought it would cost us about $60 to take a cab out to the park—one way. The next bus that would connect with the one to the park (it was the Sunday schedule) didn’t leave until 12:35. Like I’ve said before, roll with the punches. We decided we wanted to go badly enough that we would wait around and go on with our plans albeit a bit later. One more problem: the shuttle to the ship would stop running at 5 PM and our return bus would not get back to the city until 5:15. And the train that ran out to the Outer Harbor where our ship was had been canceled due to maintenance. The good news was that there was a special bus route established to take the place of the train. We thought we had this all together and we went off to kill two hours walking around Adelaide.
In our walk, we explored Rundle Mall, the pedestrian area in the middle of the city where there are all sorts of shops and restaurants (and later musicians). From there we went for a stroll through the Chinatown area. We thought we might cross paths with our friends but didn’t. Back at Rundle Mall, we stopped for a cup of coffee and went over our time schedules once more to be sure we had it right.
At about 12:45 our bus finally came and we headed out of the city to the spot where we would connect with the other bus. Traffic slowed us down so much I was sure there was no way we were going to get to the 1:04 bus. I began to think we were only going to turn around and have a long ride back to town. I didn’t know that the bus to Cleland waits for the bus from the city to arrive (and vice versa) before leaving. We hopped on and rested a lot easier.
It was another twenty-five minutes or so to Cleland with a short stop at the Mt. Lofty outlook. Lots of people got off for the driver’s ten minute stop. We didn’t. I wasn’t leaving that bus and taking the chance of missing it.
The next stop was Cleland and we got off with the sense of accomplishment of having found our way. The wildlife park is a place we had visited with our son some twenty-plus years ago when he was a student in Australia. At that time I remembered being inundated with kangaroos and emus since we were there early in the morning and they were hungry for handouts. It was just a large fenced in area. Things changed in all the years between.
There were several more exhibits and a koala experience where if you wanted to, you could hold a koala. We met a Tasmanian devil, a lizard, an echidna, and several other interesting animals but none as new to us and as different as the potoroo. We thought a family stopped along the path before us was feeding large rats but we were told that if they were rats “a good Aussie would clap them on the head with a board.”
Instead of one large area with all sorts of kangaroos and emus, the park has been expanded and the animals sectioned off into several large fenced in areas that are very open and laced with paved pathways although you don’t need to stay on them. The only rule is to not try to hold the animals and to let them walk away from you if they choose. In each area there is a spot for the animals to get away and rest from people. Most were just resting all over the place oblivious to visitors unless they wanted a treat.
The treats were an extra $3 for a bag of animal food. The lady who checked us in said one bag would probably do because it was mid-afternoon. I was concerned that the kangaroos and emus wouldn’t be interested but it wasn’t a problem. There was one kangaroo that I think would have eaten our whole bag. Every time an emu began to come and investigate he would grab my arm to make sure I didn’t move my hand that direction.
We had a great time feeding the roos and emus and other birds and of course, the potoroos who were plentiful. The weather was wonderful and our walk through the whole park took a little over two hours. Since all we’d had for lunch was a package of cheese crackers and a Butternut bar we went to the café there and ordered a ham and cheese wrap and fries. The Aussies must love their “chips” because the one order was a huge bowl of them we had trouble finishing despite being hungry.
We had until 8:30 PM to return to the ship and had no idea how long it might take us. The two buses we needed to take to town took a little over an hour and then we needed to walk to the train station to find the substitute bus line. The spot to catch the bus to the Outer Harbor was not obvious so we stopped to ask another bus driver who had just pulled up to a bus stop in front of us. He actually took the time to call in and find out that the spot was really across the street from us where some men in orange vests stood. We thanked him and walked away in wonder that someone would be so kind as to take the time to do that with a bus full of passengers.
The bus wasn’t due until 6 PM and we were told it would take an a little over an hour to get us to the ship. Some others from the ship offered to share a taxi with us but we’d already bought our day passes and had our ride paid for. We weren’t in that big of a hurry so we passed and waited on the bus. The ride was an hour and a half because it had to weave back and forth across the tracks accessing the nearest street corner to the usual train stops to pick up and drop off riders. We got to see a lot of Adelaide’s suburbs. It was a neat ride and we got back to the ship in time to see a beautiful sunset.
Dinner? Well, have you ever known a cruise ship not to have food available even when you miss your dinner seating? We had soup and small sandwiches in the Bistro along with some decaf coffee (although after our great adventure we could have used caffeine). We made it through the show time without nodding heads and then found out that our clocks were going to get pushed back an hour and a half. We’d pushed it back just a half hour the night before because of a weird time zone in Adelaide. Now we were making up for it and more. While it was ten o’clock (old time) it was really 8:30 (new time) when I closed my eyes and I didn’t wake until the usual 7:30. And you thought Daylight Savings Time was tough. I think that made my night 11 hours long or did time change again somehow? Did I really sleep that much?