Adelaide Zoo and Himeji Garden

The best way to explore a city is on foot, unless you actually are the foot involved. Sometimes the legs and the rest of the body as well. However, the brain had decided that it was sick of driving and couldn’t be bothered working out bus routes, so it was up to the legs and feet to do the work of taking us around Adelaide city.

The first destination of the day is the Adelaide Zoo, a good couple of kilometres away. Up the road and past Rundle Mall, across the bridge over the Torrens River opposite the impressively rebuilt Adelaide Oval. The main roads of this well planned city are broad and planted with trees. Along with the old buildings, it reminds me a bit of Melbourne. Certainly not Sydney.

We walk along the northern bank of the Torrens and through the parkland. It is a pleasant walk but for the summer heat. Of that, there is plenty. There are ducks, pelicans and moorhens in and alongside the river and plantations of roses and other flowers whose sight and scent remind me of my grandparents’ old house in this city.

Crossing over the river again we have to walk around to the Zoo’s main entrance in order to go through the covid check in formalities. 

Why a zoo again, considering that we have just been to the zoo in Canberra very recently? Adelaide’s zoo has one notable animal featured nowhere else in Australia: A pair of giant pandas!

While female Fu Ni is curled up in the back corner of her enclosure dealing with a false pregnancy and not being funny at all, Wang Wang has just had his treats placed around the attractive outdoor section. He wanders around chewing his way through carrots and bamboo, putting on a good show.

The Zoo’s bird show is also a lot of fun, especially the huge blue macaw swooping low over our heads. Apparently the blue is caused by the refraction of light through its feathers and not pigments!

We also enjoy the native hopping mice and bilby in the nocturnal enclosure, a juvenile stork up close and, of course, the siamangs, gibbons and other primates. Each zoo has its own special exhibits, but Adelaide Zoo has some really attractive enclosures, despite its reasonably small size.

As we make our way out of the exit and back up past the University of Adelaide we are hot, thirsty and absolutely exhausted. Stumbling through Rundle Mall was pass the South Australian Chief Health Officer, Nicole Spurrier, made “famous” through Covid.

Eventually we arrive at Uncle’s Chicken Rice. Flavours good, chicken tough, so only a pass mark for them. Better than eating those burger joints we passed, the thought of which just made us sick in our mental and physical state.

After a rest back at the apartment we walk back down through Chinatown to the Central Markets to buy supplies for dinner. Sausages, fruit, pastries, until the stalls close for the day. Despite my tired legs, I still want to see the Himeji Japanese gardens. 

I bid the others farewell and walk at a fast pace the couple of kilometres to the edge of the central business district.

The Himeji Gardens are compact, but dense, with an attractive central waterfall and pond, a lantern, stone garden and shelter. Other families and individuals are relaxing there. Somehow I can’t quite convince myself that I am back in Japan. 

Instead of walking the entire way back I decide to catch a tram a couple of stops. On the way back I stop by Futake again to purchase some Japanese drinks to slake my parched throat. 

Back at the hotel I need to make a salad to go with the sausages we bought. I’d asked for a premade potato salad or similar, but the others just bought salad leaves. So I got inventive and sliced up a peach we’d also bought at the market, toasted some leftover loaf I’d for some reason brought down from Sydney and used vegetable oil, a sugar sachet, salt, dried herbs, the remnants of some Japanese pear juice and a little sparkling Japanese lime flavoured water from the same shop to make a dressing. Success!

We ate dinner on the apartment balcony enjoying the warm air and the daylight drifting away to dusk, a late meal for a long day.

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