Leaving Australia…

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It’s going to be a wrench, leaving Australia.

We’ve been here nearly a month and that’s the longest time we have ever been away from the UK. It has been a wonderful time. The star of the show has been the little lady in the buggy, above, and in the photo, below – our Granddaughter, Alice.

We’ve had time to really get to know her and we’ve become friends, not just relatives. It will be a while before we see her, again, but we have the miracle of Facetime and Skype to renew the friendship across the miles.

We’ve one final trip to do. To celebrate a family birthday, we’re off to the Barossa wine region, a short drive from Adelaide. We have a final overnighter in a B&B, then it’s a short, return to the family home, then a taxi to the airport, to hang in the sky for an unreasonable length of time, while we, literally, travel to the other side of the world…

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Alice has done the packing of her most important things, as you can see from the photo above – the blankie and the left shoe…

It’s been a wonderful trip. We’ve had time to get to know Adelaide and its nearby seaside resort of Glenalg, with its fine esplanade.

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We’ve developed a great fondness for Stirling – the lovely small town just down the hill, in which we’ve had endless goes on the kiddie swings and done most of the family shopping, giving our two hard-working doctors a rest – and a hot meal when they come in from their long shifts in the A&E Department of the city’s hospital.

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We managed to fit in a just-us anniversary weekend in Melbourne, a fascinating and eclectic city an hour away by plane.

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We’ve spent a lot of time in airports and planes. By the time we get home we will have been on fifteen different flights. But that is the nature of travel in such a large country. To be honest, flying in Australia is so easy that you can’t really believe how big the land is…

My personal highlight was Urulu – the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock, right in the middle of the red desert at the heart of the Australian continent. I’ve covered our experiences there in other posts. I won’t forget this harsh but magical place – nor its deep connections with the guardians of the land…

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Another set of planes saw us arrive in Brisbane, a very vibrant and cosmopolitan city, where the Brisbane River dominates the landscape and offers transportation for both work and leisure.

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Our farthest point was Fraser Island, just North of Brisbane and a forty-minute ferry ride from Hervy Bay, the nearest point on the mainland. We’ll never forget the uniqueness of this beautiful sub-tropical paradise – nor its challenging ‘roads’!

And then it was back to Adelaide to recover… to spend some time, at Bernie’s request, in the famous Botanical Gardens.

It’s a superb Botanical collection, spread over three locations, though, due to the high fire risk at this time of year, two were closed and we only got to see the main one, in Adelaide’s centre.

We’ve faced some challenges; not least of which has been life at forty-one degrees as the car instrumentation shows!

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The ‘Birthday Barossa’ beckons. Then, all too soon, we’ll be at the airport, checking in and beginning the long journey home, to be reconciled with Misti and Tess, our cat and dog, and a freezing Cumbrian winter.

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Thank you, Australia… we’ll be back.