By THOMAS HUKAHU
IN last week’s article, I shared with you some basic features of Adelaide city and a bit of history of how it started off as an urban centre.
In this week’s article, I will share with you visits I made to two places in the capital city of South Australia.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Late last month, we were informed by our university support staff that we would spend the day visiting the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on Jan 24, a Friday.
The gardens are situated 300 metres from the University of Adelaide’s North Terrace Campus, which is in the northern part of the city’s CBD.
The group that I was part of comprised of Australian scholarship students who are going to be studying in the city’s campus for the first time. They came from Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos as well as PNG.
We all gathered beside the entrance of the campus in the morning and walked down the North Terrace (road) to the gardens. There we were met by our tour guide, Barb Field, a senior officer there who would wow us with her knowledge of the names and characteristics of the different plants grown and cared for there.
Field told us about the different landmark tree species, some endemic to the Adelaide Plains and neighbouring area, while others were introduced, brought over from Queensland or New South Wales.
We were informed also of the ways of the first custodians of this land, the Kaurna people, the Aboriginal group that lived here, and how they used the different parts of plants to help them survive from season to season.
It was an interesting three hours.
For me, personally, most of what was shared by Field and walking through the gardens reminded me of my biology classes in university, particularly the botany component of the course. And, that was a long time ago.
When we were introduced to one of the trees in the gardens, I noticed that most of the plants had their names (common and scientific) written on a label and that was stuck to them.
For example, Field told us about a tree called Crow’s Ash.
Its particular details were listed as: Genus: Flindersiaceae; Scientific name: Flindersia Australis; Common name: Crow’s Ash.
Field told us that that tree’s scientific name came from the British navigator and cartographer Matthew Flinders, who visited this part of the continent in the late 1700s and 1800s. Flinders University is named after him.
I was thinking how a future or amateur botanist could walk through the gardens and learning the names of the different plants by just reading off the labels placed there.
There was also a place in the gardens where different cactus types were grown. The prickly plants which thrive in much drier areas looked odd, placed in a small rocky patch surrounded by lush greenery of grass and trees.
A place for students, visitors, families
As we moved from one part of the gardens to another, I observed a lot of people moving about. Some were friends, mothers walking their children, or visitors to the city from other states of Australia, or even beyond.
There were nice open grassy areas too where groups could have a picnic. Actually, there was one big family enjoying an early lunch when we passed through an open nicely-manicured lawn.
There were at least two places within the gardens where people could get something to eat. One was a popular restaurant and was filled with people when we passed by.
Groups that would like a guided tour at the gardens can make prior arrangements with the gardens’ staff by visiting their website
Travelling to Glenelg beach
After our visit to the botanic gardens on that Friday, most of our group members went home, and a few visited the shops to pick up something for the weekend.
I decided that I would hop on the tram and continue southwest – to the beach, to Glenelg. Actually, Glenelg is a suburb southwest of Adelaide’s CBD and the beach is on the westernmost part.
(Other popular beaches to the north of Glenelg are West Beach and Henley Beach and can be reached by bus from the city.)
My plan was not to swim at Glenelg, I wanted to see the sea after being here for just more than two weeks.
I had learned that Glenelg is the last stop for the tram when it travels further south from the main part of the city.
(I had bought a small digital camera the day before and felt better equipped as a storyteller. The people in that telescope and camera shop, where I bought the camera, told me that it was waterproof too. My bigger camera refused to function after July last year and I had to buy that small one.)
After our trip to the gardens, I made my way to the Rundle Mall tram stop and got on the vehicle.
Earlier, I had confirmed with a student from Myanmar that the tram ends its southern journey at Glenelg. I had also gone online and checked how far Glenelg was from the city, something that seasoned travellers usually do.
I was aware that I needed to use my metro-card for the journey from the Victoria Square and onwards to the south and eventually to Glenelg. Otherwise, all the trips within the city limits on the tram “is free”.
(The metro-card is the same card that we use on the buses. You can get $30 fortnight option on the metro-card, which means you can travel for a fortnight, whichever way you want to, without paying anything.)
So, my trip to Glenelg took about 25 minutes, elongated with the stops at different spots along the way. (There are about 17 stops before you get to Glenelg.)
What Glenelg beach offers
While the tram was in motion, I heard a group sitting beside me alternating between French and heavily-accented English.
I later had a conversation with them (with a few phrases in French) and found out that they were tourists visiting different parts in Asia and Australia.
They asked me how I was able to speak their language and I told them I studied it with Alliance Française in Port Moresby years ago.
When we parted, they bade me “bon voyage” as they headed for a hotel near the beach for lunch.
Glenelg beach was filled with people on that day, and some were kids who were brought there by their parents to play in the various play areas.
I noticed some people were engaged in a game of beach volleyball while others were in the sea, having fun in the water.
There were many places to eat all sorts of different foods and ice cream parlours were available for those who wanted something sweet but cold on a summer day.
Other places to visit
There are many other interesting places to visit in the city, or in the suburbs of Adelaide.
I have described two of those, but you can also visit the Adelaide Zoo, the South Australian Museum and The Art Gallery of South Australia.
The museum and gallery are along North Terrace, which is the north side of Adelaide’s CBD, while the zoo is less than a kilometre northeast from the gallery.
You can also visit the state parliament which is to the west of the museum.
Next week: Visiting Adelaide Hills