it's been 7 days since we came back from our reccie and we have almost recovered from the jetlag - it's so much worse coming back to the uk...
when we stepped outside the airport we got our first view on the city we've chosen to be our home in the future - and what can i say ... nothing what we've expected!
true, we've seen pictures, researched online alot, talked to lots of people - and it STILL was nothing what we've expected.
BUT not in a bad way - obviously first things we've realised were: it was much warmer, not as flat as i've imagined, drier than i thought it would be, rather empty streets (not many cars NOR people)
obviously very general things but we were seriously tired and exhausted.
starting on the very next day we drove around lots to get a feel for the city and to determine which areas we liked. (we drove about 1600km in total - in 3 weeks)
we stayed in the south (huntsfield heights) which made us explore that area a bit more and we loved it! despite having researched the north/east more - we really liked the south!
first we were not really bothered about the closeness of the sea but it was just nice that if we wanted to i could pack the kids and be on the beach in 10 minutes - and they sure loved it!
what i also liked about the south was it was easier on our eyes because it's not as flat and dry as other areas (does that make sense?) - and since we both don't mind driving' a 45 minutes ride in the car to the north (port adelaide) is nothing out of the norm for us.
my husband has an hour comute now too and the trafic in adelaide is nothing compared to the one in london! - so he is willing to do the daily run and leave me with the easier access to the beach and shopping malls since i'll be staying home with the kids (at least for the time being!)
and if any possible he might even jump on the train which takes about 45 min to the city from noarlunga.
we did venture out and saw hallet cove, semaphore, andrews farm, gawler, golden grove, blackwood, hahndorf, mt. barker, victor harbour (amongst many other areas!) and obviously all the surounding suburbs to get there.
i could give examples why we didn't like them as much but then again we did like most of them for other reason - but i've given OUR reasons why WE like the south.
Driving: we hired a rental car for the whole 3 weeks and it was a matter of minutes to get the keys and drive off.
and bringing back again just as easy: despite having gotten a small scratch in a carpark and lots of sand in the car he didn't bat an eyelid just told us not to worry about!
in the beginning it felt weird that everyone was driving so slowly (basically sticking to the speed limit lol) - but soon we adjusted and we just love the 'cruise control'.
we didn't hit any major traffic - only on our very last on the way to the airport but that was caused to loads of roadworks along the road (sorry keith!!).
oh, and it took some getting used to that the indicator was on the 'wrong' side - i think we had the car with the cleanest windscreen all around lol
People: no worries! that IS the going saying lol - i said it after only 2 days!!
everyone is just so friendly and so open. my kids want to stroke every dog they can get hold of so we got to talk to lots of people lol -
and once on a rainy day after checking out the local entertainment center i stopped a woman with a toddler and asked her what there is to do with little ones around here on a bad day.
she willingly talked to us for 15min and gave us some great tips!
and in the shopping malls i realised that whenever my kids were a bit ahead of us there was always an adult looking out for them and searching for us.
and in the shops the assistants always ask how you are or how your day has been - nice
once we went into a pizzahut without realising it was take-away only, so we ordered and he told us that would be a 15min wait. because the kids were already tired we decided to drop them off home and i'd come back and pick up the pizza.
so i asked the guy for a receipt because i've paid already and he just said 'no worries. i'll recognise you!' - ehmm, we left with small worries, but i came back and he was grinning at me and handed me the pizza and wished me a great day.
(just a small example what we liked about oz !! )
Weather: it was colder than we've expected but still warm enough for shorts and tshirt - so nice for us coming from the uk!
we had some rain, many days that started out overcast and ended up really warm and sunny, and some sunny days to go to the beach!
we did turn the heating on a couple of days to take the chill off in the mornings - so you really get it all!
Eating out: i was a bit disappointed with that one but looking back at it now i think it's mainly because i didn't know where to look for nice restaurants.
we mainly survived on fast food! it was just so much easier with the kids and our days out.
we did go once to 'a hotel' which is basically a pub and wow, they had huge portions for a good price!
things to do: having children made us focus quite a lot on finding playgrounds and things to do with/for children.
we were regular visitors at the fort in onkaparinga!! and on the warm days we always went to the beach with bucket and spade, kids in their cossies and they just loved it.
shivvering cold but still loved it lol - there are parks everywhere!!! most have a small playground (2-3 things for kids), many have public bbq's (just bring your own food, push the button to heat it up and enjoy )
we once went to a local softplay and they had a kids disco on that night - since it was a colder day we stayed for that and the kids loved it!!!!!
st. kilda adventure playground is excellent (do take a towel for the metal slide!) - but it was too hot really so we had to leave after an hour. but i am sure you could make a day of it.
we did try and go an a river cruise but both days we tried none was going out (so if possbile call ahead);
for our animal park we decided on Gorge Wildlife park (in Cuddlee Creek) = fabulous!!!! apparently it's not as big as others but we had 3 hours fun and could have stayed much longer if we hadn't run out of peanuts lol
(and the drive there was awesome too!); and there seems to be lots going on on the beaches too: once in glenelg there was competition in beach volleyball (seemed like schools?), and the other day in southport we watched a competition of the life savers clubs;
and since i mentioned beaches: don't forget about Ashleys driving ON the beach - he was grinning all day afterwards lol
a good place for kids is the library: ours had a huge section for kids only with with sofas and small tables/chairs - even toys there and then; they even got a toy library and cd's/dvd's for the rainy days.
and i got ourselves signed up to get wireless internet with them (do bring ID and an oz address); i had to nag them a bit though because they've never done that before so didn't know if it's actually possible -
but they were so friendly and 2 phone calls, 1 handbook and 10min waiting later i had my very own (temporary) library card
- you have to be in their range obviously and within opening times but the library was in our local shopping mall so we did use it a few times!
we also made it up Mt. Lofty, tbh first i was not too bothered but now i am glad we did it. was an amazing view!! -
another visit was to Haighs Chocolate Factory: a bit disappointing really; a 10min 'tour' and we saw maybe 5 machines BUT the kids (and us lol) were happy with the samples we've got mmmmm
shopping: we are not big shoppers. we need something and we go and get it. so our local shopping mall provided that all and much more!
Coles and Woolworths are for food shopping (similar to tescos but no alcohol!) - you need to go to a Bottle Shop to buy alcohol: which is basically a huge warehouse stacked with rows and rows and rows of alcohol
i mostly opted for the own brand food and was not disappointed. just chicken was rather pricey which is bad news because we mainly eat chicken; well, we'll have to adjust or get a very good job lol
and the local drink seems to be 'iced coffee', since that is a known drink to me (very common in Vienna) we soon had one every day - enhanced of course ;)
(we did bring a big pack of flyers with us (you get them through the door almost every day) so we can look up where to buy certain things and compare prices)
oh and not to forget: get yourself a CBD!!! shame they don't do it in pocketsize - your loyal friend where ever you go!!!
i also have to add we wouldn't have had such a great time without all the lovely people we met up with - thank you to every single one of you!!!!!!
and of course to our lovely hosts which provided us with a great place to stay at and all the help we could wish for!!!!
we'll be back ...