Adelaide first impressions #1

I read an interesting article recently, by an American living in Melbourne. After five years, she wondered if her views on the place had changed. Luckily for us readers she had diarised her first impressions of Melbourne at the time.

I’ve been living in Adelaide since late January and I really need to collect my first impressions, before they become diluted by familiarity. Here’s a selection to get started:

  1. Heatwaves: My memory of Adelaide, from earlier visits, was of dry and sizzling heat. Certainly we arrived in January during a heatwave. 40-something degrees for days on end. Mega publicity. The hottest city in the worldTM. No wonder outsiders think it’s like this all the time. Stay a bit longer, and a milder climate makes itself known. Cool crisp mornings even during summer. It’s almost chilly now (April). But yes, heatwaves in summer, punctuated by spells of perfect warm sunny weather.
  2. Winds: I read somewhere that the cooling evening breezes in the eastern suburbs where we live are caused by air falling down off the hills when the sun drops. For a few weeks I woke in the night to blustery winds whipping the trees for an hour, then calm. The other week the burn-offs in the hills brought wood smoke notes to the afternoon air.
  3. Clocks: Being half an hour in front (of Queensland) is weird. And now half an hour behind. Evening sunlight is a novelty. Clocks going back is a novelty. (Doesn’t stop the toddler getting up before dawn.)
  4. Parklands: A couple of Saturday’s ago I cycled all the way around the Adelaide Parklands with the toddler. 24km of woodlands, lakes, lawn, heath and scrub. Play and sportsgrounds of all types and shapes; dogs and birds and horses and people. We even heard monkeys whooping in the zoo. North Adelaide’s amazing heritage streets and buildings called for a urbansketch stop at Wellington Square.
A sketch of the Wellington Hotel, North Adelaide.  Colouring by the toddler and I.

A sketch of the Wellington Hotel, North Adelaide. Colouring by the toddler and I.

Through a golf course, look left look right then bump the bike and child across four railway lines (Adelaide’s rail network is 1950s standard), over the river again to Bonython Park with its new playground, coffee kiosk and groups of parents. Behind the old goal where the police horses live beneath olive trees. The parklands are not just the lungs of the city but a heart of community and sporting life. A real gem.

5.     Adelaide Central Markets on a Friday night after work. Cheese tasting, Spaghetti Bar, spicy soups, glass of wine, olives, fruit and veg for a weekend, and a toddler tantrum.

6.     Mad March: more festivals than minutes in the day. Even with the toddler we enjoyed a night-time festival parade, Sunday morning baby disco, the festival opening concert, book festival, WOMAdelaide and (kids) comedy. And who can forget the bee festival…or was that buzz in the back garden really from the V8 supercars racing in nearby Victoria Park??? Listening to David Malouf interviewed at the writers fest. Hearing about Brisbane and feeling nostalgia for the subtropical life. Already! Exploring the city and region was postponed until quieter times.

Fringe shows are for kids too

Fringe shows are for kids too

Fringe parade

Fringe parade.  Festivals and public events are plentiful in Mad March

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    All change

    I’ve updated my bio on the About me page…not least because the family and I have recently relocated to Adelaide, South Australia.  It’s a big change but so far, a good one.  I’m going to be blogging about some new topics and places…just as soon as the festivals are over and I make time to explore.

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      One last note From the editor

      QP summer 13 14The summer issue of Queensland Planner came out just in time…to be cast aside in favour of Christmas deadlines and parties.  Easing into 2014 might be a good time to pick up the magazine and have a browse.  As always PIA members can also download a copy from the member resources section of

      Here’s my (final!) editorial reprinted:

      Publications are important to professions and to membership organisations. Often largely written by members as well as read by them, publications are in a way a reflection of the organisation itself. If planning could be described as thoughtful, varied and interesting I hope that description could be extended to Queensland Planner as well. As this is my last Queensland Planner as editor I would like summarise a few of my highlights from the past 12 issues.

      Continue reading

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        A plan for summer

        I am about to begin a long summer break with my family.  It has been a year of hard work but good work, at the end of a decade of the same in south east queensland.  2014 offers new scenery and adventures.  I am looking forward to it.  Some design related but holiday focussed blogging may emerge over the summer.  My last Queensland Planner as editor is about to be published.  The cartoon sums it all up really…

        'A plan for summer', cartoon published in Queensland Planner, December 2013

        ‘A plan for summer’, cartoon published in Queensland Planner, December 2013



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