Updated: Nov 13, 2018
24 Apr 2002 - Housing hysteria
Something has happened in Adelaide in the past 4 years. When we were first here, back in '98, we were shocked to see how cheap the housing was. For approximately $AU250,000 ($US130,000) you could get a large 4 bedroom house, with a few acres of land within easy commuting distance of the city.
No more. We spend a few increasingly frustrating days touring the city in ever increasing circles, being aghast at the prices being commanded for housing in the nice parts of the city & 'burbs. It seems to be at least twice as expensive now.
Still, on a global scale, this place is still a lot cheaper than many other cities (Sydney, San Francisco, New York, London, etc.), but it's no longer the bargain-basement prices we had hoped for.
However, if you're willing to commute a bit, there are still some real steals to be had further out in the bush - and with lots of land included (it's hard to find anything under 20 acres). The idea of owning some land, growing a few grapes perhaps, does have some appeal.
Welcome dear strangers!
Nick on trading laws... In our last journal I did a side bar on Sunday trading laws over here. It gets even more ridiculous. While shopping at one of the large grocery stores we notice a banner - "Now open from midnight!". Cool we say, but surely you mean 'open until midnight', right? Wrong! The store opens at midnight 6 days a week, but closes at 5 PM for 4 of these days and 7 PM for the other two! God help anyone who works late here and wants to pick up a little dinner on the way home. Oh, and it's still closed all day Sunday. Of course.
Sticker shock aside, we're still very much enamoured with this town. The weather continues to be delightful, even though we're now coming into autumn. Everyone here is wonderfully friendly and laid back. A case in point - after an hour or two spent exploring the botanical gardens we decide that we've earned a glass of wine, and toddle off to a little wine bar that Lynn has read about. We encounter one of the local art dealers / gossip columnist who appears to be a regular here. Within a few minutes we're friends, he's bought us a bottle of wine, the owner has come over to join us and we amicably spend the rest of the afternoon chatting.
After living in the United States for a few years, it's hard not to be cynical and suspicious of a complete stranger when they offer to buy you a bottle of wine just because they enjoy talking to you (what's he after?), but here you quickly realise that for the most part, people are not out to get you or rip you off, they just want to get to know you a little better.
Food and wine
Continuing the Adelaide sales pitch - if you're foodie or enjoy the occasional tipple, this is definitely the place for you. We are constantly amazed at the quality of the restaurants out here. The prices are very reasonable and even the most casual looking place serves up great dishes.
Licensed restaurants always have a great selection of wines by the bottle or glass, and more often than not at a reasonable markup (unlike the states where 300% is not uncommon). Not all restaurants have a license (it seems to be harder to get over here), but all allow you to 'BYO' which is a great way to enjoy your favourite bottle with your meal.
Interlude at Miner's Cottage
Feeling quite frazzled by all the running around, house hunting and general research we've been doing over the past week or two, we take a couple of days vacation from the vacation out at Miner's Cottage. This is one of our favourite places to stay out in the Barossa Valley, north of Adelaide. We spend a relaxing couple of days doing nothing more than a spot of wine tasting and giving the BBQ a bit of a work out.
Originally, we had planned to fly back to Sydney and spend our last couple of days there before going home to the states, but we recently had a momentary panic that we haven't done justice to this country before making Adelaide our home for the next few years. After all there are several cities that we haven't even been to yet, and we are moving here in part for better (i.e. hotter) weather than we get in Oregon, so shouldn't we be at least checking out some of these places?
So, we decide to 'do Brisbane' in just 24 hours. Not necessarily to select it in favor of Adelaide, but possibly to eliminate it from the running. Brisbane is approximately ⅓ of the way up the east coast of Australia and it's allegedly hot, tropical, has 243 days of sunshine a year and is full of surfers. And that's all we know about it, apart from the pictures, which look inviting (of course). So, we'll go take a look...