Free ride – Glenelg SA

Free ride
Glenelg, Australia

Glenelg, Australia

There’s a tram from Glenelg to downtown Adelaide. It’s free – I’m told. After a leisurely breakfast our intrepid band of adventurers addresses the eternal question – what to do today. Our car trip to the deep south yesterday has taken its toll on one or two members so the we reckon something closer might be in order today. After the usual semi-democratic vote it’s agreed that we’ll spend a day in the city. “We can catch the tram from Jetty Street all the way to town.” “And, best of all, it’s free!” I’m a little sceptical that the good Burgers of Adelaide have provided free transport, but I’m assured that this is a free service for tourists. “We saw it on Trip Advisor. That’s nearly as good as Facebook!”

In no time we’re at the tram stop. There’s even a tram waiting so off we go. Stop one. Two young girls get on. One swipes a card against the reader. The other feeds coins into a machine in the middle of the tram. We feel a bit guilty about not telling them that the tram is free, but their mums probably wouldn’t like them talking to strangers. Then more people get on …. There’s a tram from Glenelg to downtown Adelaide. It costs $3.20 off peak, unless you’re a senior like one of our group. The machine tells us he will cost $1.60, though some locals reckon he can travel free.

Downtown Adelaide is quite lovely (as long as you remember to turn right at the Rundle Mall tram stop.) We wander the mall and marvel at the classic architecture, and fancy shops. The place abounds with boutiques, tailors and trendy looking eateries. We look at the windows. We look at our wallets. Let’s grab a coffee at Maccas then keep moving.

It’s pleasant out and everything seems to be in walking distance. “Look, Google says we can walk to the zoo in fifteen minutes.” We’ve heard that the zoo is worth a visit, and, it has pandas. Another semi-democratic vote and we’re hot footing it along the street, with only the occasional photo stop. A mere thirty five minutes later we’re lined up at the ticket counter. “Three adults and one concession please.”

The zoo lives up to its reputation. Sure, we encounter the usual litany of exhibits where the animals are either curled up sleeping or mystically hidden behind blades of grass, but overall we get to see most of the things we came for. A special bonus is that Wang Wang the male panda has drunk five cups of coffee this morning and is actually wandering energetically around his enclosure. Apparently his lady friend Funi didn’t appreciate his attentions last September, so he’s been sent to his room for twelve months. The result is lots of pacing and prowling, much to the delight of the crowds.

It’s around three in the afternoon when we finally run the gauntlet of that dangerous minefield called the Zoo Shop. We steel ourselves and make a dash between the shelves of cuddly hippo toys and burst onto the street. Murray is looking poorly and looks ready to collapse. “What can we do?” “I’ll … be … OK … if you can just … get me to … the Adelaide oval.” What? The cricket oval? How can we refuse the request of our failing companion? The Oval is only about a kilometre away, and he’s not really that heavy anyway. At last we lay him at the Victor Richardson gates. His recovery is miraculous. “Ok, I’ll just take a few photos then we can look for that free tram back to Glenelg.”

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