I’ve been away again. I suspect it will happen a lot this year – the stars have aligned to make 2023 the year of travel for us. I don’t mind, so long as the garden still gets what it needs and remains productive and in control, with opportunities for exciting projects, and that I can squeeze in some horticultural goodness while out and about.
And this last week was no different. I managed to fill my horticultural cup while on a cruise that was mostly at sea! Hubby the Un-Gardener is a professional motivational speaker and gets invited on the ships as guest entertainment, and I get to go along for the ride! It is a great way for a bit of an enforced relax in the midst of a hectic schedule and I certainly managed a lot of relaxing in the four days at sea, but on the land days – there was plenty of garden interest.
The first destination for us was Adelaide in Australia and we set out from Auckland Airport with Qatar Airlines, which makes the whole thing seem really exotic. However the trip was around the South Island of New Zealand and we left the ship half way through and took a domestic flight back home again from Christchurch to Auckland. We were supposed to visit Milford Sound however biosecurity prevented this and rightly so, we need to protect the pristine places we have! To make up for that we went on a detour around the bottom of Stewart Island which was rather special as we got to see Albatrosses wheeling above the ship with their majestic wings barely moving. While at sea I also saw a dolphin and a couple of penguins.
However, the only actual destination on this exotic trip for us was Dunedin, which in the grand scheme of things is a very beautiful place, but quite ordinary in its ‘kiwi-ness’ – which is great if you are looking for an authentic Kiwi experience!
As for Adelaide, well we were only there for 18 hours. We arrived exhausted in darkness and woke early thanks to the time zone changes. To make the most of what time we had in Adelaide, first thing in the morning we headed to the Botanic Gardens, that were fortunately only a short walk from our hotel. It did not disappoint! There were so many wonderful things including plants I could only dream of growing, and left me with a head full of inspiration and creative possibilities.
Naively aware Australia is fraught with dangerous creatures, we were constantly on the lookout for possible danger, although from time to time I’d lean into a plant for a closer look and Hubby the Un-Gardener would warn me not to get so close because ‘something might jump out’. Being as the garden is in the midst of the CBD of Adelaide I doubt we were in much peril but you never can be sure…
Aside from the plants one of the cool things we saw there… well we heard it first, with this cacophony of sound, initially out of sight. My guess was there was maybe a water feature filled with frogs around the next corner, however I was completely wrong and was excited to look up and see bats! Lots of bats hanging in the trees. I’ve never seen bats before! At the gardens I also saw turtles just swimming in a pond!
It was a short but wonderful visit as we had to head to the port to embark onto the ship at midday. From my brief glimpse of Adelaide, I loved what I saw and would love to go back one day.
When we arrived in Dunedin, we made a bee line for the Botanic Gardens. It was quite the distance from the ship by foot, but we made the journey at a pace, so as not to lose precious time. I’ve been to the gardens before as part of my botanical tour guiding with Botanica last November, but this time I wanted to have a slower look around so I could fully appreciate all it had to offer without having to get back on a bus. I did have to get back on a ship but we had a few more hours at our disposal than last time I was there.
We did consider making it a trifecta and going to Christchurch Botanic Gardens, but we would have had our luggage with us, and besides there was some kind of boat race in Lyttleton that Hubby the Un-Gardener wanted to see. Sadly this didn’t happen, even though we lingered as long as we could at our prime viewing spot on the back of the ship with all of our new found friends, but with our flight looming, and racing not yet started we reluctantly disembarked and headed home.
And so there you have it – this is how it took us 6 days and 6500km and an exotic sounding trip on Qatar Airlines to get to Dunedin – via Adelaide. The whole thing was wonderfully bonkers!
Come again soon – the garden missed me and March is marching by.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
NB: There are loads of photos in this post – to find out more about each one click on it to enlarge it. (To get a full description click on the (i) symbol on the bottom right). Oh and check my Instagram @sarahthegardener for even more photos.