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Hello Australia: I have arrived. Here’s what’s on tap!

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Well then, that was most definitely one of the more roundabout ways to get to Australia – but I have arrived!  Well, we finally arrived.  Upon leaving CES in Las Vegas, I picked up The Girl and The Little One in Paris.  And then after a total of three consecutive redeye flights and over 16,000 miles of flying, we landed in sunny Adelaide earlier this morning.  Heck, I even got in an early morning run upon dropping off the suitcases at the hotel.  It’s at that point The Baby finally decided to sleep.  Apparently that wasn’t in the cards the previous 24 hours.  She was rather displeased with our choice of destinations.

The bright side is that’s finally given me a chance to write this post.

Adelaide & The Tour Down Under

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Of course – you may be wondering what I’m on the other side of the earth for.  Sure, the weather is far better this time of year in Australia than in Paris.  But that’s not the main reason (though, it is a major reason).

Instead – the big event is the Tour Down Under.  This popular pro cycling race kicks off over the weekend, and is often a good place to dig into the latest sports technology as pro teams first publically adopt it for the season ahead.  It’s an ideal spot to see who’s using what (or sometimes more interestingly: What they aren’t using off the sponsored products list).  Oh, and did I mention the weather is better?

Plus, you may see a product announcement or two here…

So I’ll be looking at the tech side of things at the Tour Down Under, plus some of the usual goodness of the race itself.  I’ll not so much be covering the racing aspect of the race – but rather more of the atmosphere of the race.  Similar to my Tour de France posts over the past few years.  More about the spectacle of the race, the fans, and the experience.  There’s plenty of other places to get the breakaway by breakaway race coverage.

Of course, being that I’ve never been to the TDU before – I might miss a few things (tips welcomed!).  On the flip side, since I’ve never been before, it’ll all be ‘new’ to me.  Thus I get to experience it for the first time, versus the Tour de France being a bit old hat for me.

(Tidbit: The above picture I took a few hours ago at a nearby café.  Some interesting thoughts on the backstory of that rider in the replies to this Twitter post. Fascinating the detail people have picked apart on that picture.)

But wait, there’s more!

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Now given we flew a crapton of miles to get here, there’s no good reason to leave so quickly.  Thus, we’re staying a while.  Like, till next month.

First up will be Sydney later next week, followed by heading up north to Hamilton Island the week after.  Then it’s back down to Melbourne for a few days at the end of the month.  We had looked into also getting back to Western Australia (see our last trip there), though, it was throwing a bit of a loop into the airline reward seat thingy.  So sadly, not this time.

Still, we’ve got a solid itinerary, and all three of us are already enjoying the sun (Me, The Girl, and The Peanut).  Unfortunately, Lucy couldn’t join us due to restrictions on bringing dogs in the country.  So she’s livin’ it up back home with a friend.

Swim, bike, run:

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More than anything else, I’m looking forward to getting in some swims, runs, and rides while I’m here.  Running is easy, and in places like Hamilton Island – it’s likely pretty self-explanatory.  While I’ve run a bit in Sydney before, I’m always up for suggestions that are easy from Sydney city center (-ish) to get to.  Same goes for Melbourne.

Plus, I’ve got tons of gizmos and gadgets to test – including plenty of new goods brought back from CES! My suitcase was exactly 1 pound under the 70-pound limit!

I’m hoping to ride here in Adelaide (brought my helmet/shoes/pedals/clothes), though adding a bike to the checked airline luggage mix was too much.  Been looking at a few bike rental spots – but paying $100-$125 a day for a road bike is crazy, especially when you’re talking a week of bike rental.  So if anyone has any suggestions for road bike rental companies in Adelaide that don’t cost more than just buying a new bike, I’m all ears!

As for joining up on runs/rides – I’m definitely game! Especially in Adelaide (for next 7 days) and Melbourne (last four days of the month).  Sydney might be tight since we’re only staying 2-3 days.  Though – if there are any Hamilton Island readers out there…drop me a note too!

With that – I’m back to pumping out CES posts for the next few days, before turning to both Tour Down Under posts as well as all sorts of other goodness I’ve been writing over the past few weeks.  It’ll be a rare case of me actually planning and writing posts more than one day in advance.  Plus, if the interwebs function, keep your eyes peeled to the blog/Twitter, as we may do another Ask DCR Facebook Live session!  Except this time The Girl will join in!

Thanks for reading!  And hope to see some of you around!

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82 Comments

  1. matth

    Welcome back to Australia Ray. As a sydneysider, i recommend runs 1, 2 and 3 from the strava city guide. link to strava.com

    dare i say some of the most picturesque runs in the world. But its 40 Celsius today in Sydney, so probably not today…..

  2. GMPrince

    Welcome to Oz.

    Would be keen to join you for a ride around Melbourne later this month. Pls let me know your movements. Enjoy your time in the best country on 🌎 (esp during January)

  3. Kangri

    Welcome to Oz!
    In Melbourne we like to run around the TAN.
    link to strava.com

  4. Shane

    Hey ray,

    I am in Victor Harbor. Finish stage on the 19th.

    If u want to borrow a road bike, just let me know and u can borrow mine.

    Welcome to Australia
    Cheers

  5. David Hughes

    This might interest you.
    link to trailsplus.com.au
    Night run in the You Yangs, west of Melbourne. Trails. 5, 10, 21 and 42km distances as well as 3 or 6 hour options. 28th January. Trails + are very experienced operators and their events are well run and friendly

  6. Nick

    If you are in Melbourne at the end of the month you might be around for ride the night: link to bicyclenetwork.com.au – Hopefully should be a bit of fun and a nice way to see a different side of Melbourne. Otherwise I’ll have a think about a few small people friendly things to do as well :)

  7. Marek

    Some options if you make it through melbourne:
    link to blog.strava.com

  8. David Bonnett

    I’m not in RAdelaide but would love to catch up in Melbourne (I’m another former DC tech guy now living abroad).
    Check out the Cycling Tips rides this week for the Tour Down Under: link to cyclingtips.com if you want some good company in SA..

  9. Anthea

    Welcome to Australia! You’ve picked a great time of year to visit :) If you have a chance when in Melbourne you should go to Princes Park in Carlton for a run. Beautiful park and super close to a strip of awesome cafes and restaurants for a recovery coffee afterwards. If you and the girl are looking for great places to eat when in Melbourne, definitely check out Brunswick and Collingwood – too many great places doing amazing things with food to mention but that’s for sure the place to be!

  10. John

    The TDU expo village has demo bikes from most manufacturers free of charge. Get in there ASAP and book various options for different days of the week.

    If that doesn’t work out go to cycle closet. Mitch is the manager and will probably lend you one of his. He rides a 56 or 58 cannondale.

    If you’re struggling for a bike in Melbourne you can borrow mine. I’m on the injured list. It’s a 56cm parlee. Just shoot me an email for that and/or a bunch of gpx routes you can follow of all the secret backroad loops.

    • John

      Oh, check out cycling tips website. They usually have bunch rides everyday and are running a carpark crit one evening which you need to attend

    • Matt

      On that note, you can already book a bike at the Specialized pop-up which is near the tour village. See: link to specializedeventsaustralia.com

      These or the other demo bikes are good in the sense that they’re usually the latest models, well-maintained and free, although not as good in the sense they probably won’t like you having it overnight (which may rule out early morning riding).

    • J Tee

      +1 on borrowing bikes from the tour village. I know the guys who run the Focus-Cervelo tent if you’re looking for an intro. They might let you have a more extended loan..

  11. Mark McKillop

    +1 on a dcrainmaker Group ride in Melbourne would love to give you thanks in person for the website. I suggest a beach road roll famous bay coastal road.

  12. Milt MacFarlane

    Gday Ray and the Girl welcome to the land of Oz…don’t tap your heels just yet…one of the simpler thing to do in Adelaide at night is t take a tour up to Mount Lofty and ponder why the lights twinkle, enjoy

  13. Gramps

    Hey if you end up in Cairns……….

  14. Jan Petter Jetmundsen

    Is the beach photos taken at Glenelg?

  15. Aaron

    Welcome to Adelaide.
    Head to parkrun 7:45 for 8 am start each Saturday, a 5km run around the river Torrens next to the city of Adelaide. A beautiful run with about 250 other people. It’s a really cool community event…
    Check it out. I hope to see you there!
    link to facebook.com

  16. Michael Swann

    Welcome to Adelaide. Lots of good roads to ride here. Our wines aren’t too bad either.

    If you want to do a group ride or run, you should put something out on Twitter. It’s worked in the past…

    As for not bringing Lucy, don’t fret. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard know all about bringing dogs into Australia.

  17. Albert

    Welcome to Aus 👍

    If you’re on Hamilton Island on a Saturday, try parkrun for a very relaxed 5k run….

    link to parkrun.com.au

    Otherwise enjoy and don’t forget the sunscreen… and mind out for the dangerous snakes & arachnids 😱

    And you’ll be here for Australia/Invasion Day – enjoy the fireworks, wherever you’re going to be 🎉

  18. Simon Carney

    Welcome to Adelaide and The Stanford Grand by the looks of it. My Orbea Orca is on consignment at The Bike Station just round the corner if you need a bike – just get Noel or Robbie to call me to confirm you’re not some random…….. Make sure you ride some Adelaide classics such as Corkscrew, Willunga Hill and up the old Freeway to Mount Lofty.

  19. GT

    ‪Hey Ray. Let me know if you want to run (probably easier if you are short of time) or ride (er, if you get a bike). I live in Glenelg and can show you round. Should do a group run or ride.

  20. Tom

    Sydney has to be west head in kuringai national park. Or royal national park down from sutherland to stanwell and back.

  21. Kelly

    Hi Rainmaker family!
    I’m a runner in Adelaide, nice to see the beach photo :)
    Obvious places to run from the city are along Linear Park, in either direction. A lot of the beachfront is popular too.
    parkrun for 8am Saturday is probably the tip, there are a few depending on where you are staying.
    Some other options available too e.g. Running Domain has several week-day runs (6pm Monday, 6am Wednesday, 6am Friday). There’s a night trail run in Belair national park Friday evening if that interests you, or Sunday morning trail run with Trail Running SA.
    Let me know if you or the Girl are keen on any of those and I can put you in touch.
    Or the Undies Run on Sunday :)

  22. Alex

    HI Ray,
    A small group of keen runners do a regular Thursday morning trail run in the Adelaide hills. You’re welcome to join. 6:45am start (but thats probably good for jetlag!), running for about an hour.
    link to strava.com

  23. Andrew Peel

    In Melbourne Albert Park Lake which is the formula 1 GP track is good for bike and run. MSAC has 2 50m pools for lap swimming and is next to the lake so you can do all 3 from the one spot.

  24. Scott Watkins

    I agree that you have to try a parkrun. It’s the biggest running organization in the world, just not (yet) that popular in the US or France. There are over 200 events in Australia. Register at http://www.parkrun.com.au and then turn up and run for free at any event. They’re always 5km and are on every Saturday morning (times vary between 7am and 9am across Australia). Essentially parkrun is a data-based organisation that helps local communities put on health and fitness activities. I’d bet you’d be interested in the data! The 5km run around Albert Park in Melbourne is pretty special.

  25. Hawkeye

    Not from Australia but have had my fair share of holidays over at Sydney and Melbourne.

    In Sydney, just about anywhere in the CBD is close enough to the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanic Garden, Darling Harbour. All excellent views for a run. Lots of places to get a swim in as well. There’s ABC Pool in Woolloomooloo (Outdoor, saltwater) just beside Botanic Garden, 1km by foot from Hyde Park. There’s also Cook+Philip Center just in front of Hyde Park (indoor).

    In Melbourne, you can go for a run around The Tan or along the Yarra river. I think they call that Capital City trail.

    Cheers!

  26. Thomas

    Given your name recognition, I’m sure one of the Australian teams at TDU wouldn’t mind to lend you a bike either. You just shouldn’t show them that recent video of you cycling in the forest testing the image stabilization of the new GoPro.

  27. BenS

    Welcome to Australia.

    Sydney running options for every day of the week
    If you’re around on 4 Feb Sydney Striders 10km race at Homebush (open to visitors – registration fee)
    link to sydneystriders.org.au

    Alternative if you’re around on a Sunday and would like a long run with a group
    link to sydneystriders.org.au

    Another alternative is during the week Hurts Squad Session in the Sydney CBD at lunchtimes check out the calendar
    http://hurtsquad.com

    Or on a Saturday there is always Parkrun (free 5km weekly race event requires registration)
    link to parkrun.com.au

  28. Don

    Ray and family,
    Welcome to sunny and very warm Qld. When you are Hamilton Island, do the reef snorkeling or scuba with H20 water sportz (link to divethereef.com) and not the tourist big catamaran unless you like to see sea sick tourists. Great family day if you do the full day Whitehaven beach cruise with the picnic lunch. There is also a running group most mornings around the island so check at the gym and they will hook you up. If you really want to spoil her you could always have a second wedding at the Chapel on Hammo…..enjoy!!

  29. Wow – thanks everyone for the amazing suggestions and options thus far. Much appreciated!

    I’ll be digging through them all in the morning. But first, finally, some sleep. :) Thanks again!

  30. Isaiah

    Welcome to Australia mate.
    While you’re in Hamilton Island you MUST check out the Dent Dash – a fortnightly casual run across the way on Dent Island. It’s a casual 20k run around the golf course on Dent Island organised by the Gym staff on Hamilton Island. You meet on the Jetty at Hamilton Island, cruise the 15 minutes across to the Golf Course on the ferry, run, then enjoy a buffet brekky at the Club House before being ferried back to the main island. If your visit doesn’t coincide with an organised run, then book a ferry trip yourself and go for the run. Early morning is amazing. The view is simply breathtaking! I’d say it’s essential!

  31. EP McMahon

    If you did try and bring the dog you’d be in good company:
    link to theguardian.com

    Welcome Downunder. Next time stop by Brisbane. Lots of great running and cycling here.

  32. Supurbo

    Welcome to Oz mate!

    A friendly suggestion for you and the family (especially Peanut), “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek & Slide!” as its going to be a scorcher :(

    Here’s hoping your stay is a pleasant one, despite the annoying heat.

  33. Jonas

    That flight path is designed by flat earthers.

  34. Joseph

    welcome to Adelaide Ray! Here is a cycling route I have created that may be of interest to you or others for a scenic cycling tour around Adelaide in a day, if you don’t mind the elevation. Willunga hill and Belair Road climb are worth visiting too if you have time.

    link to dropbox.com

  35. Lee

    Hi Ray,

    As a parent of a small <1 yo I'm interested in your experience of long haul flights. Was the baby able to sleep at all during the red-eyes?

    -Lee

    • Not really. Which is funny, because up until this point she’s had no problem on transatlantic flights (redeye and day). Of which she’s done 6 so far. The latest when she was 4 months old, now she’s 6 months.

      We had thought by going with an 8PM flight out of Paris that she’d largely sleep the full 12 hours to HKG. In reality, she slept maybe 2-3 hours spread across that time period. I had her asleep upon take-off, but then they turned on cabin lights for dinner service, and that woke her up (and then stayed up).

      And then other times she was asleep she was usually woken up by someone slamming an overhead bin or some random guy a row away that was coughing like he was going to die. We learned a bit from this on the second flight, managing to cover her eyes a little so she didn’t wake-up when the lights went on after take-off, but alas, we were seated next to a crew closet. And they used that closet frequently. She basically stayed awake for the remaining 7 hours of that flight too.

      Sigh.

      I guess our take-aways are:

      A) Find seats not near the galley’s, doors
      B) Remember lights go on for meal service almost immediately after take-off, and then again around 90-120mins before landing
      C) Throw heavy objects at any passenger who dares cough, thus ‘removing’ the problem.

      Cheers, and good luck!

    • Matt

      We did a few long hauls early on with our first (who is now 4). Getting her to have a long sleep was never a reliable thing for the randomness you described (mainly passengers and crew making noise) but we managed a few times.

      The main things we tried to do were:
      – Have somewhere for them to stretch out – having parents at each end of a row with a seat in between for bubs (or two depending on plane layout and how old/long the baby is) is great. Hopefully you won’t need to book the extra seat(s) though, the check-in staff and flight attendants are usually happy to give parents a row to themselves if the plane isn’t completely full (after all it’s in their interest not to have a screaming baby on board). If you need a bit more room, you can sometimes wedge carry-on bags in the leg area to provide some extra sleeping surface.
      – They probably have something that prompts them that it’s sleep time, so make sure you use it. In our case she always slept in a sleeping bag (e.g. Grobag), so we’d have that ready to put on when it’s time.
      – Make sure they have a really good feed before going down so they don’t get hungry and wake up too soon. A large-ish bottle of formula is the best bet, even for breastfed babies as it will keep them full for longer. If the baby is breastfed hopefully you have been feeding the occasional bottle as well so they will take it! The flight attendants should be able to help with heating the bottle (even if just putting it in a cup of hot water for a few minutes). But obviously if the family has made the choice to breastfeed only then just do that.
      – Put some pillows down on the floor so there’s a soft landing surface if the baby rolls off before you can stop her. Learned this one the hard way!

      In retrospect it all seems fairly obvious, but I hope some of that is helpful!

  36. Joeri Nysen

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve recently come across a Youtube vlogger that’s a road cyclist and who seems to be well known in the Melbourne area, maybe he’s able to help you out and show you around? Maybe you’re already familiar with him but his Youtube name is ‘Cycling Maven’.

    Kind regards,
    Joeri

  37. Maddy

    Hi Ray,

    enjoy Australia. Small correction – wrong link here: “pumping out CES posts for the next few days” (tdf tag).

  38. Tim

    Hi Ray, for running in Melbourne the botanical gardens ( The Tan) is hugely popular, Albert park lake is also great and as a previous poster said, you should drop into the Commonwealth games pool for a swim whilst there. If you after some hills on the bike, the dandenongs are great, or for flat rides Beach Rd is a mecca for cyclists.

  39. Mike

    I highly recommend Kangaroo Island if you can make it there, particularly the Wildlife Park. Holding a baby kangaroo (ask at the desk) was a highlight of our honeymoon!

  40. Come to Brisbane, start around Hamilton or New Farm or the other end (St Lucia/Toowong), and do the riverside run or ride through to Southbank and the Cliffs, then Coronation Drive. Here’s a link to possible loops. It’s a fun and gorgeous route.
    link to cyclingbrisbane.com.au
    Picture is one of my runs.
    Welcome Ray!

  41. Tom

    Nice to have you in Adelaide! Have a 56cm spare bike (2011 Bianchi) in the city that you are more than welcome to!

    Woodlands Way and Sheoak Road are some challenging climbs close to town if you’re keen!

  42. Allen

    Welcome to RAdelaide Ray – its going to be a hot one today – make sure you use plenty of sunscreen if you’re out and about enjoying the sunshine today and lots of fluids. Some good running spots/trails/tracks include Mt. Lofty (gets extremely popular on the weekend so beware), Morialta falls, Blackhill Conservation Park, Torrens run (very short and it is in the city), Glenelg to Henley – there’s plenty more :)

    Feel free to contact me if you need further details!

  43. Mark Dawson

    I usually take international visitors to Cleland Wildlife Park link to environment.sa.gov.au since they invariably want to cuddle a koala. Best to phone the park before you go since it closes on days of extreme fire danger. For the koala experience get there early to minimise wait time, and, in hot weather the cuddle time is shortened since staff don’t want the koalas stressed. Also, just over a kilometer up the hill check Mt Lofty summit for the views – enjoy!

  44. Paul

    Straight after the TDU is Cadels Great Ocean Road Race if you are still around.

    http://www.cadelevansgreatoceanroadrace.com.au

  45. Artur

    Re: road bike rentals. Have you checked our spinlister?

  46. Patrick

    If you get sick of the big cities and have a couple of spare days come down to Hobart, Tasmania. Heaps of things you don’t get on the mainland…and the weather is manageable!!!

  47. Mike

    Hi Ray, check out Adelaide Central Market if you get a chance, good cheese shops, bakeries and eating places etc

  48. Kerry

    There is a triathlon on Sunday…

    link to xcelsports.com.au

  49. Lok

    In Melbourne, many sections of Main Yarra Trail offer good runs. The port Philip bay offer great open water swimming, especially the west side if you don’t mind a little drive. For riding we love the hills, if you can fit on a 51cm (sounds too small) I’ve a P2 you can borrow. I’m of coz your guide if you need one.

  50. jeremy c.

    A suggestion for one of your Sydney days:

    you, the Girl and the Peanut go by ferry to Taronga Zoo (link to taronga.org.au), then the Girl and the Peanut relax at Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral Beach (link to batherspavilion.com.au) while you hammer yourself running up and down Awaba Street hill – one of Sydney’s most notorious hills (and location of the Balmoral Burn (link to humpty.com.au), just next to Bathers….

  51. MattyB

    Forget about the running, when you get to Sydney head straight to the Lord Nelson Brewery in the rocks. Hands down the best beer I’ve had in my life. Wedges on the side and you’re good to go.

  52. Nic Zuraw

    Oxygen Cycles in Mclaren Vale will sort you out a decent road bike for peanuts – Ask for Bert or Jeffrey, tell them I sent you :p

    link to oxygencycles.com

  53. Gary B

    Welcome to Aus Ray and family. Some warm weather on the way for you to enjoy.

  54. Rick Harker

    Reading the comments shows how popular and appreciated you are. You’ve opened a minefield and the generosity of followers is complimentary to your character.
    I can imagine your travel can be daunting with combined “work” and pleasure but I do hope you have a wonderful stay with your family enjoying everything they want to do too. Aussies love to show off their culture and favourite parts of their country.
    Remember to keep on the left and get some general local advice for road rules. Stay safe.

  55. Adam W

    Hey Ray,
    Hope you and the family have a great time in Australia,
    Look forward to reading your Aussie based postings.
    Cheers
    Adam

  56. MattyP

    Welcome to Oz.

    As a lad from Melburn here in Adelaide for our 6th TdU, enjoy the coffee & wine! Riding is good too.

    Wade at cyclingtips should be able to sort you out I’d reckon.
    link to cyclingtips.com

    Bit of a calendar here from Wednesday Legs:
    link to wednesdaylegs.wordpress.com

    Matt

  57. Mark

    For me one of the great tour down under experiences is the ability to ride with the pros down from Stirling stage finish. Grab a bike and go to the end of the Stirling stage. Most of the riders will ride back to the hotel after the stage and they all take the same great route down the old road. You can folllow them after they finish or follow the crowds and enjoy being passed by some of the top pros, or chatting to them at the lights etc.

    While in Europe you can get close and chat to them. It’s hard to actually ride with them. They are also all pretty happy and relaxed at the tour.

    Enjoy Australia, and visit Charles melton wines for the best Barossa wine experience .

  58. Robert Ball

    Ray, welcome to Australia. As an Aussie expat living in Abu Dhabi I can say that you’ve arrived at the best time of the year although substantially warmer than Paris. With regards to Sydney runs, my favourite run was from Hyde Park, around the Botantical Gadens, via Mrs Maquaries Chair past the Opera House then past State Parliament, and finishing back through Hyde Park.

    Of course morning swims in Balmoral (inner harbour) or althernatively Eastern Suburbs beaches, Bondi, Clovelly etc.

  59. Hope the weather cools down for you mate by the time you get to Sydney – its been scorching lately at over 40 degrees.
    Im sure you were hoping for sunnier weather than Paris – but probably weren’t expecting it to be this hot …

    Nonetheless enjoy your time in Australia mate!

  60. Marco

    Crazy. Why not fly direct from Vegas and let the others have the long flight?!

  61. Anthony Swan

    Hi Ray,
    In Melbourne +1 for the Tan. Midday milers is a big bunch. +1 for riding the 1:20 from the Basin up Mt Dandenong. +1 for riding/running on Great Ocean Road. Especially the Lorne to Wye River stretch. And swimming at Lorne if you dont mind the occasional shark sighting.
    Swanny

  62. Anthony Swan

    Here’s a good link to iconic Melbourne rides. link to blog.strava.com

  63. J

    Another one presently on the injury list, so have a road bike needing exercise in Melbourne…. Feel free to contact if interested.

  64. Ray! I’ll be in Sydney on the 18/19th. We should go for a swim at Bondi Beach (or whatever beach is closest). Seems like you met up with my GF a few hours ago down in Adelaide. (see attached photo).