Hi Joanna and Charmaine

We got back home on Friday afternoon after a great trip. All the arrangements worked very smoothly thank you.

We liked the Quay West Suites in Melbourne better than the Mantra we have stayed in previously. The location is slightly better – they access straight on to the South Bank rather than having to cross City Road – but the “feel” of the place is better, more like a hotel than an apartment block. I think Quay West was a bit more expensive but worth it in our view. We also had a balcony which was large enough for a table and chairs to eat al fresco, really good as we did not want to eat out all the time, and it was close to a very good food court in South Bank for take aways.

The trip to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island was very good. The hotel In Adelaide is good, central, comfortable and their restaurant is good. One thing about internal flights from Melbourne on Monday morning. The check in queue beat anything at Gatwick. Fortunately we had a gold card and bypassed them but worth warning people that it will take time.

The Gray Line trip to Barossa was again a good day out. The morning tea stop was at a local bakery where the cakes they served were excellent, similarly the food at the lunch stop was very good. The wine tasting at Jacobs Creek was also well done, it is not easy to do a tasting for 27 unrelated people. Hahndorf, which we visited on the way back to Adelaide, was an interesting town worth a look. Unfortunately there is a good value Opal shop there and Margaret took a liking to one of their rings! All in all a well organised and enjoyable day out.

Our trip to Kangaroo Island was exceptional. There were only the two of us on the tour and our guide Gaynor was excellent. She has lived on the island for many years so knows the island intimately. She took us to a community centre, an old school, and her local beach as well as the other sights on the island. The overnight accommodation was again very good, comfortable with friendly staff and very good food. The island itself is beautiful, an unspoilt wilderness. In fact Gaynor is trying to set up some sort of development plan for the island to protect it from becoming overdeveloped – which would be a tragedy. We have not seen sea lions before and you could get within a few feet of them. We have seen Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koalas before but again it was wonderful to be able to get so close to them in their natural habitat. The Koalas stayed resolutely high in the trees though. The scenery is superb, lovely golden beaches and rocky headlands. A place really well worth visiting. I seem to be saying a lot about food but the lunches that the tour company provided were excellent, both the preparation in the base kitchen and the work done by Gaynor on the barbecue, and with good local wines.

I attach a few a few pictures with your carrier bag, and some without – with the sea lions, at the Remarkables (which are aptly named), and the fur seal colony at Admirals Arch (where Gaynor and her husband used to swim).

Thanks for a great trip.

Richard and Margaret

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