Our Australian Hotels Association - Newcastle Hunter, Study Tour to Adelaide began bright and early on Sunday morning, 10 March with most of us heading to Sydney Airport by luxury coach transfer from DFK Crosbie at Warabrook.
For those of you not on the coach, you missed the first moments of high drama when the coach driver took the Hexham Bridge exit by mistake and then proceeded to reverse the vehicle two coach lengths backward onto the highway despite the pleas of AHA Membership Liason Jaimie Evans, and other suggestions, to use a turning bay further up the road.
But alas, all was well and for the next few hours we travelled by coach and then plane to Adelaide, a few of us feeling more than a little dusty from independent activities undertaken the night before.
We arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel in the heart of our host city of Adelaide at around 4pm and our group splintered, those of us dusty from the night before taking the opportunity to rest up before the night's activities, while the rest of the group headed over to the pub across the road. Who would have thought?
At 7.30pm the coach arrived, along with our Kode hosts Chloe and Tracey, and a red carpet entry no less, to take our group to the first destination of our tour - dinner at Africola sponsored by IGT.
Afriola is a quirky restaurant run Duncan Welgemoed, a South African chef who has managed to create an African-inspired dining experience that is somehow still all about South Australia...
Afriola is a quirky restaurant run Duncan Welgemoed, a South African chef who has managed to create an African-inspired dining experience that is somehow still all about South Australia.
Using local ingredients including fruit, fish, meat ,vegetables and wine, the menu featured dishes like BoomBoom! Hummus, Tea Sandwich, Mussels, Ngerinag Tomatoes, Lamb Kofta, Ngerina Vegatable Plates followed by Ganche and Warm Almond Cake desserts.
The intimate and colourful restaurant allowed us to sit either at the bar or at long tables beneath charming string lighting. On the walls hung inspired images from Africa that were colourful, moving and with a sense of authenticity, humour and colloquial charm.
At the conclusion of dinner our group splintered once again with some of us heading directly across from the restaurant to events held as part of the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival. Some of us went to Sky City Casino - conveniently located adjacent to the hotel, while some of us took President Rolly's de With's advice not fall victim to what he aptly calls 'First Night Syndrome' - and went straight to bed in preparation for the next day's Adelaide Cup!
All in all Day One was a perfect start to the tour. Stay tuned for tmrw's update from the Adelaide Cup!
Things we learned from Day One
You can reverse a full size coach back onto the highway without disaster
You can make it from Newcastle to Adelaide in one piece even if you went out all night and have barely slept
The Intercontinental Hotel is amazing
Aficola restaurant might just have the best mussels - anywhere
First Night Syndrome is a thing and it's real
There are people in our group who actually still go to the gym every morning - even on an AHA Study Tour (mind blowing and very impressive)
If you came with the Starkeys you cannot sneak back onto the transfer coach after dinner and expect to make it with being told you get off, because you are going out - not to bed!
FULL IMAGE GALLERIES WILL BE POSTED TO THE GROUP PAGE
More about Africola: 4 East Terrace, Adelaide.