Perth is my holiday romance turned True Love…

I haven’t lived there for years, but deeply embedded in my psyche are a few things which are a result of growing up in South Australia. I have an unwavering affection for Fruchocs, Kitchener buns, and yiros.  I secretly blame Queensland and New South Wales for ruining the Murray-Darling basin.  Colin Thiele is my literary hero.

And I still pronounce chance ‘chahnce’, example ‘exahmple’ and transfer ‘trahnsfer’.

South Australia is like my best friend from high school; we share memories, we will always be connected, but we don’t see each other often.

I currently live in Perth (Western Australia).  I don’t love Perth like I love South Australia; my feelings are less deep-abiding-friendship and more passionate-holiday-romance.

My niece and my mother visited us last week.  We shared some of our Favourite Places and the crush I have on Perth got stronger.

Most of my Favourite Places are in Fremantle…

Theobroma Coffee Lounge (what’s not to love about good coffee and a red stiletto made from chocolate?!):

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Fremantle Markets (always good shopping, people-watching and food; including South Australian mettwurst and the glorious mystery that is fritz):

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South Beach put on some spectacular winter weather.  Hours were spent walking on rocks, digging holes, and enjoying sunshine on shoulders.

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When we ventured away from Freo, we enjoyed the always excellent beverages, creative gifts and friendly folk at Kookery in Subiaco:

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And King’s Park.  Glorious, fun, and something for everyone in any weather:

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My family make my heart smile.

When I can explore a city I love and drink good coffee while I’m with my family, life is probably as close to perfect as it can be.

I can order Fruchocs online now, so if I find yiros in Perth as good as those in Adelaide…well, there’s a chahnce I could live here happily ever after.

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Italian hot chocolate, artisan gelato and beaches…what more could a girl want for Christmas?

Christmas in Australia is often BBQs, cold beer and running in sprinklers, swimming in pools or heading for the beach.

We were back in South Australia last Christmas doing the Family Thing; visiting parents, in-laws, siblings, friends. We celebrated Christmas Day five times. It was awesome.

Our fifth and final Christmas was spent a few days on the Copper Coast, on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula with some of our family.

There, I was introduced to a delicious, unique, delectable, luxuriate-in-the-sugar-high experience.

Smack bang in the middle of farmland (this is the view from the carpark):

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is The Coffee Barn Gelateria.

They make (among other things) artisan gelato, truffles and Scottish shortbread slices…It seems I mostly took photos of the cream on top of the gelato or at the bottom of the glass after the gelato was eaten…

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They also sell magnificent Italian hot chocolate. A smooth, thick elixir of happiness…

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The service was fantastic, even though they were bustling with customers the day we went. With the rustic, country appeal mixed with high quality food and service, it’s clearly a magnet for tourists and locals alike.

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…and it’s close to the beaches, which – if you go on a day when the wind is playing elsewhere – are spectacular.

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The Copper Coast has some unexpected delights, a laid-back vibe, a wide range of accommodation options, and welcoming people.

It’s high on Penny’s List.

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Adelaide Zoo – a pleasant surprise (for a non-zoo-lover like me)

I don’t ‘do’ zoos. It’s probably more accurate to say I like zoos but I have a short attention span. I’m usually done in about two hours.

My husband and son LOVE zoos; would spend eight hours at a zoo given the chance.

This is how I feel about a full day at a zoo:
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I’m not a fan.

I am, however, a fan of Outings. When we were visiting South Australian in January we had an opportunity for an outing to the Adelaide Zoo with my mum and our nieces (Children of Penny’ List’s Penny).

Off we went – husband, son, mother, the Three Children of Penny, and I.

The last zoo I’d been to was Edinburgh Zoo in 2013 (and I ungraciously only tolerated that because it was, you know, Edinburgh Zoo). Before that, I think it had been over a decade since I’d blessed a zoo with my reluctant presence.

In my memory Adelaide Zoo was like a slightly tired, grumpy-but-not-nasty old lady; a great-aunt you visit once every four or five years because it’s a habit you grew up with and it’s the Right Thing To Do.

I was pleasantly surprised. Adelaide Zoo has been rejuvenated, redesigned, and re-energized. It doesn’t feel old and weary anymore.

There are many places to sit for a BYO picnic lunch, and cafés (I saw two but there may have been more) which sold tolerable coffee.

Oh, and the animals were cool.

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Also, there were some kitsch souvenirs in the gift shop:
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a coffee stop, and – my personal favourite – there was lying on the grass:
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It’s all about lying on grass in sunshine, drinking coffee and hanging out with people I love.

Food guide to South Australia

Pay attention when I say this: South Australia (SA) is a cracker of a holiday destination.

I’m a happy import to Western Australia, but I was born in SA. It houses many Favourite Places.

SA has arid beautiful-in-its-own-way outback, spectacular coastlines, extinct volcanoes, some of the best wine growing regions in the world, and Adelaide.

Most of my Favourite Places are either in Adelaide, or can be visited in a day trip from Adelaide.

And they almost all involve food.

Firstly, in the Adelaide Hils town of Hahndorf…strawberries. My girlfriends and I graciously let our partners take the kids to pick strawberries while we had coffee and ate a cup full of strawberries drowned in chocolate. We chose well.

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Still in Hahndorf, the addiction in my life second only to caffeine – cheese.

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Udder Delights in Hahndorf’s main street has so. much. cheese. I nearly cried when I walked in.

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It also has a fantastic cellar area which we took over – my son has had 13 years of training in the café lifestyle but our friends kids are much younger, so they needed space to play while we ate. The cellar area had toys, books, and no other customers so the small people could be free to do their thing and we enjoyed the cheese.

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Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee: Any decent deli or takeaway sells it. My husband and son act gleeful – yes, that’s right, gleeful – when they buy one. I’m more about the actual coffee.

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Closely followed, if not always accompanying, aforementioned Iced Coffee is a chocolate donut: South Australian chocolate donuts – particularly Balfour’s Bakery – are better than any other I’ve tasted in this fine nation of ours. They’re plumper, softer, and moister. The chocolate is smoother and richer.

…OR a Kitchener Bun: Kitchener Buns are unique to SA. How can I describe them? It’s like trying to capture the essence of love. It’s almost too difficult. You just have to experience it for yourself to understand the joy it brings (not to mention the sugar hit, high cholesterol and saturated fat).

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Yiros:

In other states of Australia, known as souvlaki, doner kebabs or gyros. Delicious meat wrapped in pita bread, with token salad and lots of garlic. It’s a flavour explosion.

We buy them from either the Blue & White Café or the Red & White Café in North Adelaide and eat them by the statue of Colonel Light (first surveyor-general of the European settlement of Adelaide, back in the day) overlooking the CBD.

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It’s all about the sunshine on our shoulders, and the garlic sauce dripping down our fingers and along our arms.

(The dripping garlic sauce is an integral part of the experience. Don’t try to eat a yiros delicately; that’s not How It’s Done.)

Finally, Fruchocs:

I had a friend in Year 12 who wasn’t from SA. I asked her if she wanted some Fruchocs and she was horrified. After a few confused minutes, I realised she had heard me ask ‘Would you like some Fruit Jocks?’. No. Fruchocs are not underwear. Fruchocs are chocolatey, fruity goodness. If SA had a state food, I believe Fruchocs could be a contender.

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Obviously, there is more to SA than food.

Go there and explore it.

You’ll find something for everyone.