Posts Tagged ‘South Australia’

Review – Wang Wang and Funi (Adelaide Zoo)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

Wang Wang: I am so fluffy because I spend time daily in the Panda Spa.

Wang Wang and Funi are the “loaner” pandas currently residing in the Adelaide Zoo. Wang Wang is a bit of a boofhead and Funi is a bit like a puppy – naps like a champion then plays like the world is ending.

Funi made the cutest noise when she found a carrot. She sat down, holding it, threw back her head and gave herself a little cheer.

Housed in a custom built duel exhibit, Wang Wang and Funi have access to a pond, which I labeled a Panda Spa, and a special chilled rock for when it gets too hot. Each have a protective glassed in area for when the public get a bit much and a large open air area with lots of area for exercise (NB. Panda exercise is walking to the next treat hidden by the keepers). In the glassed in area, the pandas are given “toys” (like a box of sawdust) and bamboo for nibbling – so even if they are behind the glass, they are still putting on a bit of a show for the fans.

Funi looking very pleased with herself while hunting for treats.

Guarantee your spot with Wang Wang and Funi

You should to book to see the pandas. You buy your tickets to the zoo on line, then book your chosen time for the panda enclosure. You may get in without booking (as I got to see them twice), but since it doesn’t cost anything extra to do so, why not? On the day I went, the Clipsal 500 was on and the weather was pouring with rain, then hot and humid, then pouring with rain etc. As such the zoo wasn’t very busy – as such it was lots of pandas (and other great animals) with no waiting. What was even better was that after about 25-30 mins into the last session of the day, everyone left because they were both behind the glass. I was left alone in a giant enclosure with two pandas. Once it was silent, they pandas went out and played. I got so close to Funi as she played, making the funniest noise, before romping around her enclosure. Wang Wang then went exploring in his enclosure looking for more treats.

 

Wang Wang on the prowl for those sweet, sweet rice cakes.

There is limited Panda merch available at the dedicated Panda Shop – I bought a Wang Wang mug, Wang Wang boxers and a Panda Stamp (that prints a panda and a set of panda paws walking across the page). Unfortunately, Funi is drawn way too silly and girly, whereas Wang Wang is just a little anthropomorphised.

Wang Wang taking on his nemesis "Box of Sawdust!"

Pluses:
OMG PANDAS!
Insanely cheap – $28 for a full day’s fun.
Free to book panda time (Other paid events are $130 and $495 for a much closer and personal experience).
Zoo staff (keepers and volunteers) were incredibly helpful and chatty – I got “adopted” by a senior volunteer who was telling me best spots and what to look for.
You can get within inches of the pandas.
You get to see Panda junk.
They are even cuter and fluffier than you can imagine.
Free bus and close to the city.

Minuses:
If they are asleep, they aren’t that exciting and yet still cute.
Some visitors totally ignored the signs and the ropes – so no wonder the pandas stay in the glass when there are lots of people about.
Not a lot of options for food and drink at the zoo.

Wang Wang in the classic Panda Pic

I had a brilliant time and can only say…

#fivepandaseventhoughtherewereonlytwo

Review – Corner Cafe (International Hotel) – Port Pirie (South Australia)

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Bright yellow on the main drag - you can't miss it!

Based in the bright yellow International Hotel on Port Pirie’s main drag it wasn’t my first choice to have dinner, but trying to eat after 8pm on a Monday night my choices were the Corner Cafe or McDonalds. However, there seemed to be a lot of people inside and well, as I said, there wasn’t really an alternative.

It turned out that a 50th Wedding Anniversary party was underway and as such the kitchen was still open (not to mention that the guests had brought in their own instruments and sound system and played golden oldies for us!). The menu was basic pub fare, schnitzels, steaks etc and all meals came with unlimited access to their salad and vegetable bar. I ended up going for a Beef Schnitzel – I liked that they didn’t pretend it was Veal. I got a huge (ie they had to fold it to fit it on the plate) with mushroom sauce for a massive price of $12,90. My dinner companion (who is a vegetarian) didn’t have much variety, and settled on Vegetable Noodle StirFry. No bowl of noodles, it was a normal dinner plate covered (and I do mean covered and heaped high) of Udon noodles, some sort of brown but yummy sauce and miles of fresh veges (including peas still in their pods which I guess was their equivalent to Snow Peas.

The bain marie was a whole other thing. You could have eaten a meal just from that. Lots of fresh lettuce (not just iceberg but a solid cafe mix), tomato, tinned beetroot, tinned pineapple, cucumber, carrot, sliced bread (just a white supermarket loaf), potato salad, apple salad, pasta salad, two different kinds of coleslaw and then we had the veges! Potato bake, roast carrot and pumpkin, greens (peas and beans), and good lord I can’t remember the rest. There were 8(!!!) trays on each side each brimming with good old fashioned food.

My schnitchzel was the same as a $20 one I would buy at a pub back home proporting to be veal, however the crumbs weren’t fine, suggesting they probably made their own bread crumbs but oh so yummy – cooked to a perfect golden brown. The mushroom sauce was just gravy with some mushrooms in it but it was great! My companion’s stirfry was way too much to eat and she couldn’t even finish it with picking out the veges, though she did say it was just an average one – nothing like you get in China Town or a real restaurant, but it was like making it at home. From memory I think her meal was about $14. With two drinks (softdrinks) our bill was in the low $30’s.

Pluses:
Huge servings and everything (excepted the tinned items) was incredibly fresh.
Very friendly staff.
Ridiculously cheap.
Incredibly yummy in a home-cooked kind of way.
Super central – being bright yellow it is hard to miss.
Order at the bar but food came out fast.
Clean – very, very clean.

Minuses:
Not a lot of variety.
The decor was a bit bland.

This place isn’t a restaurant, it is a pub that sells food and calls itself a cafe (I did see a cappachino machine but as I don’t drink coffee I can’t comment on its quality). For the price and quality the Corner Cafe is great value for money. We both ate much more than we had intended, trying to fit everything in. If you find yourself in historic Port Pirie there are a few things to remember. Don’t drink the water (seriously as it is a health risk, especially for young children) and stop off at Corner Cafe.
(I stayed at the John Pirie Motor Inn just on the edge of the CBD (chortle) and it was clean, safe and they do a fine cooked breakfast.

#threesatisfiedpandas

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