Travel Diary: Tour Down Under

If there’s one week I look forward to the most during the year it would almost always be the Tour Down Under (TDU) week in January. Growing up in Adelaide it was impossible to not get involved in the six-day event when it rolled around every year.

My participation in the race grew when I went from spectator to volunteering in the event’s media department during my time at uni. Now I love attending the Tour with my boyfriend Jason, who’s cycling-crazy, and it’s the perfect excuse to spend a decent amount of time back home.

This year’s trip to the TDU was exceptional as it was Cadel Evans’ (Australia’s lone Tour de France winner) last World Tour race before retirement. Adelaide put on a wonderful event as we soaked up the fun, fanfare and frivolity of the Tour Down Under.

Welcome to Adelaide! Don’t mind if we do…

Prior to Sunday night’s criterium we stopped by East End Cellars, on Vardon Ave, for a nibble and drop of wine. This is the delicious Ploughman’s Plate.

I kept it casual in a Country Road t-shirt (similar here), J Brand jeans and Birkenstocks.

Monday was a rest day for the riders and that meant a rest day for us too! I took the time off to view the Fashion Icons exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

 

Unfortunately photos were not allowed throughout the exhibition so instead here’s a snap of the gorgeous gallery foyer.

This fashionable front row from Chanel signals a fitting finish to the exhibition. Fashion Icons is a must-see if you’re in South Australia or travelling to Adelaide before it closes on February 15.

From the collection of the Musée des Arts Deécoratifs in Paris, the exhibition showcases over 90 haute couture garments and examines the evolution of fashion styles throughout the decades.

After our wander around the gallery lunch was a seafood pizza on a gluten-free base, washed down with a glass of Alta sauvignon blanc, from Nest Bistro at Walkerville.

If you’re shopping in Rundle Mall make sure you swing by Fruit Bar just west of the Mall’s Balls. You won’t regret the homemade lemonade.

Tuesday marked the start of the Tour Down Under with stage one taking the riders from Tanunda to Campbelltown. Jason and I skipped the start line action for coffee and breakfast at Bar 9 on Glen Osmond Rd.

On our travels to Checker Hill to view the King of the Mountain (KOM) climb we drove through a significant area of the Adelaide Hills that was burnt in the recent Sampson Flat bushfire.

There’s something chilling about seeing kilometres and kilometres of charred landscape. I can only feel for the people who were directly effected by the natural disaster and urge people to get out to and support the communities that suffered.

South Australia’s own Jack Bobridge powers up Checker Hill before crossing the finish line first to claim the leader’s ochre jersey.

 

The Unley Gourmet Gala on King William Rd is without doubt one of the highlights on the TDU’s social calendar. Fine food and wine are the focus of the street party as local restauranteurs open their doors onto the cobblestoned road. Here I am enjoying a delicious Wirra Wirra cocktail.

A whopping 20,000 people attended the annual Gourmet Gala

A trip to Adelaide wouldn’t be complete without a coffee stop at Cibo

Stage two saw the riders compete from Unley up into the Adelaide Hills with the finish line in place at Stirling. Cadel Evans was right in the mix with 100m to go but was just pipped at the post.

We secured a the perfect spot approaching the finish to watch the riders whiz past twice through the Stirling circuit.

The beautiful new Tiffany & Co. store on North Tce in the city

Just around the corner from Tiffany’s you’ll find Jamie’s Italian, which is quickly becoming my favourite restaurant in town.

A stunning summer’s night at Glenelg beach

The Parade at Norwood hosted the start line for stage three. I just couldn’t say no to this Zeppola, an Italian donut, from Pavé Cafe which proved to be a popular pitstop for local cyclists.

After my donut for breakfast I thought I better balance it out with something on the healthier side of things. Argo came to the rescue with its extensive menu featuring a vast range of #cleaneating options including every juice combination imaginable.

Australia’s Richie Porte went toe-to-toe with Cadel Evans on the uphill finish at Paracombe before South Australian Rohan Dennis came from nowhere to steal the stage win.

In my attempt to cut back on dairy and soy milk I decided on a macchiato for my morning brew, which is essentially an espresso with a dash of milk.

My favourite place to shop at Zara, Burnside Village

Ouch! Sorry there was no warning for that one. Friday’s stage finish saw a dramatic crash with 150m to the finish line.

Riders crashed while travelling up to 70km/h in a bid to sprint to the finish. Who said cycling isn’t a tough sport…

Friday night date night saw us back at Jamie’s

Just doing some carb loading before our walk up Willunga Hill. This scrumptious prawn pizza was from Pizza Kneads, Willunga.

Saturday’s stage saw the cyclists complete the iconic Willunga Hill climb. Props to the guy in the yellow morph suit.

Rohan Dennis, centre, on his way up the climb

Saturday night’s festivities kicked off with a spot of cricket as we watched the Adelaide Strikers in their Big Bash semi-final clash. For the record we lost but the crowd was also the biggest ever for the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.

Post-match we made our way to the newly opened 2KW Bar and Restaurant on the corner of King William Rd and North Tce. This rooftop bar is arguably Adelaide’s No.1 destination at the moment with its modern and relaxed vibe and sweeping views of the city’s north.

But hey, I was sold when our bottle of wine was served in a bag.

I’d been dying to wear this Zara skirt for yonks so was stoked to bring it out for this occasion. I kept my look simple by teaming the skirt with a Zara t-shirt.

Sunday funday strolling down Rundle Mall wearing Witchery

Now you definitely can’t go to Adelaide without visiting Burger Thoery. Scroll down to see why…

DROOL #foodporn

The beautiful city of Adelaide

The sixth and final stage was a criterium around the city with the riders passing such landmarks as the Adelaide Oval.

Cadel Evans embraces long-time workmate David Bombeke after completing his last World Tour race.

Kicking back post-TDU with a well-earned churro or six.

 

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