Giraffes always fascinate me. Partly because of their enormous height and partly because of the way they move. As for their height, males can grow to over 5 metres and the view from up there must be quite amazing. Of course it is very handy for grazing on the foliage of trees. At Monarto Zoo in South Australia where I took this series of photos earlier this year, any existing trees in their enclosure have been well and truly trimmed. The keepers try to simulate their natural environment by tying branches at the top of a tall pole (see below). Much easier for the giraffes than stretching down to the ground to eat the grass. With such a long neck, reaching the ground would be a decidedly difficult thing to do.
While visitors to the zoo do not often see the giraffes at full gallop, they can be remarkably agile over short distances considering their great size. Usually I have just observed them gracefully walking, again remarkable considering their size and weight; they weigh over a tonne (1,100 kg). The giraffe breeding programme at Monarto has been very successful over the years and the zoo now boasts the largest herd in Australasia.
Monarto Zoo is one of the largest open range zoos in the world and is a ten minute drive from my home in Murray Bridge. The area was designated many decades ago as a satellite city to our state capital, Adelaide, but plans fell through before any building could commence. The zoo is a part of the world renowned Adelaide Zoo.
Palmer is a small town about 20 minutes’ drive north of where I live. The main crop in the district is wheat which accounts for the storage silos shown in the photo above. After being stored here for a while, the grain is then transported to flour mills like the one in nearby Murray Bridge, to other mills elsewhere or to Port Adelaide for export.
Palmer is only a short distance from the River Murray town of Mannum, a centre for the river boat trade in a bygone era and now a top tourist destination. It doesn’t show up in the photo above, being slightly to the right of the frame.
The area around the lookout is quite rocky, as shown in the photo below.
Stage 2 of this year’s Tour Down Under came through Murray Bridge this morning. Click back through recent posts to read more information, and to see more photos.
The stage started at Tailem Bend before travelling through Murray Bridge, Kanmantoo, Birdwood, Mt Pleasant and finished at Mannum. This race is the last appearance of Tour de France seven times winner, Lance Armstrong, in a race outside of the United States. The race also features most of the leading European pro-teams in their only appearance outside of Europe.
The 2011 Tour Down Under cycling race came through my home town this morning on its way through the Adelaide Hills and finishing at Mannum. See my previous post for more details. Here’s a few more photos I managed.
A short time ago I drove across to the main road leading out of my home town Murray Bridge to see the cycle race, the 2011 Tour Down Under, pass through town. I just only made it; the cyclists were about 4 minutes ahead of schedule. This is the only race outside of Europe featuring all the top professional cycling teams, a major coup for our little state of South Australia.
The race features many of the leading riders in world cycling, including Lance Armstrong in his last appearance outside the United States, Stuart O’Grady, Robbie McEwen, Mark Cavendish and a host of other riders, about 130 in total.
Stage 2 today travels from Tailem Bend through Murray Bridge and up through Nairne, Birdwood, Mt Pleasant, Tungkillo, Palmer and finishes at Mannum.
This is being posted before the end of the race.