Kangaroo Island, our last hurrah! A week before we head for home (albeit slowly) along the banks of the sometimes mighty Murray.
Kangaroo Island (KI to the locals) is big. It’s roughly a 150 km long and 55 or so km wide at the widest point. It’s also the next largest island in Australia after Tasmania. But you don’t fork out 500 bucks on a ferry ride (4 passengers a car and a caravan) cause it’s big, you fork out for the wildlife and the scenery. Although I would have forked out 500 bucks just for the sand boarding. But more on that later.
There is wildlife a plenty on KI. After a very pleasant ferry crossing from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw we motored on to spend our first night at the islands ‘commercial hub’, Kingscote. As a commercial hub it was just like New York City! Well with the rates charged by the local caravan park perhaps it had aspirations to be a major commercial hub, otherwise it was one of the sleepier little towns we have visited. Still it had a great pelican feeding session and tour to view one of the islands colonies of little penguins, which if our tour guide is to be believed are in decline cause those pesky New Zealand fur seals from the other side of the island keep snacking on them.
Amy and Oliver thought it was great though getting to stay up until 10pm. Not to mention the now familiar but still enthralling look on their face as they get totally lost in the experience.
At the far end of KI we stayed in a much better value for money park, scenic good amenities and koalas! Yep one of the little furry fellas took up residence in the tree directly in front of our van. And there he stayed. Cute, but he don’t do much. It got very excited at one point though and climbed slowly down one branch and even more slowly up another, to get a different batch of leaves.
More exciting was Oliver’s encounter with the resident KI Kangaroo (a unique species only found on the island). Clearly well accustomed to caravaners it was investigating our stuff. Oliver watched it for some time and then boldly stood right next to it. Perhaps it was because they were the same height I’m not sure but the kangaroo stood up and tried to give Oliver a cuddle (or perhaps a bit of a box) and had to be shooed away. Oliver surprisingly got over this incident quite quickly resolving not to go that close next time, Amy on the other hand would not go out alone if the kanga was in sight for the rest of our stay!
Out at Flinders Chase National Park we dropped in on the Admirals Arch with it’s colony of those pesky penguin eating NZ fur seals. They’re ever so amusing to watch though and we spent quite a while doing so. We often find ourselves lingering, still sitting watching whatever it may be while hoards of others come and go. These seals were very active cavorting in the large swells that crashed against the rocks which were their home.
The NZ fur seals were in fact far more active than the Australian sea-lions which we visited the following day. Due to the fact that the Aussi sea-lions spend three days at sea diving up to 600 (I think) metres deep between 900 and 1200 times in order to fill their bellies, they are exhausted when they get back to land and basically just sleep for three days before doing it all over again. Don’t they know there are penguins just around the corner?
Speaking of critters which work hard for a meal we also visited two honey farms on KI. I was astonished to learn that to make 500gms of honey worker bees visit 2 million flowers and fly 100,000 km, at a top speed of 27km an hour. Wow! I’ve always loved honey. Now l love it even more.
Despite all this fabulousness by far the best part of KI is sand boarding at Little Sahara. After a couple of false started we managed to hire toboggans and headed for the dunes. big dunes, maybe 50 metres tall and nice and steep. None of us needed much encouragement and spent a good two hours trudging up and flying down those dunes. Together, separately, sitting up or on our bellies. Amy and Oliver both declared it, unprompted, THE BEST thing we have done on this trip. Big call. It was FUN!
We spent our last night on KI at Penneshaw and I began to wonder why we rushed so quickly past it upon our arrival. It’s a scenic little spot with fantastic views across the water to the mainland. On the ferry ride the next day Amy and Oliver discovered rotating chairs overlooking the front deck. The rolling seas meant they didn’t have to do anything to make the chairs spin and so they spent forty five minutes giggling hilariously and spinning like tops. Emma and I watched on a good part amused ourselves but with almost equal measure unsure whether it was our parental duty to intervene. We chose not to and I’m glad about that. The days are long but the years are short. What’s a bit of raucous fun.
PS we also visited the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park which were…. remarkable.