Been There, Done That!!
We are heading to Adelaide!!!
And that is after we drove 243km. Don’t worry, we’re not going to do it all today.
We have a rare photo of Uluru with the top blocked out by a cloud.
We have also been amazed on the roads by transport trucks that have 2, 3 and even 4 trailers. They are called road trains and I can’t imagine they could stop in less than 500m or back up. Here is one with 72 tyres, (that’s right spelled with a ‘y’ here in Australia), could you imagine having to change them all?
Our next destination in Australia is Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest island and home to a diversity of native animals. We arrived at the ferry dock in Cape Jervis at around 2:00pm on September 18 only to find out that all ferries were booked until 8:30am the next day. No worries, we were able to get the last available room in Cape Jervis to spend the night and were booked on the 8:30am ferry for the next morning.
Kangaroo Island is one amazing place. Within minutes of the wheels of our people mover rolling over the ground Claire announced that she “really liked this place”. The coastline is very rugged, the water a beautiful blue, and the tips of waves perfectly white. Not hard to look at!
Coast on Kangaroo Island; More Coast on KI
Our campground, Western KI Caravan Park, for our stay on K.I., is located 100km from the ferry dock and only about 4km outside of Flindlers Chase National Park (a place we really wanted to explore) . As we made our way to the Caravan Park we stopped at Seal Bay the location of a colony of Australian Sea Lions, and took a guided walk on the beach to view the Australian Sea Lions up close. This colony is made up of about 1000 Sea Lions with only some of them being on the beach at one time. Sea Lions are on a 6 day cycle. They go out to the ocean to feed for 3 day (do not sleep at all during this time) and then sleep on land at Seal Bay for 3 days. The bubbies (as all babies are called here in Australia) are quite cute and the large males (up to 300kg) aren’t. Interestingly, the mothers, when they head out to feed, tuck their bubbies in a spot on the beach and leave them there while they are off feeding. One of the bonuses on Seal Bay was a skeleton of a Humpback whale on the beach that we could view from a boardwalk. The Humpback had beached itself in 1986 and its bones were brought to this site in 1996. I can’t remember the reason for moving the bones.
Sea Lions; More Sea Lions; Need a Scratch
After Seal Bay we climbed Prospect Hill and had a great 360 degree look at part of K. I.
Our campsite on K.I. was the closest thing, in terms of campgrounds, we have seen in Australia to the Provincial parks in Ontario. We felt at home here and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Chris and Regina have a huge chunk of land; around 500 ha. On part of this land they run an organic farm, on another chunk they have a caravan park, and the rest is left to nature. In this caravan park they have developed koala walks through gum trees and also a lagoon walk where you can easily see Tamara Wallabies, many of whom had babies in their pouches. For camping the nice thing about this park is the trees on the sites (the gum tree at the end of our site had a koala living in it!!), the cozy camp kitchen with a wood burning stove to gather around with other campers and chat about our days on the island, and of course Dot. Dot is an orphaned baby Kangaroo. Chris and Regina found her standing on top of her dead mother along one of the local roads. The camp owners figured she had been there a couple of days. They have had her for 3 weeks and intend to release her when she matures. They call her “Dot” because of a little white dot in her fur on her head. As you can imagine we all fell in love with her.
KI Camp Kitchen; Claire-With-Kangaroo
Kangaroo Island has a lot of wonderful sights to see. It has kangaroos that are different than any others in OZ. They have echidnas, (think porcupine crossed with platypus, no beak), birds galore, New Zealand Fur Seals, Little Penguins, Pelicans and many more types of animals and geologic features.
Most of our time on K.I. was spent in Flindlers Chase National Park. One of the first places that we headed to was Admiral`s Arch, a beautiful geological loacation and also home to a New Zealand fur seal colony. The seals are wonderful to watch. The baby seals find large pools of water in the rock formation to swim and play in while the adult seals lounge in the sun on the rocks. The seals are quite smelly, hence Ayden and Claire’s odd pose. The actual `Admiral`s Arch`is an arched cut out in the rocks under which the seals swim and sleep. An absolutely breathtaking site that is incredibly hard to capture in a photo without a wide angle lens. But, we did give it a go!
Admiral Arch, A New Zealand Fur Seal Colony
Down the road from Admiral’s Arch is the Remarkable Rocks. They are very well named for they are indeed remarkable. I am continually in awe at some of the geological features of this country and though the Remarkable Rocks are not huge in a Uluru scale, they are great to look at and walk around. Some of these rocks only sit on 3 points!
Lazy Boy (or should I say girl); Remarkable Rocks; Claire, Ayden and Paul at Remarkable Rocks.
We also visited Weirs Cove and Snake Lagoon while on the island. The whole time we were here we kept our eyes peeled for echidnas, but did not see any until we gave up looking and were on our drive to the ferry to leave the island. On our last drive through Findlers Chase National Park we spotted a blonde echidnas in the bush along the side of the road. At first this echidna rolled itself into a protective ball as we would expect it to. As we stood quietly watching, the echidna started to waddled around in search of it's favourite food, ants. We watched as the echidna, oblivious to our presence, tore apart an old tree stump with its nose and claws and then feasted on thousands of ants. After observing this echidna for about half an hour we loaded back into our people mover and hit the road again elated that we were able to spot the elusive echidna (there are people who live in Australia who have never seen one!). Luck shone down on us once more on this drive to the ferry for 2km from where we spotted our first echidna we spotted another echidna ambling across the road but this time it was a brunette one! (are two types of echidnas...blonde and brunette.) Of course we had to hop out and get a closer look. Echidnas are truly amazing creatures. These egg laying mammals have a rather interesting dating and mating ritual. They form what is know as "echidna trains". This train is made up of a female echidna at the front of the train followed by numerous male echidnas who are all hoping to be her mating partner. These males follow the female all over the place for days on end. Some of the males eventually tire of this endeavour and drop out of the train. The last male left in the train will be the successful candidate and wins the right to mate with the female. The other thing that we found rather interesting about echidnas is that the females do not have nipples to suckle their young. Instead the babies lick a patch of skin on the echidna’s underside and get their milk from this patch area. Very cool little creatures!!
Blonde Echidna; Brunette Echidna
After all of our wild life spotting on K.I., it was hard to head to Adelaide, our last stop on our trip in Australia. In Adelaide we faced the task of getting ready to fly out of Australia. This task involved getting rid of all of the camping gear that we had purchased in Australia and also cleaning all dirt/soil from anything that we wanted to bring into New Zealand. New Zealand has very strict biohazard checks in the airport. For New Zealand soil/dirt from another country is considered a biohazard. So it was necessary to wash our tent, shoes, shells etc prior to departing for New Zealand. To enable us to do this, in Adelaide we spent four nights in our tent (during these days we toured Adelaide) and then moved to an ``Eco-Tent``; a unit that is part tent (roof and walls are canvas) and part cabin (hardwood floors, electricity, proper beds). While in the Eco-tent in a caravan park we had a garage sale and sold off most of our camping equipment to other campers. We also had the great joy of washing our tent....a very hard job but in the end it will hopefully be worth all of our time and effort.
Well it looks like we survived the wild Australia. We have had many new experiences and met so many people that, at times, we can’t remember everything. This blog is a good start, but it only contains a small portion of the things we’ve done, the people we’ve met and the memories we’ll have for the rest of our lives. Not sure how this experience will change us, but know that it will/has. We have seen how people on the other side of the world are similar to us and how they differ. It has given us a global perspective that will be part of our makeup. We leave Australia with a little sadness in our hearts and a lot of fond memories, but look forward to the 4 months we will spend in New Zealand.