Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kangaroo Island (continued)...

Our second day on K.I. was by far the most fun day we had on the trip so far - that is if "fun" can be measured purely on the amount of laughter in a day! Although it was the holiday season and it was "all hands on deck" when it came to the local tour-guides...our first guide, Shirley, had the day-off, and we got tour-guide Greg, instead.  Greg was a great guide, a good bloke, "true-blue fair dinkum Aussie to the bone, mate.... very knowledgeable about the Island. And also...well - he was pretty hard of hearing!! This made for a pretty fun day, right there. We were accompanied by a lady who was also staying at the same bed and breakfast... she was from Denmark or Norway or Sweden ..I forget. She was actually pretty forgettable, herself. Kind of a sour-puss.  But the best part was when we stopped and picked-up "the girls"... Two twin sisters from Minnesota, both former professional basketball players, one living in Sydney full-time...the other visiting for the holidays.  Twins in general are a trip. These two were hilarious - a real hoot!!

We drove around a bit (the sisters had a bit of a leg-room issue, as you can imagine)...and it wasn't long until we had all gone out for a bit of a walk... Then, with another lighthouse on the horizon, Amy went for a walk down the trail with the "Minnesota Twins" and the other lady.  Our guide and I went on ahead to a rocky point where there were seals mating and playing and fighting down below a stairway/walkway. I walked down to see the seals (not sea-lions - these were fur-seals!) The males were having some real brutal fights down below me...I could have stood there and watched all day. Greg the Guide waited for the girls to come down..and then we all went down to the so-called "Admiral's Arch" - one of the prettiest beach-scenes I have ever seen. It was awesome!

After our hike, it was time to head off to another "must-see" spot on the island...the "Remarkable Rocks" - a very cool place for sure. "Remarkable"?? Well...you can decide...see the second Facebook Photo Album below (Kangaroo Island Rocks!) When we were finished climbing all over the rocks...we went off for the best late-lunch steak BBQ of the whole trip.

But the best part of the day? We sang a lot of songs!! It seemed that any time a new subject came up,s it wa time to sing again! Whenever a word would come up that reminded us of a song, we'd start a signing. Waltzing Matilda? You bet!  Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport ? Absolutely! At lunch I am sure there was more than singing, I do believe there was even some dancing going on!!

Totally beat, it was time to trade e-mail addresses and make plans to get together with the sisters in Sydney for a Big Bash Cricket Match... Then back to the B&B for a nice steak (yeah - we were still eating beef with every meal!) and get a good night's sleep for our final day on Kangaroo Island!

Here are three photo albums from our second day on K.I. - - stay tuned for more!!

Second Day On Kangaroo Island

More Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Rocks!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kangaroo Island - 2012 - Part One

Kangaroo Island?? I had never heard of it before we got our itinerary for our Australia trip.  I had to do a little research.  On the globe, it's almost imperceptible...on a map, it looks pretty small... but in fact it's a really big island.  Some people say (travel-agents and innkeepers, probably!) say that you need a week to see it all.  We would have three days, and hoped it would be enough!!

Kangaroo Island is Australia's third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island. It lies in the state of South Australia 112 km south-west of Adelaide at the entrance to Gulf St Vincent. To get there we took a short flight to Adelaide from Melbourne...then an even shorter flight over to the island on a smaller plane.  The island airport in Kingscote is almost comically small after you've beet to the airports in KL or Singapore or Dubai.  The bags don't come to a "carousel" - rather they go right onto a trailer pulled by a tractor and brought over to you at the chain-link gate next to the single terminal...

Waiting for us at the terminal was our guide and our 4WD "ride" for the next close-to ten hours! Little did we know that our day that began in Melbourne when we got out of bed at 04:30 A.M. would not end until our expected time at the bed-and-breakfast at 7:00 P.M.  We literally "hit the ground running as soon as we touched down in Kingscote!

We took off and our first stop was a distillery for making eucalyptus oil, one time one of the major industries on the island. A special type of bush eucalyptus tree is used due to the high oil content in the leaves. The distillery is family owned and is called Emu Ridge... although the only emu we saw there was behind a fence in a yard (see photo above left) ...It's a pretty rustic operation with the same equipment being used in the old-fashioned way...

We then made our way to the coastline and drove along roads that passed very few buildings or houses... That's one of the things you notice about K.I. - there aren't very many people on the island. Another thing you notice is that everybody knows everybody!  Our guide, Shirley, knew all the people we ran into. She was an interesting character who told us of the various orphaned kangaroos that she had raised over the years...

We made our way to the eastern tip of the island to see the famous Cape Willoughby Lighthouse... where they had a curator with the heaviest Scottish brogue you can imagine. Just as you get used to the Aussie accents...here comes this guy! The curator told us that the climb to the top was not for those who are afraid of heights, so Amy went on to the top to take some photos.  While we were at the lighthouse, we saw a HUGE male kangaroo on the grounds...he was so big that the lighthouse guy and our guide actually seemed a little worried!!

We stopped at a nice place for a picnic lunch and some really good Kangaroo Island wines... as the sun began to dip, we started to see a few kangaroos and other wildlife...but what we really wanted to see was the bed and breakfast...the cute little Wanderer's Rest which had a great view and some awesome food... we were still eating all the steaks we could... and the food there was awesome!

Tomorrow we would meet some other traveling companions and spend our second day on K.I.  Pleasestay tuned!

Here are our Facebook photo albums from Day One on Kangaroo Island:

Kangaroo Island Part One

Kangaroo Island Part Two