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 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

1 comment:

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