Kangaroo Island, had been on my bucket list for some time. Its part of South Australia, is 155 km long, and lies just off the coast of Adelaide. To get there you either take the Sealink Ferry or fly via Rex Airlines. Travelling with a friend and fellow photographer we chose to fly, which turned into quite a challenge with all our camera gear, that we didnt want to check in. We were allowed 15kg as check in, but only 7kg in cabin baggage. Handbags included. We’re lucky they dont weigh passengers with the amount of gear we secreted in pockets.
Landing at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, we collected our hire car from Hertz, and armed with loads of info from the very helpful chap at the counter we headed off to our first stop. Karrata via the Playford Highway. We had booked in at Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park and Wildlife Reserve to use as our base while we explored Flinders Chase National Park. Cabins were roomy, clean and handy to the national park. The wildlife roaming around ‘our’ park was an added bonus.
We visited Hanson Bay Wildlife Reserve but I fear all the animals were on holidays themselves. Saw a few birds, one koala waaaaay up the top of a tree. Staff assured us that other visitors that had had seen several koala’s and one chap counted 15. For me, ‘seeing’ a koala is not the same as being able to photograph it. Up the top of a tree, bum nestled in a fork, yep, saw it. Wasn’t a Kodak moment. We did enjoy their scones with jam and cream though.
With nothing to show for our trip to Hanson Bay we headed back to our cabin and decided to take a walk on their wildlife trail. Saw a kangaroo, a few wallabies and one koala ambling through the bush changing trees for dinner.
Flinders Chase National Park
Next morning we headed into Flinders Chase and made for Remarkable Rocks. From a distance they look interesting but not remarkable. Up close, the sheer size of them is, well, remarkable. That you can still walk up to and around them is amazing. Parks Victoria would have fenced it off by now and have you viewing from a ‘safe’, bland distance.
Leaving Remarkable Rocks we headed to Cape du Couedic Lighthouse. This would have to be the prettiest lighthouse I have seen. Pristine Sandstone and a white double door entry with red hat, she’s just gorgeous.
From Cape du Couedic we headed to Admirals Arch. We had been told NZ fur seals live around the base of the arch and were looking forward to seeing them and the arch. Nature didnt dissapoint. Access to the arch is via a long decending boardwalk which becomes stairs once you reach the arch. Photography at the arch is a challenge…the arch entrance is dark, the sun bright on the other side and lots of mist drizzling down from the wave sprays. I ended up taking two photos, exposing one for the rocks and the other for the ocean and blending in PS. Coming back up was much slower, and I think I availed myself of every rest stop along the way. Lunch was at the Flinders Chase Cafe… delicious burger and awesome coffee.
After lunch we headed to Vivonne Bay. Vivonne Bay was voted one of Australia’s top beaches by the University of Sydney (because of its clear water, cleanliness and privacy). And yes the water really is that blue.
Next morning we headed to Bales Beach for a brief stop before going to Seal Bay for a guided tour. Stunning pristine white sand and blue water. Does Kangaroo Island know any other kind?
At Seal Bay we had decided on the guided tour so we could get closer to them, but because big fat Sea Lion Bulls can still move fast and pack a wallop we still had to stay 10 metres from them. Lolling and relaxing on the beach were a hundred or so seals, including a few mothers still nursing babies.
From Seal Bay we headed to Stokes Bay. Stokes Bay is known for its ‘secret’ bay (that everyone knows about). You walk across the beach from the carpark towards the huge boulders and you’ll see a small sign on the rocks with an arrow “to the beach”. You enter the gap in the rocks, duck and weave and come out the other side on another beach. Heading and weaving around boulders in the narrow passage I felt like Indiana Jones on a voyage of discovery. Thankfully no sword wielding black warriors awaited me on the other side.
Heading back to our accom we took another walk through our accom grounds.. this time the lagoon walk and were rewarded with Spoonbills, Kangaroos and an Echidna.
Next morning we packed up and headed back to Kingscote for the last two nights of our stay. On the way we took in the Dudley Peninsula and Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, Antechamber Bay, American River and Pennington Bay.
That evening we headed down to Kingscote Wharf for the nightly pelican feeding. At $5 per head its great show.
After the show we hung around the wharf a while and suddenly the sunset took off. We werent prepared for it with tripods and such so only managed a few shots, but what a sunset it was.
Next morning we had our Raptor Domain Booking. A private 2 hour session with the keeper, 5 owls, 5 eagles, kookaburra’s, Kestrals, Sea Eagle, Red Winged Black Cockatoo and Crimson Rosella. After our private session we stayed for the flight show before heading off for lunch and Emu Bay.
Next morning we packed up again, loaded the bags and ourselves ‘strategically’ to pass Rex’s weight rules and headed home. Fabulous trip and lots of great memories. And way too many images for one post. To see all the images from the trip go to Gallery
Footnote: while most roads were great (a lot are dirt) we only once travelled at dusk… and very, very slowly. Driving early before 8am in the morning and after 5pm in the afternoon meant dodging all manner of wildlife. Every morning we saw LOTS of road kill.. one day alone was 25 in about 100 kms. Even during the day we had to stop for roos and echidna’s crossing the road. When driving on KI, you need to stay alert!