When we began to plan our trip to Australia, Brunette – who has a ready mental to-do list in her head for at least 123 countries – announced that we had to go to Kangaroo Island. Blonde had never heard of it but she’s generally pro kangaroos and islands so agreed.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville and it has less than 5,000 human residents. It has lots and lots of other residents in the forms of pelicans, seals, kangaroos, honey bees, sheep who make yummy cheese (well to be specific they produce one of the ingredients, we didn’t see any of them actually making cheese). There are wildlife conservation parks, beaches, natural wonders and conservation areas. This concludes the educational section of this post.
We’ve always had good experiences with Viator so we booked our two day trip through them. They guarantee that their price is the best and refund you the difference if for some reason that doesn’t turn out to be true. That makes them a safe bet for our generally strained-by-enthusiasm budget.
The whole outing didn’t seem like such a fabulous idea when the bus pulled up in front of our hotel in Adelaide about 5:30 a.m. but it was an hour and a half ride to the ferry which allowed Blonde to go right back to sleep. (Brunette has less well-developed sleeping skills.)
Our overnight tour covered a lot so in a rare effort at restraint we’ll aim to only show the highlights. If you want to know more just ask us in the comments and we’ll make up random answers that suit our purposes and may also address your questions
No, that is not a picture of Brunette spotting someone taking away her glass of wine; she looks much more fierce in that situation. That’s a golden eagle which is one of the cast of characters at the very interesting raptor show. Raptors are birds with hooked beaks that seize and kill their entrees using powerful feet, sharp talons, bad breath and dirty looks. (Basically.) They are also caught up in the gluten free trend as they’re strictly carnivores. The show at this stop was interesting and their standards were so low they even let Blonde participate.
The man who did the show was very entertaining and explained why these particular birds were in show biz. Basically they were orphans or raised by bad or absent parents who didn’t teach them to kill properly. This place is actually a bird preserve for raptors who are rescued and are “unreleasable”. (Need a place like that for rappers too but that’s a whole other subject.)
Next stop was to Seal Bay Conservation Park which may not have been given an imaginative name but it was certainly given an accurate one. This is a place for endangered Australian sea-lions to hang out and do things that keep them from going extinct if you get what we mean.
One of the main reasons people go to Kangaroo Island is to see the iconic Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. This description was stolen from the website to which it is linked: “Remarkable Rocks” are a collection of enormous eroded granite boulders sitting atop a giant dome of lava, that has been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain over some 500 million years“.
There were warning signs all around to be careful because the rocks are slippery and dangerous. Brunette read in a newspaper a couple days after we were there that two men were swept to their deaths by a rogue wave when their backs were turned to the sea. There aren’t any protective barriers and that apparently wasn’t the first time people drowned there.
Flinders Chase also has a long wooden boardwalk you can walk down to see Admiral’s Arch. The arch is a “flank margin cave modified by sea erosion” (per the brochure)
There’s also a large colony of New Zealand fur sea lions that hang out at Admiral’s Arch; they’re the blobby dots you see on the rocks on the right in the picture above.
Enough with critters and rocks – it was time for some goodies and what comes to mind when you want a snack? Why Ligurian bees of course! We were loaded back onto our bus and whisked off to Clifford’s Honey Farm where we saw why being the Queen Bee is a good deal (you don’t do any work and everyone goes nuts trying to please you – like dating Blonde).
They showed us how they extract honey but more importantly they sold really good honey ice cream and honey soda. There all kinds of other honey products you are suddenly seized with an urge to buy after they explain all of the amazing things honey can apparently do. We were told Kangaroo Island is the only place left in the world where there are still pure Ligurian honeybees. Drop that little tidbit next time you’re at a cocktail party and you’ll never be underestimated again! (Can’t the Italians even keep their bees organized?)
Another place where we had some yummy treats, one of which was connected to the bees we met earlier, was Island Pure. Their products don’t have any chemicals and they emphasize the stress-free, relaxing life of “the girls” which results in mellow milk (seriously). We liked everything they had to sample – all kinds of soft cheeses and almost ice-creamy yogurt made from sheep’s milk and sweetened with honey from the Ligurian bees down the street.
(Somewhere in here we spent the night in the town of Kingscote – we didn’t do all of this in one day).
Speaking of Kingscote, the main entertainment there is some vaguely crabby guy who feeds hordes of pink-beaked pelicans right before dusk. It’s much more enjoyable than it sounds here.
At some point we were deposited at a gift shop and were feeling a bit grumpy about that until we saw a little kangaroo sleeping in a wicker basket. The shop owner explained that a visitor to the island had accidentally hit the kangaroo’s mother with his car and found the little “Joey” in the now dead mother’s pouch and brought it to the gift shop. Well of course that’s where you’d take it! (Maybe we don’t have the sequence of events entirely accurate here.)
One more memorable thing was something we aren’t usually all that keen on – a cave. Kelly Hill Caves had an earnest young guide who fairly successfully freaked us all out by taking us below the earth and having us stand in clammy total darkness. That is not why we liked the place. It was the very cool stalactite that looked like a ballet slipper that was the star of that show.
You may find this hard to believe but there were several other places we visited on Kangaroo Island; it was a very full two days!
As the bus headed to the ferry to take us back to Adelaide the bus driver went on at great length about how we had enough time to stop at the world’s best fish and chips place and buy our dinner if we “unanimously” agreed to do so. If we didn’t agree to that we would have to (allegedly) eat from vending machines that served rat corpses or something equally appealing at the ferry embarkation point.
After hearing this litany multiple times we all wearily gave our “unanimous” agreement (it was more like Stockholm Syndrome) and went to the fish and chips place. Cynics that we can be we assumed his brother probably owned it, the food would be awful and the guide would get a cut of the proceeds. However, it really was amazingly good, exceedingly fresh fish and chips so we quit worrying about the rest of it.
That bus driver also realized that a bus full of people with bellies loaded with food would be sleepy and quiet which we all were for the remainder of the trip.
If you get the chance to hop on over to Kangaroo Island take it and please send us some of that honey ice cream.