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Kangaroo Island

16.03 - 18.03.07

semi-overcast 25 °C

What a brilliant trip that was! I had the so far most boring group which was a bit disappointing but the trip itself completely "exceeded expectations" (to use the favourite CMS phrase). We were 11 people - 2 Americans - highly annoying as you expect. Completely spoilt brats who didn't do a thing and didn't speak to anyone but never shut up. 2 quite sweet Danish girls, Kamilla and Nenne, 2 very sweet French girls, Elodie and Anneloch, and 4 Germans: a very nice couple, Stefanie and Matthias and a complete weirdo, Mark and nice girl called Anne. Our tour guide, Hue, was very nice too.
We started with the peninsula Fleuneu. As it wasn't very warm we headed off to do some wine testing instead of swimming. As it was only 11 am we left the winery quite happy :-)
We continued with Horseshoe Bay where we spotted our first seals relaxing in the water. After climbing over the rocks, or falling between them, we got really close and could watch them floating in the water. Really sweet and amazing swimmers but certainly know how to relax. We then went to another amazing beach with big waves, endless long and wonderful turqouis water. I just can't get enough of those wonderful beaches and went for a nice long walk with Anne.
After some fantastic pastry in one of the small villages we made our way to the charter boat, which I was allowed to drive. Not as easy as it looks but good fun. The weather was brilliant but the waves were really high.
Our first campsite was Penneshoo. We stayed in what seemed like shed but open on one side, so basically just a roof. They even had toilets and showers there which is a luxury I am certainly not used to anymore. They were the coolest bush toilets you could possibly imagine. They even had music and you could watch the kangaroos while sitting on the toilet. The showers were just round basins with no roof, so showering under the stars. Being bush showers and having very limited water resources you were of course only allowed to use them if you have been swimming in the sea to rinse off the salt.
We were just 3 minutes away from the beach which was beautiful. We straight away spotted a pelican and some black swans in the remains of a riverbed. After dinner and sunset we went out with the jeep again to find more kangaroos and wallabies. Our crazy tour guide almost ran them over but we certainly saw loads of them. We found penguins on the beach as well. So cute those little ones when the waddel out of the water. His torch scared them though which I didn't really like. Almost running over several possums we finally got back to our camp.
After some convincing Hue agreed to have a fire on the beach and also let us sleep on the beach which was just brilliant. So romantic with the fire and the stars above you. The sky is just incredible here. You really can't see anything like that at home. Well certainly not the Southern Cross! :-)
My first night ever sleeping on the beach was therefore a full success. Each of us had a swag which is a very robust sleeping bag with a mattress inside it and you then slip your actual sleeping bag into it. That way you are protect agains rain and all sorts of stuff. It was one of the best things I have ever done. The sound of the ocean, the fire which was burning all night and the stars. Occasionally it rained a little bit but never mind. We woke up with the sunrise and I decided to follow Hue and be very brave and go for a swim. Again, one of the most incredible things I have ever done, swimming at 6am into the rising sun. So peaceful and wonderful that it is difficult to describe. That way you didn't feel the cold very much. I also had the pleasure to use the funky shower afterwards. What a start into a day.
Our first stop was Cape Willonghby. Really nice cliffs, great view and a light house.
I also found out what the difference is between wallabies and kangaroos. Wallabies have a slightly different shaped head, are quite a bit smaller and most importantly breed every 12 months, in a poach like the kangaroo as well. The kangaroo has 3 babies on the go at any one time. It has one on foot, one in the poach and one in the womb. The one in the womb can be put "on hold" for up to 18 months if need be, i.e. if there is no food or water. Incredible how nature has adapted to the extreme conditions of Australia.
The same goes for the bush fires. I always thought that a bush fire would kill and burn all the trees but it actually doesn't. It acutally helps growth and all that and is really good for the forest and they do need the fires from time to time. It looks really strange though when you all these black tree trunks, completely burnt and dead looking but full of green leaves. After a fire the moment the first rain falls the leaves start growing again. Some trees look fine after a while, as some trees in Australia actually loose their bark once a year (insted of their leaves....) As I said, everything seems to be different here... Once they have lost their bark, they look normal again and you would't be able to tell that they ever have been in a fire.
We then went to seal bay to watch the sea lions at the beach. They go out fishing for 2-3 days and then come back to the same beach and rest for 2-3 days. They can get 25 years old and weigh up to 350 kg. Incredible animals. We could get quite close and watch them. A lot of them had scars from shark attacks who is their biggest enemy. They go hunting alone as they eat crayfish and don't want any competition. Different to the seals who hunt in groups to be able to have a better watch out for the sharks and they go for fish schools which is easier to catch in a group. As they go hunting for up to 9 days, they can even sleep in the water. They build a circle and hold toghethere by the feet and then sleep lying in the water. Sea lions can Apparently outrun you on the beach. Difficult to imagine but you certainly don't want to try it with a 350kg animal. They are so cute and quite funny. When they are not sleeping they seem to enjoy annoying the ones that are still sleeping. Very funny. It was brilliant. I have never seen sea lions in the wild before and it certainly was an amazing experience. As there were so many there was quite a lot happening. Some arriving after going fishing. Some otheres leaving, some sleeping, fighting, annying each other etc. Absolutely loved it!
After Seal Bay we went to Little Sahara to do some sand boarding. Really good fun. You walk up the sand dunes and then board down. Similar to snow boarding just in sand, although you can also sit and lie on the board instead of standing. Apart from having sand everywhere it was great fun. The last race was to just roll down. I completly lost control and promptly fell over when I tried to stand up at the bottom of the dune.
It was then time to get to our next campsite which was on the other side of the island - Western River Cove. We set up our campsite by a creek just by another beach. Unfortunately I had to find out that Hue left my swag behind but kindly offered me another one. Clever me left the sleeping bag in the other sway though, so I was facing a cold night!!! Got some blankets and a silk sleeping bag from Hue but it wasn't really enouh...! Dough! Always watch your sleeping bag while camping outside was the lesson I learned from that.
When we went to the beach to do some snorkelling some fishermen in need of some company were inviting us for a boat trip. What an afternoon. The coastline around kangaroo island is just beautiful and we got to see some seals too. What a nice surprise that was. In return we invited them to have dinner with us which was a great idea as fishing crayfish all day long they kindly brought a 3 kilo lobster!! Wow!! Never seen or eaten a lobster that size. If they would have sold it to another boat which then sells it to restaurants it would have been $200 already! I don't even want to know what a restaurant would have charged you. It certainly was the best lobster I have ever had and definitely the freshest one too! with a 3 kilo lobster there was certainly enough for everyone but fortunately a lot of the people were quite young and it wasn't really their thing, so I had certainly most of it as no one else seemed really that bothered! Fantastic! What a feast! Camping, sleeping outside, no shower in 3 days but eating lobster! Happy Days :-)
The younger guy of the fishermen brought his guitar, so we had some great entertainment at our fire. Unfortunately the older one seemed to think that in return for the lobster he would get something none of the girls was prepared to give. And he did try it with every single one! Dirty old men! ;-)
We slept outside again and the sky was even better. It certainly helped that it didn't rain. But the cheeky possums kept us awake being so noisy while trying to eat our stuff. Lost all my chocolate to them. Damn possums!
On our way to Little Sahara we saw an echidna and then loads of koala bears. We went on to a farmer's land thinking we spotted a koala in one of the big gum trees to find out that more than half the tree was already dead, killed by the koalas and that there were actually 7 including a tiny little one. Amazing. So many koalas and for once they weren't sleeping. One was so close you could have almost touched it. EVen our tour guide said that he had never been so close to a wild koala and was quite pissed off that he didn't have his camera. Fortunately I had mine and got some great pics. Couldn't get enough of those litte cute faces. I know they are quite stupid from all the eucalyptus they eat but they are so cute! You just have to love them. One of the big one even walked which apparently hardly ever happens and one of the small ones jumped to another branch and almost fell down but managed in the last moment to pull himself up. Very funny! Absolutley fantastic that was. Certainly one of my highlights in Australia!
What a day that was, probably one of the best ones ever in my live: waking up at the beach, swimming into the sun rise just by myself, sea lions, koalas, possums, seals, kangaroos sand surfing, boat trip, a 3 kilo lobster, another fire with guitar! Incredible day!!!
Hue kindly woke us up at sunrise again.... grrr.... and we went to Flinders Chase National Park, the biggest park on the island. We started with the Remarkable Rocks, which were remarkable! :-) We then had a look at some rocks and caves and watched some more seals. Unbelievable how they climb these really high rocks. We walked through a dried river bed hoping to see some platypus but that is almost impossible. They had a whole German film crew set up there for 2 weeks to do a documentary on them and they didn't see one! :-) No surprise then that we didn't see any either. We then got a wonderful beach. Unfortunately there was a huge dead seal lying there. Not so nice. Hue the weirdo ripped out a couple of teeth to put them on a chain! Aussies!!! On our way back to the boat we passed some amazing vegetation that is apparently more dense than in the amazon! Looked really cool, like a carpet!
On our boat trip back to the mainland we then had our last hightlight of the trip with bumping into so many dolphins which were very playful and swimming and jumping for ever around the boat. I still can't believe how many animals I have seen. So well worth the trip. Absolutley fantastic ending to my time in Australia. I am so glad I made it all the way down here. Certainly one of my highlights in Australia, beside the Whitsunday Islands and Cape Tribulation.

Posted by Julia1976 00:09 Archived in Australia

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