Summer Trip to Kangaroo Island in Australia
At 6 in the morning, the adventure through Queensland comes to an end. Today is a day of change. We will fly from the tropical and sub-tropical heat of the Australian east coast to the south, where winter still gets colder. Specifically, we will take an internal flight in Brisbane that in about three hours will take us to the city of Adelaide. Here we will pick up a rental car to continue with our route south towards Kangaroo Island, our next destination.
We decided to do the section of the route through southern Australia by car and bungalows or motels instead of renting another camper van for several reasons. On the one hand, when it was cold in that area we thought it would be less comfortable to do it in camper than in the warm east coast.
On the other hand, the price of the ferry to cross from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island also varies depending on the type of vehicle on board. And, finally, we thought that for the final stretch of The Grampians and the Great Ocean Road it would be more practical and agile to drive by car. It is always something faster than going with the house in tow, however much we like that way of traveling.
So, with great sorrow in our hearts for having to separate ourselves, we had breakfast. Towards 8:30 we left the campsite and filled the tank at the gas station that was right next to it. Then we went to the car cleaning place that we had indicated the day before.
We arrived and see it was not a self-cleaning service as we thought, but a place where the staff cleans the vehicle, by appointment, of course. They were at the top, so we went to another place nearby car wash that our friend Google Maps indicated us. We arrived at a kind of area full of shopping centers and nothing, there was no sign of what we were looking for.
We started circling but we did not find the site. At this point the time is passing and I start to get nervous, since we have to deliver the campervan and get to the airport. I do not know exactly how long it will take to do all the paperwork. So we finally gave up and decided to pay what corresponds for the cleaning.
We headed to Brisbane, and it is not necessary to enter the city, so we have not paid any toll in our entire itinerary through Queensland. It turns out that you only had to return it fairly clean inside. On the outside and they assume the cleanliness and inside also, within the logic, of course. We had misunderstood in Cairns. So you are warned. Finding a place to wash cars in Brisbane is complicated, but in principle you will not need it, so do not go crazy looking for what happened to us.
The same staff calls us a taxi that is there in 5 minutes and the airport is very close, about 7 km (5-10 minutes approximately). We have a coffee at a bar in front of the airport and at 12 we can check in at the machines (luggage tags are also printed). Once correctly identified, the suitcases are deposited in the tapes and they are taken automatically. We passed the control in a moment. At no time they ask us for a passport or some other identification document. When I saw Australia customs control on TV the thing was very dodgy, but it is clear that internal flights are another story.
The flight leaves at 14 o'clock. But as cities are not our thing, no complaints. It is 2 hours 50 minutes flight, but we arrived in Adelaide at 16:20 local time because there is 30 minute of time difference. In that area it is half an hour less than the east coast. We land and collect the luggage quickly and without problems, again without any identification control or anything.
After picking up luggage we call the car rental company and they come to pick us up right in front of the terminal. It's almost 5 and there are enough cars, it's rush hour in Adelaide. When we arrived at the office, it is already closed, but we had left everything paid and arranged to make the delivery after hours, so there is no problem. The parking attendants where the office is located give us the documentation and the keys of the car , and tell us where it is parked.
So we went quickly and quickly down the road that goes down from Adelaide to the south, specifically to Cape Jervis, where the next day we would take the ferry. We left Adelaide around 5:15 pm and in theory had a 45-minute drive to the accommodation we had booked at Aldinga Beach, halfway between Adelaide and Cape Jervis.
As I was saying, we did not want to drive at night because of the animals that jump on the road and that's why we decided to stay halfway and cross the ferry early the next day. There were a lot of cars and some exit delays from Adelaide, so we finally did about 1 hour drive to our bungalow, where we arrived practically at night (though not quite).
Again, there is no one in the campsite office, but they left us an envelope with the keys to the cabin and the instructions. Our accommodation is a small bungalow with enough years on it, but enough to save the night. We have a kitchen-dining room and a private bathroom and also a small porch with a table and chairs that, obviously, we cannot use.
It is cold. Luckily there is no problem, since we have a hot air pump and it is very good. So we make some noodles that have from Brisbane, crossing half of Australia, and, after an Australian TV session, we go to sleep. The next day we were expecting another of the wonders of the trip to Kangaroo Island, that piece of land where time is moving at another speed and the Australian fauna is at ease.
Day 2: From Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island
For the first time in many days we have slept in a normal bed, but that does not stop us from getting up at 6 in the morning. We have breakfast at the door of the house.
During the night it has rained. We do not know how the weather will evolve during the day but at the moment it paints cold and cloudy. We left the accommodation around 7:15 and the scenery is beautiful in this area, the so-called peninsula of Flerurieu. There are plenty of activities to do, including visiting a winery and tasting the wines of McLaren Vale, but we had to discard it for lack of days. Yes we tasted the wine in private, but we did not visit wineries.
On the road they warn that there may be wildlife nearby, and we see that they are not mistaken. A kangaroo jumps to the road and goes bouncing in front of us for a good stretch, until returning to the field again. Luckily it was day and we saw it from afar, but I do not want to imagine if this happens to us at night.
Towards 8:10 we arrived at the SeaLink ferry terminal in Cape Jervis, there is no loss. In our case we booked 2 nights at a cottage near the Flinders Chase National Park, where there is more wildlife.
We start sail at 9 and are 45 minutes away, which is very bearable . Along the way there is the possibility of seeing whales or dolphins, but in our case there is no luck and we do not see them. Our idea was to do the southern part the first day just cross, dedicate the whole day to the Flinders Chase National Park and the last day to visit the northern area and cross again by ferry late to Cape Jervis:
We disembarked at Penneshaw and the first thing we do is go to a supermarket to buy supplies. Attention: danger, considerable nailing! The food on the island is very expensive, evidently due to the situation and the lack of infrastructures of the place (which, on the other hand, is part of its charm).
Once well stocked for our days on the beautiful island, we set off to the first point of interest: Seal Bay, where we would visit the Australian sea lion colony. On the way the landscape is beautiful and practically no vehicles circulate, most of the time we go alone on the road. It is all very little exploited and it seems a very authentic place, where everything goes to a different rhythm. Already in the final stretch arriving at Seal Bay we see an echidna crossing the road.
A very interesting animal, we cannot photograph it better because it was enough to hide from us. Along with the platypus, the echidna is one of the two endemic monotreme species of Australia and it is quite an experience (and luck) to see it.
In Seal Bay there are two options: walk a "boardwalk" on your own, approaching a catwalk on the beach where the seals are or take a guided tour that allows you to go down to the beach itself, although surely they explain many things about seals and it must be interesting. We do not know if we will be lucky and there will be many seals near the catwalk or not, but we decided to risk going free and save a little .
We are going down the road with all the uncertainty of the world, hoping that there will be a fence nearby, and, indeed: already from a distance we see several seals next to the platform at the end! When we get closer we see that there are many more, huge males or females with their offspring. They are really very close!
Photos and more photos, I could not say how many we got to do, I almost burned the camera. I tried to select the best ones, although I must say that they do not do justice to the situation. It was very exciting to have them so close, and watch their movements, the small fights between macho, the suckling babies. We stayed there for almost an hour watching the show, although it is quite cold, partly due to the wind.
The landscape from the beginning of the walkway and from a nearby viewpoint is not bad either. Finally we continue our way to the western part of the island, where our accommodation is, at the entrance of the Flinders Chase National Park. On the way we stopped to see the dunes of Little Sahara, although we see them quickly and we follow.
Near Vivonne Bay we stop to refuel. It is very expensive but we do not have another, we do not think we can hold the three days without filling the deposit. Although it is still quite early, we decided to go to the cottage and arrived around 16 to the campsite.
The owners are very friendly, they explain the two hikes that can be done around the campsite and they give us the keys. In case of need you can buy some basic food items, for example beer, at the campsite. We settled in our Yacht Cabin a new and well-kept room, with parquet floor, equipped kitchen, bathroom, a very cozy room and terrace. We also have heating, so the cold will not be a problem.
After settling down we went out to do the Koala Walk of the campsite, and it has been a success: we have seen up to 8 koalas! On this route we have also seen wallabies (Tammar Wallabies) and kangaroos. Later we do the Lagoon Walk, which goes around the nearby lagoon, where we also see wallabies, kangaroos and even a clueless koala. More immortalized moments, although the photos are not very good because there was a lack of light:
In total we are almost two hours between the two walks, not because they are very long, they are not, but because we spent a lot of time watching the little bugs that we found along them. It's impressive, to have them so close and not to flee is amazing! Towards 18 it is already night, so we decided to go to settle in our comfortable cabin, which already feels like it. The next day we had another great day exploring the Flinders Chase National Park, a natural wonder full of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes like the Remarkable Rocks.
Day 3: Kangaroo Island, exploring the Flinders Chase National Park
Six in the morning and we run. Today it was time to explore the Flinders Chase National Park, on the west side of the island. It is a wonder for lovers of nature and wildlife, with abundant inland trails and a spectacular coastal landscape, including the curious Remarkable Rocks and the Admirals Arch.
Our lodging is ten minutes by car from the Visitor Center, so we got there very early and as soon as we got off the car we were happy for the day: a koala walking (well, running) on the ground! Until now we have seen them well parapeted in their trees, practically immobile, but the truth is that seeing them in action is a pass.
Contrary to what may seem, they are very fast, especially if they run away from tired tourists like us, who never have enough photos . It looks blurry, since there was still little light and also moved very fast, but here the graphic report of the escape of the koala to return to enter the forest:
The Visitor Center opens at nine, so we leave the money in a mailbox at the entrance and place the identification tag on the car, so they can see that we have paid. In this area there are several walks to do, of different duration. We do the Black Swamp Hike, a loop of 9 km, we took about 3 hours because we entertained a lot seeing wildlife. It is practically flat almost all the time and does not involve any difficulty. During this route we saw wallabies, kangaroos, a multitude of birds and a koala.
The kangaroos were on the sides of the road marked or in the middle of the road, we saw quite and very closely. We then go for the Heritage Walk, just 1'5 km very close to the Visitor Center, but we were about 30 minutes because it was where we saw more koalas. In this trail you can also see ualabies, kangaroos and koalas (we saw 5). We also found an echidna, but it was quite hidden, made a ball, pobrete.
In addition, everywhere there was a species of birds with yellow beaks, they are called "Cape Barren Geese" (a type of goose). They release considerable grunts, very unsuitable to their appearance.
It was not too good day, as the sky was gray and full of clouds that did not bode well. At first it annoyed me a lot because the photos do not look so good with such complicated lighting, but then what we read seems to be that the bad weather favored us to see more kangaroos and wallabies.
Normally these are active at the first and last hour of the day, when the sun is low, and it is not so easy to see them in the meadows when Hit the sun full. So there is no harm that does not come well. It is also true that by the time of year we were and cool temperatures, perhaps we had seen them equally under a sun of justice, but I'm not sure.
At around 12 we take the car and drive about 15 km (20 minutes) to the Remarkable Rocks, impressive granite formations by the sea, sculpted by the wind and the ocean. On the way, the rugged and wild coastal landscape is spectacular. And what about the Remarkable Rocks, where we practically did our picnic. Luckily during this time the sun has risen and so we can better appreciate the incredible colors.
Back to the car and 5 more minutes of road take us to another area of the park, the Cape du Couedic, where we make another mini-walk to the Admirals Arch, another wonder of nature formed due to the strength of the ocean. The walk of the Admirals Arch is 1 km, approximately 15 minutes.
From there, apart from a wonderful coastal landscape you can also see a colony of New Zealand seals (which have nothing to do with the sea lions of Seal Bay). Here we try to learn to distinguish the Australian sea lions from Seal Bay from the New Zealand seals of the Admiral's Arch, but nothing, to this day I tell you that I still can not differentiate them.
Here we have the little foxes. As always, the males fight and others play. In theory, sea lions are lighter in color and calmer than seals. They tend to bathe more than sea lions because they have a thicker layer of skin that protects them well from the cold of the water. And indeed, there were many seals playing in the water, swimming and jumping. All a show!
To end the day at the Flinders Chase National Park right there, quite close, we make another short route, the Lighthouse heritage trail, of 600 m and 10 minutes. It's quite early, but we decided to go back to the campsite and put a washer and dryer, which we are going to need.
And while the housework is done, we go back to the Koala Walk and the Lagoon Walk, to say goodbye to the wallabies, kangaroos and koalas of the campsite. This time we have only seen 5 koalas, yesterday we saw more, but it is not bad. What we do see is a little boy climbing on his mom's back, it is not appreciated very well but here we have the photographic evolution of the process:
At dusk we retired to our cozy cabin, saying goodbye to the day. We have dinner and sleep, the next day played the way back to the ferry and cross back to the peninsula. The end of the trip was approaching, but it was comforting to know that there were still two main courses, The Grampians and the Great Ocean Road .
Day 4: Kangaroo Island- Cape Jervis
We got up around 6:30 in our bungalow, where we had been so happy. For us it was a privilege to wake up with kangaroos next to our cabin, although later we would see that this is nothing compared to other areas of Australia such as The Grampians, where there are real herds of kangaroos in the fields near the lodgings .
Before leaving we went back to do the Koala Walk for the last time to say goodbye to our koala hosts, but we only saw two. So we left, first heading west and then north, with the intention of traveling the north coast of the island stopping at points like Stokes Bay, Emu Bay and Kingscote before returning to Penneshaw to take the ferry in the afternoon.
On our route to the north coast we crossed km and km of Flinders Chase National Park and we saw practically nothing and nobody, only forest and several birds. Luckily no kangaroo crossed us. We had bad luck with the weather: it was terribly cloudy and the feeling was very intense cold .
On the way to Stokes Bay we passed through an area that reminded us of neighboring New Zealand. We arrive at Stokes Bay and to get to the beach from the parking lot you have to walk a small path that goes through the rocks, through somewhat narrow places. But once there, the beach is beautiful, although we miss the sun.
Then we decided to continue towards the main road, towards Kingsote and Emu Bay. During that day, although it was Sunday, we found very few people on the island, we practically did not meet anyone on the road. The only living beings there were were these :
On the way we stopped in a small village called Parndana to have a coffee and buy some bread (at a price of gold, of course). It did not hurt so much because we had an interesting conversation with the lady who was running the business.
She was very nice and told us a lot of things about the area, like for example that the English of the Adelaide area was lighter (purer, to say it in some way) because it was an area not repopulated by inmates, but by descendants of Germans, among others. Her husband was from Melbourne and she was from Adelaide. Those are some of the little anecdotes that we enjoy the most on trips, talking with the people there.
We continue to Emu Bay, a beautiful beach with white sand and crystal clear water, but which is tarnished by the lack of sun. We did not want to stay without eating and we suspected that the Sunday schedules in Kangaroo Island were not very large, so without further delay we decided to continue towards Kingscote (and we did well). Cominos in a Deli-Librería of the town, we did not see anything more open. I imagine that in the summer season there will be more offer of operational restaurants, but being its winter, it was not the case.
After lunch we went around Kingscote, but it was cold and it looked like it was going to rain, so we decided to try to take the ferry from 4:30 pm if there were free spaces, since we had reserved the 19 o'clock, thinking about making the most of it. on the island if it was good weather.
On the Kingscote-Penneshaw ride we stopped near American River, on a lake where we saw some black swans. Already near Penneshaw there were enough kangaroos in the fields by the road, eating so calm, oblivious to the guiris that lurked. We arrived at the ferry pier almost an hour before departure and asked if there was a place: it was complete, but they put us on the waiting list and if there was a gap once all those who had a reservation had entered, they would place us.
To make time we approached the beach next door, where in theory you can see penguins, but we did not see any. The lady from the Parndana bar had already warned us that there are very few left and it is only easy to see them at night in organized tours, if there is luck.
Everyone enters the ferry according to the instructions and we get a place, the last one left in the crowded deck of the ship. That seemed like a tetris, the space was used to the last millimeter but the truth is that we were grateful to be able to return before it began to rain. In an hour, approximately, we planted in Cape Jervis, where, incredibly, it shone an impressive sun.
We went up to a lookout that was near the jetty and you could see this (they are somewhat burnt by the sun, but to give you an idea of the views and the sun that itched). I would have liked to stay and watch the sunset, but we had to find the accommodation and we prefer to do it with light, which we already know. Even so we passed by and had to turn around as soon as we could and return.
We finally did the check-in and settled into our room: it was a kind of studio with a bed, a dining area in it Room, a mini-kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, toaster and kettle and the bathroom apart. The accommodation looked quite old, but it was fine. It had heating and air conditioning, and, what most fell in love: individual electric blanket! Although it was not too cold, those are the small details that conquer me.
We made a good zenith and saw a couple of weird Australian shows on TV, but not before approaching the sunset from the edge of the campsite. I do not have good photos, so I do not share any for your own good. And to enjoy the electric blanket, the next day we had a long way to The Grampians, the place with more kangaroos per square meter that we saw throughout our trip.