Kangaroo Island – day 325/15

All woke up toasty warm from leaving the little heater on all night. On the plus side, our feet weren’t freezing lumps of ice. On the negative side, the aroma of three women slowing cooking in their own body juices in what can only be described as a miniature oven was an experience that none of us are keen to experience anytime soon. We tucked into our free hostel breakfast before packing up the car and heading out for the day. 
Driving to the north coast of Kangaroo Island, we headed for the ‘secret beach’ that was recommended to us by Lyndi and Sarah. Apparently a bit of a challenge to find unless you have inside information, we headed for the RockPool Café and went to explore. Stokes Bay was absolutely stunning in its own right, with beautifully clear turquoise waters which were captivating in even the cold. However, to the very right end of the beach there was a secret sign directing us behind some rocks. At some point in time someone was clever/crazy enough to blast through the cliffs and create access to a secret beach. It took some ducking and weaving through the narrow caves, which was particularly difficult for Jayne and I as we are so tall – Tracey hopped, skipped and jumped through like a sure footed mountain goat, to reach this mysterious piece of paradise.Wandered along the shore for a while, enjoying the tranquility of the completely deserted beach. The rapidly incoming tide cut our time short on the beach especially as waves started lapping into the entrance of the caves. 

Next stop was only just down the road at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Opened in January 1992 and sold to the current owners in 2013, the wildlife park is home to over 150 species of Native Australian wildlife and houses over 600 animals! We were fortunate enough to arrive in time for the koala talk, where we got to enter the enclosure with these cuddly bundles of fur, stroking them and posing for photos. Learning loads about my new favourite animal, I was delighted to find out that Jayne had paid for me to have a koala holding experience. Standing over to a quiet corner of the park, I was given Alfie to hold. 10kg of gorgeousness, as I was the only one with a koala experience, I got to hold him for ages!As you can see from the photos, this was definitely one of the best experiences of my life and thanks so much to Jayne and Tracey who happily stood around as I cuddled and stroked that koala. Slightly concerning moment when he started sniffing my neck. Thinking it was just a cute snugly thing, the keeper seemed a little worried. Apparently it is the start of their mating ritual, just before they start biting your neck and humping you – clearly I smell like a horny koala…

Reluctantly giving him back, we headed out to the rest of the park – small birds, nesting cassowaries, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, penguins, farm animals, snakes, crocodiles and reptiles. They are currently building a new enclosure for dingoes (which was currently closed to the public but we spotted the dingo puppies being walked around the grounds and got to have a quick cuddle with them too!). Found a quiet picnic bench to eat some lunch whilst we watched the world go by and got to watch the next group of people do the koala experience. A much larger group, they only got to hold the koala for a couple of minutes each before he went back into the enclosure – I was definitely lucky! Treating ourselves to an ice cream from the shop, we were delighted to discover that a major ice cream brand was using local ingredients to make the different flavours. Tracey and Jayne both chose the Kangaroo Island honey with pistachio flavour while I played it safe with a cookies and cream. 

Back in the road again, we headed for Island Pure sheep dairy which is a 260 hectare grazing property situated on the banks of the Cygnet River and Gum Creek. Opened in 1992, twice a day the ewes wander in to a purpose-built dairy to be milked before heading back into the paddock. The dairy makes a range of cheese and yoghurt products which are entirely homemade on site. We began with a tasting season where we got to sample all of the products that they have available to buy. My favourite was the Cygnet cheese (a semi-matured manchego) whereas Jayne preferred La Casuarinas (a feta) and Tracey loved the Ravine Des Casoars (halloumi). We then watched an informative DVD which explained about cheese making before getting a visit of the factory and watched the sheep being milked. A truly fascinating experience, especially as I used to be a ‘young farmer’. The milking process we saw for these sheep is similar to that when milking cows, except, that they only milk half of the sheep at each time and then swap the milking teats over. 

Having watched Tracey stock up on cheese products (mostly halloumi), we headed off to our next stop of KI Spirits. Walking past the 80 litre copper pot which is still used to hand make their entire premium range, we sampled several different gins, spirits and liqueurs. Tracey treated herself to a coffee whilst I bought a drink of the ‘Old Tom Gin’. It was incredible and clearly I have expensive taste. It is the award winning drink of Oz and cost a small fortune per bottle – however, it slid down my throat like liquid gold! It didn’t need any form of chaser and I would have been quite happy drinking it as a digestif most evenings!Last stop on our quick tour of the island was the pelicans. These massive birds have become accustomed to a daily feeding frenzy from a local man, who regularly gets into trouble for feeding the wildlife. Not entirely sure how we felt about it, we were delighted to hear that these birds are often present at this site an hour before the feeding time begins. As we made our way to a small, wooden amphitheatre set above the rocks that lined the harbour there were half-a-dozen of the birds perched on the rocks, along with a similar number of silver gulls. We watched the birds fly around and land nearby, waving their voraciously snapping beaks as they premed their feathers and waited for an easy meal.  Driving back towards the ferry, we kept our eyes open for any last sighting of kangaroos before catching the ferry. We filled up with fuel, having a slightly bizarre moment when the pump wouldn’t let us fill up the tank anymore but the gauge said the tank was only half full. A quick call to Hertz to explain the issue and we were reassured that sometimes the gauge takes a while to move. Sounded slightly fishy, we weren’t in a position to argue as we couldn’t put in any more fuel from the only petrol station in town and the office was closed. Had a pub meal as our last night together as a threesome on this holiday – I, unfortunately, had major food envy of Jaynes beef schnitzel but she gave me some in exchange for my salt & pepper squid so it all worked out (she is so good to me!).Catching the ferry across the bay, we boarded the Sealink bus to take us back to Adelaide. The bus driver seemed to double up as the local postman as he stopped several times along he route to check the post boxes for letters and putting them in the bus (or we had just witnessed some very unstealthy post thief!). One of the passengers had a very loud and irritating laugh so Jayne and I fell asleep to block him out. Tracey took this opportunity to take unflattering photos of the two of us as we snored gently in the seats behind her. Arrived in Adelaide and made our way to the YHA. Clearly during the two weeks together, we still haven’t realised that Tracey can’t walk as quickly as we can… Sorry Tracey for walking too fast and that you had to remind us for the umpteen time! Fortunately, we were able to make our beds without worrying about waking anyone up, as all our roommates where out and we quickly fell into bed and passed out. 

Saturday 27th August 2016

Adelaide – day 323/13

The night bus rumbled on through the wee hours with our skilled bus driver carefully traversing the road and dodging kangaroos, yes that’s right, two of them, finally, on the road, nearly being killed. Not what I was hoping for.

There were a few small stops to drop off and pick up passengers but mostly a quiet journey with little to report…..until Port Augusta.

We got in around 2am for the drivers fatigue management stop that would include fuelling the bus. Now that we were all awake we ventured into the roadhouse for flavoured milks and chocolate. I observed the guy who was working the roadhouse, he was a slow man, perhaps he’d had more than his fair share of the food or was just a lazy lazy man because I’ve never seen anyone work so slow for money in my life. It was painful! I felt like jumping the counter and taking over.

Around 2.45am we all jumped back on the bus and got settled for the next 3.75hrs into Adelaide. We were all trying to get some shut eye when it occurred to me that I was cold, really cold, in fact reezing. To add to this was the unceremonious stench of foul body odour as some of our fellow passengers had clearly forgotten what deodorant was invented for. Add to that the full 45 minute break that some passengers spent chain smoking and it felt like the smell was basically slapping us in the face repeatedly screaming “NO SLEEP FOR YOU” over and over again. It was like some kind of prisoner torture or behind the scenes at Guantanamo Bay.

Bring on 6.30am! I’ve never been so happy to pull into a bus station in my life! The bus driver announced our arrival and apologised about the air conditioning which had been stuck on since we left Port Augusta. Now go back and read the last paragraph. That’s 3.75hrs with the aircon on, whilst on a night bus, that smelt like death when it was only 4 degrees Celsius outside. We were all shattered.

We regrouped to make the hard decisions on what to do until 3.45 pm when we had to be back at the bus station again for our transfer to the Kangaroo Island Ferry. We got our bearings and realised that the Adelaide YHA where we were staying on Saturday was literally around the corner. We decided to throw ourselves on there mercy preying that the 20 something, beany wearing, guitar playing, finding himself young man wouldn’t be a dick and let us use their facilities as we were freezing and desperate. Luckily said young man was clever, gracious and generous and clearly knew by looking at us that if he said no that one of us would jump the counter, the other would clearly injure him whilst the last of us would break his guitar. That’s how cold we were, we were on the edge, it was the perfect storm, all three of us had synced, our moods were black and deadly like a ninja.

After using every drop of hot water we could to recover, we pushed the boundaries more and managed to get our bags stored and a security card that let us use everything until we left that afternoon.

We headed off to Rundle Mall and headed straight to Mc Donald’s. The only place that could get us all back on track. We wandered through the mall where I bought my obligatory “Big Issue” and then proceeded to buy the biggest hard cover book on floristry that I could carry, it was 40% off, what a bargain. Of course it weighed a tonne and I then had to lug it around all day….We managed to find a bus stop for the free solar powered tourist bus that goes around Adelaide, great idea, solar powered, amazing, should be more of them….then the announcement came through, change buses to the one in front, this bus needs to go back and charge up, I guess that’s the equivalent of running out of fuel. Tourist bus fail!So, we were off again on one the high polluting diesel bus and off on a loop of the city and the northern suburbs when I remembered to tell the girls that Adelaide is called the city of churches, hence why there are so many churches.After getting our bearings we headed off to walk along the Adelaide river to the zoo, where we saw a lot of ducks, bird life and a pelican. There were of course the Lycra mafia with there bell ringing and unflattering rear views, just because people in the Tour de France wear Lycra , doesn’t mean everybody should. We decided not to go to the zoo as I think we only wanted to see the pandas and couldn’t really be bothered doing anything to energetic as we were definitely the walking dead.

We strolled through the botanical gardens and generally just enjoyed the sunshine. We saw a sign for a wine appreciation centre in the botanical gardens and thought why not? Well it turned out to be as elusive as the red kangaroos in the outback.We wandered through Adelaides Central Market which is the biggest farmers market in Australia and marvelled at the produce, cakes and meat. We couldn’t really buy much as we only had a few days before heading back to Melbourne. A quick trip to Coles and we walked back to the YHA. A quick late lunch, some productive time for the girls as they booked their Tasmania leg of the tour and it was time to gather our bags and head back to the bus station.Unlike the overnight bus this was a lovely transfer that took us from Adelaide to Jervis Bay 1.5 hrs south to get to the ferry terminal. The countryside was beautiful and I thoroughly fell in love with it. Rolling hills, cows, sheep, vineyards, olive groves and kangaroos, hundreds of them, no not the elusive red kangaroos, the ever reliable, proves our kangaroos are the best, eastern grey kangaroos!! I chatted with some ladies on the bus who worked for Sealink the tourist company that run the ferries and for tours on the island. Lindy and Sarah spent the entire 45 minute ferry ride to Kangaroo island telling us all the good spots to go and marked them on a map. We docked by 7pm and walked the 100 metres to the YHA. Well that was nice and easy! We checked in, made dinner and drank wine and chatted with Cedric who was an older guy who has bought land and is going to build a house himself and Amanda, an over the top Canadian girl who was pretty full on and swore more than me of which I thought not possible! We all chatted a while during which Amanda proceeded to constantly hold my arm which was a little weird as I didn’t know her! I don’t mind a little in appropriate touching but I’d prefer it from Brad Pitt. We hit the sack, excited by the fact that there were thick mattresses on the beds. We hiked up the heater in the room as it was cold and tucked ourselves in for the night after a couple of sleep deprived days. I think the litre of wine and exhaustion worked well together as I don’t think I moved until my alarm went off the next morning.

Thursday 25th August 2016