Our first trip ‘Down Under’ took place in the Spring of 2009. There it was Fall. We had landed in Auckland, NZ after a 14 hour flight and then continued on to Sydney. And so began our first Australian adventure.
Following a 4 day stay in Sydney we flew to Launceston on the island of Tasmania the start of a week long drive along the eastern coast to Hobart. From Tasmania we flew to Melbourne and then drove the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide.
Adelaide is home to our good friends Kathy and Kari whom we met here in Kelowna. They spent a year in Kelowna when Kathy was on the teacher exchange program and taught in the same school as Ellen.
Adelaide is a beautiful city especially the coastal suburb of Glenelg where Kathy and Kari live. But touring of Adelaide would have to wait. A weekend trip to Kangaroo Island would come first.
After a 2 hour drive and about the same on the ferry we landed on Kangaroo Island. Kari described our accommodation as being highly rated. Upon arrival the ladies were somewhat dubious. We made it work.
An event that I will never forget was the pelican feed. We had driven to a nearby fish shop. All manner and size of fish were displayed for sale. Out back above a narrow beach were 2 grandstand style risers. They were empty as was the beach. A bus arrived and the risers began to fill. Then a stocky man wearing a brimmed Aussie hat, rubber gloves and waist high waders appeared. He was carrying a large plastic bucket.
A whistle and they started to arrive, gulls first, followed by huge white and black pelicans. My guess at the time was that between 25 to 30 pelicans flew in, all of them calling out and gathering around the man with the bucket. The audience was captivated.
Over the next half hour the bucket filled with fish guts was emptied. What a show the pelicans put on as they scrambled and grabbed for any morsel they could reach. When it was over the risers emptied, the bus filled and drove off. It was again quiet except that the man came out with a second bucket. I alone, was treated to another pelican feed. My camera was so busy.
Our tour of the island continued. We visited many interesting places and interesting sights. Clearly this island was affected by the wind. High sand dunes, low lying plants, evidence that fire had quickly moved through the scrubby forest and waves that relentlessly pounded the shore all play a part in making this a very special eco system.
Along one part of the drive we came across many termite colonies, their outer surface covered with crusted mud as protection from the wind and sun. We encountered a colony of Fairy Penguins, also known as Little Penguins but we did not see a single Kangaroo.
The display of ‘Remarkable Rocks’ was perhaps the most impressive sight. They are the signature landmark of the island and a ‘must see’ for any Kangaroo Island holiday. These naturally sculpted boulders are balanced precariously on a granite outcrop. Evidence shows that these rocks were formed by rain, wind and pounding waves over a period of 500 million years . They are part of Flinders Chase National Park.