The morning after the night before wasn’t too pretty (for me at least) and it took all my strength to down my morning bowl of cereal
But with some asprin at hand it wasn’t long before we were on the road again.
Similar in many ways to the Fleurieu Peninisula , the 155 x 55 km long island has an abundance of small river systems with a number seemingly spring fed. One in particular we passed on our journey back from Harvey’s Return cut under the main road and provided a complete change of landscape.
Around 15kms from Harvey’s Return a turn off south down Shackle Road led us through the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area. This area and the adjacent Flinders Chase National Park protect a large section of the western end of the island. One of the benefits of these parks, and a main draw card for tourist, is that much of the wildlife on the island has been preserved and with no rabbits or foxes present the number of native species is healthy and often seen (although feral deer, goats, pigs and cats are still present!).
One of the common sights sunning themselves on the more isolated roads was the Heath Goanna that grows to about 1.5mt in length
Also quite common is the Echinda, an egg laying mammal (monotreme)
The other two iconic Australian animals found on Kangaroo Island, the Koala and Platypus, were both introduced back in the 1920’s. With no natural predators and an abundance of habitat the population of Koalas exploded to the point where action had to be taken to protect the overall ecosystem. This resulted in quite a bit of controversy back in the late 1990’s when the idea of culling them was raised. The general feeling was, that vision on TV of a cuddly little fella like this
falling from a tree with a bullet in its head was not that conducive to Australian tourism. In their wisdom the powers to be decided on a more radical approach – sterilization! So now they put a noose around their necks and drag them down from the tree tops and give them the chop.. (as well as exporting some back to the mainland)
Once at the end of Shackle Road we entered the Flinders Chase National Park
This is the one of the most popular parts of the island for the general tourist with a few iconic locations down on the coast. However, before we headed down that way we decided to take the 4km Snake lagoon loop walk. This starts off following a trail through trees
Before reaching Rocky River
From there the track follows the river for a kilometre or so before it reaches the sea
It’s an idyllic little spot and well worth the effort for those visiting the island. The other great thing is there are a number of deep pools just back from the beach that gave us an opportunity to cool down and have a wash
(and no they’re not man boobs it just the shadows..)
Once back on the bikes we visited the National Parks Headquarters and paid our $9 each (to enter the park) before hitting the bitumen south. This is a great little run through some windy sections and the evidence of the massive wildfires that swept through the island in 2007 was very evident
Two of the most visited natural attractions on the island are found in this south western corner, namely Remarkable Rocks and Admiral's Arch.
The first of these can be seen in distance as you approach
The exposed granite outcrop has a jumble of rocks that remain perched on top and they have weathered over millions of years in an unusual way
Looking back in westerly direction from the Remarkable Rocks, Cape Du Couedic lighthouse is visible in the distance
This really is where the tourists flock (literally by the busload) and the boardwalk leading to Admiral's Arch gives a good idea of what it’s like on a busy day!
The arch itself has formed under the headland through the constant pounding of the waves. I visited this area a few years ago and there were 12mt swells hitting the shoreline (needless to say the ferry was cancelled that day!)
Despite its natural appeal the place does stink a bit, as it’s the home to a large colony of New Zealand fur seals that laze around on the rocks and in the shallows
With our tourist obligations out of the way we headed out of the park and stopped for fuel just past the park entrance at the KI Wilderness Retreat.
Paul’s bike was running in stock form and he’d got almost 300kms from the standard tank (with about a litre to go) that was close to 25km/lt (US 58mpg) pretty good going on a loaded bike!
The price of fuel was pretty outrageous here (about 40% higher than the mainland) but it was a more up market type of place. This was clearly evident in the look I got from reception girl when I went it to pay for the fuel (and I'd had a wash..)
Next stop was Vivone Bay
A pretty place where the Harriet River meets the sea midway along a large sandy beach
After poking around for a while it became clear that food was required, so we headed north towards the centre of the island to get a feed at the Parndana Hotel.
And a good feed it was! (notice the lemon squash.. once bitten twice shy
After dinner we set off south again back towards the coast to look for a campsite for the night. We bypassed the other iconic tourist location of the island, Seal Bay, as the thought of forking out $27.50 to see these guys (Australian Sealions) on the beach wasn’t that appealing (as I’ve been there quite a few times over the years)
With the sun low in the sky we headed towards D’Estrees Bay and after a bit of searching found an old disused track heading off into the scrub
Soon the tents were pitched right alongside the shore and an early night was had
Day 2 Route