Kangaroo Island

Wild coastline near Admiral's Arch, Flinders Chase National Park

At long last we visited Kangaroo Island (KI).  In short, we absolutely loved it.  Forget what you might have heard about the expensive ferry ride to the island (which is reputedly the most expensive ferry ride per kilometre in the world) and cost of travelling around and staying on the island (which isn’t so bad), it is well worth all the effort and expense.  Our only complaint was that we weren’t there for long enough.  We stayed just over a week, giving us enough time to sample most of what the island has to offer, but leaving us wanting more and vowing to return.

We were blessed with near perfect weather during our stay, allowing us to fully appreciate the beauty of the Kangaroo Island coastline, from the wild south which bears the brunt of the Southern Ocean, to the more sheltered and serene north.


Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula

Plenty of attitude, Fairy Penguins at the Granite Island Penguin Centre

We had recently visited South Australia’s Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, so it seemed only fair to visit the Fleurieu Peninsula next, to complete the set.  To be honest, we had several other reasons to visit as well; we were getting some maintenance done on our camper trailer with its manufacturer in Adelaide, we couldn’t resist another visit to the McLaren Vale region and its wineries, and we were heading towards Kangaroo Island, and the mainland ferry terminal is at Cape Jervis on the south western tip of the Fleurieu.


Innes National Park – stunning coastal scenery on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula

Stunning coastline on Stenhouse Bay lookout walk

We had never previously visited South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.  We had always driven past the peninsula– heading either north or south, on our way to somewhere else.  This time, we decided to bite the bullet and see what it had to offer.

From Mount Remarkable National Park, we headed south-west, stocking up in Port Pirie before our drive onto the Yorke Peninsula proper.  Our destination was the Innes National Park, at the southern tip of the peninsula.  We knew virtually northing about the park, other than the availability of bush-camping, our preferred accommodation.


The miniature world of Mount Remarkable

Close-up of forest floor

Our first stop after the wildlife survey at Dakalanta Sanctuary was Port Lincoln, where we had some long-overdue work done on our camper trailer’s solar system.  Where to now?  We were heading in the general direction of Kangaroo Island, but decided to explore the Yorke Peninsula on our way.  It just so happened that Mount Remarkable National Park was a solid day’s travel from Port Lincoln, a good stopping off point.  Now, let us just state for the record that we don’t have shares in Mt Remarkable, it’s just that we love the place and find something new there every time we visit.  We stayed for many days, as usual, but the capabilities of our revamped solar system were tested to the maximum, as it rained pretty well the duration of our stay.

Think of rain in the Australian bush, and images of running creeks and flooding rivers, wildlife drinking from pools, and trees sucking up the moisture all come to mind.  But Mount Remarkable, in its own special way, gave us a different look at rain; showing us its influence on the miniature world…the world of fungi, moss, lichen and raindrops.  It was beautiful, totally unexpected, and somehow quite magical.  


Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary on the Eyre Peninsula – wildlife survey

Australia's wildlife is in safe hands with the AWC. A juvenile Western Pygmy Possum, beautiful, irresistable and fragile.Nirbeeja and I were recently privileged to be involved, as volunteers, in the first ever survey of wildlife undertaken on the Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the properties owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).  As many of you would know, we are passionate about our wildlife, but have no relevant academic training and limited experience in ecological field-work.  As a result, our involvement in the survey not only gave the AWC an extra couple of helpers, it also gave us some invaluable experience.


Lincoln National Park & Memory Cove Wilderness Area – beautiful places on the Eyre Peninsula

Memory Cove - a little piece of perfection

We left Buckaringa sanctuary, with a couple of weeks to spare before our next commitment to assist as volunteers at the first wildlife survey at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Dakalanta sanctuary on the Eyre Peninsula.  For us, the choice was obvious; we’d head to the southern tip of the peninsula to re-visit the Lincoln National Park and a special region within it called the Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area.  We’d visited those areas early in 2008 and loved them.


More Adventures in the Flinders Ranges – Wallabies and Native Lilies – February 2011

A field of Garland Lilies

Our first stop after Scotia was Broken Hill – a rather gentle way to re-enter civilization.  After a couple of months in the remote Scotia sanctuary we certainly appreciated the cafes, galleries and interesting streets and old buildings of the silver city.  We intended a short stay but Mother Nature had other ideas, turning on the rainfall in a big way.  120mm or so in one afternoon and our short stay suddenly stretched to many days longer with highways cut in all directions.  We had planned to head up the Darling River to re-explore that area and re-visit Louth, but could cross that off the agenda for now.  We also planned to spend a week at Buckaringa Wildlife Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges, but Katja, whom we met at Scotia and now planned to meet at Buckaringa, was stranded at Scotia after flooding there.  Okay – postpone that as well.


Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary – a ray of hope

Woylie (Brush-tailed Bettong), seen during night-time distance sampling.

Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, in the mallee country of far western New South Wales, offers a step back in time to an era when Australia’s medium-sized marsupials hopped freely across the landscape.  Nowadays, these beautiful creatures have all but disappeared in the wild, due to land-clearing and predation by foxes and feral cats.


Mt Remarkable National Park – we return to the Flinders Ranges

Nirbeeja, dwarfed by the River Red Gums, walks up the Mambray Creek track.

As we returned to the Mt Remarkable National Park, in the southern Flinders Ranges of South Australia, we realized that it was nearly three years to the day since our first visit.  We had loved it then, and wondered now how it would seem after so much travel in the interim.


A brief return to South Australia

The rig, gibber plain country, South Australia

There were several things we really wanted to do after hitting the road from Alice Springs. 

The first was to see the centre of Australia in rare bloom.  Tick.
We wanted to visit Uluru again. Tick.
We hoped to see rain on Uluru.  A big tick.
And we hoped to do some volunteer work for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Birds Australia, or Bush Heritage Australia.