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.


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.


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.


Rain on Uluru – a Dream Come True


We’ll always remember the 4th of December 2010. It rained on and off overnight, quite heavily around dawn. We were woken by loud thunderclaps, and we were quietly excited that this might be the day – we might finally see rain on Uluru. By the time we got up the rain had all but ceased, so our first job was to make sure our campsite was secure, and not flooded, as there was a fair bit of run-off coming through the campground. As soon as we could, we raced up to the nearby lookout to check out Uluru, but were disappointed to see that the rain had cleared over her. Damn!


Mt Conner

Western face of Mt Conner

Mt Conner’s main claim to fame is that it is often mistaken for Uluru by first-time visitors to the centre.  Located within the Curtin Springs cattle station, it is not open to the public, and thus receives few visitors.  Most people content themselves with a long-distance view from the lookout beside the highway, while those in tour buses get even less – possibly a blurry photo out the window as the bus roars along towards Yulara.  But Mt Conner is worthy of its own place in the pantheon of famous Australian landmarks.


Kata Tjuta

The main domes of Kata Tjuta.  Mt Olga at centre left, rises 546m above the surrounding plains. Kata Tjuta is beautiful, immense and imposing.

Kata Tjuta, meaning “Many Heads”, may be less famous than Uluru, but is equally spectacular.  Kata Tjuta consists of 36 steep domes rising abruptly out of the surrounding plain.  Formed at the same time as Uluru, in the same sedimentary basin, Kata Tjuta nonetheless consists of conglomerate rock rather than the fine-grained sandstone of Uluru.  The tallest of the domes, Mt Olga (we don’t know its traditional name) rises 546 metres above the plains, almost 200 metres higher than does Uluru.  A walk through this area leaves one in awe, speechless and certainly feeling a little less self-important.  It is one of nature’s places of power.



Uluru rolls out the Parakeelya carpet

We visited Uluru in September 2009, and like everyone else we were awed by its presence.  Nothing has changed on that front in a little over a year – seeing Uluru again up close still took our breath away.  But the countryside around Uluru has been transformed, and it is now surrounded by wildflowers and wildlife.  Its waterholes have been flushed clean and topped up; there are even frogs and tadpoles in Kantyu Gorge, a wonderful sign that its previously polluted waters are healthier now.


Recent photos, Alice Springs, October 2010

Nirbeeja "feels the serenity" of Jay Creek

I know, you’ve seen and heard it all before – birds, wildflowers, rugged inland scenery, and me rabbiting (bilbying?) on about how much rain we’ve had in Alice Springs and how green everything is.  Well……tough.  Here’s a bit more. And in any case, we are leaving Alice next week to explore the broader region so I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to showcase the rare beauty of Australia’s centre in full bloom.