Kangaroo Island’s wildflowers

Kangaroo Island Bush Pea - Pultenaea trifida

One of the many joys of living on Kangaroo Island, and in particular on its western end, is to witness the delightful annual display of wildflowers.  From late winter onwards, as the days grow longer and warmer, the heath-land and forests burst into colour.  The greatest variety of flowers obviously occurs in the Spring, but there are in fact some native plants in flower on the island all year round.


Winter on Kangaroo Island – we settle into our new home at Wilderness Valley

Celebrating our new home, at last!

As our first winter on Kangaroo Island draws to a close, it seems a good time to report on our early experiences as ‘Islanders’.  The weather today is wild, with clouds whipping across the sky, raining one minute, bright sunshine the next.  And that is quite appropriate given that winter-long the weather has been changeable and dramatic.  Melbourne prides itself on delivering four seasons in one day, but I think it has nothing on KI.  One of the first lessons we learnt was that a cloudless sky and bright sunshine did not mean you could go exploring across the property without a rain-jacket.  In the blink of an eye, the clouds roar up, you’re blasted by driving rain, then it clears just as quickly to make you wonder how it was that your clothes had become drenched.


Kangaroo Island revisited – February 2012

Stokes Bay at sunset
Well, we made it back to Kangaroo Island.  Our first visit to Kangaroo Island, in 2011, was all too brief and had left us longing for more, and after several memorable months on some of the AWC’s inland sanctuaries, we thought some quality time on the coast was in order…and surely there’s no more beautiful coastline than KI’s.

On this occasion we spent five weeks on the island, long enough to revisit places we loved during our first visit, explore many of the areas we missed out on the first time around, and even buy some real estate (more about that later).


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.


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.


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.


Friends visit Alice Springs – we show them the Red (or was that Green) Centre

Field of wildflowers beside Binns Track, south east of Alice Springs

Our friends Christopher and Janice from Canberra made a flying visit to Alice Springs last weekend.  It was Janice’s third time here this year, and Christopher’s second.  They almost consider themselves to be locals now.

Their visit had been planned for a couple of months, and we were hoping the area would still be as pretty as we assured them it was.  All year we kept reporting flowing rivers, regular rainfall, wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  In the end I think they visited just to shut me up!