Here we are, in Adelaide. It’s evening, there are 10°C and a thin drizzle that sticks to you. Also, it’s quite dark even though it’s about 7 pm. We go out looking for a little bit of “life”, we hopefully head towards Chinatown area, but we meet very little life: a couple of open bars, some customers, virtually nobody around. We enter a cozy Vietnamese BBQ, eat an absolutely pleasant dinner with the taste of the East. Then we go back to our little-heated hostel for the night.
The next day we take a small airplane that takes us to Kangaroo Island. The sky is grey and a strong wind blows, but the pilot is smart and takes us to the ground without too much tossing. In KI (as Australians call it abbreviations) we have a first disappointment: the boat trip to swim with dolphins and sea lions cannot be done because of the weather conditions; nor can it be changed into a marine safari for the same reason. So we start exploring the island by car, following a few tips provided by the friendly employee of Hertz: there is a lot of green, the sky is a bluish grey and a little angry, showering here and there a few buckets of rain. Incredible rainbows come out, dozens, scattered in the sky.
The first day we head to the north coast. It is a tame coast, with beautiful sandy beaches and the long and slow sea rolling on the sand. We stop at Stokes Bay, where a path through the rocks leads to a beach sometimes visited by penguins; unfortunately the tide is high and we renounce to immerse ourselves in cold water to reach it. Emu Bay proves to be more welcoming, with the long coastline running unhindered; the shale of its rock formations seems to conserve one of the two trilobite Redlichiida fossils existing in the world. We – paleontologically ignorant – walk in the sand until late afternoon. In Australia it gets dark early in August, so we say goodbye to Emu Bay before the sun starts going down and head to American River where we will stay. But first we stop in Davies Road, where our Hertz friends said it is impossible not to spot kangaroos: the advice is true and we see dozens of kangaroos, now that the sunset is close. We expected to be amazed at their ugliness (as we had seen them in photography) and instead their silly faces seemed almost sweet and their hopping is almost graceful in the softened atmosphere of the sunset.
On the second day a wonderful dawn awakens us. We leave for the West End, towards the Flinder Chase National Park where we know there are several hiking trails. But the climate is inclement even here: a single short path, the Heritage Walk, is open and practicable. Resigned, we start the short walk that proves however very lucky: we can see kangaroos, koalas (but how cute is this, the most stuffed animal we’ve ever seen!), wild geese with lots of chicks and hatching eggs.
After that we move towards two of the major attractions of the island: Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. Overlooking the southern coast of the island, these two places (Admirals Arch above all) show the wild side of the coast: high rocks overlooking the ocean, where the waves foam violent slapping the colony of fur seals of New Zealand (which, regardless, keep purring lazily) and reaching with their sketches the tourists (who seem to like less than the fur seals). Walking along the catwalk you reach a small cave framed by a knobby arch of rock, extremely scenographic. The other unmissable site is Remarkable Rocks, a little further to the east: granite boulders with abstruse shapes, grey and orange, eroded by atmospheric agents, make a good show of themselves – it seems as if someone has dropped them from who knows where.
We end the day with a visit to the Seal Bay Conservation Park, a nature reserve where you can watch sea lions up close, while they hunt at sea, play or run, or just sleep in sandcrumbs. Being so close to these animals, who seem not to care about our presence or eventually intrigued, while they let themselves be observed in their everyday life has given us a feeling of peace and serenity.
In KI there are also some winemakers (we have tasted the wines of Dudley Wines and The Islander), a brewery, a gin distillery, an oyster farm, a lavender farm, dairies and even an apiary with bees coming from Liguria (Italy)! If you are passionate about lighthouses, you will find gratification: close to the lighthouses of Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic it is possible to stay in the lighthouse keeper’s cottages.
The third day we say goodbay to KI in the morning and, again tossed by the winds on an airplane with about twenty seats (almost all full of Italians …), we return to the “mainland” to start the real journey, our on the road journey, the one that will lead us to cut Australia in two pushing us towards the North.
Here is the video from our You Tube channel, enjoy!
Adelaide: Adelaide Central YHA – hostel in good central location, basic but clean
KI: Wanderers Rest of KI – cozy guesthouse run by a friendly and helpful couple; the common areas are very well kept, the rooms a little more anonymous but comfortable and with a splendid view of the sea. Good and complete breakfast. In the evening you can have dinner in their restaurant, which offers rather classic but tasty meat and fish dishes.
Adelaide: Little NNQ – quaint and very … Asian restaurant, both in the dishes and in the courtesy of the staff
KI: Wanderers Rest of KI (see above); Chase Cafe (refreshment inside the Park Visitor Center, offering hamburgers, salads, etc.); Parndana Hotel (pub offering classic dishes such as hamburgers and fish & chips, a slightly shabby but quaint setting, in the style of “American bar in a seventies movie”).
Car rental: only Hertz and Budget are available on KI; both offer solutions with km limited to 200 km per day, which are not very good for the island’s needs. So, not to spend too much extra km, organize the itinerary well!