Our base camp in Adelaide was an historic site, Largs Hotel, about 20 minutes by light rail from downtown. Right on the water and near the Largs Pier, this spot was valiantly holding on as an icon of a vibrant time of beach frolicking and fun. Now it hosted a tiny casino and a bottle shop around back. A bar and large restaurant still brings a few visitors and to be fair, this was a cool spring week and not conducive to beach frolicking.
A short flight on a jet prop took us to Kangaroo Island where we were met by a tour guide Michael and a 4 wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser. Almost immediately our guide showed himself to be a acute observer. Cruising down the main road across the island, he quickly swerved off the road, did a U-turn and stopped next to a wild echidna marching down the shoulder.
Well not actually marching, more like shuffling on tiny legs and shoving his/her (really hard to tell given the coat of spines) nose into the ground smelling out bugs. It walked right by my knee as I squatted for a photo op…echidnas are not known for a sense of hearing or sight.
A new addition to the park contains grassland from a previous farm, so this is ideal habitat for kangaroos. Much of the older park has not be managed with fire, so is very overgrown and not suitable for Roos. Several Roos were carrying around joeys. In surprising one or two, the young joeys nibbling on grass would dive headfirst into their mother’s pouch, then peer at us from the comfort of home as we drove by.
Our tour included dashing to sites between rain showers. Lunch was served under shelter after walking through the woods spotting Koalas. Koalas were brought to the island to rebuild their numbers, and they have now overpopulated the habitat. Michael spotted three Koalas in one eucalyptus tree. That is not good. Usually it is one to a tree where they gradually … very gradually, eat all the leaves…and then move on. Since it would be cause a huge uprising by animal lovers if they thinned the population by hunting and transporting them back to the mainland is exorbitant, the authorities have started to sterilize the cute little buggers.
At the Arches, the leaned into the wind to make it down to wooden platforms to see the enormous erosion that produced the natural arch. Below were fur seal pups jockeying for position of repose.
Though one mother was not too pleased with an interloper interrupting feeding time. We later learned that this fur seal population had invaded the island and gobbled up all the fairy penguins.
Final stop was at the Remarkable Rocks. While utilizing a toilet at the site, a hail storm swept through and so I made what seemed like the logical decision to stay sheltered while Michele felt obligated to save Michael from the storm. He was waiting for us out in the weather facing the onslaught. Both got completely soaked. Michele returned to the car to change into some Ibis wool underwear I had brought, while Michael persevered and lead me around the Remarkable Rocks.
Our flight back was not exactly smooth. Flight attendants stayed seated for the roller coaster ride.