Sunday, 13 May 2018

Kangaroo Island - Exploring South Australia

It still feels unreal that I did this trip especially when I realize that Kangaroo Island is the edge of the world, if not the end. Many times during the trip I wanted to stop and pinch myself to check if I was actually on an Island so far away from the world. 

It is so difficult to find this Island on a world map; a tiny spec in the corner of South Australia. However, Kangaroo Island is Australia's 3rd largest Island located in the south west of Adelaide. This 150km long Island is SA's most popular tourist attraction. 

Transportation in KI is dependent on ferry services which are provided by Kangaroo Island Sealink. Our friend did all our bookings and we met only a day before to finalize the last minute stuff which was mainly food! On Friday night, we ransacked our pantries and filled our cars with food. We were informed that it is better to bring our own food as there are not many shops on the island. We feared lack of halal options anyways. A total of 9 people in two cars, we had the food supply for a month. 'Cuz we, Pakistanis, are paranoid about food like that! 

Started our journey at 6:00am on Saturday morning as had to catch a ferry at 9:00am. Cape Jervis which is the ferry docking station is two hours drive from Adelaide and we had to be there at 8:30am as our cars were to be ferried with us. We reached on time to have a cup of coffee before boarding the ferry. 

The ferry ride is for 45 minutes and we stayed on the deck the whole time even though there was a cosy and warm sitting area where you could buy coffee and snacks. But, I love being on the deck enjoying the strong wind and beautiful water. 

When you get off the ferry, you are at Penneshaw, a small town on KI. There are a few coffee shops and other restaurants there but we were way too excited to stop as we had to drive another two hours to reach our cabins where we were to spend the night. We decided that before check-in we must visit the Seal Bay Conservation Park which was on the way. 

As soon as we got on the road to Seal Bay Conservation Park we lost mobile signals and were left with zero contact. Take note and inform your families back home if you plan a longer trip. I do know that some service providers do work there but Vodafone does not.

 Anyways, it was a spectacular drive... 

Two hours later we were buying tickets for a guided tour at Seal Bay Conservation Park


Seal Bay is the world's ONLY conservatory where visitors are allowed to enter a colony of these rare species! At that point, we thought this was the highlight of our trip! 

You cannot touch the seals or go really near them as they can bite you if they feel threatened or scared. But, you do get to walk among them and take photographs with a trained staff member from a certain distance. 

When we were done with admiring the seals, it was time for lunch so we stopped at a random spot near the conservatory to have sandwiches. I was lucky to be in the company of tea lovers who needed tea at that point as badly and thus we made tea (aka doodh patti) for the first time in the wilderness on a BBQ pit on a far, far away Island where we heard nothing but the sound of wind! 

An unforgettable meal and cup of tea it was! 

After stuffing ourselves, it was time to head to our cabins, Western KI Caravan Park, where we were greeted by this gorgeous rainbow.

Western KI Caravan Park has many small and big cabins and places to park caravans. We had booked two cabins. Both cabins were fully equipped with a functional kitchen, warm and clean beds and clean small bathrooms. There was a small shop at the reception from where we bought eggs to make dinner. After all the food in the car, we still needed to buy more food!

There was also a Koala Walk at the caravan park where we spotted two Koalas just before the sunset. We walked through the trees enjoying the natural beauty while taking photographs and planning things we had to do the next day.

..... And when all was said and done, we all gathered in one cabin, cooking, talking, laughing, eating - no internet connection, no phone till it was pit black outside. Every time we used a torch we would spot a Wallaby!

Next morning, hubby and I woke up early and took a stroll around the park. Enjoying the peace and serenity.

We checked out around 10am after breakfast at the cabin.

Flinders Chase National Park was on our agenda.  It is said that no KI holiday is complete without seeing the signature landmarks of this Island.

Our first stop was Remarkable Rocks.  Remarkable Rocks are huge granite boulders covered with orange lichen. But, the road that leads you to these rocks is a beauty in itself as if right out of a book.

We stopped at many points to take photographs...  The 10 minutes drive turned to an hour!

I think this point was the most beautiful of all! There was a beautiful landscape on one side with every possible shade of green stretched far as your eyes could possibly see and water on the other with every possible shade of blue. It was this beautiful scene, strong wind and the 9 of us, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the unbelievable beauty around us. I love this beautiful photograph of ours. You can see the rocks right behind us!

And then we reached the rocks finally!

 After Remarkable Rocks, we visited Cape du Couedic Lighthouse.

and then the gorgeous Admiral Arch - a landmark that is widely used in photographs of South Australia; it was an absolute pleasure to see it live. Admiral Arch is a rock bridge that formed due to erosion over time.... possibly thousands of years. 

On the Admiral Arch, you can also get to see these dark brown fur seals from New Zealand. Not one or two but a whole colony that comes to rest on the rocks. There is a lookout point where you see them resting after swimming.

We had our lunch at Admiral Arch overlooking the gorgeous, soothing waves, seals, lighthouse and calming greenery. If only we had more time to just sit and marvel at God's creations...

We headed back right after lunch to catch the ferry so that we could reach home in time to have a good night's sleep and be back at work the next day.

To be honest, it still feels like a dream.... a beautiful dream .....

Here are some of my learnings for the trip: 

- One day is not enough. Kangaroo Island is huge and what we did is only a fraction of what this place has to offer...

- Be ready for long drives... keep things to eat, wear comfortable clothes and shoes and have a playlist ready as there is nothing on the way but trees and landscapes.

- Be ready to be cut off from the world while on the Island. Inform your loved ones incase they get worried for you when you are unreachable.

- Plan your trip properly, save money for it as it is a slightly pricy trip but, it is a lifetime experience that you will always remember!

Please ask if you have any questions and I will answer if I can....

All photographs by Ahsan Qureshi Photography

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