Saturday, October 17, 2009
Walkabout on KI
Well, more of a driveabout really. Kangaroo Island is almost 100 miles long, so the grand tour can require several hours of driving. Many of the roads are dirt, except for the two main highways that make a north and south oval around the centre of the island.
Tuesday morning we set off for the scenic tour.
As opposed to the flora and fauna tour, which was planned for the next day.
The paved roads on KI mostly look like this. Notice the wide shoulders on the sides, which you will find on almost all Australian highways, designed to give the driver lots of visibility so as NOT to run over kangaroos. I don't think anyone cares about the roos, just roo-ining their cars!
Our first stop was the Kelly Hill Caves, which were, dare I say it, unimpressive when compared to other caves we've visited. Go here for a better photo and some history on the caves. A unique feature of these caves is the preponderance of helictites, which are usually quite rare. These are the formations that grow at strange angles, in total defiance of gravity. There are several theories about helictite formation, which you can read about, and see cool photos of, by clicking on the link.
Next was the koala walk, an avenue of blue gum trees where koalas like to hang out. The koala has a thick callous down the back of its spine that allows it to perch comfortably in the crook formed by the trunk and a branch, or two branches, of a tree. Jeff got attacked by a magpie as we were looking at a male koala (ask me how we knew!) that was pretty close to the ground. It flew at his head and drew blood. Jeff was quite fondly curious about magpies up until that point, but his attitude could now be described more appropriately as animosity.
Sometimes they are so far out on a limb that you expect it to break with their weight.
Next was Remarkable Rocks, one of my personal favourites. These sites are all in the southwest corner of the island, if you are geographically inclined. The granite rocks are being carved by the wind and salt spray into fantastical shapes. They are covered in an orange lichen that, when juxtaposed by the vivid blue of the sea, are a visual feast.
The rocks go right down to the sea.
I think this photo puts the rocks into perspective.
I could have stayed for several hours, just taking in the rocks from different angles, but husband was in a get-on-with-it mood.
So on we went.
This corner of KI was burned two years ago and the bush is beginning to fill in the empty spaces.
Driving around the coast a bit, we got this view of Remarkable Rocks.
KI's coastline can be quite treacherous and has been the scene of about 60 shipwrecks over the years. Some of the stories are very harrowing, which is easy to imagine because the area was so sparsely populated and the vegetation extremely dense and hard to push through. This lighthouse is at Cape du Couedic, I thought it made a pretty photo.
We hiked from the lighthouse down to Admiral's Arch, another example of erosion by wind and sea. The hike was over rock and through low-growing scrub that has to deal with fierce wind, poor soil, and salt spray.
We bumped into some critters along the way, including this tiny little skink...
...and this big old heath goanna, which nearly scared me out of my boots. It was almost a metre long and looked scary, but wasn't really interested in us. Jeff went into protective mode anyway, which was kind of sweet.
Amazingly, there are some colourful flowers that survive in this harsh landscape, including this flower, sadly named "pigface."
The coastline is rugged here. New Zealand fur seals have made these rocks their "basking in the sun" places. See if you can see any.
And finally, Admiral's Arch.
We wended our way back along the northern highway to Emu Bay Holiday Homes, our little home away from home, and watched a new episode of NCIS.
You probably think that was a long post.
Well, it was a long day!