Category: Australia

Visiting Granite Island

granite island

This is what you see when you stand on Victor Harbor and look across to Granite Island.

horse drawn horse and harbor

And this is one way to get there! Of course, you could walk, but why wouldn’t you want to partake in history and tradition?

Exactly.

Well… to be perfectly honest there were a lot of overly enthusiastic small children who were also opting for this method of transportation. So, if that’s not your thing, perhaps walking is the better choice.

Victor Harbor

I arrived in Victor Harbor safely after taking a shuttle from Kangaroo Island. I’m staying at an Airbnb here which is proving to be very nice. I love getting to meet locals and other travelers everyday.

I think one of the great things about travel is how many other opinions you hear, and how many different customs people are used to. It puts life in perspective in the sense that you yourself are just one person on this whole planet full of people who are all living a unique experience.

victor harbor

This is the harbor part of Victor Harbor. I took myself for a beach wander first thing in the morning (I arrived late at night). When you go early on a weekday, you essentially have the entire place to yourself. And it’s stunning.

urchin

A Day of Driving

After getting my rental car I spent the next day driving around Kangaroo Island.

First stop: Emu Bay

Emu bay Emu bay

You may be pleased to know that since this is an extremely safe beach, I went for a very quick little swim.

And then spent the rest of the day with dried salt falling off of me.

Tasty.

Stop 2:  The Lavender Farm

farm farm wagon

Might I just say that this is one of the best smelling places I have ever been. It’s close enough to the beach to have a sea breeze, and additionally, all the plants were in bloom.

Stop 3: Distillery

The Kangaroo Island Distillery was the next stop, and home to some truly remarkable gin, liquor, and most importantly affogatos.

Yes, there is homemade ice cream with the leftover walnuts from their honey walnut liquour. They then drizzle the mentioned beverage over the ice cream and serve it with a shot of espresso.

Holy Fishfins.

It was marvelous.

Next stop: Sheep dairy farm

sheep farm sheep

They make all their own yoghurt, cheese, and spreads. For a small price you can taste them all. Which, obviously, I had to do.

Stop 5: A bee farm.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love bees? I think they are just the cutest insects.

Anyway, I had to pay them a visit.

Stop 6: Wine Tasting! (it was a very busy day, I’ll have you know)

The current vintage they were tasting was ten years old, and had enough tannin to make your taste buds stand on end.

It was very interesting.

Kangaroo Island is the youngest growing region in the area, and they seem to be very much growing right now. I will enjoy seeing where these wines are headed in the coming years.

Sealink Tour

The first stop on our tour of Kangaroo Island was Seal Bay. Les, our bus driver spent a few moments before we arrived telling is all about the vegetation on the island, and just general interesting facts. He has been with the company for over 10 years, and I’m fairly certain could answer any question that we could have come up with. When we arrived, he introduced us to Don, who was going to guide us to the beach. I liked this guide a lot. He reminded me of one of my extremely paternal professors in college.

Seal Bay

Seal bay Seal bay

It’s called Seal Bay, but these here are Australian Sea Lions.

It was beautiful. Sea Lions are extremely lazy when they are on the beach. They spend three days out and sea hunting, and then lounge for three days to make up for it.

We got back on the bus and headed out to the park for some Koala sighting.

koala

And some birds were there too (this photo is for you Leigh).

Bird

Then the bus took us to the Remarkable Rocks (yes, that’s actually their name).

remarkable rocks

Evidently some hot lava never actually made it out of the ground, and then hardened. Over time, the weathering has eroded away the surrounding soil, and the remarkable rocks are what remain.

It’s cooler in person. And when Les explains it.

Overall between stopping for other photo opportunities, and lunch, and the driving between locations, it was a full day of fun for the tourists.

Kangaroo Island Hospitality

I’ve officially been blown away by how nice and friendly and helpful the inhabitants of Kangaroo Island are.

First, let me tell you about a guy named Peter.

So, there I was on the island, I had booked a tour for my first full day there, and I thought it would be nice to rent a car and go to all the local farms and things on the second day. Well… easier said than done (or so I thought).

There are two car rental companies on the island. Hertz and Budget. I called them both. I explained that I was staying in Kingscote and I wanted to rent a car for the day, and that the closest location that they rent cars from was the airport, about fifteen minutes away.

They all said that was great, but there was absolutely no way for them to get the car to me, and they had no idea how I could get to the airport, so I needed to figure it out.

Well, there is no public transport on the island. Nor is there technically a taxi service.

I was frustrated.

Fine.

So, I’m waiting for my tour to start at a bus stop just down the street from the hostel and up pulls a bus. I was about to meet possibly the most helpful person on the planet. I get on the bus, introduce myself, and he tells me his name, and informs me that he will be taking me to meet up with the tour group once they come over from the ferry, but we have to make a quick stop at the airport first.

Airport did he say? Yes, he did say. As it turns out, Peter owns a little bus that he uses as KI Transport and it’s a shuttle that runs to and from the airport everyday for the morning and evening flights. I explained to him that he is in fact, exactly what I needed, and asked if I could take the shuttle the next morning in hopes of renting a car.

He then tells me that it would make much more sense if I just picked the car up that night after the tour, since it drops me at the airport, drove it to the hostel, and then dropped it off the following night and return on the shuttle. I said I didn’t even know if that was alright.

So we get to the airport, and Peter walks me into the airport, right up to the Budget rental counter, introduces me to Tom and explains the whole scheme for me. Tom seemed to think it was a great idea, took my name, and said he’d be waiting for me just as I was finishing with my tour. Peter, after getting me all sorted out, said he’d just move my returning shuttle to the next day and I wouldn’t have to pay any additional cost and that he’d see me promptly at 6:00 the next evening.

As it ended up, to meet up with my tour, Tom just gave me a ride in his own vehicle to the starting place so that Peter could wait for the people getting off the plane. So far I had spent the morning talking to two of the most genuine Australians I have ever met.

 

At the end of my tour, I was dropped of at exactly 6:00 to pick up the car. Tom was there just as he said, had me all signed up in about 5 minutes and sent me on my way. Glorious.

Kingscote on Kangaroo Island

After the ride over to Kangaroo Island, I hopped on a shuttle and ended up in Kingscote. There, I’m staying at the local backpackers hostel which is large and comfortable. There is a great backyard/patio area and it’s only a couple blocks to the beach. Kingscote

The beach.

Kingscote Beach garbage Kingscote

I spent the day walking along the beach and up to the historic area of the town. Here they have a museum which features the agricultural history of the area, and on the grounds you’ll find the old lighthouse. Kingscote lighthouse

Kingscote museum

I had a great time poking around up there, and the view, as it’s on top of a hill, is stunning.

 

If you head down to the jetty in Kingscote at 5:00pm everyday there is a man who does a pelican feeding. It’s a must see. He is very funny, and extremely knowledgable when it comes to these birds.

Also, it proves to be a great photo opportunity.

Pelican feeding pelican Pelican feeding in kingscote

 

Ferry to Kangaroo Island

I’ve made my way to Kangaroo Island. The service that runs the Ferry https://www.sealink.com.au also runs a shuttle from Adelaide to the terminal, which is about an hour and a half away. When we arrived it was stormy, but while waiting to load ourselves on the boat, it stopped briefly and I took this photo.

Cape Jarvis

Then on the boat we were off ready for the 45 minute ride to the island. On board they have a little coffee stand that also sells meat and veggie pies, something that is extremely common here in Australia. Pretty much every bakery has them, as well as most coffee shops. They are like the equivalent of a Starbucks breakfast sandwich in the USA. Go figure. The cheese and veggie ones are so far my absolute favorite.

Ferry wake kangaroo island

A Day in Glenelg

Due to jet lag I woke up yesterday at 3:30 am. It wasn’t really what I had planned, but it did give me plenty of time to plan out my day.

The Glenelg Beach Hostel provides toast and spreads in the morning for breakfast, and also has a station set up for you to make your own coffee. Your own instant coffee. It’s disgusting. There is powdered milk available. It’s all a shock to the system after living in Seattle, home of the coffee snobs.

Needless to say, my first stop of the day was across the street to the cafe for an espresso. It hit the spot. Afterwards I took myself down to the old city hall, which has been renovated into an information center, local history museum, and art gallery. I spent about two hours wandering in the museum (yes mom, I read all the signs) and playing with the art in the gallery (currently it’s an interactive exhibit).

As it turns out, this part of the coast is where settlers first arrived, and subsequently where the first colonies of South Australia were established.

After leaving the museum I hit the beach. There is a nice jetty in the heart of Glenelg.

Glenelg Jetty

This is a view from under the Jetty where I started my wandering down the beach.

Glenelg Beach

If you walk for a few miles down the beach you end up at the next jetty which marks another town, Brighton.

Brighton beach jetty

That is the impressive Brighton beach jetty.

The Australian government is very health conscious, and all along the beach there are stations for you to fill your water bottle with filtered water, and drinking fountains. Additionally, on the sidewalks there are markers telling your the distance you’ve traveled, and encouraging you to keep going.

It’s like reading the health and fitness Pinterest board right there on the concrete.

“If you feel like quitting, think about why you started”

“Drink water, it’s teeth friendly, good for your skin!”

“Hydrate!”

All of that talk prompted me to enter a bakery in Brighton and eat a pastry. Probably not what the government intended. Oh well.

So then I walked back, found the grocery store, and all around successfully took care of myself (which also involved slathering on nearly a whole bottle of aloe since I managed to burn though multiple applications of sunscreen).

Glenelg Tree