The Gypsy with the red notebook

How to discover yourself and the world with inspirational journeys

Kangaroo Island, Days 12 and 13: The Sanctuary

Wallabies on Kangaroo Island

No words can really describe Kangaroo Island. “Paradise”, “Eden”, maybe the most accurate definition is “Sanctuary” (sanctuary is the name of several natural parks). A place that Nature has made sacred, where you can feel a little part of the Universe, so small and powerless in front of the power and greatness of oceans, stones, forests.

To avoid organized tours and to rent a car myself were the best choices of the trip: sharing experiences about kangaroos on the streets by night in Australia, about wild boars on hairpin bends in Europe, I learn from the Hertz guy on the island how to drive an automatic car on the left side of the road (first time alone) and I start to discover Kangaroo Island. I will drive through its main roads for two days, with my paper map, a bit of confusion in my head and no internet connection (I won’t miss it at all!).

First day in Kangaroo Island. Sea lions, koalas and wallabies

On the first day, I hit the south coast. Photo stop on Pennington Bay, then after about ninety km I reach Seal Bay, where I watch the sea lions with a rangers’ guided tour on the beach: a colony of about 500 animals, living between ocean and land, burn in the sun before returning to fish.

Vivonne Bay, my second stop, is a strip of white sand where the Harriet River creeps in, you can go birdwatching and create footprints out of nowhere. Around 4 pm I arrive at Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park, just before a downpour I manage to follow Koalas and Wallaby Walks, spotting grazing kangaroos and koalas perched on the trees (I have a fantastic close-up of one).

The rain is pouring and the sunset is close: it’s time to go home. My home for that night will be a beautiful log cabin at Flinders Chase National Farm, a kind of log cabin in the woods, close to huge pastures filled with sheeps. Here, you can’t – really don’t want to – do anything but listen to the rain beating on the roof, read and wait for the sunrise.

Kangaroo Island, Sea lions sleeping on Seal Bay
Sleeping on Seal Bay…
Kangaroo Island, Sea lions sleeping on Seal Bay
… all together…
Kangaroo Island, Sea lions sleeping on Seal Bay
or just with mummy 🙂
Koalas on the trees, Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park, Kangaroo Island
Koalas on the trees, Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park
Koalas on the trees, Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park, Kangaroo Island
Koalas on the trees, Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park
Baby koala 🙂
Kangaroos in Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park
Kangaroos in Hansin Bay Sanctuary Park

Second day. The ocean

In the morning I wake up very early and go to the Park. On one of the paths for the first time I get lost (my terrible sense of direction!), but right here I have my first real close encounters with friends from the woods: while I am taking pics of some noisy Gerson’s geese, I feel a presence behind me. I turn around and there are at least 4 wallabies – including a mummy with kid in her baby carrier – staring at me a little amazed: what, you’re on Kangaroo Island and spend twenty minutes taking pics of a group of cackling geese?

After the adventure in the forest I head to more touristy shores: first the Remarkable Rocks, granite rocks where water and wind have created surreal shapes, the solitary Lighthouse of Cape di Coedic, built in 1909 so that solitary lives would watch over the lives lost on the ocean, and the Memorable Arch.

I head north, and only thanks to the help of a blonde woman from Adelaide I manage to find the beach of Stokes Bay: to get there you have to pass through a secret tunnel of very narrow rock. She is also alone, we happily exchange our impressions before saying goodbye forever.

Kangaroo Island, wallabies
Wallaby with mummy 🙂
Kangaroo Island, wallaby
Funny guy 🙂
Kangaroo Island, a couple of friends during a walk
A couple of friends during a walk

Kangaroo Island, Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks
Kangaroo Island, Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks… and travelers 😉
Piggy Rock!

Back on the mainland

Too late to try some dirt roads (ok I couldn’t do it, I didn’t have the insurance…). The Oyster shop and the wineries are closing. What can I do? Ok, I start to go back to Penneshaw (last ferry is at 7.30 pm).

I stop by chance at a birdwatching spot on the American River, discovering a colony of pelicans on the beach. Very close, corpulent, motionless with their powerful beaks open to catch raindrops, they are intimidating like elderly but unpredictable lords.

Before going to the ferry, I stop at the small monument dedicated to Mary Beckwith on Baudin Beach. Among the exiles of the colony, she was the stormy mistress of Captain Baudin. Actually, the first European woman to set foot on Kangaroo Island.
I say goodbye to the island and say goodbye to its dead, in the cemetery next to the embarkation. Here, now, only a few of them keep as place of birth the British provinces overseas…

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