"" Writer's Wanderings: Australia - More Kangaroo Island

Friday, April 02, 2010

Australia - More Kangaroo Island

As we drove along the roads of Kangaroo Island, we saw lots of plants that looked like grassy bushes. They were actually the beginning of what Malcolm, our guide, called grass trees. Eventually the clumps that looked like grass would form a trunk at the bottom. They take a long time to grow and as we passed one that was quite tall, Malcolm slowed the SUV and told us it was probably around 600 years old.

Malcolm kept telling us that we would be seeing some remarkable stones. Little did I realize that was actually the name given to these huge stone formations that had been carved out by wind, sand, and water over an estimated 500 million years. One looked like the beak of a large eagle and another resembled the shell of an egg from which the eagle may have hatched.

Nearby at Flinders Chase National Park, we stopped to see the Admiral’s Arch which looks like the inside of a cave exposed by weathering with stalactites still hanging from the ceiling. It is also the place to observe the New Zealand fur seals and we spent some time watching them frolic in the large waves that were crashing over the rocks. It is amazing the strength they must have to be able to navigate in the undertow and not be crushed against the rocky shoreline.

While we waited for lunch to be ready, we wandered through the visitor’s center in the park. It was a wealth of information on the flora and fauna of the island as well as some of the history.

We made another stop in a grove of eucalyptus trees for a few more encounters with koalas. Some of the trees were in bloom and the Ligurian bees could be heard busily collecting nectar from the feathery blooms that already smelled like honey. While we wandered looking for koalas we happened upon this kangaroo resting in the shade of a tree. As we stopped to snap a picture, a wallaby must have decided he didn’t want to be left out and hopped into the shot. I had hoped the picture would show better the size difference in the two animals but the perspective doesn't help. The kangaroo is a little more than twice the size of the wallaby.

Since we didn’t have time to see all the rest of the island, Malcolm gave us a few choices of how to finish up our afternoon and we opted to drive into the main town of Kingscote to see what it looked like and hopefully get there in time to see the pelicans being fed. With Malcolm’s great sense of timing, we arrived just as they were about to begin. It was a real hoot. The Australian pelicans are the largest in the world. As people seated themselves on the ledges near the water’s edge at the town’s jetty, the pelicans mingled and seated themselves next to the onlookers. I was happy to stand in the background especially when the feeding frenzy got going and the lady you see with the gray hair got doused with fish juice as the pelicans ate.

As we pulled into the Sea Dragon Lodge again in the evening, we watched the heads in the field perk up as we drove down the gravel lane. The roos were out for their evening snack and sadly we knew that we would be saying goodbye to them in the morning. While we thought we had planned so well for this Australian adventure, we regretted not having stuck in an extra day on the island. Maybe there will be a next time. . .

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