DON’T SKIP THIS ISLAND
Kangaroo Island – surely one or two nights would be enough.
How wrong my wife, Marie and I were, when in November, 2005, we booked in for two nights at Kingscote, the main town on Kangaroo Island.
We hadn’t done our homework, and when we left, we realised there was so much we had missed out on.
The island is the third largest off the Australian coast, with 509km of coastline and 4,416 square kilometres of land. There are 50 shipwrecks in the waters off the island. It even boasts its own Aussie rules competition, which has been running since 1946.
Flinders Chase National Park is the must do for most people, but there are a host of conservation parks, as well as countless beautiful beaches.
Marie and I had caught a bus from Adelaide to Cape Jervis for the ferry crossing, which proved to be rough, and some people were ill. I was fine, despite having a nice pastie and a cake at a bakery on the mainland.
Our hire car, a Nissan Pulsar, had a dent from a wallaby strike, a warning of the wild life hazards ahead. Soon after we hit the road, one big roo bounded across the road in front of us, as we headed to American River, so called because of the American sealers who ventured here.
The island’s first house was built at American River, in 1844, by John Buick, who, with Frank Potts, developed a ship building operation.
Our only full day on the island was spent exploring the northern and southern coasts, as well as walking in Flinder’s Chase NP. A number of creeks were still swollen from recent flooding, but, as long as we kept to a sedate speed, there were no problems on the road.
We found ourselves stopping regularly to photograph the abundant wild life.
Stokes Bay, Middle River and Vivonne Bay were some of our stops for beach combing.
As for the seafood – we enjoyed local King George Whiting, garfish and oysters.
We haven’t been back to South Australia since then, but it is on the agenda, and we plan to spend at least a week on the island this time.
Photo 1: Marie Ricketts at Flinder’s Chase National Park
Photo 2: An island beach.