DESTINATIONS
MACAU: Magical Charm
AUSTRALIA, TA: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
USA, NM: Santa Fe – Downtown Retreat & Mountain Ranch Resort
PERU: Lake Sandoval, Amazonia: Mundos Intocados – Untouched Worlds.
USA, WY: The Legend of Buffalo Bill
AUSTRALIA, SA: Dishing It Out In South Australia
USA, NV: Top 10 Las Vegas Travel Tips
KIWI: Stewart Island's Natural Beauty
KIWI: Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track - Stairway to Heaven
KIWI: Sitting on the DOC of the Bay - A Campervan in the Coromandel
HONG KONG: Top Ten Must See Attractions
MACAU: A Macanese Affair to Remember
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 2
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 1
KIWI: Top 10 Kiwi Coastal Department of Conservation Campsites
KIWI: South by Southwest Auckland
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Campervan Adventures on the Great Tropical Drive
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s Adventurous Atributes
KIWI: Top 10 Adventure Activities to Experience in Auckland
KIWI: The Gems and Jewels of the Tutukaka Coast
AUSTRALIA, NSW: A South Coast & Southern Highlands Tasting Seduction
USA, WY: Unadulterated Wilderness - Yellowstone National Park
KIWI: Island’s in the Gulf
USA, SD: Famous Faces in Great Places
USA, MT: Montana’s Forgotten Ghost Towns
UAE: Abu Dhabi - More Than A Flight of Fancy
WESTERN SAMOA: In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stephenson
TONGA: Vava’u Island Group
KIWI: Unpack, Inhale and Unwind – Breathing Easy on Auckland’s West Coast
KIWI: Waiheke Island – Paradise Found
USA, ID: Sun Valley Lodge, Ketchum
USA, ID: A Big City with a Small Town Heart
SOUTH KOREA: Temple Tourism Where Silence is Golden
AUSTRALIA, TAS: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
AUSTRALIA, TAS: A Taste and a Tipple in Tassie
KIWI: Conjuring Up Some Matakana Magic
FIJI: Cavorting on the Coral Coast
USA, CA: Jamaica Bay Inn, Marina Del Rey
NEPAL: Kartwheeling in Kathmandu
KIWI: Going With The Flow - A Day on the Dart River
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 2.
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 1.
SINGAPORE: Capella Hotel, Sensosa Island
USA, HI: Hairpin Highway to Hana and Beyond
KIWI: Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown
ENGLAND: Haunted by Heathcliff - Yorkshire's Bronte Country
USA, CA: Handlery Union Square Hotel, San Francisco
KIWI: This Restless Land – Hiking the Tongariro Crossing & Mt. Ruapehu
KIWI: On My Bike - Mountain Biking and the Queenstown Bike Festival
ENGLAND: Mark it in Your Calendar – Visit Skipton, Yorkshire
SCOTLAND: A Scottish Highland Fling
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: Wrestling Wrasse on the Beara Peninsula
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: 48 Hours in Cork
ENGLAND: The Land of Romans, Myths and Medieval Castles
SCOTLAND: 48 Hours in Edinburgh
WALES: Wandering North Wales
USA, CA: In Yountville Pushing the Epicurean Envelope
ENGLAND: On The Trail of Lancashire’s Pendle Witches
THAILAND: Sky High in Bustling Bangkok
TAHITI: Lazy Hazy Days of Winter - Tahitii and Moorea
AUSTRALIA, QLD: In Seventh Heaven
VENEZUELA: Where Angels Dared To Tread
NORFOLK ISLAND: Isle of Exiles
NEW CALEDONIA: Flavours of New Caledonia
KIWI: The Wonder Country - Campervan Ventures in Southland
MALAYSIA, Sabah Borneo: In The Land of the Red Ape
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Taste of the Tropics

AUSTRALIA, SA: Hopping Across to Kangaroo Island

It’s a 45 minutes ferry ride from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsular to cross the Backstairs Passage to the small community of Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. The island’s 4,350 square km land mass measures about 150 km long and is between 57 km - 90 km wide with a resident population of about 4,600 people.

AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2014

 

On March 22 1802, the Englishman Matthew Flinders was charting what was then known in Latin as ‘Terra Australis Incognita,’ The Unknown Southern Land. During his circumnavigation of what is now known as Australia he came across an uncharted and unknown island with an abundance of kangaroos that inhabited the fertile land; not surprisingly he named it Kangaroo Island.

 

Having lived on salt pork for much of their journey, the crew of Flinders ship the ‘Investigator’ were said to have shot 31 island kangaroos for a fresh supply of meat. Half a hundredweight of heads, forequarters and tails were stewed down for soup, and as much kangaroo steak was available for officers and men as they could consume “by day and night.” It was declared to be a “delightful regale.”

 

It’s a 45 minutes ferry ride from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsular to cross the Backstairs Passage to the small community of Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. The island’s 4,350 square km land mass measures about 150 km long and is between 57 km - 90 km wide with a resident population of about 4,600 people.

 

The third largest island in Australia is a sanctuary to large populations of native Australian animals, with rock formations unique to South Australia and with just three small townships; there is pristine wilderness in abundance. Besides Kangaroos, the island is home to sea lions, fur seals, pelicans, short beaked echidnas, koalas, Rosenberg goannas, Tammar wallabies, brushtail possums, Southern Brown bandicoots, Western and Little Pygmy possums, bush and swamp rats, bats, frogs and, I was told on good authority, many thousands of slithery Black Tiger and Pygmy Copperhead snakes.

 

Our accommodation for the night was the unusually named Ozone Hotel in Kingscote, managed by the Aurora Resorts Group. The original building was constructed in 1908 and was once considered the finest hotel in the state with a 155 feet long sandstone frontage. The hotel offered 57 rooms, saloon, ordinary bars, billiard room, two dining rooms, and several parlor rooms, but alas it was razed to the ground in a destructive fire in 1918. It was rebuilt in 1920 but is a less ornate replica of the original.

 

Very little of the hotel today shows the glimpses of it's glory days, as inside it is now a fully modern bistro restaurant and bar as well as contemporary furnished bedrooms. For dinner on a cold, windswept night I started with delicious local oysters and then opted for a kangaroo and vegetable potpie but on seeing the King George whiting on other peoples plates, made me wish I had chosen more wisely.

After an early breakfast we were on the road at 8.00 am. It was cloudy with light drizzle but the forecast was for clearing skies. Our first stop was the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre in Flinders Chase National Park. During our visit a big Cape Barron Goose wandered down from the scrub and walked across the zebra crossing as though it had right of way – as it very likely did – a loose goose taking a bit of a gander.

 

We motored on for another 15 minutes to the southwestern edge of the island to a place named Cape du Couedic where the island’s famous Admirals Arch is hidden below the cliffs. Here you’ll find the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse built in 1909 and a network of walking trails, the best of which is a boardwalk to the base of the cliffs where the stunning see through Admirals Arch is located. It’s a preferred location for a colony of basking New Zealand fur seals, a small portion of over 7,000 seals that live and breed around Kangaroo Island.

 

From the cape it was another short drive to Remarkable Rocks, ginormous granite boulders in sculptured formations that are said to be more than 500 million years old on a dramatic coastal bluff with spectacular views out to the Southern Ocean. This is an iconic tourist draw card on Kangaroo Island, especially at sunset due to the symmetry of the shapes and shadows.

 

The beating heart of Kangaroo Island was where lunch was being served. Leaving the smooth highway we ventured onto the red dirt road for about 15 minutes until we reached Andermel Marron & Café, which turned out to be the highlight of our visit. It was started 16 years ago on the site of a former run-down sheep station that over time was converted into a vineyard and a series of breeding ponds stretched over five hectares filled with freshwater crayfish (Marron).

 

It looks like a simple café, but the cuisine served is anything but. We were first introduced to the owner John Melbourne who guided us through the history of freshwater crayfish in Australia and how they rear the clawed critters and eventually plate up the dishes in their café.  After a short wine tasting of John’s Two Wheeler Creek Vineyard wines it was onto lunch. A no brainer was choosing from the menu their Marron seafood platter for two. It consisted of roasted crayfish in the shell, cold crayfish in the shell, prawns, scallops, fresh fruit, green salad and garlic bread.  This was a platter that stole the show.

 

There is a range of activities to keep any visitor happy on Kangaroo Island: wines, vines and spirits – try the KIS Island Gin, charter fishing, kayaking, quad bike tours, golf, photographic tours, wildlife walkabouts, local festivals, walking tracks, wildlife parks and sanctuaries, as well as national parks and wilderness areas.  There’s something for all the family to enjoy.

 

Following our guided tour across the Marron Estate we headed for another well-known tourist attraction, Seal Bay Visitor Centre and Seal Bay Beach, based inside the Cape Gantheaume Wilderness Protection Area.  Only guided tours by qualified staff allow visitors to amble down onto the chalky white sands where a colony of sea lions bask (lounge room lizard like) in the afternoon sunlight, where occasionally a male on male ruckus would turn into a loud grumpy sea lion slanging match – a scene where bigger males always seemed to win handsomely.

 

Visiting the seals was a great way to end our Harvest Tour of South Australia. We’d happily engaged in and witnessed a chef’s life, sea life, wildlife, nightlife, freshwater fish life and people just living the good life.

 

We never did get to see any slithery snakes, but that aside our group all had huge smiles on their faces and a memory bank of unique experiences that will be hard to let go of. Hopping across to Kangaroo Island is one ferry journey that will last forever.

 

 

FACTS:

 

AAT Kings

W: www.aatkings.com

 

Kangaroo Island

W: www.tourkangarooisland.com

 

Andermell Marron Farm & Café

W: www.andermel.com

 

Aurora Ozone Hotel

W: www.auroraresorts.com

 

South Australia Tourism

W; www.southaustralia.com

 

AAT Kings hosted Shane Boocock on his trip to South Australia. AAT Kings Short Break Holidays were recently introduced in NZ and Australia in 2014. The 52 variations (a break for every day of the year) range in length from two to seven days from Nature & Wildlife Holidays, Cultural Enriching Experiences, Family Holidays, Active Adventures, Winter Escapes and Food & Wine Experiences.  Individual travellers are encouraged to join theses short break tours as much as couples are. 

 

If you want to see more just add on a couple of extra days either before or after your tour to take an even bigger bite out of South Australia

 

 

If you would like to read this article in full or licence it for your own publication, please click here to contact Shane.