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Kangaroo Island to Adelaide

...sealions, seals and much more

overcast 25 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

Our plan was to drive to Admiral's Arch at Cape du Couedic but Gladys decided that we wanted to go to Seal Bay and we were so slow picking this up that we decided to give her her head! Again we lacked much Aussie sun for much of the time but in some ways that was no bad thing. We reached Seal Bay Conservation Park where we walked down a series of boardwalks towards the beach. I reckon boardwalk makers in Australia must do a roaring trade as there seem to be so many of them. In this case there is a total of 800m of boardwalk which winds through the dunes and gives excellent views out over Cape Gantheaume as well as sightings of sea lions which rest in the dunes after their exertions at sea. Some even settle down under the boardwalk. There are also guided tours which take people down onto the beach for a close contact with the sea lions but we felt that we had had close enough contact without being guided. This is a 'must see' if you are on Kangaroo Island.

View over the boardwalk to the beach and the ocean

View over the boardwalk to the beach and the ocean

Out for the count under the boardwalk

Out for the count under the boardwalk


Adult male sea lion

Adult male sea lion

Skeleton of juvenile humpback whale in the dunes

Skeleton of juvenile humpback whale in the dunes

Sea lion pup

Sea lion pup

Between 1800 and 1803 a French expedition, led by Nicholas Baudin set out to map the coast of 'Terra Australia' and as a result, many places we have encountered, particularly on the southern coast have their origins in the travels of this expedition. Flinders had beaten Baudin to the naming of Kangaroo Island (they met in 1802 off the coast of what would become South Australia) but Baudin managed to add a few names such as Cape Gantheaume, named after Vice-Admiral Honore Joseph Antoine Ganteaume (somewhere along the way an 'h' was inserted). Also, Cape du Couedic was named in memory of a French naval officer, Charles Louis du Couedic, the Seigneur de Kergoualer who had died of wounds sustained in a battle against the HMS Quebec in 1779.

We found surprisingly few places to stop on South Coast Road between Seal Bay and Cape du Couedic. And we had expected to find places to wander in the bush but there was none at all which was a great pity as there were some really lovely bush areas. Also, we found few eateries along this route and ended up having a rather indifferent light lunch at Hanson's Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. However, there was the up side that we did see a koala quite close to the road, as well as kangaroos and Cape Barren geese.

Nice bit of bush in Kelly Hill Conservation Park

Nice bit of bush in Kelly Hill Conservation Park

Another road with overarching trees

Another road with overarching trees

Koala at Hanson's Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Koala at Hanson's Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Galahs and Cape Barren geese at Hanson's Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Galahs and Cape Barren geese at Hanson's Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

After checking in at the Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre, we drove down to Cape du Couedic, where we had a look at the lighthouse which was built as a manned station in the early 20th century but, as with most lighthouses now is automated. We continued on down the path, seeing good numbers of New Zealand fur seals as we walked through to Admiral's Arch. The coastal scenery in this area, a mix of limestone and granite, is ruggedly beautiful. Admiral's Arch is a limestone feature with a fascinating display of jagged features arising from erosion and, unusually for a sea cave has stalactites.

The lighthouse

The lighthouse

Closer view of door and base of lighthouse

Closer view of door and base of lighthouse

View over the rugged coastline out to the Southern Ocean

View over the rugged coastline out to the Southern Ocean

New Zealand fur seals resting on the rocks

New Zealand fur seals resting on the rocks

New Zealand fur seals with pup

New Zealand fur seals with pup

View back to the lighthouse

View back to the lighthouse

Initial view of the arch area

Initial view of the arch area

Admiral's Arch, complete with stalactites

Admiral's Arch, complete with stalactites

Admiral's Arch is thought to have been named for a resemblance to Admiralty Arch in London. Personally I can't see that; it takes a lot more imagination than I have to make any comparison other than that they are arches!

From the car park at the cape, we then drove a short distance to the car park for Remarkable Rocks which are granite boulders which, again, have been eroded in quite grotesque ways. The whole cape area is another 'must see,' if on Kangaroo Island.

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Our route then struck inland on West End Highway through part of the Flinders Chase National Park but here the bush was quite low-growing and flat and, again, no paths that we could see or places to pull over for a wander. Clearly, there is a need for conservation of the bush but it seemed that the only people who could enjoy it were the long distance trekkers. We turned onto the Playford Highway but turned off to stop at Parndana where we had coffees and cakes and bought some really nice bread at the Bakery - certainly much better than the places we came across on the South Coast Road. On the way back to Kingscote there was some magnificent evening light but, as so often was the case, there was nowhere to stop for photography. Parndana was established as part of a Soldier Settlement Scheme after World War II and its name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ' the place of little gums'.

The following day, as our ferry didn't leave until the afternoon, we had time to explore a bit more of the island and this time drove a short way to Reeves Point (named after a family who were among the early settlers on the island), the site of the first settlement on Kangaroo Island and also the first settlement in South Australia. There is a pleasant park there with a few information boards but little remains of the original settlement. We then gave Gladys her head and she took us on unsealed roads to Stokes Bay. This was a pleasant spot but had nothing to excite us so we started south in the general direction of Parndana and had only travelled a short distance when we came across the Stokes Bay Bush Garden. This is a wonderful garden developed by John & Carol Stanton, featuring 1,200 named plants (at that time), many of them being endemic to Kangaroo Island. There were many plants and shrubs in flower and as a result there were also many birds flitting around. At the time of our visit, the entry fee was $8 each and for that we were loaned a list of plants and could wander around as the whim took us. There were no food or drink facilities but there is a lovely sheltered picnic area which is where we had our picnic lunch.

Juvenile crimson rosella

Juvenile crimson rosella

Red swamp banksia flower

Red swamp banksia flower

A banksia nut

A banksia nut

Banksia flower (not sure of the variety)

Banksia flower (not sure of the variety)

Stokes Bay owes its name to the first mate of the Hartley which arrived in South Australia in 1837. Although there were people by the name of Stokes who had arrived on Kangaroo Island earlier, the honour goes to the late arrival!

We then drove across country to Penneshaw where, after time for coffee and cake, we boarded the ferry. The crossing was a bit less smooth but not a problem. The name of Penneshaw has rather interesting and unusual origins being a portmanteau word derived from the names of Dr F.W. Pennefather, private secretary to Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, Governor of South Australia and Flora Louisa Shaw, The Times Colonial Editor, a visitor to Government House.

Jet Set and Bobbie waiting for the ferry on the cliffs above Penneshaw

Jet Set and Bobbie waiting for the ferry on the cliffs above Penneshaw

We collected our honey from the General Store and drove up to our accommodation at Adelaide Shores (now West Beach Resort). On our way up the coast, we stopped at some very scenic areas and when we reached Adelaide Shores we found that we had been booked into a villa. We double-checked as it was superb. It was high-set so that from the balcony we could watch the sunset over the sea which was a few yards walk from the villa. Inside it was very roomy and very well-equipped. Without doubt the best park-type accommodation we have had and one of the lower-priced ones which is what made us think we had the wrong place! With hindsight, we wish we had stayed longer!

Near Carrickalinga (I think!)

Near Carrickalinga (I think!)

Valley running to the sea near Aldinga Beach

Valley running to the sea near Aldinga Beach

Various shots of the villa

Various shots of the villa

Crepuscular rays from the balcony of the villa

Crepuscular rays from the balcony of the villa

After a very comfortable night's sleep, we decided to head for the hills, or at least to Mount Lofty. At the summit there are the usual tourist-oriented establishments but also and an obelisk known as Flinders Column (our old friend Matthew Flinders had named Mount Lofty which is the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges). From the area in front of the obelisk, there are panoramic views over the city and its surrounds to the north and south. On the day we were there, the views were a little hazy so I have had to make use of Photoshop Essentials Haze Reduction tool which is pretty useful - you should see the 'befores'!

View over the city

View over the city

Panoramic view from the summit

Panoramic view from the summit

Flinders Column

Flinders Column

Just down the hill from the summit, is the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. This covers some 97 hectares (nearly 240 acres in the old money) of beautifully laid-out gardens, threaded with good paths to show off the best of the plants and birds that can be seen there, from different levels as the garden is on the slopes of Mount Lofty. There is one large lake and other water features as well as some interesting sculptures dotted around the garden. We enjoyed a picnic lunch near the large lake before starting out so were able to walk off the effects of the food! The map provided gives a great deal of information as well as suggestions for walks to gain the best from the garden.

One of the sculptures to be found in the garden

One of the sculptures to be found in the garden

View over garden

View over garden

View along one of the paths

View along one of the paths

A beautiful lily

A beautiful lily

View over garden and lake

View over garden and lake

As with so many other places, the garden deserved more of our time to do it justice but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Once we had walked pretty well all the trails, we drove on eastwards to Hahndorf. Not surprisingly, given its name, this is a very Germanic village/town and is a most enjoyable tourist trap. There are many old buildings still in use and full of character. Just a warning to the guys who may visit - do not let your partner anywhere near Hahndorf Academy. I did and am a lot poorer for doing so! This is a place where you can eat and drink then walk it off and shop until you drop. Just keeping to Main Street will keep you busy for ages. Hahndorf is named for Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn, commander of the German Immigrant ship Zebra which arrived at Port Adelaide in 1838. To avoid anti-German sentiments running riot during World War I it was renamed Ambleside but reverted to its original name in 1935 and thankfully has remained so since then. It is a lovely place to end this leg of the blog.

The German Village Shop

The German Village Shop

The Hahndorf Inn

The Hahndorf Inn

An unusual antique-type shop

An unusual antique-type shop

St Paul's Lutheran Church

St Paul's Lutheran Church

Posted by SteveJD 15:36 Archived in Australia Tagged australia seals adelaide kangaroo_island hahndorf

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Comments

Your description of Kangaroo island brought back memories. We stayed at one of the lighthouse cottages for 4 or 5 days. In the evening as the sun was setting we would take a bottle of wine and sit on the Remarkable Rocks and watch the sun go down. We went to the German town like you, very interesting.

Love
Elspeth

by Elspeth McKenzie

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