Port Campbell is about half way from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island. The Great Ocean Drive changed from twisting hilly roads hugging the coast to a flat straight away through remote salt flats and ponds along a sand dune shoreline. Gas stations at remote intersections had signs “last fuel for x amount of miles”. In four hours we reached a resort town of Robe, where all the tourists had gone home. There we changed our next stay from Adelaide to Normansville because of the distance to the Kangaroo Island ferry was 2 and half hours compared to 20 minutes for Normansville. Luckily we did for our stay was on a golf course condo where at sundown a pack of kangaroos grazed and hopped their way up the course to the condo. Golfers stopped and watched, residents came out and watched and Ann chased after them with her BlackBerry snapping pictures. All was good in Normansville for we made the ferry the next morning and ferried to KI to the port town of Penneshaw. A short distance outside Penneshaw was our B & B “Lindsay”. It had everything we needed with a clean ocean feel design that overlooked the Indian Ocean. It felt like the right place to relax after 12 hours a day of Australian Open tennis spectatoring and Great Ocean Drive touring. We had one rainy day and that is exactly what we did, catching up on the trip maintenance using the complimentary Internet connection.
The Island is big. A 2 hour drive will get you across the island and outside the eastern towns of Penneshaw and Kingscote. It is pristine. It has become like a Noak ark for Australian endangered species. Both of the only egg laying mammals reside on the island; the platypus and the echidna.
The Australian seal has made a home on one of its bays and the gray kangaroo that is extinct on the mainland is thriving on KI. There are private sanctuaries where many animals are kept and a national preserve where land and animals are under national protection. The highlight of the stay was visiting the Australian Park service at seal bay where the Australian seal has made its home. The park service provides a guided tour of the beach the seals bask on. The seals have it made and humans get to enjoy their presence. Its a beautiful beach, ripe for a resort, but the seals are king and it’s a beautiful sight and sound. Its really remarkable that its possible to walk amongst them.
A quirky place called Paul’s place is in a remote corner of the island and it provides a close encounter with some of Australians renown animals. It is quirky because Paul does not always open his gate to his oceanside ranch, which is reached only by driving over tens of miles over washboard dirt roads. People keep trying for days if they find a closed gate because Paul himself is entertaining, knowledgeable and his animal presentation is unique as well as him. You can not help to like the Koala bear handed to you that hugs tightly onto you or the Kangaroos that follow you around looking up at you as Paul shows you around his place. After Paul gave his thank you for visiting speech we were chatting with two women about Australia, when one asked how we liked the Australian Open for I was wearing a sun visor from the event. We started talking about particular matches and certain parts of matches, when we realized these women not only saw a lot of tennis but knew a lot about tennis. We asked about how they saw so many matches. They said they went to every day of the Open because one of the women was the widow of ex champion John Bromwich and the other was his daughter. He and his partner won the doubles championship, 1938,39,no championships 1941 to 1945 because of the war, then in 46,47,48,and 49. He also won the singles championship in 1939 and in 1946. He went to war and was shot in the ha
Probably the most unique show on the island is what is billed as the pelican man in Kingcote. Down by the local docks a man shows up at 5:00 everyday with a tub of fish. About 50 Australian pelicans start flying in around 4:00 and flock up and wait for the pelican man. Around 4:30 about 50 tourists drive in and flock up on the huge bouldered shoreline and wait with the pelicans. Pelican man shows promptly at 5 with his tub of fish and stands on the lowest shoreline boulder with the pelicans and tourists in his front in a tiered boulder fashion. He gives a 15 minute informative dissertation on the pelican that sends the pelicans quivering and the tourist into snapshooting. Finally he throws heaps of fish into the audience of pelicans and a fish gobbling frenzy ensues for a seconds. He throws more fish more frenzied gobbling. Its a real scene of pelicans and tourists all together on the boulders.
Did I mention the fine beaches of KI all of which are all deserted? We took a week driving across Australia to Sydney and got prepared for moving on to South Africa. Please check out the pictures of wonderful beachtowns of wonderful Australia captioned in the pictures.