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Published: February 10th 2018
Up with the larks again! 5.30am alarm so we can shower and have some cereal (that we bought in the local Coles yesterday) before being at the bus station across the road at 6.15am!! This touristing is a hard gig!
We were put on a huge coach with 54 people for the drive down to Cape Jarvis, which takes a couple of hours. The scenery reminded of the New England area of NSW, golden yellow in colour rather than green, although the vineyards in the McLaren Vale area were green. They had some of their vines covered in netting to keep the grapes 🍇 safe - must cost a fortune to do that, and taking them on and off would be such a hassle. I didn’t cover my vines this year and I only have five! There are lots of new estates and houses being built. Once we arrived at Cape Jervis (which is not pronounced Jarvis) we collected our luggage and boarded the ferry, which was quite large - they transport large trucks and cars in the body, as well as lovely lounge areas for the people.
After our 45 minute ferry journey to Penneshaw we were sorted
into our various tours. The one day tour group was huge and were on the big coach. We were a small group of 11 on our minibus, made up of 2 girls from France, 1 man from Canada, a couple from South Korea, a couple from the Netherlands a couple from Queensland and us.
And off we went. First stop was Emu Ridge - fascinating story. Larry Turner used to be a sheep farmer but after he had to destroy thousands of sheep 🐑 he got out of it. He decided to farm the plants that grow naturally on his land, which is covered in Kangaroo Island Narrow Leaf Mallee, a member of the eucalyptus family. The shrubs require little upkeep because they are native to this land. He harvests them (using an old wrecked harvester he has rebuilt, cost him 50cents for maintenance last year). In two years time he harvests those same shrubs again. He also has many many solar panels on his various roofs (they also provide extra insulation from the sun) - this electricity is used to run his plant, home and shop and the leftover is put into the grid, last month he got
a $300 cheque! His next move is to make all their vehicles electric to run off the power and then they’d also be a backup of electricity in their batteries. So they distill eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and emu oil (from their emus).
After Emu Ridge we went for a drive along the south coast of the island - beautiful coast - because we were running early for lunch. Lunch was chicke, sausage and four different salads, followed by french vanilla cheesecake. Tom had a Kangaroo Island beer with his lunch, I had a Kangaroo Island Semillon Blanc. The lodge where we had the lunch (Vivonne Bay) was accessed by a path through the native shrubs.
After lunch we went off to Seal Bay where we were taken down to the beach by a ranger. The beach has a permanent colony of sea lions and seals. They have always lived there because seal hunters (humans, mostly Americans) were unable to come ashore to club them because of the protective reef just offshore - the odds of crashing on the rocks were too great. We had to stay together in our group so that we looked too large
for a bull sea lion to take on, and we had to stay a certain distance away from them. Some of them had pups.
We then continued on to Raptor Domain where we sat and watched an amazing demonstraion of Birds 🦅 of Prey. The handlers there had different types of owls, falcons, eagles, buzzards, and a couple of kookaburras thrown in it was amazing. Tom kept putting on the glove to have birds sitting on his arm, and they had an owl that sat on everyone’s laps - it was amazing.
After that wonderful display we continued on to the Kangaroo Wildlife Park where we hand-fed kangaroos, including the Kangaroo Island Kangaroo, and saw penguins, macaws, snakes, crocodiles, lizards, bats, cockatoos - a very rustic environment.
After that we were taken to the airport where 6 of us were put into a different minibus and taken to the Mercure Hotel in American River where we had a lovely room with a wonderful view over the water. We had dinner in their restaurant - wonderful menu, it was hard to choose. Scallops, pork belly, crab 🦀 yum!!
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