Camp # 62 & 63, Days 286 – 292, Kangaroo Island, S.A.

Friends united on Kangaroo Island

What a stinker! The forecast is for the records to fall with a max of 48 degrees celsius. It certainly is the hottest we’ve ever experienced, burning not just your skin but your nostrils as you breathed in the hot air. Regardless of the scorching weather we were excited! Nothing was going to put a dampener on seeing Heidi and Ruby today.

Our ferry to Kangaroo Island wasn’t until 6pm. So with time to kill and the McClaren Vale, (another of S.A.’s top wine regions), just 15 minuets away, it would have been rude not stop and taste the flavours. There is no better place than d’Arenberg. So we booked lunch and arranged to rendezvous with Heidi and Ruby here.

Golidlocks at the Cube

We have loved their wines for many years, stopping here in 2007 on our way home, after living in Melbourne. Since then however things have expanded and they have built ‘The Cube’. Wine tasting, restaurants, events space, and wine museum. All sounds pretty normal but there is nothing normal about the extraordinary experience of The Cube. Multi sensory, quirky, crazy from the moment you arrive. Suspend all expectation and enjoy the journey down the rabbit hole is the best advice.

The quirky Cube!

But by far the best bit was meeting up with Heidi and Ruby. A reunion at the top of the cube was just amazing, as was the food we enjoyed in the restaurant. It was so surreal sitting across the table chatting sharing a beautiful meal and seeing the girls just picking right up where they’d left off some 9 months earlier. They are just so cute together.

Besties on KI

After hiding out in the air-conditioning for as long as we could it was time to hit the road and make our way to the ferry. The journey wasn’t without incident as the extreme heat was all too much for Audrey, the car. On a long and reasonably steep hill, the engine temp just got too hot kicking into a safety mode, which left us limping up the hill. Intermittently we’d lose power and be reduced to a crawl before it kicked back in for 30 seconds and then die again. Slow and steady we made it, hoping there weren’t any other hills to come.

The ferry was pretty straight forward, accept for the bit that was in reverse. Loading the van and car on required Ken to back it on to the ferry, which he nailed. Heidi also did a great job, in a new vehicle, in the stinking heat, but she was making it all look easy, like the boss lady she is.

Reversing the van onto the KI ferry – nailed it!

Getting off the ferry at about 7pm we opted to spend the first couple of nights in nearby Kingscote. It wasn’t too far to drive that evening and gave us the chance to explore to eastern side of the island before having our last four nights at the western end of the island. We pulled in and set up, but it was just so damn hot and not much fun! A real baptism of fire for Heidi and Ruby. The heat, with not even a breath of wind was just a killer and it only compounded the adjustment to the dusty / dirty / lack of privacy lifestyle, that can be the traveling camping life. It’s fair to say at this point Heidi was wondering what she had gotten herself into.

We got through dinner and somehow Heidi got Ruby to sleep in the hot little minivan. The floor of which was still roasting from radiant heat off the road surface. A new record was set for the hottest day, officially reaching 46.5 and then finally at 11.30 p.m. the cool change arrived. It was still a sleepless night for our visitor but at least the heat was gone and it could only get better from here.

The following day was almost cold. What a contrast from the day before. After breakfast, Heidi and I were inducted into the LOL (latest kids craze for our girls) club before we hopped into the car / van and made our way Stokes Bay Beach. Turning up the the bay itself didn’t look that impressive or maybe it was the inclement weather. Other travelers had told us to find our way through the rocks and then you come out on a beautiful beach, they weren’t wrong.

It was an adventure itself getting through the rocks, twisting, turning, crouching through low passes and then a lovely little lagoon and the beach beyond is revealed.

Stokes Bay Beach

Too cold for us big kids to swim but the kids weren’t going to let a drop of nearly 20 degree put them off. Although it wasn’t long before they too were feeling cool. After a bit of sand play we made our way back to the cars before finding somewhere for lunch. Unfortunately as is often the case, we were assured on the phone that gluten free eating is all good. However then when we try and order it turns out there is only one thing Gigi can eat, usually a salad. The lady was very kind and tried to be as accommodating as possible but not much fun for Gigi. The views at least were stunning.

We returned back to camp for a rest and later enjoyed a beautiful walk along the beach and a couple of beautiful wines. The kids were exhausted and were no trouble getting to sleep. Enjoying just a few more glasses of wine and chat we also retired earlish. Heidi was still trying to catch up on a few missed winks from the night before.

Australia Day today and it’s a travel day. Moving to the other end of the island with a stop off at Seal Bay along the way. We did a fabulous tour and had the chance to get down on the beach with the endangered Australian Sea Lion. Totally gorgeous they are and it was a delight watching them on the beach. The youngest being playful in the surf and the older one keeping the order of things just right.

Tough being a Sea Lion

Heavily hunted for there fur and oil their populations are still recovering however there are concerns for their survival as the colonies are struggling to grow. More research is required. It was something special to be on the beach with them even if it was from a distance. They can be very playful and relaxed in the water if they approach you however on land they are slow moving, making them more vulnerable, defensive and aggressive.

KI Sea Lions

A short drive down the road we pulled into Vivonne Bay for a beachside van lunch. The colour of the water was absolutely amazing but the wind, wild and most unwelcoming. After lunch I braved it out of the van down to the beach and received a complimentary exfoliation. Nature at its extremes, beautiful and brutal all in the one moment.

Vivonne Bay

Finally we pulled into the camp. Looking into the towering eucalyptus we spotted three koala’s before even checking in. The park was pretty empty so we scouted about and found a site that was going to suit us best. We weren’t even set up before Wallace the wallaby decided to adopt us and the Cape Barren Geese wondered on by. Wallace made himself right at home and appreciated the bowl of water Georgia put out for him. Finally before the day was out an echidna caught our attention in the bush behind our site.

Wallace the Wallaby

It wasn’t the most spectacular location and didn’t have stunning views but it certain takes the cake for the most amazing wildlife experiences. I don’t know how the wildlife park down the road makes any money when all you have to do is stay here at Western KI Caravan Park.

The girls have a lot of play to catch up on and I always have a lot of washing to catch up on so we opted to just chill out van side today. Kenny treated us to some Keto Lammingtons, which were delicious! And Heidi and I were still enjoying the fruits of purchases made from D’arnberg. Wallace the ever faithful (to his stomach) wallaby was never far away and it seems all the noise in the night was the koala’s swapping trees.

Having had a lazy day yesterday it was time to get out and see some sights. First stop the Flinders Chase NP Visitor Centre. An other great Visitors Centre with a fabulous display of how the region was formed, the history of the animals and peoples who have lived here. We spent a good amount of time here before getting out in the park and visiting Admiral Arch and Remarkable rocks.

Kangaroo Island – Admiral Arch and Hanson Bay

Both were remarkable and it was an absolutely beautiful day. We had taken a picnic of rice paper rolls but with a howling wind and no shelter from the midday sun we opted for a mini van picnic by the lighthouse. Heidi’s mini van was very basic and didn’t much enjoy the unsealed roads but all the girls loved having a bed to lie on, be it for watching a movie or having lunch on while out and about.

The evening produced two shows one an LOL performance, put on my the three girls and the other by a Koala who was on the hunt for some more juicy young leaves. I was surprised to look out the van window to see a large Koala walking past. He then walked around the back of the van, had a good look at us and then jumped up the tree nearest the van. The usual encounter with Koala’s is just staring at a tiny, sleeping bear way up in a tree. But these guys stay pretty low down and aren’t too shy, which is amazing.

Koala strolls through the camp

Our penultimate day on the island was a beach day at beautiful Hanson Bay. White sands and crystal waters just beautiful! The girls are still getting the hang of the boogie boards and it was a first for Ruby. Seeing them play, get dumped, help each other recover, get back out there and make memories in the surf together was just magic. We love our beach days and it was lol the more special for getting to share it with Heidi and Ruby. Can’t wait to do more when we get home.

Our final day is really a travel day and we are all trying to not think about the the farewell. We pack up, hitch up and drive the nearly two hours to the other end of the island to Penneshaw, where the ferry arrives and departs. A picnic lunch and play before we board and soak up our last 45 minuet together. Once we disembark we know it’s going to be a bit chaotic with other vehicles and passengers everywhere so we are ready for a quick but tearful goodbye.

Picnic before getting on the ferry

It was heartbreaking watching Georgie and Ruby farewell each other. They are a match made in heaven and I hate separating them, but they both do a super job squeezing all the love they can into each other with one last embrace. We then jump in the car with wet, blurry eyes that don’t dry up for nearly another hour. Dear sweet girls.

On our way back to the mainland

Heidi and Ruby head back towards Adelaide for a night in a comfy bed, the privacy of walls, doors and your own bathroom! Such simple luxuries we take for granted everyday. For us we are legging it back to Melbourne to get ready for the next adventure, Tasmania.

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