What a stinker! The forecast is for the records to fall with a max of 48 degrees celsius. It certainly is the hottest I’ve ever experienced and was burning not just your skin but your nostrils as you breathed the hot air. Still we were pumped and 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) on our door step it would be rude to not stop and taste the flavours – and there is no better place than d’Arenberg. So we booked lunch and arranged to rendezvous with Heidi and Ruby here.
We have loved their wines for years, stopping here in 2007 on our trip home from living in Melbourne, but since then they have build 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.
But by far the best was seeing these two beautiful, smiling faces. It was so surreal sitting across the table chatting sharing a beautiful meal and seeing the girls just pick right up where they left off. They are just so cute together.
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. It was so very hot that at one point it looked like we weren’t going to make it. On a long and reasonably steep hill the engine temp just got too hot and kicked 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 by in for 30 seconds and then die again. Slow and steady we made it, hoping there were 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 Ken had to back it on the ferry which wasn’t too much of a drama. Heidi was doing great, a new vehicle, in the stinking heat but she was making it all look easy.
Getting off the ferry so late we were staying at Kingscote the first for the first couple of nights as it wasn’t too far to drive and then 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! A real baptism of fire for Heidi and Ruby. The heat with not even a breath of wind was just a killer but it just 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 recorded for the hottest day officially reaching 46.5 and then finally at 11.30 p.m., as forecast, the cool change came in. 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 follow day was almost cold. What a contrast from the day before. After breakfast and Heidi and my induction into the LOL (latest kids craze for our girls) club, we hoped in 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 but then we’d been told to find our way through the rocks to come out on a beautiful beach and they weren’t wrong. It was an adventure getting through the rock and then a lovely little lagoon and beach beyond is revealed.
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 are assured on the phone that gluten free eating is all good but then when we arrive and try and order turns out there is only one thing Gigi can eat. Still that lady was very kind and tried to be as accommodating as possible and the views 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 to catch up on a few missed winks from the night before.
Happy Straya Day one and all. It was 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.
Heavily hunted for there fur and oil their populations are still recovering however there are concerns for there survival as the colonies are struggling to grow. More research is required but it was lovely 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, and defensive and aggressive.
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 it extremes, beautiful and brutal all in the one moment.
Finally we pulled into the camp and looking into the towering eucalyptus 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.
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 sight. First stop the Flinders Chase NP Visitor Centre. An other great Visitors Centre with a fabulous display of how the region was formed, and 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.
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. The 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.
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. My 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.
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 loved it even more sharing 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 final 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.
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. Then we all jump in the car with wet, and blurry eyes that don’t dry up for nearly another hour. Dear sweet girls.
Heidi and Ruby head back towards Adelaide for a night in a comfy bed and the privacy wall, doors and your own bathroom afford you. Such simple luxuries we take for granted everyday. And for us we are legging it but to Melbourne to get ready for the next adventure, Tasmania.