Today we are setting off on a 2 day organised tour of Kangaroo Island.  When I began researching this trip, I quickly discovered Kangaroo Island was going to be expensive. With the need for a hire car, the ferry fare and the time to get there and back, this tour seemed to be a viable option. Our alarm was set for 4:30 AM this morning and it woke both of us. Surprisingly, we didn’t wake before it and both woke with a bit of a shock. We had showers and made breakfast and waited downstairs for our 6:15am pickup.

The coach traveled around the city, picking up people ready for our tour. We ended up with 46 by the time we left the city. from there it was an approximately 90 minute drive to Cape Jarvis, where our ferry was waiting for us. We had been given ferry tickets when we boarded the bus so we were able to walk straight onto the ferry as soon as we got to the wharf.

We settled in at the front of the ferry and enjoyed the 45 minute crossing. It was not very rough, but did rock backwards and forwards a bit. Mick has discovered that, although he has never suffered from any seasickness, now  with his sight, he could not focus on the horizon and he got dizzy.  He said he did not feel sick, just dizzy.   Once he found a spot on the boat to focus on he was fine.

Arriving on Kangaroo Island, we walked off the ferry and our coach was waiting for us with our driver Danni.

Our first stop, was the Australian sea lion colony at Seal Bay, a short walk down a fairly steep path and then down 42 steps down onto soft sand.

The sealions were very close and we were able to watch them for about 30 minutes

We learnt the difference between sealions and fur seals

Sealions have a pelvis like ours and are able to move their rear limbs and flippers independently. Seals have a fused pelvis and cannot move them same.  They move as if their legs are joined all the way down to their ankles.  They can wiggle their flippers but not each limb.

Another difference is their hair. Sealions have short hair quite similar to ours in density, this means when go they go into the water, they get wet and cold.  So they come to shore and need to sit on the warm sand and rocks to warm up.  Seals have very dense hair and their skin does not get wet when they swim.  In fact they can get quite hot and you can often see them laying out flat on the cool rocks or with a flipper raised  to expose a large vein under their “arm” to help cool their blood.

We had to all stay together as a group as it is currently just before breeding season and a lone person could be seen as a threat.  As mentioned before, sealions have a pelvis like ours and they can actually stand up on their hind limbs.  The males are most likely to do that as an aggressive display.  So it makes sense that a person on their own could easily be mistaken for an aggressive male.

The group we were watching closest to consisted of a teenaged “boys” that were picking fights with each other.  there was one older “boy” that was harassing the younger ones, they were getting their own back though 🙂

We watched the action for around 45 mins before heading back to the bus and off to our next stop for lunch.

We had a lovely lunch of chicken salad and cheesecake at the Vyvone Bay Lodge.  As we were traveling through the countryside, Danni was telling us about the devastating bushfires in 2019.  You can clearly see the number of dead trees and the new growth slowly coming back.

After an enjoyable lunch break, we were off again, this time for a visit to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. The park has been an essential part of rehabilitating many animals after the fires.  While KI (as the locals call it) did have a problem with over population of Koalas, It is estimated that over 60% of them were lost to fire.

It is always fun watching international tourists “oohing and Ahhing” at our native wildlife.  I said to Mick that we really are lucky to have our native icons so friendly.  You can’t imagine going to America and cuddling a bear or Africa and hand feeding a lion with no danger.

The next stop was Flinders Chase National  Park.  This park is the first national park in SA and one of the oldest in Australia.  We were here to see “The Remarkable Rocks” and Admirals Arch.  The Remarkables are a rock formation of granite that have been eroded by the wind and sea for millions of years.  They are a rusty orange colour due to the lichen that grows on the rocks.  It was very windy here so we decided to not go walking on the actual rocks themselves and stayed on the boardwalk.

Further through the park we came to Admirals Arch and the Australian Fur Seal Colony.  Admirals Arch was formed in the same way as the 12 Apostles on the Victorian coast.  Again it was very windy so we stayed on the path.  Also on the rocks were lots of fur seals sleeping on the rocks.  Every now and then one would casually go for a quick swim and launch themselves back up on the rocks. They were too far below us to get any good shots of them 🙁 

Back on the bus and we headed for our accommodation for the night.  Danni told us about the food options in town.  She mentioned 3 or 4 options in town where we could get dinner.

We checked into the Seafront Hotel just after 7:00pm and quickly found out that 2 of the 4 options Danni had mentioned were currently closed for the Christmas break.  We thought the Penneshaw Pub might be a good option but on arrival found out that there was a 45 minute wait for food :(.  Down the road at Fire and Smoke pizza shop was similar with a 1 hour wait 🙁

The only option left was the IGA Supermarket.  Sadly, it had been stripped bare of food.  No hot chooks, and just one loaf of bread.  As our hotel room did not have a microwave, we could not even get a frozen meal.    We ended up with the loaf of bread and a packet of ham ( no butter) and a litre of milk.  I toasted my bread and at least had a hot ham toastie, while Mick had his cold.

We made cups of tea watched some TV and went to bed.  We were being collected in the morning at 9:15am

The dinner food issue was the only complaint we had about the whole day.  I would have been much better if SeaLink had organised some meal options available, especially for those people who needed to be on the 7:30pm ferry back to the mainland.