Bound for South Australia - A Journey with Friends

Kangaroo Island

Thursday, 4th May, 2017
Friday, 5th May, 2017
Saturday, 6th May, 2017
Sunday, 7th May, 2017


Drop Cap uring our European River Cruise in 2015 we met Kyra and Leigh Longstaff and really bonded during many meals and shared excursions. When we finished up in Paris we exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch.

Drop Cap his we have done and it led to us proposing a short tour together to South Australia, including a two day tour of Kangaroo Island and a four night cruise up the mighty Murray River on the stern paddlewheeler "Murray Princess". We were all excited by this idea and Mac and I undertook to make all the arrangements.

Group photograph

MacPhersons and Longstaffs on Tour

Drop Cap e did our homework on the web, then presented all the info to Deanna at Helloworld, our preferred travel agent. She brought it all together, for us and for Leigh and Kyra so we posted all the documentation to them in Victoria and waited with anticipation to meet at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel in Adelaide.

Drop Cap ur own segment also included four extra days in Adelaide after the cruise followed by the trip home in the Indian Pacific train.

Drop Cap e had wonderful weather, brilliant but cool, and had a great reunion. This is the story of our trip.

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Thursday 4th May, 2017

Drop Cap orraine (next door neighbour) kindly drove us to the railway station at about 1100 to catch the train for the airport. Although crowded, there was luggage space and we found seats.

Drop Cap rom Central to the airport was easy and we got rid of the luggage, got through security (the easiest I have found for years) and settled down for lunch and to wait for the boarding. No problems and the flight was quick and easy.

Drop Cap rriving in Adelaide we made the mistake of getting a taxi to the hotel. It took a very long time (peak hour) and cost $30. We later found there was an airport shuttle to hotels, costing only $10! Live and learn.

Drop Cap e walked in to the Mercure Grosvenor and the first thing we saw was Leigh and Kyra, waiting in the foyer. After hugs and exclamations we checked in, organised to leave our major bags here until we return from Kangaroo Island (no hassle, the Mercure was very geared to tourists coming and going) then went to our room to freshen up before dinner.

Drop Cap yra and Leigh had checked out some nearby meal offerings, thinking that the menu here was rather limited. They were right, we had dinner here on our last night and it was both limited and very expensive. Delicious though. So we went to the pub next door, the Strathmore, and had dinner there, lots of choice and more economical.

Drop Cap ince it was a very early call next morning we did not stay up after dinner but headed to bed early. A good start.

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Friday 5th May, 2017

Cape Jervis photograph

Beside the Wharf, Cape Jervis

Drop Cap p at 0500 to get out and find a muffin for breakfast (local convenience store, very well stocked, lovely fresh muffins) before the coach arrived at 0630 .

Travel group photograph

Away we Go on the Ferry to KI

Another group photograph

Leigh and the Girls on Board the Ferry

Penneshaw Beach photograph

Penneshaw Beach

Drop Cap e were whisked (two hours) to Cape Jervis and the ferry to Kangaroo Island. The island loomed on the horizon all the way, much bigger than I had realised. We were told that KI is the third largest offshore island we have, only Tasmania and Melville Island (off the Northern Territory) are larger. It was a lovely calm crossing which we spent out on the deck, enjoying the sunshine before arriving at Penneshaw where we met Jeff, our driver/guide and the coach. There were only 18 of us, so plenty of room and lots of time for various activities.

Eucalyptus Still photograph

Larry's Eucalyptus Still

Drop Cap e had a wonderful day, starting off with the Eucalyptus Distillery, run by Larry, a passionate proponent of sustainable farming. He was loud, entertaining and vastly scathing of government regulations, over grazing which he says ruins the island, feral animals, ditto, and absentee landlords.

Eucalyptus Farm photograph

Larry's Eucalyptus Farm

Drop Cap is property consists of tracts of mallee, the native eucalyptus tree, which he harvests by cutting it off at ground level and letting it grow again for another two years, when it is ready to harvest again. Some of his equipment brought Heath Robinson to mind, but it does the job. It was a very interesting visit.

Seal Bay Boardwalk photograph

Seal Bay Boardwalk

Drop Cap ext on the agenda for the day was lunch at Vivonne Bay Bistro, very good chicken and a sausage, with lots of salads and veg. followed by cheesecake. This set the tone for the rest of the trip, neither of us refused dessert! (EVER)

Sealion photograph


Drop Cap fter lunch we went to Seal Bay Beach and one of Kangaroo Island's iconic experiences. This was wonderful.

Sealions photograph


Drop Cap e walked down a boardwalk over the sand dune, being warned not to get too close to sealions, and we found sealions, mothers and calves, curled up right against the boardwalk and steps. I never thought we would be able to get so close. We went out on to the beach and were quite close to several groups.

Seal Bay Beach photograph

Seal Bay Beach

Drop Cap he Ranger told us to keep aware, and not to get between the sealions and the water because they would knock you over to get to it. It was just astonishing!

Eagle photograph

Eagle and Keeper at Raptor Experience

Drop Cap oving right along, the next experience was the Raptor Park. We have been to many of these demonstrations all over the world, but this was up with the best. They had birds of prey from magpies and kookaburras through owls, buzzards and a wedgetailed eagle.

Kookaburra photograph

Kookaburra at Raptor Experience

Drop Cap he magpie impressed me; they had trained it to pick up litter. They showed a screwed up paper on the ground and the bird hopped over to it, picked it up in its beak and dropped it into a garbage tin! It was a very good show, generally.

Kangaroos photograph

Common and albino Kangaroos at Wildlife Park

Feeding Kangaroos photograph

Mac Feeding Kangaroos

Drop Cap ext we visited a Wildlife Park, working to conserve some endangered species and heal damaged animals before releasing them. Here we met a considerable mob of kangaroos, including several albinos,which I had never seen before, quite a contrast with the normal ones.

Kangaroos photograph

Kyra Feeding Kangaroos

Koala photograph

Koala Closeup

Drop Cap here were trees full of koalas and lots of other bird and animal life. We handfed kangaroos and were able to pat koalas, never having been so close to these pretty iconic creatures before.

Koalas photograph


Drop Cap t was great but we were starting to slump, it had been a very long day.


Motel Room photograph

Our Room in Seaside Motel

Drop Cap eff took us to the largest town on the island, Kingcote, for our overnight accommodation in the Seaside Motel, a lovely spacious room which slept three and a balcony outside with ocean views.

They did not do meals except breakfast so they had arranged a booking in town with another hotel and drove us in. Since we had had a two course lunch I did not feel the need for another large meal, so Kyra and I just had a bowl of minestrone soup with bread, quite adequate. Mac and Leigh both had salt and pepper calamari with salad and chips which they said was excellent.

Motel View photograph

View from our Balcony in Seaside Motel

Drop Cap he motel had offered to pick us up afterwards and Leigh and Kyra took them up on it but Mac and I decided to walk back as it was only a kilometre or so, quite level and even underfoot and the moonlight and streetlighting made it pleasant walking. On the way one of the little wallabies of the Island bounced out of the bushes in front of us. Quite a surprise. We nearly beat the car back!

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Saturday, 6th May, 2017

Tidal Pool photograph

Kingcote Tidal Pool

Drop Cap angaroo Island! It was a grey dawn but it cleared to mostly sunny all day. It was a wonderful day. We had a bit of spare time so the four of us went for a walk along the ocean front. Kingcote was quite a port back in the day, and there was still some of the infrastructure left. Also a very unusual tidal swimming pool, fed and drained regularly by the tides, so keeping very clean.

Jetty photograph

Old Kingscote Jetty

Drop Cap ack on the coach, we started off at Clifford's Honey Farm, which evolved from the farmer's hobby of beekeeping to a major industry. Apparently, in Kangaroo Island they have the only pure strain of Ligurian bees, European in origin but in Europe they have crossbred with all the other types of bee. Kangaroo Island being so remote has managed to keep the original strain pure and they don't allow honey or bee products on to the island. It was very interesting, they actually send live queens with a couple of workers and some royal jelly in little wooden boxes off to Europe to freshen up the local hives. Some hobby industry!

We tried their secret recipe honey ice cream and it was yummy.

Wild Koala photograph

Wild Koala

Drop Cap e had lunch in a koala sanctuary, and had a stroll after lunch to see if we could find any. We saw a couple, but high in the trees, nothing like as close as yesterday. Of course, these were wild koalas.

Remarkable Rocks photograph

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable rocks photograph

Leigh and Kyra in the Cradle Rock

Drop Cap fter lunch we bumped along to the very end of the island to find the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park.

Remarkable Rocks photograph

Rosemary and Mac at Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable rocks photograph

Rosemary and Mac in the Cradle Rock

Drop Cap hese were the remnants of granite (I think) domes, lashed by eons of wind and weather, etched in remarkable shapes. We clambered around them, mindful of the cliff edges and the wind which threatened to etch us into remarkable shapes, but the rocks were really spectacular and worth seeing.

We were all very intrigued by the shapes and sizes of the rocks and took lots of photos.

Admiral's Arch photograph

Admiral's Arch

Cape de Couedic photograph

Cape de Couedic

Drop Cap ur next stop was reasonably close, the Admiral's Arch at Cape de Couedic. The coast is very rugged with a lighthouse guarding the cliffs. We crossed another boardwalk and down some stone stairs to sea level to find the Admiral's Arch. This is a natural arch, drilled in the rock at sea level. It was huge, dripping with New Zealand Fur Seals and seaweeds and water. You could imagine the kraken awakening through it. Really spectacular again.

Admiral's Arch photograph

Admiral's Arch spotlit by Sunbeams

Drop Cap he scene changed as we watched the waves and the grey sky was suddenly pierced by beams of sunlight looking like searchlights with the Arch in the foreground, it was quite dramatic.

Wallaby photograph

Wallaby at the Visitors Centre

Drop Cap e had afternoon tea in the Visitor Centre of the Flinders Chase National Park where we made he acquaintance of a remarkably tame wallaby, then we had a long bus ride back to Penneshaw to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

Drop Cap e found toasted sandwiches at a café in town then went on board the ferry for the trip back, which was quite uneventful, we stayed inside because it was dark and cold. Another two hours from Cape Jervis brought us back to the Mercure at about 2230 so we had hot chocolates from our room's supplies and hit the sack.
Exhausted, but very satisfied with our experience.

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Sunday 7th May, 2017

Drop Cap ut at 0815 to catch the bus for our two half day sightseeing tours. The morning tour was Highlights of Adelaide, many of which we had already seen on our off train tour on the Indian Pacific five years ago, but was still enjoyable.

St. Peters Cathedral photograph

Inside St. Peters Cathedral, Adelaide

Drop Cap e started at Light's Vision, the park overlooking the city which commemorates the founding father of Adelaide. His vision is now even more occluded by the new Grandstands at the Oval. Then we proceeded around North Adelaide, the oldest settled area, where there were some lovely old houses, mostly converted to other uses but still lovely.

Drop Cap e dropped in to St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral at the Cathedral End of the Oval....It was beautiful. I remember that my cousin Stephen was married there to the Archbishop's daughter. They didn't seem to object to visitors and showed us the lovely stained glass and fittings. The choir was rehearsing for the morning service and it was quite magical.

Drop Cap e saw quite a number of fascinating buildings, many along North Terrace where our hotel is, including Old Parliament House, the New Parliament House, Government House (with the Governor exiting in a limo with flag in front) the Zoo and the Botanic Gardens.

Japanese Garden  photograph

Adelaide Japanese Garden

Drop Cap am not sure where it was but we also visited a lovely Japanese Garden, (always one of my favourite garden styles) and wandered around the rocks, pools and plantings. Very peaceful, as always.

Convention Centre photograph

Adelaide Convention Centre

Drop Cap p the other end of North Terrace were the super new modern buildings of the Hospital (almost ready to open), the University of SA Medical Schools and the amazing Medical Research Building known to the locals as the "Cheese Grater". Quite a contrast. The purpose built Adelaide Convention Centre by the river is also a very interesting modern building.


View from Mt Lofty photograph

View from Mt Lofty

Drop Cap e finished this tour at the Central Bus Station across the road from Adelaide Markets and China-town so, after lunch in a food court in Chinatown (Mac and I shared a massamun beef and steamed rice) we headed off again for Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills. This is a very scenic mountainy area with spectacular views over Adelaide. It was a bit misty but still very panoramic with 360 degree viewpoints.

Hahndorf photograph


Drop Cap hen on to Hahndorf, the very touristy but cute Germanic town which we have visited a couple of times before. I bought some taster sized relishes at Beerenburg on the way and some sugar free fudge for Geoff in Hahndorf.

Hahndorf photograph


Drop Cap e had a complimentary afternoon tea at the Hahndorf Inn, a cheerful Germanic style beerhall, thumping with oompah music and seething with serving frauleins with huge platters of food of the pork knuckle and sausage variety. It looked amazing but we had coffee and cake. I had traditional apple strudel (best I have had) and Mac had a delicious looking cheesecake.

Hahndorf photograph


Drop Cap hen we wandered around the town, taking photos and browsing the shops. The weekend crowds ensured that none of the photos are clear of people and vehicles. Still it gives the idea.

As it happened later, our PaintShopPro course has given us skills to remove extraneous people and vehicles, so we cleared our picturesque Hahndorf photos.

Drop Cap e returned to the hotel and walked about the area a bit to find somewhere to eat and ended up in the same place as we had been on Thursday. While sitting in the restaurant we were enthusiastically claimed by Raisa from Weightwatchers and her friends. They are going on the Murray Princess tomorrow as well, quite a coincidence. We knew she was coming so it wasn 't a complete surprise. For once, it will be nice to know some people on the trip before we start, we don't tend to bond very quickly.

The real Adventure starts tomorrow!

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