Our last two days passed in a bit of a blur … and we’ve decided that Kangaroo Island is a microcosm of Australia. Salt pans, dry creek beds, bush fires, bone-jarring dirt roads, lagoons, beautiful deserted beaches, and a home to over 1,000 native plant and bird species. The island feels remote, but in contrast you are never too far from a vineyard, a cheese maker or a meal of fresh fish.
Wildlife highlights – Tammar wallabies on our front lawn, a dolphin skimming through the shallows only metres from our feet, and our visit to Duck Lagoon which even at the end of a dry summer has enough water to sustain a large number of birds.
The food highlight was at Kangaroo Island Spirits, a rustic and quirky little distillery located in a corrugated iron shed near Cygnet River. They make an affogato to die for – drunken honeycomb ice cream, honey and walnut liqueur and a shot of espresso. Absolutely worth a detour if it’s not already on your itinerary.
Five days on KI was not nearly long enough and we have decided to go back in October for wildflower season and to explore the western end of the island.
Day Two and we meet some of Kangaroo Island’s most famous inhabitants … honey bees brought to the island around 1880 from the Italian province of Liguria. In 1885 the island was proclaimed a bee sanctuary, out of range of bee flight from the mainland, and they are now believed to be the last remaining pure strain of Ligurian bees left in the world. They are renowned to be be a gentle and industrious bee and I can certainly attest that their honey makes a delicious ice-cream.
At lunch, we meet another famous resident at Andermel Marron Cafe … this time however they are not so industrious. In fact they are lying on my plate covered in a chilli and lime dressing!! Again delicious. Thankfully we decided to eat before our live marron viewing, as they turned out to be rather attractive in spite of looking vaguely like one of those big black shiny garden cockroaches.
We ended the day with a walk at Vivonne Bay, which was voted Australia’s most beautiful beach. It’s definitely very pretty, but I think there are plenty of rivals for that title, including some of the beaches on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales.
Day One of our Kangaroo Island visit and already we are obsessed with the comings and goings of the KI ferry which we can see from the deck of our rented holiday house. Mum swears that the lights of the first ferry woke her up soon after 5am, but I neither heard nor saw anything …
The maximum today was 35C – a bit hotter than we were expecting – and the island is very dry, but the air is pure and free from pollution and the roads and beaches are un-crowded.
Highlights … beautiful views across Backstairs Passage from Cape Willoughby Lighthouse and then a delicious lunch at Dudley Cellar Door. I would normally run a mile from a pizza topped with fish and seafood dressing, but their Whiting Pizza actually tasted rather good, and the view from the tasting room has to be one of the best in Australia. A paddle and a pelican sighting at Baudin Beach and an expedition to Island Pure Sheep Dairy for cheese, yoghurt and labneh finished off our day.