Nine days of Kangaroo Island

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Last time we went to Kangaroo Island we had a lovely time, so it was time to return. We again stayed at the beautiful Vivonne Bay – a different, slightly bigger house which was also a block closer to the beach. Most of the time on the island was filled with beach, reading and Ticket to Ride Europe. It is hard to resist days of on the beach with a long, mostly empty beach ficve minutes walk away. But that wasn’t all we did.

2013-01-04 13.24.07We may have only been to Kangaroo Island a couple of times, but we already have habits. Or rituals if you prefer. Our first was to stop at Fish as soon as we were off the ferry for lunch. Still delicious fish and chips – and scallops and prawns. It was then off across the island to Vivonne Bay where we managed a swim and some boogie boarding straight away.

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On our second morning we got up early and went to Kingscote for supplies. Below are the kind of supplies that we particularly wanted.

2013-01-05 18.05.51We also had a lovely visit to KI Spirits where we pretty much bought all the spirits. And Fever Tree tonics. And had lovely chats with the owner while trying more. It is a must-visit stop on a KI visit.

Adelaide etc 58Long walks on the beach let small boys become junior naturalists, observing and sometimes even recording what they saw. The first couple of days we saw a lot of dead things – dead puffer fish, a dead giant Pacific gull and the dead baby seal I nearly ran into as it bobbed in the water. Small boys also gave much consideration to tracks in the sand, and came up with their own names for stretches of beach based on what they found there, or the geology or geography of the area.

Adelaide etc 67Last time we were on Kangaroo Island two years ago, Zac was a bit nervous about the ocean and would get cold quickly and wail and refuse to go in. This time it was impossible to get him out, even when he was shivering. Here I lured him out with the promise of tiny teddies. The wesuits helped a bit with the cold, but Zachary loved jumping around in the waves, resisting them with his Protein Power.

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We also made the trip to the marron farm where we had close encounters with marron both dead and alive. The Poachers Platter is as delicious as ever, and the boys got to meet some living marron up close.

Adelaide etc 153 Another morning trip took us to Little Sahara where the boys we hoping that the skim board that had won en route to Kangaroo Island would prove to be a good sannd slide. Sadly, it was inadequately slippery, so they were reduced to running up and down the giant sandhill. I’ll admit, once I had climbed to the top, I stayed there and watched.

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The other major outing was a visit to the Kelly Hill Caves, and while Jude and James and Sebastian went adventure caving in the afternoon, Zac and I went and looked at koalas, managing to spot 15. The highlight for Jude in the adventure caving tour apparently was getting to meet some paleontologists who were excavating, trying to find their way back 6000 years.

Adelaide etc 73Adelaide etc 267But mostly we were at the beach, swimming, playing cricket, boogie boarding, building castles, going for walks, reading books. The beach was still fairly unpopulated and one could walk for vast distances without seeing a footprint, let alone a person.

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We took a walk on the beach one night at sunset in the hope of seeing the stars, but it was cloudy. Nonetheless, the sunset was spectacular and it was lovely to walk the beach in the dimming light.

Adelaide etc 256So a lovely time away. Hard to leave it and return to reality. we made one last stop before catching the ferry with a quick visit to the lighthouse at Cape Willoughby. Then it was fish and chips and ferry and back to Adelaide.

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Kangaroo Island Days 5-6: Of Beach and Sand…and Marron

Another beach day. After a quick game of Carcassonne and breakfast, it was off to the beach. I do love the fact that there are so few people about; that each time we walk to the beach I can find a footprint or two left in the sand by the road from the last trip. We walked down some way to the area of rockpools Sebastian and I had discovered there. The rocks are great, textured and full of holes and the past, shells and rocks embedded within them, being worn away. I love how the rocks which spent most of their time in the water are covered in this green and yellow-brown seaweed which means that it feels like one is walking on carpet. The pools are a source of great fascination for the small people, and not insignificant interest for their parents. I managed to go for a long walk by myself, discovering another river mouth, and also a solo swim. The small boys made their first sand castle of the holidays and then engaged in some attempts to fight off the sea by throwing handfuls of sand into the waves. This did seem to entertain them for some time. To return to yesterday’s themes, beaches are definitely a lieu de memoire, a place which represents aspects of idealised childhoods we construct in our memories (to mix up the ideas of two memory theorists). There is an idealised Australian aspect to the beach-childhood memories; the sandcastles, the surf, the swimming…It is part of our identity as Australians to remember our beach-visiting childhoods and happy days with melting icecreams and plastic buckets.

This afternoon we returned to the beach and while Sebastian and James went swimming, Jude, Zachary and I walked back down the beach to the end of it and the star fish and urchins we discovered the other day. En route we engaged in some sand based literacy classes – Zac wrote his name over and over while Jude wrote all sorts of random things in the sand, with me correcting his spelling. At the end of the beach, Jude and Zac climbed up and down the giant sandhill while I waded in the ocean and contemplated the view. It is nice to have time to observe the world around one, to just admire and consider, and not just in 140 character long grabs (though perhaps in blog post length ones!). And it really is beautiful here. It seems that today we have really succeeded in completely exhausting the boys; they are all in bed and there isn’t a peep from them – I imagine that they will probably be asleep by the time I finish here. I, on the other hand, indulged in my first fizzy caffeinated beverage for days (the Vivonne General Store had Red Bull today!), so I am feeling the least exhausted I have off an evening so far. Or perhaps I am just getting used to the seaside life.

Day 6.

Today we decided to have a morning off from the beach to give the (still relatively mild) sunburn a rest. We drove to Little Sahara to check out the giant sandhills which did turn out to be as impressive as advertised. James has now determined that we will hire sandboards and head back for a morning of sliding up and down the hills.

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After that we drove to Cape Gantheaume National Park where we did the Timber Creek Walk through the bush. The tea tree forests were impressive and we saw various birds around the lagoon and swamp. It was a reasonably pleasant 1.5 km walk, although not wildly exciting.

We then headed off to the Andermel Marron Farm for lunch. The boys got to colour in marron before we all consumed them. The food was quite delicious. We also popped next door to look at the marron in tanks and purchase some of the Two Wheeler Creek wines, including the sparkling red we are drinking tonight – low carbon footprint alcohol consumption for this evening!

After a compulsory game of Carcassonne we headed down to the beach. James, Sebastian and I all had a quick swim while Jude and Zachary played on the beach; Jude practising more of his sand writing. I had a lovely swim, bobbing in the waves and diving under the breakers. I can see all the beach home owning fantasies developing now… A side point: Carcassonne (a Christmas gift from Lucy) has proved wildly popular with the small boys. Even Zachary is willing to give up the DS playing for a game with his brothers. And the boys are getting very cunning in their game play too.