Emu Ridge Is the only commercial Eucalyptus Oil Distillery left in South Australia and are totally self sufficient. generating their power by steam.
Native farming is far better for our environment, no sprays and chemicals, a great renewable resource and a natural product.
We took a tour of the distillery. Stopped in the gift shop to buy some oil take home with us.
We also saw an orphaned baby kangaroo. in the gift shop.
They try to rehab orphans here in this area and they have a special place where they are kept.
The main attraction of the area of Flinder's Chase nearest the Visitor's Center is the Platypus Waterholes nature trail. Platypus are endangered, and in an effort to increase population size, a number were relocated here from the mainland. The trail winds through the freshwater bog/creek area where the platypus have been introduced. There are wooden viewing platforms positioned at the edge of the creek and over the water at intervals along the trail.
These are very shy creatures. Although I *thought* I *might* have seen the tell-tale bubble-and-ring disturbance on the surface of a pond a time or two, I have to admit that the only platypus I actually saw was this bronze one at the trail head.
Walking along the nature trail, you also get a nice feel for the flora of Kangaroo Island. There are spiky, waxy flowers of several varieties, spiky-leafed trees and bushes, trees in bloom (I was there in December--summertime), and so on.
The lizard in the photo is called a "goanna," and it, like the koala and the wallaby, was introduced into Kangaroo Island in an effort to protect it from extinction. You can see goannas sunning on walkways and pavements or scuttling into the underbrush when feeling threatened.
You wouldn't imagine a lizard to be a very intelligent creature, but here's a fact that may demonstrate that they are: Kangaroo Island gets cold, and as these are cold-blooded creatures, they have learned to place their egg nests in the mounds of termites in order to incubate.
I saw this one at Seal Bay Conservation Park. I like the shot because in it you can see that the lizard's right front and back feet are both off the ground and casting shadows as he runs.
Flinder's Chase Visitor Center is a good place to begin a tour of Kangaroo Island since it is housed in a large new building with excellent interpretive displays of the island's geology and wildlife. There are even touch-and-feel exhibits for childeren to explore. The visitor's center also has nice bathrooms (in case you're camping in the bush and would like a flush toilet and running water to freshen up).
In the parking area you will find lots and lots of kangaroos relaxing and posing with visitors. They may be hoping for handouts, but there is a sign asking people not to feed the wildlife: "Keep the wildlife wild."
The New Zealand fur seals found here are not true seals but rather a type of sea lion. The information posters at the entrance to the Admiral's Arch area of the park give this and other bits of information about these animals.
Why does it matter? Because sea lions can actually use their back and front flippers to "walk" (sort of like inch-worms), which allows them to climb up on rocks along shorelines of the sort found at Admiral's Arch.
You can't really get very close to these sea lions to take great portraits, but click on the image to see it a bit bigger and you might be able to tell which spots are the sea lions which spots are the rocks they are resting on.
A highlight of any day is a visit to Seal Bay where your guide will walk you through a wild colony of Australian Sea lions as they relax in their natural habitat.
You can walk the boardwalk afterwards and get some good views of the ocean and beach.
There is a gift shop by the parking lot that has some good books on birding.
Besides kangaroos, what other animal comes to mind when you think about Australia? Koalas, of course.
Koalas were introduced to Kangaroo Island when the loss of their habitat on the mainland threatened their numbers. And they are still a threatened species... except on Kangaroo Island. The population of koalas on K.I. has increased so dramatically that they are considered pests by local residents--an example of the rule of unintended consequences, it seems. Efforts to cull the koalas to a manageable level have not got very far because of the fear of a tourist backlash.
Of *course* people all over the world would think the authorities coldhearted if they were to allow culling, because koalas are so very adorable. Cuddly looking with round eyes below tufted, furry ears, and button-like black noses; babies clinging to their mothers tummies or backs; sitting placidly in gum trees munching on leaves... what could possibly be offensive about an animal that looks like a nursery toy?
See them for yourself at the Hanson Bay koala sanctuary. From a small parking area, walk along a short wide pathway lined with gum trees. Look up into the branches to spot the koalas. The best time to go is late afternoon as koalas are nocturnal and will begin to rouse in the early evening.
If you are in the vicinity of Penneshaw at dusk, hurry on over to the area near the pier to spot the fairie (variously called little or blue or even fairy) penguins come ashore after a day of feeding in the ocean.
They are light-sensitive, so you will need to take a flashlight with a red filter covering the lense so as not to blind them. (That's why I made this picture a black-and-white shot.)
Among the shyest of Kangaroo Island animals is the native short-beaked echidna. I was very lucky to see this one, which was simply digging around at the side of the road.
Echidnas are sometimes known as "spiny anteaters" because, in fact, they do eat ants, or rather termites. They first root around in the ground with their long, stick-like snouts to disturb the insects' nests. Then when the panicked little bugs come pouring out, the echidna is ready with a ribbon of flypaper disguised as a tongue, ready to lap them up.
It is actually possible to volunteer for a weekend helping research scientists learn more about echidna behavior. If you are planning a trip to K.I. consider tacking on a weekend as a volunteer. Follow the link below for more information.
Little Sahara is an area of high sand dunes, which is common enough near oceans, but what is amazing is that these dunes are located a full 5 kilometers from shore!
So, rent a sandboard and find your way inland to the most improbable desert you can imagine. We rented our boards at a small grocery along the way, the Kiawarra Food Barn.
Sandboarding is actually harder than it looks. You'll laugh at your clumsiness and curse getting sand in your scalp and up your shorts. I still laugh every time I remember my own hours of digging sand out of seemingly every crevice....
After seeing Remarkable Rocks, we headed by car back along Boxer drive, turning left in Cape Du Couedic road, and then a little later turning left again into Weirs Cove Road.
This area was notorious for Shipwrecks. After three major ones, it was decided to build a Lighthouse. The problem was, how to bring the building materials here as there were no roads.
It was decided all building materials were required to be brought by sea, being landed at Weir's Cove Jetty, then brought to the top of the 150 foot cliff via a flying fox. It was amazing seeing the cutting which was all hand made, what a lot of hard work was done to make this possible. All on-going supplies of food, clothing etc. arrived at 3-monthly intervals for lightkeepers and their families. The winch raising the supplies was driven by a stationary engine, not only supplies were winched to the top, but also people!
I went for a wander around the ruins of the storeroom that was used to house the supplies for the lighthouse staff in the years 1907 to 1936. Only a few walls standing, and close to the house, the remains of a water well.
The beaches all along Seal Bay and Bales Bay make up the Seal Bay Conservation Park. The waters up to .4 nm offshore are also protected marine conservation areas. This allows the resident population of Australian Sea Lions to make the shore their home for hunting, mating, rearing their young, and resting.
The park is accessible by way of a boardwalk constructed over the dunes from the visitor's center to the beach, ending at an observation platform from which the sea lions can be observed. If you want a closer look, you need to sign up for a guided tour with one of the park rangers.
The photo of the sea lion pup chasing the gulls was taken from a ranger-led walk on the beach.
... you might miss seeing some of the other wildlife in the paddocks and along the roads.
We occasionally saw a few emu grazing, and once we came upon an echidna on the roadside (see the separate tip for a photo).
Emus are very large, very feathery birds that look a little like ostriches. The thing is, they can't fly, so they strut around on looking absurdly like moss-covered rocks propped up by thin sticks.
Apparently you can reliably spot emus at the Flinders Chase National Park picnic grounds, where visitors using the tables there enter cages in order to keep the emus, roos, and other wildlife from pestering the humans for unhealthy snacks.
We went to the Island Pure Sheep Dairy.
There we watched a short film clip, then we went into the dairy. From the glass windows we could see them milking the 300+ sheep.
I had never thought about them doing this.
Guess I only thought they were good for their wool. Afterwards we were given free samples of cheese. That did it, now I am hooked on sheep cheese.
This is another MUST SEE on Kangaroo Island
Just follow the signpost to the car-park for Admiral's Arch. Once parked, we then went for the walk along the wooden walkway, following it to the end to find the Arch. This picturesque Arch has been formed by nature. The Sea comes crashing in, as do the strong winds, combined they have eroded the rock away and made a natural arch. This has happened over thousands of years, and will keep on happening over time. Take a little time here, as if you look carefully under the Arch, you will see a colony of New Zealand fur-seals on the rock platforms. They do blend in rather well with the dark grey rocks!
Hanson Bay, Australia
Good for: Business
3-5 Rawson Street, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, 5223, Australia
Good for: Business
Very pleasant and comfortable stay, the staff are very friendly and helpful with a very good...more