Diane Ross
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Ballarat  Grampians  Healesville  Kangaroo Island  Ocean Road 

Phillips Island  Tasmania  Wilsons Prom  Misc

Day 1

I had to get up very early today to catch my plane to Kangaroo Island.  I am so not a morning person.  At least both flights were on time unlike my trip to Tasmania where they were both late.  I would seriously like to know why my gate is always at the very end of the terminal.  I have travel half way around the world and my gates are still at the end of the concourse.  Does anyone ever fly out of all those closer gates or are they just for show.  My flight out of Adelaide was out of new new terminal.  It was not even being fully utilized yet and my gate was still at the end of the concourse.

When we land at 10 AM I have an important decision to make.  Do I check in or do I start site seeing.  Initially I decide to check in, then I see a sign that says Seal Bay and points in the opposite direction to my hotel.  I decide they probably wouldn't let me check in at 10 AM anyway and I am off to Seal Bay.

Seal Bay has the last remaining sea colony of Australian Sea Lions on the island.  I think that should make it Sea Lion Bay but it doesn't.  The beach is littered with sea lions.  The sea lions go out to sea for three days and eat and then they come to Seal Bay, haul out on the beach and rest for three days.  The poor baby sea lions get left behind.  Imagine being deserted by your mother for three days with no one else to feed you.  I wouldn't like it very much but it works for them.

I continue down the road to Kelly Hill Caves and take the tour there.  For the most part this is a dry cave which means the stalactites and stalagmites are no longer growing.  There are a couple areas where water still manages to trickle through from the ceiling.  It is extremely hot today and the coolness of the cave is a welcome relief.

From the caves I head out to the Koala Walk at Hanson Bay Sanctuary.  At first I don't see anything.  I know I am looking for fuzzy grey things in the trees but I sure can't find them.  Then another guest points one out to me.  Now I can see bunches of them.  I am not sure why I couldn't see them before.  They look like fuzzy grey things in the trees.  The difference between wild Koala Bears and captive Koala Bears is that wild Koala Bears are sleeping in gum trees 15-20 feet over your head.  Captive Koala Bears are sleeping in pseudo gum trees at eye level.  Koala Bears sleep up to 20 hours a day, it takes time to get a picture of one with its eyes open.

It is now around 3:30 PM and I am tired.  I had to get up at 4:30 AM.  I decide it is time to head back and check in.  After checking in I go out an get a pizza.  If you are ever in Kingscote drop by Bella Cafe, they have excellent pizza, I had the meat lovers.

Day 2

Strange how when you start out in the morning you expect to shoot certain things.  Some days (OK most days) don't go as planned.  I started by going to Parndana Wildlife Park.  I expected to get lots of shots of Kangaroo Island Kangaroo and Tammar Wallabies.  I got lots of shots of black swans and Stone Curlew.  I did feed the kangaroo.  I just can't resist feeding animals.  The pen they were in just wasn't very photographic.  The kangaroos tended to hang out by the fence a lot.

Then I went out to see one of the lighthouses on the island.  I always see such lovely photographs of lighthouse yet whenever I go to see them they just don't seem very photographic.  Today was no different.

Then I took the Platypus Waterhole Walk.  Of course I did not see a single platypus.

Next I went to Flinders Chase National Park and saw the Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks.  Both are must sees.  At Admirals Arch there is a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals.  At some point in the past someone told me you could tell sea lions and seals apart because sea lions had ear flaps and seals don't.  New Zealand Fur Seals must be the exception to the rule because they have ear flaps.  They should not allow excepts to rules, it makes things terribly confusing.

On the way back to the hotel I saw a swarm of cockatoo (flock is not a big enough word, it really was more of a swarm).  They kept landing in a framers field.  While taking photos the battery in my camera died.  It was the second of the day.  Last night I made a bad decision and decided I did not need to charge the battery I had been using.  Never again will I leave without two fully charged batteries.

Day 3

I am not sure why I bother to plan things.  I awoke to the sound of rain which shortly turned into a thunder storm.  The whole island lost power.  I did not gas the car last night and I couldn't go far without gas, not that I really wanted to go anywhere in the rain.

I decided to go into town to look for souvenirs and maybe a book.  I have three books in the apartment in Melbourne to read, but did I bring one with me - NO.

The power came on after a couple hours and the rain turned into a light shower so I decided to give it a go.  I had planned on going to Paul's Place and then back to Seal Bay.  I decided to take the short way to Paul's Place since I was not in a hurry.  The short way was 30 km down a dirt washboard road.  I keep hoping I will see wildlife if I go off the beaten track.  So far I have seen a few wallabies.  None of them have stayed around long enough to get their pictures taken.

Paul's place is another wildlife park, sort of.  Anyway it is definitely not a good place to take pictures of wildlife.  Given that, if you have kids I would highly recommend it.  During the tour we got to hold a possum, a snake, a full grown kangaroo, and a koala.  The adults got to hold the Kangaroo (cradled like a baby) while standing.  The kids held it with brothers and sisters or parents seated.  You also get to feed just about everything; ponies, cows, kangaroos, emus, etc.  They also demonstrate sheep sheering.  It took three hours for the whole tour.

I never did get back to Seal Bay.  I did not have enough time to get there before the last tour.

I got back to Kingscote in time for the free pelican feed.  It is advertised as free but they do ask for a two dollar donation once you get there.  It was definitely worth the two dollars.  Australian Pelicans are beautiful.  The ones ready to mate have the most gorgeous colors in their beaks.

Later in the evening I went on the fairy penguin tour.  You cannot use a flash as it blinds the birds for 20 minutes leaving them vulnerable to predators.  They use a red light to spot them.  With my camera set at 3200 ISO I can get red, very grainy shots of them.

As I return to the hotel the rain starts again.

Day 4

I awake to the sound of rain again.  It rains on and off most of the day.  I head to Seal Bay in the afternoon.  The rain lets up while I photograph the sea lions.  As I leave the rain intensifies.  I have to use the low speed wipers on the way back to town, the first time since arriving in Australia.  Unfortunately on the way back I lessen the population of wallabies by one.  I have hit chipmunks, squirrels, and even birds before.  I always have had to look in the rearview mirror to see if I hit them or if they made it.  When you hit a wallaby you don't have to look in the rearview mirror, you know it is over.  The rain grows even harder, seemingly in response to my mood.  Even though I could not avoid the wallaby I still feel bad about hitting it.  I can think of better ways to end a trip.