At the bottom of the Fleurieu Peninsula is Kangaroo Island, filled with kangaroos, seals, koala's and echidnas.
We booked tickets on the ferry at the Information Centre in MacLaren Vale, for a bus tour of Kangaroo Island for a bus tour of the island..
An alternative, would have been to purchase our tickets at the ferry terminal in Cape Jervis, as long as we were flexible about when we went to the Island, taken our motorhome over on the ferry and spent a few days exploring the island.
As it turned out, we had a wonderful driver, who lived on the island farming a mixed farm of sheep, crop and cattle. Her commentary included what living on the island was like. The community life centres around schools, sports and farm life.
Tourism is big on the island, but quite laid back. The natural rugged beauty of the island speaks for itself without any promotional hype.
The Australian wildlife warning signs displayed here would never all be on display in one place. We visited a koala sanctuary. Their voracious appetite dictates a need for plenty of gum trees to sustain the koala population. The koalas were sleeping rather high up in the gum trees, and yes they do forget to hold on and fall out, sometimes sustaining nasty injuries. The koalas are quite particular about the gum leaves they like to eat. They'll pick a small branch and smell it. If it isn't exactly what they fancy, they simply drop it on the ground. So the secret to finding a koala up a gum tree is to look for trees that have small branches scattered all over the place.
The sanctuary is also home to echidnas, who come out around 4 o'clock. Echidnas are also known as the spinny ant eater. One was spotted just as we were leaving the sanctuary, waddling across the lawn. They are the size of a large fat cat. The spines are hollow but you still wouldn't want to mess with one. They're quite an inquisitive animal. I'm not an ant fan and thought having your own ant eater could be rather handy. The downside means that you would need to have ants.
We visited the seal conservation park and a ranger took us down to the resident seal colony on a boardwalk. From the boardwalk we could watch the life of seals, some returning from fishing and pups finding their mum for a suckle of milk.
Our visit to Remarkable Rocks was interesting. There are drop offs to the sea below. and we reflected that in NZ, we probably wouldn't be able to explore the rocks as it would be deemed too dangerous. In Aussie, you are told its dangerous and be careful.
Our bus driver suggested we look out for different shapes, birds, dinosaurs etc.
There are all sorts of shapes and colourings of the rocks and we had a bit of fun exploring the area.
Walking down to the rocks is a boardwalk through a native coastal planting.
Admirals Cave was our second last stop on the island. The boardwalk and stairway down to the arch are an impressive site in themselves.
The area is home to a seal colony and we watched baby seals play in the pools for ages, having fun with each other and rolling in the waves.
The final stop off was to the National Park HQ which has a cafe and we topped up with a cuppa and muffin before heading back to the ferry and the motorhome.
On the Peninsula we bush camped at Rapid Bay. The area is large and you pretty much just pull up where you would like to stay. We had nearly beach front real estate and could watch the sun setting from the comfort of the motorhome.
Rapid Bay proved to be an excellent base for exploring the lower end of the peninsula.
It's one of those "step back in time" places.
The caretaker comes around each evening to collect the camp fees. $7 per person per night.
It's a very popular area, and they said even at Christmas time, they always seem to find space to fit people in.
The place is popular for fishing, kayaking and diving.
The Rapid Bay wharf at sunset provided plenty of photographic opportunities.
We are members of the CMCA, the Motorhome Association of Australia, the sister organisation to New Zealand NZMCA.
Within the association, members offer their property for overnight parking at minimal or no cost. Membership has its benefits.
When we woke in the morning, the mist was swirling around us up on the hills on the northern end of the peninsula.
The mist was still swirling about as we got on the road for our next adventure.
Fleurio, we loved our time here, the bakeries (particularly in Yankalilla}, the wineries and the beautiful coastline.
The Road Trip trip around the Barossa Valley can take one day. We have enjoyed spreading out our time here, wandering, investigting, visiting, tasting and trying all that is on offer.
We are members of the CMCA. One of the privileges of membership is access to over 250 park over properties. One such place near Gawler was an absolute delight to stay at.
Our hosts were very hospitable with delicious cups of coffee and chats about the area.
One of the most delightful places we went to visit was the Whispering Wall. The wall is the Barossa Valley Dam. The dam supplies water to the Gawler area. It was one of the lifeblood requirements of setting up the community in this area while gold was mined.
The curve of the wall of the dam, creates an audible experience across 140m, Geoff and I could whisper sweet nothings to each other and hear what the other was saying.
There are interpretive panels explaining how and why the dam came to be. The area is also a picnic spot and would be lovely on a warm spring or autumn day. This is one of those places of interest that is worth making the effort to go to.
While staying in the Gawler district we took advantage of train travel into Adelaide to go exploring. A $10 day pass allowed us to travel for the day on buses, trains and trams. There is also a free hop on, hop off bus and tram service available in the inner city.
For me places that are about food at always a highlight. We thoroughly enjoy visiting the Chinatown food Hall with food from around Asia was available at reasonable prices.
The food hall is part of the central market, open Tuesday to Sunday, but we found quite a number of stalls were open on Monday as well.
We also booked a spot on the Hague chocolate factory tour. Geoff was a reluctant starter as he believes chocolate isn't good for us. However he was slow to offer to give up his samples of chocolate (in fact he didn't share),
With the explanation of how chocolate is made right from the growing of the cocao plant, and from the pod to the seed, to the processing right here, the tour was really enjoyable. We were able to hold parts of the plant to smell, touch and feel that really was made the tour with while.
Of course some supplies where required and we did purchase seconds which supplied us with desert after our evening meal for the next three weeks.
Finishing our Barossa Valley road trip with a wander through the old gold fields, now a popular recreation area with walks varying from 30 mins to 2.5 hours, It is a popular area for the locals to walk their dogs.
At the foothills of the goldfields is Lyndoch. A small village surrounded by wineries and full of cafe's and quirky little shops. Our final cellar door experience was at Kies Winery where the specialty is fortified wines.
They are a small winery and only sell their produce and product at the cellar door or online.
I came away with a bottle of blonde port and thoroughly enjoyed the visit, made fun by Mat, even with his hand bandaged, he managed to look after a group of four young ladies who didn't really drink wine, as well as us. It was quite an amusing visit. Most of the ladies left with a bottle or two under their arm.
Next stop Yorke Peninsula.
Sand, sun, sea and brightly coloured birds, the likes of which we have only seen in pet shops. What and absolute joy to see them flying free, their colouful plumage lifting my spirits skywards.
We are loving Australia.
Having tested out the motorhome we've been lent, we have set forth and slowly worked our way via inland roads towards Adelaide in South Australia.
Our family and friends didn't know where some of the places we visited in New Zealand were, so over the ditch I thought it would be helpful to have a map to show where we are. (For us as well).
Eventually I found Wikicamps to be the easiest to operate, with it's drag and drop. This is the link to our trip on WikiCamps
Highlights of our trip so far are our time in Ballarat, particularly at Sovereign Hill and the story of gold and the difference it made to Australia.
The volunteers dress in period costume and are assigned roles for the day such as shopper on the street, wood chopper, housewife etc. They volunteer as often as they wish. The lady I was chatting to originally came from Timaru, New Zealand - 20 odd years ago. She volunteers three Thursdays a month. It's such a great idea, and makes the village much more authentic.
Then there are staff who have specific skills, particularly the engineering type of jobs. They are paid for the work they do. For everyone's safety, you want to know that the bloke operating the boiler house knows exactly what he's about.
Bush or freedom camping has been great too. We are finding it quite different from New Zealand. Campfires seem to be the norm.
Our stay over the Easter period in Stawell was very enjoyable. We stayed at the Stawell Grampians Gate Campground with 700 other people. We were "out the back" in the bush area, which for us was just great, we were bush camping along with many others. Campfires going, tents flapping, mossies decending - ok, that bit wasn't so good, but toilet and showers were handy with plenty of hot water for showers.
On the Saturday morning we walked up to the Main Street, which was closed to traffic and there were stalls, bouncy castles and a car show as well, including Mad Max's car.
We took a trip to Halls Gap in the Grampians with the intention of exploring further, but every man and his dog had arrived in the Grampians to do the same thing over Easter. They even had carpark attendants on duty at the carparks. Instead we walked into the silverband waterfall and walked over Lake Bellfield dam.
This is Reeds lookout. There is no way either Geoff or I could have gone out on that ledge, so we are grateful to the young couple who did for their ultimate photo shot. It gave us ours as well.
Right from the get go, as we have planned our move to Australia, I have been rather anxious about the wildlife. Our first two sightings of kangaroos were as roadkill. Our next wildlife experience was the emu's at Halls Gap and MacKenzie Falls carpark.
We were driving along after leaving the Grampians and Geoff commented on the lush farmland we had just driven into. Next minute, where were kangaroos sunning themselves, about as many as the sheep in the paddocks.
In New sZealand, we are members of the NZMCA, the national Motorhome and Caravan Association. We have joined the Australian equivalent, the CMCA. Both organisations provide the opportunity for people to offer private property for members to stay on. In Horsham, we stayed at the property of a lovely man named Graham. It's nice to be able to park up safely overnight.
I will leave our tale in Horsham, and endeavour to keep you up to date as often as limited power, wifi and time will allow.
Two Kiwi's who have retired early to travel the world. Share our journey with us.