Monday, October 26, 2009
We got up at a decent hour, around 7. We got breakfast, packed, (which didn't take long), and boarded the van at 8:45. We drove to the B&B where we dropped off some of the guests the day before, and we picked up some new people as well. Then we drove to the airport and picked up even more guests, so the van was much fuller. As people were departing the plane, our guide Tim was guessing people's country of origin - it was pretty interesting and humorous to see how he stereotyped the tourists. For the ones on our van, he was correct, they were American, from New York. We headed out generally west, with a stop to check out some koalas. We saw a big guy in a tree, mom and little guy in a closer tree (video of the mom and baby). The big guy climbed down the tree at one point, but we couldn't see where he went.
We took a long drive out to the western edge of the island, and went into Flinders National Park, where most of the tourists hang out. While much of the island has been cleared for farming, the western part of the island, plus some spots on the south coast, have been designated as National Parks. Our first stop was at Admiral's Arch - a huge arch over the rocks and beach. There were both Sea Lions and Fur Seals around, mostly sleeping on the rocks, where they blended in extremely well. Off in the distance, Crystal saw some "objects" that we later determined were the Remarkable Rocks. Around the Admiral's Arch was a big lighthouse, which must have been a pain to put in originally, since there were no roads and the sea looked nasty. There were two offshore islands, and we were told that occasionally the waves break over the islands. We went to another lookout point, between the Admiral's Arch and the Remarkable Rocks, but with no clever alliterative name.
The Remarkable Rocks were indeed remarkable. Phenomenal, astounding, unreal, all would have sufficed as well. They are giant granite rocks with unusual weathered shapes just sitting atop a cliff, as if placed there by a giant hand. Granite being eroded by wind, salt spray and wind isn't unusual in and of itself, but in addition to their own appearance, they don't resemble anything else along the coast, which is why Flinders labeled them "remarkable." The pictures really don't do them justice - they were one of the most spectacular things we've seen on any of our trips, anywhere in the world.
We had a very very late lunch, eating at almost 4pm. While we had a good time in the "morning," we couldn't figure out how it took 6 hours to do all of it. After lunch, we had an abbreviated kangaroo viewing, as we were running late and we had a plane to catch, but it was very good. There were about a dozen or so kangaroos around, with a group of 3 and a group of 2 (mother/child) that let us get relatively close. There was also a wallaby out, which is unusual since Tim told us that during the day, eagles will fly down and crush their spine, then pick them off at their leisure. Fortunately we didn't have to see this.
As we were walking back to the car, Tim saw an "echidna" that was actually just a rock, which was kind of funny since guests must mis-identify them all the time. We rushed back to the airport, made it with a little time to spare, then took the very short flight back to Adelaide. Back at our hotel, it was odd to think that only 36 hours had transpired since we had left. We had dinner again at Amalfi, with each of us getting an absolutely huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs, which, while good, was not nearly as good as it looked. We had another early flight ahead of us, so we went to sleep right after dinner.