New Zealand and Australia at last!

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Mar 29th, 2017, 06:20 AM
  #21
 
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That would have been so much fun. Next time, glover...
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Apr 2nd, 2017, 01:29 PM
  #22
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Te Anau glow worms

Next day in Te Anau we lazed around our comfortable house and gardens over coffee and breakfast. A neighbor came by to ask for fallen quince fruit in "our" yard, so had a nice chat with him. He mentioned that real estate prices had sky rocketed in The little town of Te Anau in last couple years.

Around midday we walked the few blocks into and around town again, then boarded a smaller Real Journeys boat for a trip across the lake to see NZ's famous glow worms. It was another sunny clear day so the half hour or so ride across the lake provided more beautiful views. We stayed outside on top deck for whole journey, as we had for the much longer Milford cruise. Our friend had met a woman earlier at a party in DC whose daughter has a guiding job at the Te Anau glow worm site. So we had requested her as our guide, and she turned out to be a good one. (And her mom got some bonus pics of daughter at work in her element).

An impressive I nfrastructure and operation has been built here to show tourists the glow worms, which can be seen independently for less $$ of course in many caves throughout NZ. We thought of the Te Anau experience as "spelunking for the timid and lazy." The idea of exploring caves always had appeal, but not so much solo on hands and knees. Here we had a carefully laid labyrinth of skid proof, handrailed raised paths through the dark and fantastic cave. Paths led us eventually to an interior "dock" where our group crowded into a simple rowboat with bench seating for a trip on a cave stream. We imagined ourselves embarking on the River Styx. Spent maybe 15 mins or so in total darkness and enforced silence viewing the sparkling constellation like lights of the glow worms on the cave walls and ceilings. All we could ever see was myriad lights, not actual worms. At some point later walking in the cave, we had the opportunity to observe the fishing line like threads that the worms produce to catch their food. And later in the discovery center near the cave we watched a well done video of the worms throughout their life cycle. Fascinating!

Back in town after our tour we took a walk in a nearby nature reserve and then did some procuring for a casual BBQ at the house. Nice cocktail hour on the patio followed by great dinner at home of burgers and veggies on the grill.

With great regret, we said goodbye to our lovely little house and Te Anau for the longish drive to Dunedin.
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Apr 6th, 2017, 09:02 PM
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Dunedin and on to Christchurch

Another lovely drive of several hours- this one on reasonably flat and straight roads.
We stopped for a bathroom break in the small town of Clinton, which had been preceded by the small town of Gore- hence giving rise to an amusing sign calling the linking highway the "Clinton/Gore Presidential Highway."

A university town with some Scottish heritage, Dunedin is a busy city with a population of about 120,000. Having been in rather quiet small towns for several days, we all experienced a kind of culture shock finding traffic, parking regs, and even a few sirens. So much noise! Checked in at our city hotel digs - the Scenic Hotel, part of an NZ chain. Nice rooms and just down street from the Octagon, the center city. Hotel recommended The Reef Restaurant in walking distance for bday dinner for one of us. It was a dark, cozy, casual place with good food and friendly service by a young nz woman, who was refreshingly honest and funny about it being just her second shift as a server. I had my first Queens scallops, which came in their attractive shells and tasted to me like a cross between a clam and scallops I know.

Enjoyed small breakfast next am at Emporium cafe across from our hotel. Set off on a walk round town: first to the first big Presbyterian Church, then to the lovely Chinese gardens, and then on to Dunedin's wonderful railway station, a beautiful old building completed in Renaissance Flemish style in 1906. Passed by the soon to be closed Cadbury Chocolate factory and stepped inside just to have a look at its museum. Some fun Cadbury memorabilia just inside the lobby - enough that we decided we didn't need to do the tour. Had a great late lunch sitting outside in sunny clear day at buzzy Cafe on the Octagon.

In later afternoon we were picked up at our hotel by Tony of Elm Wildlife tours. We had arranged a 5 hour wildlife tour around the Otago peninsula. It was a definite NZ trip highlight for all of us. The peninsula drive is gorgeous with both curving hill and flat coastal parts. The sky was sunny and clear as we drove toward our destination for wildlife viewing. Alas, though, fog enclosed the areas we aimed for. Never mind, Tony assured us that we'd still see plenty of wildlife, and we did ! Some ducks and wading birds in low wetland areas, royal Albatross resting/nesting near the observation area of the Albatross Discovery center (though no views of them flying in that socked in area), a dozen or so big sea lions frolicking on a wild beach, probably another hundred fur seals near a rocky outcropping, and a single yellow eyed penguin who entertained us all for 15 minutes as he walked up steps, across a footbridge just feet from us, down steps and up a path. Lots of steep uphill walking on that tour, which earned us all drinks and dinner later at an Irish bar on the Octagon. Was virtually the only place still serving by the time we were out at 9. Things often close earlyish in these NZ towns. We all deemed it a great day out. Tony our guide was great - knowledgeable, laid back, nice sense of humor, fearless driver.....

Next day we got our usual late start and did some more of the town. Ended up spending hours in the wonderful Otago museum, looking at history of the area,
Transport over the years, and a really interesting exhibit about long term study of 1000 residents of Dunedin, a study that has become recognized worldwide. Thought we might get up to the university in town, but never made it. We women strolled in and out of a few galleries. Ate dinner that night at the quirky restaurant Plato (a recommendation that came up several times) down in the warehouse dock area of town. Very good fish and great fun service in an old fishermen's lodge FULL of chatzches of all sorts. We sat next to a jammed full shelf collection of teapots. There were eggbeater, toasters and on. And on.

Returned our unused in Dunedin rental car at the airport and flew to ....

Christchurch.

Checked in to our two bdr apartment in the Heritage Hotel, an old restored government building dead center in post earthquake Cathedral square. This building had also suffered a lot of damage in the large earthquake of 2011 and had only reopened fairly recently. It's a great old building, calling to mind for all of us the Old Post Office building in DC, another great old building that all of us once worked next to and frequented often, and none of us will visit again, as it is now a Trump Hotel. Spent the remaining afternoon walking around town, getting a sense of the extent of the earthquake damage and rebuilding efforts. Walked some distance to find an Italian restaurant - Venuti - that had been recommended by a gallery owner in Dunedin. Decent Italian food. Watched as host turned people without a reservation away from a half full restaurant. Perhaps they were understaffed? It was a nice warm eve, so we had a drink at the lively open air Cafe of our hotel "OGB" (old government building).
We were entertained by some bad live music and the the charming young Parisian who seems to be running the place at the moment with his Kiwi wife.

Went on an independently run free walking tour of the city next am with "Michael."
About 20 or so folks showed up for the tour. Michael was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the city, so it was a quick and interesting two hours. Heard about earthquake details, rebuilding efforts, use of container crates for temporary shops. Stopped by the botanical gardens, looked at some more "base isolator" columns supporting the Art Museum (a fabulous modern building). Tour ended at site where most of the 100 plus earthquake deaths occurred. Poignant for me especially since many were students at an English language school on the site. Some type of permanent memorial is planned for that site. Diagonally across from the site is a temporary memorial of 100 plus seats of all kinds painted white, memorializing those who died (including car seats, high chair, desks). Some seats were collected from site, others donated. Michael's enthusiasm for the city's rebirth was infectious, and we all left feeling glad to have seen Christchurch, even so damaged, and cheering for its renewal. After the tour, the guys went off to Carltons Bar in the afternoon to check out NCAA bball semi championships. I had researched a few sports bars around town the night before and emailed them to see who might have Skye/ESPN. They enjoyed the bar and the game with a handful of other locals and tourists to chat with. We women went off for more time in the art museum and botanical gardens, where we later had a little tea, before rain set in. Especially liked the atrium light s in the museum - helter skelter desk chairs with backs of various bright colors. Also, as always, the fabulous old trees in the botanical gardens. Too lazy and tired to go out again in rain, we had a delicious, if slow, dinner at OGB' this time inside the hotel. Again, our friend the young Parisian seemed in be in 10 places at a time, delighting all.

Lazy final morning in Christchurch. A little more time in the historical museum, including viewing a great video about research and conservation of some of area's oldest trees. Then we were off to airport for our flight to Brisbane to begin the Australian adventure.

So sad to leave!! Our slogan for NZ - "New Zealand - What's NOT to Like???"
Dramatic nature; friendly, open, unfailingly nice people; great food everywhere;
And everything tidy, and easy, and efficient. "No worries."
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Apr 7th, 2017, 04:15 AM
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Thanks again for sharing, glover. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Australia.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 06:22 AM
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What's NOT to Like???"

Indeed!

Thanks for posting, sounds like a great trip. I so need to get back to NZ.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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Still following along and making mental notes for whenever we get to NZ. Cant wait to hear your thoughts on Australia.

Cold April day in DC.
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Apr 9th, 2017, 04:44 PM
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And on to Australia...

Great Barrier Reef/Cairns/ Port Douglas

We flew Christchurch to Brisbane and then on to Cairns, a long travel day. Our flight to Cairns arrived on schedule at 12:05am (Yawn). Met our driver Brad from Oasis Transport for the hour drive to our lodging in Port Douglas - Outrigger Apartments. Here we had a smallish 2 bdr apt with a small balcony. Nothing fancy, but a great location. Very welcoming and helpful managers, Amanda and Peter, who we later discovered had emigrated from Pretoria, South Africa a few years ago. Had asked Amanda to arrange two tours for us to accomplish our goals in this area: visit the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Day 1 had been established as a "rest" day - a euphemism for time to watch the NCAA b ball finals. Guys had done their research and determined that Paddy's Irish Bar would show the game for them. So they set off the few blocks from our digs to center town. Women straggled in later after a later start, some shop schmoozing etc. All had lunch and watched Carolina beat Gonzaga, to the delight of the NC native in our group. A few locals and A New York couple ultimately joined us for the exciting midday game.

After a rest, some laundry, balcony, birdwatching across the street, some rain set in again. Walked back into town with umbrellas and had a wonderful dinner at the Watergate(!) restaurant, which turned out to be managed by a guy from Indianapolis and his wife. A short Hoosier conversation ensued. Watergate is a lovely restaurant under a huge tent of sorts. Food was great. Kangaroo was on the menu, so decided to try it. Tasted like tender beef to me.....

We were concerned about weather forecasts that predicted rain for all the days of our stay around the GBR. But what would be would be, we would continue with our tours regardless. So, early (but not so bright) we were picked up by Nicholas Fox of Daintree Safaris for a day tour. Our host Amanda had done good research for us based on our criteria for a rainforest tour. Nicholas is extremely knowledgeable about the history, culture, flora, and fauna of the area. We picked up just one other couple on our way from Port Douglas to Daintree. Rain continued on and off (sometimes hard) for half the day. Never mind, Nicholas provided super large umbrellas for our walks through the ancient forest on the nicely done boardwalk, educating us on various plants and trees and pointing out forest dragons, very large fruit bats, etc that we would never have spotted on our own. He served up a mid morning tea under a park pavilion, complete with tablecloth. fruit, and muffins made by his wife.

Much to all of our delight, we had a great view of TWO cassowaries along the road. These huge, beautiful, and prehistoric birds are now very rare. It's estimated that there are perhaps 200 remaining worldwide, and about 55 in the Daintree forest. We felt privileged to have seen two, but just checked Nicholas' Facebook page and learned that a few days after we'd gone out with him, he'd set a new record - spotting 16 individual cassowaries on that day! Another fun stop on the tour was an orchard and a local ice cream factory that serves up flavors from the orchard. Scarfed down the delicious ice cream and then enjoyed wandering through the orchard looking at all kinds of exotic fruit trees. We learned more about the fruits during a short presentation after a nice lunch of local fish ( barramundi) in a small restaurant. Finished the tour with a short cruise on The Daintree river, checking out some crocodiles. Best river siting was a magnificent azure kingfisher bird. Got back to Port Douglas around 4:30. A great day out, despite dicey weather. Highly recommend Nicholas's tour!

Chilled on our balcony a bit, then decided to walk the few blocks down to the marina area for dinner. Suddenly heard and then saw dense flocks of birds flying into the trees by marina area. These turned out to be the rainbow lorikeets we'd read about. Trees were thick with them roosting and squawking for the eve. Looked for space outside near water to eat and could only find one at Hogs Breath, which is likely a chain. Had some drinks and average food, while enjoying the view.

Next day we were up early to be back at marina by 9:15 for our all day cruise to the Agincourt Reef with the big company Quiksilver. This was our host Amanda's pick for us based on our desire to take a submersible boat ride near the Reef, as well as do some snorkeling. Based on reviews, I had some reservations about going out on this very large boat, but decided it would be an ok option to satisfy the snorklers and nonsnorklers in our group. The weather dawned sunny and clear, but breezy. At our ship, which I believe to be Quicksilver's largest - capacity 400, water conditions were listed as "rough". We four found a table /booth on the lowest level, believing that would provide smoothest voyage. Crew came around offering ginger tablets to help with any possible seasickness. We all accepted. The sole member of our group notorious for motion sickness was advised by crew that the tabs, rather than his own Dramamine, would suffice for that day's journey out to the Reef. After an hour or so voyage on beautiful blue and mildly turbulent waters, we arrived at the Reef. Quicksilver has a large pontoon anchored there. We went off to do the submersible ride first thing, and we were quite taken with that experience. Saw many different kinds of fish and a wonderful variety of coral (though sadly so much of it bleached now). Also walked through the underwater viewing area. Queued up for the lunch buffet. Big variety of food on buffet- hot and cold. Good enough, but nothing to write home about. By this time 3 of 4 of us had decided to snorkel, the other having had a minor toe injury. So we 3 suited up in the head to toe Lycra jumpsuits mandated for stinger/jellyfish protection. We were a sight! Gathered up provided equipment and slid off the pontoon edge into roped off water area for snorkeling. This was only an ok experience because of wind and the crowd of people. We 3 swum around for maybe 20 minutes, but didn't really see any more than we'd seen on the submersible. Dressed again we went and sat outside and enjoyed nice weather and blue sea views nearly until ship's departure from the pontoon, when it started to rain. Ship pulled away and then the seas got rougher. Many, many people, including the one in our group notorious for motion sickness on planes, who "never gets sick on boats," got quite seasick. Staff was kept busy running back and forth with damp cloths for throats and new white sick bags. But they were prepared! Quite an experience. Overall we were glad to have seen the Reef. Just beautiful water out there and the diversity of coral on the Reef was amazing, however bleached. But if I had a do over, I'd go out on a much smaller boat that only provides snorkeling for a less crowded experience. Though we'd then have missed the submersible boat experience......

Fortunately our friend made a miraculous recovery after a bit of a lie down at home. So we were shortly up and out for a lovely, if slllowwww, dinner at the restaurant Zinc in town. Great food once it arrived and lovely atmosphere. Had fun conversation with Argentinian server and very funny local Australian manager. Back in town it was raining again. We really got the whole tropical experience in Port Douglas. Liked the little town a lot. Quite touristy, yet rather quiet and pretty.

Next day we were up very early for our 5 am (gasp) pickup for drive back to Cairns airport, from which we flew to......

Ayers Rock, Uluru

Easily picked up rental car at small Ayers Rock airport and drove the very short distance to the Ayers Rock Resort, the only game in town in this part of the desert/outback. Had enjoyed clear wide views of the empty dry red terrain on the flight in, punctuated by the great big rock jutting out. We were early for our check in at the Pioneer Outback Hotel (almost the cheapest level digs at the resort - a basic though spacious motel type room for $225 US per night!). Went off to "resort town center" for lunch while room was made ready. Had great sandwiches and shakes outside at Resort's Kulata Academy Cafe, batting at first of many flies to come. Dropped luggage in rooms and set off in car to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which includes the sacred Ayers Rock (Uluru), with intention of staying out there for sunset views. Hot, hot, hot. Schmoozed the visitor center. Watched a movie about the significance of Uluru to the indigenous people and their struggle to retain land rights and respect for Uluru once the Europeans began to arrive. Noticed that a free sand plant tour would start at 5pm that would take us to sunset time. Signed on. A handful of us were led around the dry desert area surrounding the center. The indigenous guide stopped and identified trees and plants while the rest of us swatted flies, sweated, and strained to understand her soft voice. Tour is a work in progress. Guide had a trainee along to whom she translated her info into native language. That took us to sunset time when we drove off to a viewing spot and admired the setting sun lighting up the beautiful red Uluru ..... and swatted flies. Didn't deter lots of people from setting up chairs, tables, and picnics though. Took lots of photos ...and swatted flies.

Back at the Pioneer Hotel, happy hour was in full bore. Probably several tour groups were in that eve. Tried to go to the restaurant located on our part of the reservation, The Bough House, since we had no reservations (ha ha) After some hassles about lack of reservations in the 3/4 full restaurant, we got a table and ate the dreadful but expensive buffet. It had been a short night the night before and we were all tired and cranky.

Next day we foolishly went back to the same closest restaurant for another dreadful expensive breakfast buffet. Who knew scrambled eggs could be a fail? Drove off to Park again. Got an earlier start (for us) to avoid some of heat. Projected high of 96 degrees. Walked the short Mala trail, which took us close to base of the rock. Beautiful. Interesting desert oak trees, bush plants, a few birds. Some shade! Many flies. Nevertheless, a very nice walk admiring the geology and reading the cultural signs along the path. Drove on to view the nearby Kata Tjuta Rock group. Ironically the most fashion conscious of us was the only one of us to purchase a $10 fly net hat. Though we mocked her, we were all secretly envious.... as we walked the short fly infested path to the viewing area for the "conglomerate" rock formation called Kata Tjuta. Also magnificent....

Hungry and hot we drove back to resort and found the Walpa Lobby Bar, part of the most upscale resort lodging, the Sails Hotel. Had a beer and some light lunch. Admired the more upscale lodging area and amenities. We'd come to refer to our downside end of the resort as "steerage". But then what can you expect for $225!! A night? Later that eve we had quite good dinner at the newly renovated restaurant of the Grade B hotel "Desert Gardens". Called the Arnguli Grll. Very pretty, very slow service. Under half full, though I'd earlier made a reservation with some hassle (everything is annoyingly controlled through the allegedly comprehensive reception desk). After walking in dark along the road to the restaurant, we decided to take the free resort shuttle back to our hotel. This was easy to do and showed us a bit more of the property, including a large area of employee housing. The resort has about 450 employees. Not quite half are indigenous. Goal is 50% indigenous employment by next year or so. Nearest other civilization to Ayers Rock is Alice Springs - 450 kms or 5 hour drive.
Tried to imagine what working and living at this resort would be like..

After breakfast in "town" next am, we returned car at easy little close by airport and flew to Adelaide by way of Melbourne.
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Apr 9th, 2017, 11:52 PM
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Interestingly we were just last week at Uluru also staying at Pioneer Outback - we got a deal that included breakfast and quite liked the breakfast . We had lovely days in mid 20's and hardly any flies .
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Apr 10th, 2017, 06:01 AM
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<>

Lol - we lived in AUS for seven years and never left the house for a walk in the bush w/o our flynets in our backpacks - they were lifesavers. We felt dumb for about five seconds and then were just thankful we had them.

In fact, they're still in our backpacks, although we now live in fly-free CO. Old habits die hard.
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Apr 10th, 2017, 06:49 AM
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Glad to learn that your time in Australia is off to a good start. Know what you mean about the flies at Uluru. Daintree sounds quite amazing. What would you say is the ratio between healthy and bleached Reef in the section that you visited?
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Apr 10th, 2017, 08:35 AM
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glover -- your reporting reinforced that as much I would have liked to have gone to GBR and Uluru, we made the right decision for us to skip on this trip due to when we would have been there.
Looking forward to hearing more - Adelaide was another place we toyed with visiting and passed on. You just can't see it all.
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Apr 11th, 2017, 04:56 PM
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Glover, thanks for your great report! Not only brings back memories of our trip to AUS/NZ, but reminds us of so many places we missed. Just too much to see and do!
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Apr 14th, 2017, 06:18 AM
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Adelaide and Kangaroo Island

What a nice easy walkable city Adelaide is. We stayed 2 nights at the Adabco Boutique Hotel. It 's an interesting rehabbed building from 1800s, once a Boys Home. It shares neighborhood of a large hospital and hence lots of other medical facilities. Not the most interesting blocks in town, but easy walking distance to most Adelaide sites. Rooms are spacious with lots of storage space, and staff was great - they even sent us off with a bottle of wine!

Somehow we were all about Italy food wise in Adelaide. Had a casual dinner of pizza, pasta, and salads a couple blocks down from our hotel at Bocelli. Went back for breakfast next day. Had a great seafood dinner the next night at Loucas Restaurant , 2 blocks from hotel in the other direction. Next am we had an Unusual and delicious breakfast at Adelaide's renowned "Luigi". Sat at sunny sidewalk table and shared a beautiful breakfast platter of poached eggs, garlic toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, asparagus, beets, hummus, sausage, Ital baked beans. Had late lunch before our flight out at Lucia's in the big Adelaide Central Market. We did venture outside the Italian box just once - Stopped for a late afternoon snack ha ha at a nondescript empty place with lots of awards/ certificates hung on walls. Turned out to be various Escoffier Society awards garnered by current owner. We had a long chat with him about Adelaide, his background, and Escoffier society. He had emigrated from VietNam decades ago, but considers himself 100% Australian. An interesting guy.

We spent our two days in Adelaide walking all around the city enjoying its wide avenues and sites in pleasant dry weather. Highlights were a wonderful display of Pacific Island art in the museum, immigration museum, fabulous botanical gardens, and wine museum, where we were intrigued by the displays and the high tech method of dispensing tastings. They had a cellar of 30,000 bottles!!, Wonderful museums in Adelaide and most free. Great dahlia garden in Botanical Garden, with all dahlias in full bloom. And oh those magnificent trees! We all said "I could live here." But we were off to ....

Kangaroo Island

Considered taking ferry to Kangaroo Island, off coast near Adelaide, but decided it seemed a bit of a hassle, getting from Adelaide to ferry, etc etc, so instead we flew The 20 minute Rexair flight from Adelaide to KI's "city" (4 or 5 thousand population) Kingscote. Shortest flight we've ever taken. Beautiful coastal views on way over. Our was last flight in to Kingscote for the day, arriving just before 6 pm. The entire little airport was shut down probably within 20 mins of our arrival. We picked up our rental car and drove the short drive to our hotel, quickly since we'd been advised that car insurance ceased to apply at 6:30 pm - not enough light and too much wildlife on the road apparently.

Checked into our rooms at Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn, just before owners closed up reception for the eve. Though they have a restaurant, they don't generally serve dinners. We were advised to walk down the road to center of "town" to one of 3 available restaurants serving in eve. Armed with flashlights, we set off down the full moon lit coastal walking path 1 km. Settled in at the very casual Bella Cafe in outside enclosed area. Shared a huge vegetarian pizza and salads. Walked back along the shorter but equally dark road to motel.

Next am admired the sea views directly across road from us. Apparently, Right Whales can be spotted migrating through area in cooler months. Gorgeous clear sunny day.
Identified a new bird in nearby tree: Red Wattle bird. Common on KI . Very noisy. Packed up and drove to town for breakfast at simple outside cafe.

Drove to other side of Island, stopping at a few viewpoints along the way, then directly to next night's lodging at Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat. Dropped bags and then drove on into Flinders National Park and walked paths to see park's major landmarks: the stunning Admiral's Arch and Remarkable Rocks. We were fortunate to have a beautiful clear day to see both. Both are dramatic rock formations set against beautiful coast. Lots of fur seals resting and playing in both places. Sturdy infrastructure- walkways and paths to view both. Gorgeous!
Later we were thrilled to get our first siting of the iconic koala bear in a tree near the parking area of the visitor center. We weren't as lucky looking for a platypus on a trail late in the afternoon. It was a long bush trail to a pond where they are only occasionally seen. No luck for us there. But then walking back suddenly 2 kangaroos appeared almost next to us. We had a stare down and took a few pix. Saw a few wallabies as well, so all was not lost. A great day!

Earlier at the lodge we had asked them to reserve us space on a nocturnal tour at Hanson Bay Sanctuary nearby. We were all so ragged out that we cancelled. Sat on our porch till dark, then had a very good dinner at the lodge's small restaurant. Jolly conversation with our Canadian server. We all really loved this spot - the rustic lodging, the food in the restaurant, the welcome/organized administration- and of course the park itself. Kind of hated to leave.

After good breakfast there next am we went off to Hanson Bay Sanctuary nearby on our own. It's a private Sanctuary with an admission fee and a few paths. We were given an intro and map for self guiding. New bird: a galah or rose breasted cockatoo. Saw about half dozen koalas high in trees on the lovely eucalyptus tree lined path. Walked another longer path and saw a few birds, some distant kangaroos. The big prize of the day though was siting our first echidna, Australia's porcupine like anteater. Had lots of time to observe him digging in a pile of rotting wood. I had always wanted to see a porcupine in US or elsewhere.....

Continued on to the American River area of the island. Thought we might see some black cockatoos there, but saw only black swans and many Australian pelicans with their enormous pink and white bills. Stopped for the only food we could find in this tiny village, at the Deck Cafe. Had a nice chat with manager about the replica he and others are building of the American whaling ship "Independence, ". An interesting history in itself.

Drove back to "town". (Kingscote) and enjoyed some balcony sitting looking out at the sea as another beautiful sunny day faded. Walked back down the dark road to town center with hope of scoring another pizza at Bellas. Not to be, the place was full. Had to mosey along to Queenscliff, a sort of pub country restaurant/hotel with ho hum food.

Kangaroo Island was a definite trip highlight, helped by perfect weather, lots of wildlife sitings, and relaxed pace and quiet of the island. Put Mr G and I in mind of Chincoteague VA -remote island, quiet, a little retro, nice parkland nearby.....
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Apr 14th, 2017, 07:17 AM
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Adelaide and KI both sound lovely. Glad you continue to enjoy your trip.
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Apr 14th, 2017, 07:48 AM
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Adelaide sounds like a lovely place to linger and Kangaroo Island would be the place that most speaks to me. Have to get there next time.
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Apr 15th, 2017, 07:35 PM
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I love South Australia! Never been to KI though - wildlife, good food/wine, national parks and walking trails are abundant just about everywhere in SA (shhhh...don't tell anyone). Although I will always associate SA with German food rather than Italian

Glad you enjoyed your time there...and I learned a new phrase -
"ragged out" (assume that means knackered?)
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Apr 16th, 2017, 03:51 AM
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Wonderful report, Glover, has me planning a return trip. How did I miss arrangements for a D.C. GTG???
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Apr 16th, 2017, 04:27 AM
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Melnq8 - yep ragged out '= knackered. I rather like knackered, too! Maybe I'll take it up!
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Apr 16th, 2017, 06:03 AM
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FromDC - it's not too late to sign up for the DC GTG, April 28 and/or 29th for dinner. Here's the thread
http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...pril-28-30.cfm Let us know if you can come -- love to meet you.
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Apr 16th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,063
Bummer, I'm coming back to D.C. on Saturday evening, Apr 29. There is a slight chance I may change my flight to Thursday, if so I will get back in touch.
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