Monthly Archives: May 2014

Kangaroo Island Adventures Part Two

Kangaroo Island (KI) is beautiful with wildlife galore. It feels like staying in a wildlife preserve because much of it is a wildlife preserve. The island has a fertile farming industry and so eating locally grown or caught food is part of any visit. It has all that island living has to offer–both the positive and the negative (more on that later).

The best way to explore the KI is on a tour. We chose a full day “Island Life Tour” from Exceptional Kangaroo Island (EKI) based on a recommendation from a couple we met while in New Zealand. We saw all sorts of real wildlife: rare black cockatoos, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, endangered Australian Sea Lions and Australian wedge-tailed eagles. Our tour include tea under amazing eucalyptus trees (with koalas hanging out overhead), a bbq lunch in the bush. EKI promises small tours and our had only one other couple with us.

Koalas, Eucalyptus, Australia

Tea under koalas in the eucalyptus

Kangaroo Island Tour

Our tour guide and the other couple

Koalas, Kangaroo Island

See the kangaroos in the background?

Kangaroo Island, BBQ

A bbq lunch in the bush

Grilled whiting, halloumi cheese, salad , Kangaroo Island Tour

Grilled whiting, halloumi cheese & salad

Vegetarian, BBQ, Kangaroo Island

Vegetarian option for lunch

Sea lion, nursing, Kangaroo Island

A mother sea lion nursing her pup

Kangaroos, Kangaroo Island

Wild kangaroos hanging out in a field.

Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island Tour

Overlooking Stokes Bay

That night, to celebrate our anniversary, we had dinner at the Stranraer Homestead, a lovely high-end B & B serving gourmet meals made from local produce and seafood. The owners graciously drove us home afterwards, so we could drink wine during our meal and avoid dealing with the unpaved roads and wildlife hurling themselves at our (uninsured) rental car. It was the end of what should have been a perfect day.

Grilled fish, Kangaroo Island

Grilled fish with gluten free crumb covering

Local lamb, Kangaroo_Island

Local lamb

Pavlova, Kangaroo Island

Authentic Australian Pavlova (read for info
about the Aussies vs the Kiwis)

But not all island living is idyllic. Sometime island living can also mean provincial thinking and small-minded prejudice. We were exposed to this aspect of the island via our tour guide. For most of the day he was funny, informative, educational and all around entertaining. 

I have been on walking tours all over the world and most are pretty good, but this one was excellent and the reason was our tour guide’s stories. You can teach a tour guide facts and figures, but to make a place come alive, you need a storyteller. And that is what we had in this guy: his stories about the locals made the tour lively and  interesting. So it was all the more disappointing to be exposed to a part of island living that we could have done without.

At the end of the day, our tour guide decided to share Australian expressions as he was driving us back. When he asked if anyone was Jewish, we said yes; He then said that he better not share the next expression, leaving us to wonder what he had been about to say.

Context: This was two days after the start of Passover, right before Easter, just after the terrible shooting at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City. David thinks I am being dramatic when I connect these anti-Semitic remarks to the murder of three people but it starts with comments that are disparaging, off-putting, cruel.

Frankly we were in shock at the time and did not say anything. But after a few days of thinking about this incident I wrote to the owners of EKI. They apologized, said all the right things and supposedly we will be receiving an apology from the tour guide, but the fact is that it marred our time on Kangaroo Island celebrating our anniversary.

This was not the first time I have experienced anti-Semitism. But is has been a long while. The last time was about 10 years ago when we were living in St. Louis. A mothers of our daughter’s friend purposely didn’t invite us to join a group of the other mothers and daughters going to the Nutcracker Ballet, because we are Jewish. Again, subtle but cruel.

Have you ever been the target of hate speech or prejudice? What did you do?

As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

Kangaroo Island Adventures Part One

Last week we spent our 25th wedding anniversary and David’s birthday on Kangaroo Island (KI), Australia’s third largest island. KI is south of Adelaide so the plan was to  fly there, pick up a rental car, drive to the island and then spend three days and two nights exploring and celebrating. And while that is what happened, it didn’t turn out quite the way we planned.

First hiccup was renting a car. After landing we discovered that our car rental company was the ONLY one without a pick-up location at the airport; we had to call and get a van to get there. No big deal, right? Well sort of but not really. While in the van on our way to their offsite location, our driver asked us our plans. After we told her we were heading to Kangaroo Island to celebrate our 25th anniversary she informed us that her company does not allow any of their cars to be taken to KI. What?

There was nothing about that in the fine print when I reserved the rental car. She then told us that there are only two car rental companies who allow their cars on the island: Hertz and Budget. Luckily we had not prepaid for the rental car and since it was holiday week for Australia–Easter is a 5 day holiday here–they wouldn’t charge us for the rental car we now needed to cancel. Whew!

But wait, there’s more.

So we head back to the airport to Hertz. And of course this being a holiday, there is only one car left and it is significantly more expensive because it is a BMW. At this point we realize we have a limited time left to get lunch and make our ferry crossing. But as we are signing the papers, the Hertz gal tells us that they don’t insure any of their cars for driving at night on Kangaroo Island. What?

Turns out that most of the roads on the island are not paved but more important there is a lot of wildlife–think wild kangaroos waiting to launch themselves at cars after dark. So we take the BMW without insurance hoping that our CA insurance and credit card will cover any possible damage from kangaroos hurling themselves at our car and resolve not to drive at night on the island.

Luckily things got better for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We drove through the beautiful McClaren Vale, a valley with great wineries–think Australian Napa, stopping for lunch at Ekhidna Winery.

Adelaide stitching shop.

A brief stop at an Adelaide stitching shop.

Goddess Ekhidna

Info on the goddess Ekhidna.

Lunch was good!

Lunch was good!

Parking on the ferry was a bit of an adventure, because drivers are asked to park their cars very close together. Some ‘lucky’ drivers get to pull onto the ferry backwards and park. I was sitting in line praying that they wouldn’t choose me for that honor. I worked out all okay, but because I was driving onto a boat, on the “wrong” side of the car on the “wrong” side of the road, parking so close to the other cars, it left me a bit shaky.

Ferry Kangaroo Island

In line, waiting to get on the ferry.

The ferry boat to KI Kangaroo Island

The ferry boat to KI.

Kangaroo Island Ferry Poster

Poster in the bathroom on the ferry.

After making our way (on one of the few paved roads) to Kingscote and our hotel, we took a lovely walk along the water that night and watched the last half of the lunar eclipse over the ocean before dining on local seafood.

Kangaroo Island Hotel

Our hotel, overlooking the water.

  Seafood platter for two.

Seafood platter for two.

Those are local fresh water marrons on top.

Those are local fresh water marrons on top.


More next time on the rest of our KI adventure and being exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly of island living.

Have you had plans go awry while traveling? Would love to hear how you coped with that.

As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!