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.
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.
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.
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.
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