Monday, 28 December 2015
We're on Kangaroo Island ('KI' to South Aussies) at the moment, staying with Jon's mum and dad in their house at Penneshaw with views of the beach & hourly ferries and the dolphins swimming around the rocks.
Our trips to KI are typically 3 days or so long, and on at least one of those days we borrow the car and get out and about - KI is surprisingly large - for example it took us 90 minutes to get 3/4 of the way towards the other end of the island.
KI is not short of activities and destinations so we try to do something new each time as well some of the old (visiting the honey farm for honey ice-cream etc etc). Since we are in hiking mode at the moment I jumped at the opportunity to combine a visit to the previously un-visited limestone caves, and a 9k walk from there through the forest and dunes to Hansons Bay. Actually it's billed as a 18k return hike but our plan was to have Jon run back to the car and drive it around to the bay to pick us up. This is the first time we will have done any sort of significantly long walk on KI as the kids have either been too small, or it's been to hot.
And it was great - the cave tour was ok - not amazing but pretty good as far as limestone caves go, but the walk was great. The first part of it was through a beautiful yacca (xanthorea) filled forest. Quite different to anything we normally get to walk through in Tasmania.
From there the vegetation got scrubbier as we skirted around a large lagoon..
Then we went up and over some sandy floored forest..
Eventually the track met and followed a river which wound its way towards the dunes and finally the track popped out above Hanson's Bay, a spectacular beach facing the southern ocean. Actually it seemed to be divided into two parts - one which was unprotected and wild, and the other which had two large reefs serving as breakwaters, calming the sea before it hit the beach. Below is the wild half..
We went to the calmer half..
It took us about 2 and a half hours to walk, including a few stops. It was quite hot, so tough going in some of the uphill exposed sandy sections. But being motivated by the promise of the beach made for good time.
After 10 minutes at the beach we sent Jon back the way we came while we settled down in a sheltered corner of the beach until he returned. He only took 50 minutes or so to run back so we weren't able to contract sunstroke in his absence but it was enough time to have a swim and play.
It's great that the kids can knock off a 10k or so walk without any difficulties. Jett mentioned today that he was still nervous and daunted by the prospect of starting the overland track in a weeks time but we assured him that he would be more prepared than 80% of the people starting the walk - and I recon he is. We've done steep walks, hot walks, long flat walks, walks with packs, overnight walks, everything. I guess the only thing we didn't manage (surprisingly) was walks in bad weather, but the Cradle Valley forecast is starting to appear before us and I can see that we're going to get good weather for the first day at least. This is probably the most important day for good weather so I'm pretty happy about that.