Portland to Hahndorf to Adelaide to Kangaroo Island back to Adelaide
04.25.2009 - 05.03.2009 68 °F
[We wrote this blog several days ago but haven't had an Internet connection since we are now in the Outback. Next blog will probably be a few weeks away since cell phone and internet connections are few and far between.]
Our introduction to the Adelaide area and the territory South Australia (SA) was through the Adelaide Hills, a wine growing region, and the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia, the town of Hahndorf. The first settlers arrived in 1838 to escape religious persecution in Germany. The town is very picturesque, particularly at this time of year when the leaves are turning red and orange. Hahndorf is full of antique shops and cheerful cafes and German restaurants.
Adelaide, a small city (1.4 million people), is perched between white sandy beaches and the Mount Lofty Ranges and is the capital of South Australia. It is a well-planned city, the vision of Colonel William Light, and is laid out in a grid pattern and bordered by wide terraces and parkland. Within the city are many garden squares and original stone buildings.
The city has always been proud of the fact that is had no convict settlers and was the province of free immigrants. Adelaide once had a stuffy reputation, but today the city prides itself as a center of culture, the arts and good living.
From our base in Adelaide, we took a 2-day, 2-night tour of Kangaroo Island, which is located 10 miles off South Australia's coast. Kangaroo Island is Australia's third largest island and is 96 miles long and 34 miles wide and has a population of only 4,500 inhabitants. It is the site of South Australia's first official colonial settlement.
The island has a checkered past. In the early 1800s a mostly collection of whalers, sealers, escaped convicts and ship deserters began to make their homes on the island. They brought Aboriginal women from Tasmania, and abducted others from the mainland. Before long, Kangaroo Island had a reputation as one of the most lawless and vicious places in the British Empire. The worst scoundrels were rounded up in 1827 and the island is now a quiet wilderness and wildlife reserve.
Sparsely populated and geographically isolated, the island has few introduced predators and is a haven for a wide variety of animals and birds. The Island consists of 30% conservation or National Park areas, rugged coastline and beaches, native forest and bush and is home to native numerous bird species, koalas, kangaroos, penguins, seals and sea lions.
The Remarkable Rocks, at Kirkpatrick Point in the southwest, is a group of large rocks that have been eroded into weird formations by the winds and sea.
We spent the days on a 4 wheel drive tour and the evenings at a farmstead Bed and Breakfast where we met several locals who were born and raised on the Island and say they would never live anywhere else. It is truly a magnificent place - we saw wildlife in its native environment and learned about the geology, history and animal life of the island.
We returned to Adelaide for a one night stay before our 3-week journey into the Red Center. We stocked up on water, food and other supplies and are now off toward the Outback.
On the road again..................