Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day in Penneshaw.

Initially we planned to cycle out to Cape Willoughby today, but we awoke to rain and both decided that we weren't feeling motivated to head out into the bad weather today... By 10:30am the rain had completely cleared and we could have happily done the ride, but we had already set our minds to not heading out to the cape, so we spent the day exploring Penneshaw. We did the Bullock Track around Baudin park, spent a few hours relaxing and walking on the beach, we watched the ferries come and go, saw a whale cruising past (!) and generally had a completely relaxing day together just enjoying being on holiday :).

We both felt a little sad that we were due to depart on the 08:30 ferry tomorrow morning, but really happy that we had come to Kangaroo Island. It had been a very easy little cycle tour, with short days in the saddle and a lot of free time each afternoon to enjoy the new places in which we arrived each day. We both felt that by cycling we saw a lot more than most who were whizzing by in their cars - we happened accross the wildlife who didn't hear us coming, we heard the frogs croaking in all the waterholes along the roadside, and we stayed and enjoyed the small places that others merely zip past on their way to the 'main attractions'.
The trip was easy to plan and organise. Kangaroo Island has plenty of campsites and other accomodation within easy distances for even the most relaxed pace cyclists to not feel pushed, and we found plenty to do each day no matter where we were on the island.

Brown's Bay - Penneshaw.

Distance cycled: 20km
We began today with a relaxing long beach walk, and noticed that our seal friend had returned. A fisherman had come down to the beach too and told us that there was a school of salmon running - hmmm, probably what the seal was there for! Well, the fisherman was very successful - in less than an hour he had caught 8 salmon!!
We had a quick chat with him on our way out of the campground and he showed us his impressive haul, he even offered us one (so kind!), but as much as I would have loved to take it we were planning to cycle via Cape Willoughby to Antechamber bay and it probably would have spoiled on the way there...
We planned to take 'East West Road' to Cape Willoughby and stay for the night at Antechamber bay campground, but after the first 1km along the road it was apparent this wasn't going to work! Sadly the road was a sandpit, so we were really struggling and the idea of 25km of deep sand didn't appeal to either of us!
So, plan 2: We would cycle instead to Penneshaw, and then continue from Penneshaw to Cape Willoughby. The road to Penneshaw was reasonably hilly, and both of us were feeling unusually fatigued so in the end we planned to spend today in Penneshaw and cycle a return trip to the cape tomorrow sans panniers.
Well, we had a wonderful little rest day! We set up camp at 'KI Shores campground', bought the Sunday paper, a few snacks and spent the whole afternoon siting in the sun chatting and reading the paper :). Ahhh, lovely!

Parndana to Brown's Bay via Flour Cask Bay...

Distance cycled:85km.

So today we planned to cycle from Parndana to Flour Cask Bay and camp at 'Flour Cask Bay Sanctuary'. The wind from yesterday had completely eased so we set off enjoying the serene stillness and distinct lack of traffic. The first 35km were mostly flat, then the road resumed its usually rolling route with a few good hills that we have enjoyed through most of the trip around KI.
We arrived at Flour cask bay quite early (must have been powering along!), which was just as well because they were not yet open for the summer season. We talked to the owner and he recommended that we carry on to Brown's Bay and camp the night there instead, so after kindly allowing us to fill our water bottles he waved us off.
The cycle from Flour cask bay around to Browns bay was back-tracking along the route we had taken our first day on the island and it didn;t take us long to arrive at the Brown's Bay campground.
Again we were to only people using the campground. Although it was quite close to the road we found it very quiet as traffic is almost non-existent during the night.
One word to describe this campground: Gorgeous!! We were so happy to have arrived in the early-mid afternoon so we could take full advantage of the amazing beach! We lazed in the sun and walked along the lovely long beach and were entertained by a lone seal splashing about.... so relaxing!

Brown's Bay campground cost $5 per person.
Facilities: Gas BBQ, undercover seating area, toilets, sheltered camping and the wonderful beach!

The road was completely sealed except for the road down to Flour Cask Bay, although this was firmly packed, with only a little loose gravel.

Flinders Chase NP to Parndana

Distance cycled: 70km.

Todays cycle was almost completely flat - only a few slight undulations. Unfortunately the first 25kms was into a fierce side/headwind, but then fortunately at the end of the road we turned 90 degrees and that side/headwind became a lovely tailwind :). Thanks to the tailwind it didn't take long to arrive in Parndana.
We verified at the pub that they offer free camping (they do and you can have a shower for $5), and we set up our ten behind the pub for the night. Clean public toilets were available inside the town hall beside the pub.
After getting ourselves set-up we cycled out to the Wildlife park we had seen on our way in, just to the west of town. It was a nice local family run operation, and a fun way to pass the afternoon.
We found Parnana to be a wonderful place to stay - the local IGA had very reasonable prices, so we stocked up on fruit and a few other bits and pieces, and everyone we met was extremely friendly and quite interested in our cycling adventure.
After a restful afternoon, we headed over to the pub to spend our evening with a few drinks and a great meal. One of the best thing about the meals is the self-service vegetable and salad bars, just what is appreciated after a day cycling!
During the course of the night we were woken by a large male Koala making a horrendous noise right outside the tent! We made a bit of noise of our own, and he wasn't heard from for the rest of the night.. later we found he was probably the 'local resident Koala, Harry' - sorry Harry!

Flinders Chase National Park

Distance cycled: 35km.

So today was spent first cycling from Rocky River campground out to Cape de Couedic and the Remarkable Rocks, and back to camp again, then doing a few more bush walks.
It was a lovely rolling up-and-down ride, all fully paved, and we both enjoyed the freedom of being pannier-free for a nice change! Cycling through Flinders Chase National Park was a wonderful way to see the natural beauty of the park and a lot of the fauna too as we were zooming along the roads before many cars had a chance to get in first and frighten everything away. We saw several groups of Kangaroo and Walabies on our way out to the cape.
Once at Cape de Couedic we checked out the old lighthouse and walked down one of the walkways to see the NZ fur seals basking on the rocks below. Unfortunately on the way down to the lookout to see the fur seals we came accross a cranky black snake - needless to say we made a careful retreat as he remained poised in ready-to-strike pose!!
So after seeing the fur seals, the lighthouse and our brush with death (A little dramatic, I know..), we called in to see the Remarkable Rocks. They are bizzarely shaped rocks formed from volcanic activity perched on one of the may outcrops along the coast. We had a good stop over checking them out and walking all around them before cycling back to the campground in the early afternoon.
So a really good day today, some satisfying cycling, saw a few of the KI "must sees", and got a bit of adrenaline pumping courtosy of our snake friend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vivvonne Bay to Flinders Chase NP

Distance cycled: 43km.

So today we made a late start because we knew we didn't have far to travel. After 43 mostly flat kms we arrived at Flinders Chase National Park around midday.
On the way to Flinders Chase NP, we called in Kelly Hill Conservation park. We locked our bikes and went on one of the trail walks around the main cave area. Due to us both being "caved out" from various other caving adventures we both opted not to pay for a tour of the caves and just enjoyed the bush walk instead.
We also called into the 'Western KI caravan park' for some BBQ supplies (bread, onion etc..). This would have been a great place to stay - very well equipped and friendly staff, but we were wanting to stay within the national park so carried on to the Rocky River campground.
We had a fantasitic lunch at the visitor centre, which is handily located right behind the camp ground, and went for a walk along the nearby 'platypus bushwalk'. During the walk we saw LOTS of the migratory geese that seemed to have invaded the park, several Tamar wallabies (one with baby in the pouch) and even a little echidna! We were both pretty stoked to see the echidna especially, having never seen one in the wild before. At first he was frightened and scrunched up into a little ball of spines, but after a few minutes of waiting he relaxed and then scuttled along and into a little burrow. Neat.

Campground facilities: Gas BBQ, numerous food prep shelters, very nice modern toilets and shower block, lighting and sheltered camping areas. Highly recommended!

Kingscote to Vivonne Bay.

Distance cycled: 66km.

Today was almost all sealed roads, except for the final 2km to Vivonne Bay campground. Another fabulous day of rolling hills - a few small climbs and wonderful little descents to keep things interesting.
We stopped by Little Sahara to run up the impressive sand dunes and watched a few sandboarders ripping down the dunes too.
At Vivonne Bay we crossed the Harriete river (knee depth at the mouth) and walked along the famously "perfect" beach.

Campground cost: $5 each.
Facilities: Gas BBQ, toilets, undercover dining area, vehicle style camp area (although we pitched our tent in the gravel!), and of course the beach...