adventures in australia: chapter four, part one

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we left melbin with the sun’s arrival. another morning, another early flight. err, this time, flights. the first took us from melbourne to adelaide, and the second -in a much smaller plane, mind you, from adelaide to kingscote, one of the main cities of kangaroo island. truth be told, when i realized just how small of a plane we would be taking to get from the mainland to the remote island, i was less than enthused. while my fear of flying has lessened by leaps and bounds, it still appears from time to time and most certainly when the size of the plane is anything less than a 737. so as the propellers began to spin rapidly outside of my little window, i clutched M’s hand tightly, took deep breaths, and said a prayer or twelve. luckily the total flight time was twenty minutes, so almost as quickly as we ascended was it time to return to sweet solid ground.

to give you a bit of a geography lesson, kangaroo island is australia’s third largest island and known for its abundance of wildlife and picturesque landscapes. and yes, in case it wasn’t clear, it also has a TON of kangaroos. but “third largest” is certainly a relative term. the island’s population totals just over 4,000 which is basically the size of a large high school, so…anyway, what it lacks in residents it certainly makes up for in coastal views. and wildlife, obviously.

after landing safely (glory hallelujah), we picked up our ride for the next four days. a small but mighty toyota corolla. it’s important to note that in many other parts of the world, they drive on the left side of the road. that means the driver’s seat is located on the right side of the car. i only attempted to enter on the wrong side of the car a handful of times, but it did take some getting used to. we threw our luggage into the trunk and took off in search of some food. we landed upon one of the only cafes off the main street in kingscote. after spending over a week in well-populated cities with an abundance of culinary options, it would be a bit of an adjustment to find shawna-approved food selections.

with egg dishes in our bellies, we set off for emu bay. once we arrived, we towel changed into our bathing suits and hit the sand. and by hit the sand i mean that we drove our rental car ONTO the sand. unless the people of budget rental car are reading this right now. in that case, we totally did NOT drive our rental car onto the beach. you must be hallucinating. M went and told me to stand by the car so he could get a photo. i kind of felt like one of those girls on the price is right when they showoff the featured prize for the showcase showdown. but then he set the self-timer and ran to get in the shot with me. now it just looks like an advertisement for toyota (call us, toyota, we hire out).

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

while M fiddled with the camera, i killed time practicing my cartwheels. because when you have an open beach, why not practice your gymnastic skills? my thoughts exactly. anyway, once M realized what i was doing, he attempted to capture said acrobatics. considering the photo below was captured on film, it turned out pretty well, i’d say. too bad i never learned how to do a back hand-spring.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

unlike sydney’s fairly temperate climate, south australia is H-O-T, HOT. so we actually spent most of our time at emu bay in the water. also can we talk about how gorgeously ombre blue the water is? those photos aren’t even filtered in lo-fi, it’s just that blue. 

we dried off and headed back into kingscote to pick up some groceries for the week. i was given the privilege of feeding us with my fabulous cooking skills. and by that i mean i had told M i would make a mean batch of roasted veggies and muesli yogurt parfaits. he seemed to be okay with that. after the store we headed toward our temporary accommodations. these babies:

KI cottages

the waves & wildlife cottages. i mean, it was just unreal. the cottages overlooked a grassy hill and at twilight, kangaroos would come right up to our patio to feed.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

after settling in, M wanted to capitalize on the “golden hour” light so we headed out to capture our incredible surroundings:

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(not only am i a great subject/model, i am also a fairly good photographer’s assistant. and very humble for that matter)

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(stokes bay)

once the sun had gone down, we headed back to the cottage to assemble dinner and spent the remaining moments just decompressing, both engrossed in our respective books as M’s phone projected music in the background. so this is what paradise feels like.

the next morning, we awoke with the sun to capture the early morning rays. the sunrise was not quite up to bondi’s standards but it was stunning nevertheless.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(another hideous day)

M went for a swim while i stayed back, read, and got ready for the day. after a late breakfast, we jumped in the car en route for paul’s place, a wildlife sanctuary just down the road from our cottage. while it may have come dangerously close to 100-degrees that day, i was too excited about feeding kangaroos and holding a koala to be bothered by the heat. a small group of us was toured through the grounds and given plenty of opportunities to get hands-on with the animals. i fed kangaroos, a deer, geese, and emus. the kangaroos were so dainty with their feeding, sitting up on their haunches and gripping my hand so delicately with their little claws. the emus, on the other hand, were crazy aggressive. at one point they had me surrounded. it was all i could do to get away. my palms were raw from their incessant pecking!

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(he was quite heavy)

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(see how delicately he was holding my hand? the sweetest)

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(clearly i had the worst time)

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(multitasking)

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(i’m smiling on the outside to mask the terror on the inside)

and then the moment i had waited my whole life for. i got to HOLD A KOALA. it didn’t last for more than a minute or two, but for those fleeting moments, all was right with the world. he was much heavier than i thought and a bit grabby with those claws (note his left paw on my right pec), but he was awfully schnuggly and i wanted to burrow my face into the crook of his little neck. i mean, i didn’t because i’m fairly certain the tour guide would have frowned upon that, but don’t think i didn’t consider it.

photo 1 (3)

we saw a few more animals (lizards, birds, sheep) following this photo op, but honestly, the rest of our time there was a blur because after you hold a koala nothing else really matters now does it?

after paul’s place we decided to spend the afternoon scouting out some of the island’s stunning rock formations. we headed toward flinders chase national park to check out admiral’s arch and the remarkable rocks (and yes, that’s their actual name, and yes, they are remarkable).

it was short hike down to the arch, but the views along the way were far too picturesque to go unphotographed. honestly, it looked like were were somewhere off the coast of ireland. the coastline was so raw and green. if you looked out over the horizon, it truly felt as though you were looking out over the edge of the world.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

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photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(he claims he probably had just told me a funny joke, i say his jokes aren’t that funny)

we arrived back to the parking lot to find that our rental car had a flat tire. so maybe driving on the beach that one time was a poor decision…to our credit, the roads aren’t the smoothest on kangaroo island so chances are we just approached a rogue rock incorrectly and it had sliced right through the rubber. the last time i had changed a tire was in driver’s ed a good dozen years ago and the last time M had changed one was never. so we were totally equipped for the task that lie before us. because let’s be honest, there was no triple A we could call. so while M did the manual labor, i stood beside coaching him along with the step-by-step directions as listed in the car’s manual. and despite a few moments of frustration, we were basically a dream team. flat tire off, spare tire on. and with our car back in business, we ventured onward to the remarkable rocks.

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(caught the photographer in action)

climbing around on these rocks was like being on a different planet. if i had to pick one, i’d say mars. we had a lot of fun with the tripod at this location. because as much fun as it is to have a ton of photos of yours truly, i figured M would probably want to be in a few of them, too. plus it’s way more fun to be funny in a photo when you have someone doing it with you.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

(apparently i didn’t get he memo to change poses)

following our rock-climbing adventures and that whole tire situation, we were ready to head home to shower and eat some dinner. i took over in the kitchen while M captured the sunset. which, in all honesty, may have been the prettiest sunset i have ever seen.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

photo credit: M.

you guys, it was some of God’s best work to date. or at least the best work i’ve seen in my lifetime. by the time M finished up, i had successfully turned out a tray of perfectly roasted veggies. he took over meat-cooking and not before too long, were we feasting over a bottle of sauvignon blanc. we split a muesli parfait for dessert (have i mentioned that i’m a pretty bomb parfait assembler? just saying) before passing out soon thereafter.

to be continued…

4 Comments
  • Teresa
    February 11, 2014

    Honestly, it just keeps getting better. I NEVER want your vacation to end; it looks like you made memories for a lifetime.

  • Natalie Lynn Borton
    February 11, 2014

    I am LOVING this recap series. So many beautiful photos!! And can I just say, I have now added “feeding kangaroos and holding koalas” to my personal bucket list. So cool!

  • Mom
    February 11, 2014

    I agree, what are we going to do when the vacation blogs stop? Can you do it again?

  • jacqueline
    February 12, 2014

    let’s just continually send you on vacations so i can read stuff like this all the time!!! sounds ah-mazing.

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